Stretching physical, emotional and mental limits, a group of elderly Broadway actors, musicians and dancers bravely dive into a production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and find that nothing is what it seems to be. These former Broadway stars, who reside at the Lillian Booth Actors Home just outside New York City, embark on a journey through the magical play at the urging of the Home’s administrators. The staff of the Home sees this as an opportunity to boost quality of life for the residents.The residents are not so sure.
As the rehearsal process unfolds, the actors find themselves experiencing both the pain and exhilaration of re-immersion in their life’s work amidst the vagaries of old age. At the same time, the troupe’s young co-directors, Ben Steinfeld and Noah Brody of NYC’s celebrated Fiasco Theater, struggle to maintain forward momentum with this over-80 acting ensemble.
Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and even minor issues such as sight and hearing loss create constant crises and obstacles for all involved. As the troupe pushes forward, the play’s themes of perception, reality vs. dreaming, and memory become relevant in sharp relief. Ultimately the performance of the play turns out to be surprising, mysterious and resonant, and a vital reminder of the value of engaging in our dreams no matter the circumstance.
STAY FOR THE DISCUSSION
WITH FILMMAKER JILIAN SPITZMILLER
Jillian Spitzmiller is a documentary producer, director, editor, cinematographer and teacher whose films have received international acclaim. She produced the award-winning Shakespeare Behind Bars and co-directed, produced and edited Homeland which aired on PBS in 2000.
Spitzmiller has freelanced extensively in the documentary field, with credits such as NBC, A&E, Bravo and VH1. She is the co-director of Philomath Films, whose productions have received numerous awards including the Audience Award at AFI Fest and Best of Show at BendFilm. Spitzmiller is also co-founder of DocuMentors, a website and mentoring service for documentary filmmakers. Spitzmiller teaches filmmaking and documentary classes in California, New Mexico and Italy.