Life Matters Media
Quality of life at the end of life

Chicago Theatre By Seniors: New Production Explores End Of Life Decisions

Time

Time of Your Life Players performing on CAN TV 

“Bud’s Café Redux,” an original production from Chicago-based Time of Your Life Players, explores the importance of end of life planning through situational comedy and song.

The light-hearted production focuses on Bud, a broke café owner, who receives a troubling phone call from his attorney. He learns his beloved family-owned business is sitting on rented property leased by his late father; he must buy the building or lose everything.

Bud and his still-healthy elderly mother devise an outrageous plan: fake her death so Bud will have immediate access to his substantial inheritance and keep the café.

“This show is about faking a death and the repercussions, and that leads right into end of life and planning for it. You really never know when someone will die,” said Avrum Krause, a director and actor with TOYLP. “You never know what will happen, just like how Bud learns his café was never his.”

TOYLP, a nonprofit founded in 2004, is Chicago’s only theatre company composed entirely of seniors. Most actors and musicians are 60 or older.

“Our mission is to entertain and educate from a senior perspective,” he added. “The subtext of every play we’ve done is the idea that age is no barrier and that seniors can live their life to the fullest.”

The importance of end of life preparation

Health care ethicist Darren Henson said he believes “Bud’s Café Redux” offers a “creative and light-hearted way” to initiate discussion about advance care planning and death.

“Most people do not think about what they want to do when medical technologies and aggressive interventions fail, and among those who have, fewer have documented their preferences or shared them with loved ones,” Henson said. “When preferences for medical interventions are unknown, medical professionals nearly always presume a duty to deploy aggressive and invasive therapies.”

An advance health care directive may take the form of a living will, power of attorney or the Five Wishes collection. The overall purpose of such forms is to ensure one’s end of life wishes are carried through in case of illness or incapacity.

“Advance directives give both the health care practitioners and surrogate decision-makers a certain confidence, if not peace of mind, when making treatment decisions for patients who are unable to make decisions for themselves,” he added.

Life Matters Media will be joined by Henson and members of the Chicago End-of-Life Care Coalition after each performance for a post-show presentation on the many facets of end of life planning. LMM Co-Founders Randi Belisomo and Dr. Mary F. Mulcahy will answer audience questions and provide them with tools to document their own end of life care wishes.

“This is such an exciting partnership for Life Matters Media,” said Belisomo. “It’s a chance for us to connect with new audiences- theater goers- in a relaxed setting of community theater. There are so many instances that can springboard into these dialogues, and “Bud’s Cafe Redux” offers an entertaining forum for what we hope will lead to educational, enriching conversation this fall.”

Tickets and showtimes are available here