The Lady Upstairs

In The Crown

The Lady Upstairs, written by Eric Traynor and based on a true story, takes place in one day.  It evolves from and revolves around the lives of four characters: Sara and Mike, both 57 and Sara’s parents, Orlo and Lucile, both in their mid-80s. Mike and Sara take care of Orlo as he struggles with Alzheimer’s disease and Lucile, who has a variety of physical ailments.  Sara and Mike have just completed their dream home on the Tennessee River near Chattanooga, TN. The basement, now the home of Orlo and Lucile, was converted to look and feel like their old home of 50+ years in Ohio.

The title is simple. Orlo can no longer remember Sara’s name, or even grasp that she is his daughter. So, instead of Sara, she is “the lady upstairs.”  He does know that he is very fond of that lady. Orlo likes Mike a lot too because, among many other things, he drives them to good places to eat.  Mike is the primary source of laughter in all of their lives (and in the play).  Orlo calls Mike “dad.”

The two-act play with multiple scenes poignantly depicts how simple things in life — getting a haircut, weeding the garden, eating at a restaurant — are no longer so simple. There are struggles and tears, and also quite a bit of laughter.  The play is also a love story, between a father and a daughter, and between a husband and a wife, helping parents who had helped them so much earlier in their young marriage.

All of the scenes in the play are based upon the journal entries of Sara Traynor, which she willingly gave to her son, Eric Traynor, the playwright. It is an honest examination of what millions of people are dealing with every day.

A recent reader of the play, Gail Frank, Health Care Specialist, wrote:
     “I’ve just finished reading a bold, genuine play that allows one a welcome invitation into the private lives of a family dealing with something that only their love for each other can guide them through. To gain the perspective of both a caregiver and sufferer leaves me overwhelmed with the privilege of a new understanding.
      I must stress the ease in how the writing enabled me to visualize these endearing characters. Before I realized it, I was seeing this on the stage as I read each line. The music is profound and appropriate. I believe each piece is perfectly placed and does much to communicate.
     The precious moments where humor graciously relieved the lump in my throat gave me an understanding of the role humor plays, as your mother wrote, in the sanity of a caregiver. You have made it clear to see how disturbing, frustrating and confusing it is when moments of clarity sneak in and force acknowledgment of reality.”

Tickets are $15, general admission.
A $1 theatre facility fee and applicable NC sales tax will be added to the price of each ticket.

Box Office proceeds to be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Please note: There is an additional $3.50 per ticket service fee on web purchases. To avoid those charges, call the Carolina Theatre Box Office at 336-333-2605 Monday through Friday from noon until 5PM, or visit us in person.

Guests can opt to have tickets mailed to them for a $1 post fee, or can pick tickets up at will call for no additional charge.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***

A special performance on Sunday, January 27 at 2pm is available for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. If you are interested in attending this special performance, please contact Eric Traynor at 336-840-6210. Please leave a detailed message and he will get back with you regarding availability.