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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 31, 2005

Irish Playwright Finn Returns With Theatrical Portrait of Alzheimer's

Irish playwright and former University of Iowa writer-in-residence Mike Finn will facilitate a series of staged readings of his play "The Quiet Moment" Nov. 10-13 with the assistance of Iowa City's Riverside Theatre. 

The UI College of Nursing was instrumental in bringing the presentation to Iowa City in conjunction with its Adult and Gerontology Long-Term Care Conference, during which an abridged presentation of "The Quiet Moment" also will be featured.

Public performances of "The Quiet Moment" are scheduled for 8 p.m. Nov. 11 and 12, and 2 p.m. Nov. 13, at Riverside Theatre in Iowa City. Tickets are $15 (student rush tickets are $12) and can be purchased by telephone at 319-338-7672. Box office hours are noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

"The Quiet Moment" is a funny and touching play about the effects of Alzheimer's disease, not only on the individual but the entire family.

Protagonist Peter Conway is a purveyor of computer memory in Silicon Valley. On a rare visit home to Ireland, Peter discovers that the forgetfulness of his aging father, Eddie, is worse than he had thought. Without a future, and unable to find each other in the present, they plumb their shared memories, looking for that elusive point of contact that will confirm them once again as father and son. This is a moving portrait of a family facing its biggest challenge and an old man slipping further and further into the fog.

Written partly while Finn was a UI International Programs writer-in-residence in 2001, "The Quiet Moment" premiered in Limerick, Ireland, in November 2002 and toured Ireland in 2003. The play was touted by the Irish Examiner as a "stunning tour de force which presents this twilight world in a blindingly new light."

"'The Quiet Moment' is a play about Alzheimer's disease and a typical family's response to giving care," said Geri Hall, Ph.D., clinical professor in the UI College of Nursing Adult and Gerontology Area of Study. "In the world of Alzheimer's disease care, we often speak of those who understand as those who 'get it.' With his play, Mike Finn clearly 'got it,' and shares it in a warm and generous manner."

An invited audience of health care professionals will be treated to a performance of the play at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10 at Riverside Theatre, with an introduction by William H. Thomas, M.D., an international authority on geriatric medicine and elder care. Thomas also will deliver the keynote address at the Nov. 11 Long-Term Care Conference, presented by the UI College of Nursing.

Thomas is dedicated to promoting and developing constructive, holistic approaches to aging and the care of elders. He is president of the Eden Alternative, a research, consulting and advocacy group committed to improving the care received by people who live in institutions everywhere.

These events are in keeping with UI President David Skorton's declaration of academic year 2005-2006 as the Year of Public Engagement and are made possible through the generosity of Woodrow W. and Mary Anders Morris, longtime supporters of the UI College of Nursing.

Additional support was received from: the Administration on Aging (AoA) Alzheimer's Demonstration Grant; Alma Miller Ware Nursing Endowment Fund; Iowa City Hospice; Mercy of Iowa City; Oaknoll Retirement Residence; the John A. Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence; Adult and Gerontological Nursing Area of Study at the UI College of Nursing; Gerontological Nursing Interventions Research Center; Hills Bank and Trust Company; Iowa State Bank and Trust; Lensing Funeral and Cremation Service; the UI Center on Aging; the UI International Writing Program; the UI School of Social Work; and West Music. 

NOTE TO EDITORS: Mike Finn is available for interviews by telephone (in England) at +44 (0) 1 992853008 or +44 (0) 79 31777173 or by e-mail at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Nursing, 101 Nursing Building, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

MEDIA CONTACT: Michele Francis, 319-335-8960,