Clusters, another original work, debuts at the Gilbert Theater to the delight of theatre aficionados. Performances are Feb. 2-19.

The play, written and directed by Stephen Miles, focuses on senior citizens in a retirement home where they face health problems such as Alzheimer’s, aging and right-to-die issues. Even though Miles has written 13 plays in his lifetime, this will be the writer’s debut as a director and he is thrilled. The new director stated that this play is very close to his heart because he can relate to it on a deeper level.01-25-12-clusters.jpg

“I’m not getting any younger myself, and I have seen friends of mine face the challenges of getting older,” Miles said.

As people age, they are faced with challenges with their health. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s, a form of dementia, accounts for about 50 to 80 percent of dementia cases. The majority of people with Alzheimer’s disease are usually 65 years and older. Cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease are common among Baby Boomers as well.

Miles explained that Clusters is a very powerful play, but disturbing in a sense. The director is very excited to get feedback from the community on not only the performance, but his writing as well. According to Miles, the cast is currently working hard in rehearsal for the play and it is going well.

Lynn Pryer, artistic director at Gilbert Theater, says the play hits close to home for many in the community, since having aging family members is a commonality. Anyone can relate to the play and be impacted by it, noted Pryer, who founded the theater in 1994. Pryer will retire in June.

The Gilbert Theater, which was originally founded in the basement of Pryer’s home, has a mission of producing original works for world premieres. Diversity is vital in the Gilbert Theatre and the experience is brought throughout the community by providing a stream of different productions.

From the features of many up-and-coming writers, children’s puppet shows, fundraisers, and even the production of A Christmas Carol, to name a few, it should come as no surprise why the theater is so cherished by many throughout Fayetteville.

Clusters performances begin at 8 p.m., with the exception of Sundays, when the curtain rises at 2 p.m for a matinee show. Ticket prices are $12 and can be purchased through the Gilbert Theater website Tickets for Thursday performances of Clusters are $10 for students and military.

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