This past weekend I had the chance to attend THE DEMENTIA VOTE, directed by Brandon Slezak and written by David Dickens, at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theater. The show, which is drenched in political satire, centers around Bruce, an elderly, senile man who finds himself wrapped up in a high stakes political election.
With all that is going on in the world, especially with our current “president”, I felt that THE DEMENTIA VOTE was a fantastic depiction of the lengths people will go for political power. As the show opens we are introduced to elderly couple Bruce and Willow, played respectively by Jetta Juriansz and David Dickens, as they numbingly watch the sexy, albeit slimy, Senator Orlando Humor (Tory Hains) push his political agenda against his opponent, the Midwest “for the people”, yet incredibly creepy, Uncle Jack (Ellen Bienenfeld). Throw in some sex scandals, a mad for power politician, death threats, betrayal, and a dash of humor and it’s just like we are watching the real life portrayal of Donald Trump holding office.
What I really loved about this show was how it was presented to the audience. The story unfolds as though we are watching a news clip on television – both seeing the fabricated persona put on by the newscasters as well as the actual truth of what is going on behind-the-scenes. When the elderly Bruce, and his young nurse Lucy (Alyssa Weldon), accidentally find themselves on TV, they become such a smash hit that the network decides to have Bruce moderate the upcoming election. Even though David Dickens writing suggests that THE DEMENTIA VOTE is an outrageous look at how society deals with politics and entertainment, it actually hits pretty close, if not too close, to home.
What really sells the show, outside of the brilliant writing, is the acting. Everyone is completely believable in their roles, so much so that I felt as if I was watching this on television in real time. However, I must give a shout out to Jetta Juriansz depiction of dementia-riddled Bruce, as she was downright hilarious. I love seeing gender roles flipped, and Juriansz made that role her own in such a way that you forgot she was a female playing a male character. I also really enjoyed watching the over-the-top chemistry between Senator Orlando Humor and Lady Ballview (Caiti Wiggins). Having first seen Wiggins in Shayne Eastin’s PoPalypt1c, it was refreshing to see her act out this character in such a exaggerated way which was completely different from her previous role.
Going into THE DEMENTIA VOTE, I initially wasn’t sure what to expect or what I would think, but now having seen it I can say it’s a show that is definitely a must see. Sometimes we need a break from the overly depressive and discouraging news that is plastered on TV, and THE DEMENTIA VOTE is that much needed break. Sure, it showcases in a farcical way that which we are constantly attuned to seeing whenever we turn on the television, but at least we can laugh for 45 minutes over the ridiculous antics and dog-and-pony shows that politics is known for. With all that said, I highly suggest checking out THE DEMENTIA VOTE, as it’ll give you a good laugh, while making you wish we had a Bruce to root for, as he’s clearly the politician we all need and deserve.
THE DEMENTIA VOTE ends its run tonight, May 27th, but have no fear, you can catch their last performance tonight at 7pm at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group. For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.zombiejoes.com.