Thomas Jefferson University

Tangles in Time


Tangles in Time is an original Theater of Witness production created and performed by people living with dementia, care partners and health professionals.

Based on the performers’ own true stories of love, loss, illness and caring, the project weaves together live performance with original music, film and visual imagery. Tangles in Time invites all people to connect and build empathy—even through changes in memory and time.

For more information about the full project, go to


Tangles in Time is the culmination of Building Empathy Through the Arts, a two-year collaborative project between Jefferson, ARTZ Philadelphia and Theater of Witness. Support for Building Empathy Through the Arts has been provided to Thomas Jefferson University by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.


Friday, September 13, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 14, 2 p.m.
Saturday, September 14, 7:30 p.m.

Location: Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, 23 South 38th Street

Buy Tickets Here

General admission: $10
Free for Jefferson students, faculty and staff (select “Jefferson” ticket type and use campus key to register).

About Theater of Witness

Theater of Witness is a form of testimonial performance performed by people sharing their personal and collective stories of suffering, transformation and peace. Developed more than thirty years ago by artistic director Teya Sepinuck, the work brings people together across divides of difference to bear witness to each other’s life experiences. Performers who have survived trauma, marginalization, oppression and the complexity of the human experience address some of society’s most challenging issues from a multiplicity of perspectives. Performances weave together the performers’ stories with music, video and visual imagery into dynamic theater that humanizes “the other” and cultivates compassion and empathy. Theater of Witness is a project of CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia.


John Best
Brienne Bush
Salena Cui
Bill Dougherty
Nora Dougherty
Kailyn Kim
Sunny Lai
Kimberly Mellon
Mary Anne Szkaradnik
Mike Szkaradnik
Michael J. Williams


Photos by Raymond Holman, Jr.

Tangles in Time Related Events


Moment to Moment Film Screening
Friday, September 6, 12-1 p.m., BLSB 101

Free and open to the public. RSVP appreciated but not required.

Documentary short film Moment to Moment centers around a married couple—Carl, a scientist, and Susan, an artist—as they confront a life-changing disease. When Carl was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, he began dismantling electronics in search of the copper inside. What begins as a perhaps questionable behavior evolves into a shared artistic collaboration, as his wife Susan turns the copper into art. Moment to Moment follows Carl and Susan's creative journey. Following the 15-minute film, there will be a panel discussion with the filmmakers: director Mike Attie, assistant professor and program director of the University of the Arts Film + Video department, and producer Teya Sepinuck, founder of Theater of Witness.


Tangles in Time Panel Discussion
Monday, September 16, 12-1 p.m., Eakins Lounge 

Free and open to the public. RSVP is appreciated but not required.

Learn more from project participants about the making of Tangles in Time and discuss the benefits of creative engagement for people living with dementia. 


  • John Best, MD, Resident Physician, Penn Neurology
  • Sunny Lai, MD, MPH, Family & Community Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Alison Lynn, MSW, LCSW, Associate Director of Social Work, The Penn Memory Center
  • Charles Pohl, MD, Vice Provost for Student Affairs, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Brooke Salzman, MD, Associate Professor and Geriatric Fellowship Program Director, Family & Community Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Teya Sepinuck, Founder and Artistic Director, Theater of Witness.

Photo by The Kenneth A. Smaltz, Sr. Foundation

Photo by The Kenneth A. Smaltz, Sr. Foundation

In Our Right Mind: Alzheimer's and Other Dementias' Impact in Communities of Color
Tuesday, September 24, 12-1 p.m., BLSB 101

Free and open to the public. RSVP appreciated but not required.

"In Our Right Mind"—a documentary by filmmaker and journalist Renée Chenault-Fattah—explores how Alzheimer’s and dementia affect communities of color. Worldwide, 47 million people have either Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia, and more than 100 million others are caregivers. However, if you are African American, Hispanic or Native American, you are twice as likely to be affected. "In Our Right Mind" reveals this untold story by interviewing individuals living with dementia as well as those working to find a cure. 

A discussion with the filmmaker follows a screening of film excerpts.

About Renée Chenault-Fattah:

Renée Chenault-Fattah honed her skills as a storyteller by serving as a television journalist for three decades. Now, her passion is to use this experience to pursue the stories that cry out for telling: health care and health disparities, racial and economic injustice, education of our children, and women's empowerment.


Jefferson Humanities Forum: Tia Powell
Wednesday, October 2, 12-1 p.m., Foerderer Auditorium

Free and open to the public. RSVP appreciated but not required.

Tia Powell, MD, joins the Jefferson Humanities Forum to discuss her new book, Dementia Reimagined: Building a Life of Joy and Dignity from Beginning to End. Dr. Powell is the Director of the Montefiore Einstein Center for Bioethics and Professor of Epidemiology and Psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. She is a leading voice in bioethics education, end of life care and public policy. Dr. Powell applies her personal, clinical and academic experience to Dementia Reimagined, exploring the untold history of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Combining medicine and memoir, she helps us to understand how—by valuing care as much as cure—we can keep life with dementia meaningful and joyful.