Winter Review – Death Before Disgrace

Winter is the beautifully written story inspired by Roebeck, In Ending Life: Ethics In The Way We Die by Margaret Pabst Battin. This is the tale of a woman named Annis; a former poet and professor who is struggling to cope with her deteriorating memory caused by an onset of dementia. She has a preconceived notion that as her illness progresses, she'll become violent and will have to be put away.

Years earlier, Annis (Barbara E. Robertson) and Roebeck (Dan Flannery) made a vow that if either of them reached a point in their lives where their health began to decline, they would exit the world together. As far as Annis is concerned, that time is now. She's reached the point where she’s ready to end her life while she has most of her faculties, but her husband is not. Annis is tired of waiting because she feels that she’s on the verge of losing herself completely. She wants to end it before she becomes a burden to her family, so she has made up in her mind to take matters into her own hands.

When their sons Roddy (Sean Cooper) and Evan (Steve Haggard) visit for the holidays, it's evident that they both have different views regarding their parent’s situation. Their older son Evan is only concerned with what he tends to gain, whereas his brother Roddy feels Annis and Roebeck have the right to live their lives however they choose fit. When Annis learns of Evan's intentions, she decides to expedite her plans. When her free-spirited granddaughter LD (Martasia Jones) arrives, Annis decides to ask for her assistance.

Winter takes you on an emotional journey which gives you a glimpse into the life of a woman who's determined to live her life on her own terms. Just when the tone began to become overwhelming, the writer cleverly placed the comedic moments to lighten the mood. This production will hit home for those who have family members suffering from this debilitating disease. I believe it will give them a different perspective as to what their loved ones may be going through. I highly recommend this production. For tickets to the production of Winter, visit the Rivendell Theatre Ensemble website: or call (773)334-7728

Photos by Michael Brosilow


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