The West Looks to the East in Pat Kinevane’s “FORGOTTEN”

The West Looks to the East to Gain Respectability for Elders

The Irish Arts Center in New York City, recently finished their limited engagement of Pat Kinevane’s one man show, “Forgotten”. This play is an eye opening look into what elderly people face in their twilight years.  Kinevane wanders to the stage, wearing black-red kimono and only a pair of ripped pants beneath. We get a glimpse into the lives for the four characters, who reside in various nursing homes.

  • Flor – a randy, but bitter old man
  • Gustus – a victim of a stroke, who has a strained relationship with his daughter
  • Dora – a proper socialite
  • Eucharia – a former maid who loves getting make-overs at Arnotts Department Store

Kinevane weaves between each character’s personalities from Flor’s gruffness, to Dora’s prim ‘n’ proper gossip, right down to Eucharia’s make up tips. Rather than just performing for an audience, Kinevane “participates” with the audience by sitting next to an audience member and addressing them by their name, while he is “in-character”.  The most unusual, yet heartbreaking portrayal was the character of Gustus. Kinevane sits in a chair, with his back towards the audience. A face mask is put on backwards on his head. The dialog was spoken through from a voice over. Kinevane provided the odd movements and gestures which are familiar with stroke victims. Gustus recalls his strained relationship with his daughter, always wondering why she never bothered to visit him. It was revealed when Gustus discovered his daughter was pre-occupied with a less than desirable profession that kept her from visiting.

While the dialog is steeped in traditional Irish storytelling, Kinevane weaves between characters with graceful movements adapted from Japanese Kabuki Theater. He used this Asian theater genre to give the elderly people not only a voice, but the grace and dignity they deserve.

It should be noted Kinevane and the Irish Arts Center hosted a panel discussion with health and elder care professionals on opening night in February.

Here is Kinevane explaining his use of Kabuki and what he hopes the viewer can understand from watching , “Forgotten”.

* My sincerest thanks to The Irish Arts Center, Chris Cullen, Karen Greco and most of all, Pat Kinevane, for making this interview possible.

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