“Last Lists of My Mad Mother” by Julie Jensen is an emotionally resonant and deeply introspective play that delves into the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship amidst the challenges of aging and dementia. Premiered in 2000, this poignant play navigates the intricacies of caring for an aging parent while exploring themes of love, loss, and the gradual erosion of memory. Utah theatre fans will find the play to be poignant as well as humorous.
The play revolves around a woman grappling with the onset of dementia, and her daughter, who becomes her primary caregiver. The audience is invited into the intimate world of this mother and daughter as they navigate the evolving dynamics of their relationship.
Jensen’s masterful storytelling captures the raw vulnerability of both characters, portraying the frustration, tenderness, and inevitable conflicts that arise when a loved one’s mind begins to slip away. Ma’s struggle with memory loss serves as the focal point, highlighting the heartbreaking reality of losing one’s connection to their past and loved ones.
What sets “Last Lists of My Mad Mother” apart is its ability to balance the weight of the subject matter with moments of levity. Humorous anecdotes and shared recollections intersperse the narrative, offering glimpses of the enduring bond between Ma and her daughter. These lighter moments serve as a reminder of the resilience of the human spirit even in the face of adversity.
Jensen’s writing skillfully portrays the universal themes of aging and familial relationships, resonating deeply with audiences who have experienced similar journeys with their loved ones. The play encourages introspection, prompting viewers to contemplate their own connections with aging parents and the inevitable role reversal that often occurs in caregiving relationships.
“Last Lists of My Mad Mother” serves as an important reminder to cherish moments with loved ones while also navigating the complexities and challenges of caregiving. It’s a testament to the power of theatre to explore the depths of the human experience and provoke meaningful conversations about aging, memory, and the enduring nature of love.
This emotionally charged and thought-provoking play by Julie Jensen continues to captivate audiences with its beautiful storytelling, urging us to confront the fragility of memory and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of life’s inevitable changes.