Aphasia Documentary Premieres in Boston
premiere of After Words, a
film on aphasia by Emmy Award-winning director Vincent Straggas, will debut at
the Wang Center for Performing Arts, in Boston, MA, on June 1. The premiere
culminates a year-long project for Straggas, who filmed people with aphasia in
an initiative to raise awareness of the communication disorder that affects
more than 1 million Americans.
filmed members of the Aphasia Community
Group, which meets at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. Speech-language pathologist Jerome Kaplan founded
the group in 1990, with the mission to provide support, education and advocacy
for people affected by aphasia and to raise public awareness through the
performing and fine arts.
The Stroke and Neurology Program at Spaulding treats
more than 400 stroke survivors yearly. Many of these individuals have aphasia.
Specialty resources of the program include a Young Adult Stroke Program,
adaptive sports and recreation activities, and comprehensive outpatient
Words also features Academy
Award-winning actress Patricia Neal, Tony Award-winning actress Julie Harris,
renowned mezzo-soprano Jan Curtis, and Joseph Chaikin, founder of the Open
Theatre in the 1960s and author of The Presence of the Actor. All have battled aphasia following stroke and
served as advocates for stroke rehabilitation.
a stroke is hell on earth," said Neal, who was nominated for a Best
Actress Oscar for The Subject was Roses, the first film she did following a series of strokes in 1965.
"You expect life to go superbly when all of a suddenÑcrash!Ñyou have
nothing. You are robbed of so many of the normal functions in your life that
you previously enjoyed: your vision, hearing, mobility, mental clarity, and
basic ability to communicate. The most important part of having a stroke is the
rehabilitation process which follows. Recovery takes an enormous amount of
work, and spreading awareness about this process is vital."
as chairs of the premiere are Josiah Spaulding, Jr., president and CEO of the
Wang Center, and his wife, Joyce Spaulding. They will deliver opening remarks
at the event. In addition, Curtis will sing, and the Aphasia Community Group
will perform Other Voices of Aphasia, an original work by Judy Blatt, a founding member of the group.
For more information:
Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, (617) 573-2920