The first patient with dementia I remember meeting on clinical rotations was a charming and witty woman whose kinetic speech was a symptom of, and cover for, profound cognitive deficits. I met someone very much like her again as the curtain rose on The Waverly Gallery, a Pulitzer Prize–nominated Kenneth Lonergan play currently in revival on Broadway. “I never knew anything was the matter,” says Gladys Green, age 85, in the first of many words that will spill out of her over 2 acts. The playwright’s instructions characterize Gladys as an “immensely charming and absolutely relentless talker” who “lives for company and conversation” and “demands the full attention of her interlocutors with a cheerful and unremitting zeal that can be very wearing after a few minutes.” The opening dialogue suggests Gladys’ miscues and fumbles are a result of age-related hearing impairment, but I was fairly certain she was already symptomatic like the patient I encountered years ago. She is witty and charming, and we spend the rest of the play watching her lose her housekeys and her mind.
Identify all potential conflicts of interest that might be relevant to your comment.
Conflicts of interest comprise financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including but not limited to employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speaker's bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued.
Err on the side of full disclosure.
If you have no conflicts of interest, check "No potential conflicts of interest" in the box below. The information will be posted with your response.
Not all submitted comments are published. Please see our commenting policy for details.
Berkwits M. The Waverly Gallery—Dementia on Broadway. JAMA. Published online January 10, 2019321(6):530–531. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.22035
Browse and subscribe to JAMA Network podcasts!
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: