Arts & Entertainment

‘Activities of Daily Living’ Premieres at Sierra Madre Playhouse

Joanna Lipari’s play shows us that age is nothing but a number. Photo by Fran Syverson / Beacon Media News

By Fran Syverson

It’s one thing to become old; it’s quite another to become invisible. And that’s just how Joanna Lipari felt. Not when she received her Medicare card—she was grateful to have it. But when she began reading a booklet on the “Activities of Daily Living,” she realized that society—the people around her—thought she would fade into a kind of oblivion.

“Not me!” Lipari decides. And she spends the next hour showing us that the “me” in her is still the same “me” it always was.

With the clever use of original animation projected behind her, Joanna begins describing the full life she has lived. The “me” she was. In 16 semi-autobiographical sketches, she tells of her rebelliousness in a Catholic school, and as a protest marcher. Of The Elf Factory.  Of loves and marriage and divorce. Of vast space, and of her car lost in a parking garage. (Who hasn’t had this happen?) Of The Black Umbrella….

“Activities of Daily Living” is an assessment tool that professionals use to gauge older peoples’ ability to manage their daily lives. Obviously, Lipari feels she can carry on her daily activities perfectly well on her own. She resents being seemingly cast aside like an outgrown child’s toy now that she is old.

At times hilarious, at times waxing a bit philosophical as she reminisces, Lipari takes us on a fast-paced trip we can all enjoy. She asks, “Who am I?” And answers, “I am me!”

Lipari is the writer-performer who is far from invisible as she entertains us with her vignettes. Nor has she been invisible in her past life, having played in General Hospital, films, and television, including a recurring role of The Director in NBC’s Persons Unknown. Now she is happy to share her West Coast premiere with us.

Beth Dunnington directs “Activities of Daily Living,” which had its world premiere in Hawaii where Dunnington is based. Anna Bron is animation director for the backdrop scenes so integral to this play.

The final curtain for “Activities” at the Sierra Made Playhouse is Feb. 23. Matinees are Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 15, 16, 22, and 23. Evenings are Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. on the 15th and 22nd.

For reservations or more information, please phone (626) 355 – 4318. Or visit the website at for online ticketing. Admission is $25 general; $20 seniors (65 and older), and $15 for youth (21 and younger). The Sierra Madre Playhouse is at 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre restaurants and free parking are nearby.

February 14, 2020

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