Q&A Preview By Erica Herd

Alzheimer’s Blues
Q&A Preview by Erica Herd
May 24, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Playwright and actor..

What is your show about?
A surreal and slapstick story about a woman trying to make sense of a terrible disease while the rest of her world threatens to fall apart.

Where were you born? Where were you raised? Where did you go to school?
I was born in Manhattan, on East 27th Street, in a 5th floor walk up apartment. My Mom gave birth to me alone (not intentional, I was premature) with the cat Mitzi acting as midwife. When I was 5 or 6 we moved to Jackson Heights, Queens. I went to Catholic school through high school, and received my B.A. from Hunter College.

Who is more important in the theater: the actor, the playwright, or the director?
They are all equally important. In this show, I am co-author and actor, and my husband, L.E. Swenson is co-author. Without a good director, even a brilliant play can fail. I am very fortunate to have Cheryl King as my director. Couldn’t be happier.

Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
This show found me. The subject matter is personal–about my mom who was an exceptionally talented actress who suffered from mental illness and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2010. I take a comedic spin on it, try to find a way to heal the pain with laughter. It started as a blog on Open Salon while I was in the throes of dealing with mom’s illness in 2011. And with the help of my director and co-author, we transformed it into a play.

Groucho, Chico, Harpo, or Zeppo?

Who are your heroes?
Neurologist and author, Dr. Oliver Sacks (“Awakenings” and many other fine books); the women from the Alzheimer’s Association NYC Chapter caretakers support group; punk band Pussy Riot; the 911 first responders.