Me to Play @ Slamdance

One of the lessons learned during the last 11 months of this pandemic is that life is short. We should not take any of our time for granted. Transporting that into this documentary, screening at Slamdance Film Festival, by Jim Bernfield we see how time on this planet is never guaranteed nor is health.

A short 72 minute documentary which follows the last time two lifelong actors will be able to perform on stage as they have both been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Dan Moran and Chris Jones are two actors who have been at it for decades and their passion for what they do still runs strong. Unfortunately their bodies will no longer allow them to act. Parkinson’s is beginning to really take a toll on their bodies. With this reality accepted, the two have decided to have one more kick at the proverbial can by putting on an Off-Broadway production of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame.

A fitting play for the two to present, Endgame is the follow up to Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. It is about two men waiting for a never really explained end. Who better to put this on than two who would intrinsically know what that is like? Similarities between this documentary/what the men in their personal lives are going through and Beckett’s play run throughout.

Not a film which will pretty up what the two are going through, some of the more moving scenes happen when they talk about their health or a member of their family does. The toll is obvious. You begin to understand how the disease has started to ravage them. They both worry about physically being up to the task and even if they will be able to remember their lines. No matter how much they practice. Still they move forward.

What makes this a heartwarming watch rather than an only sad or depressing one is the focus on the obvious passion that Dan and Chris have for acting. Director Bernfield nimbly does not turn away from the disease, but wisely focuses on the positive.

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