This character is played by Dr Daniel Nightingale, who has brought all his theatrical skills as an actor and comedian to this role and combined them with his clinical experience and knowledge to create this powerful character.
The whole experience is a mix of serious messages, humor and upskilling the team to use empathy that is sitting at their unconscious mind.
It’s a powerful, interactive experience featuring Dennis, a 54 year old man with rapidly progressing type of Dementia.
Part monologue and part interactive with the audience, Dennis draws from learners their natural ability to empathize with his journey.
Prior to being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Dennis was a college professor – his subject was business administration and management.
He is married to Anna, an RN and has twin boys aged 16 who are hoping to go to medical school.
The experience is based on his fears and anxieties about many issues, and challenges audience members/learners to use emotional and cognitive empathy to interact with Dennis with the aim of alleviating his negative state.
Emotional empathy is also referred to as affective or primitive empathy and is the subjective state resulting from emotional contagion. It is our autonomic drive to respond appropriately to another’s emotions. It happens at an unconscious level and, like body language, it is something to be tuned in to.
A Day in the Life of ….. is not about tragedy, sadness or the need for sympathy. It is the exact opposite. Whilst conveying serious messages, the character and personality of Dennis seeps through. His intelligence, wit and inner strength can be reached by the audience/learners through displaying these automatic, unconscious skills.