A few days ago, I was questioning why I do my work. On the same day, I received a letter from Carolyn Roshak. It answered my question.
Carolyn called us a year ago and we’ve been chatting ever since. She was a soldier, teacher, and speaker. When she was 58, she discovered acting and began a new life, finally developing her solo show, Three Women.
When Carolyn moved into Liberty Square Retirement Community, she discovered that they had no theatre program. Always an innovator, Carolyn approached Lifestyle Coordinator, Debbie Mauel, to see if she could create one. Before long, a playreading group began. Now, a year later, Carolyn “has a good following,” says Debbie.
The effort has not been without its challenges. At 91, Carolyn lives in constant pain as a result of several injuries and survives on the smallest of income. Her only trips out of the building are to the doctor’s office and to the copy store to prepare her scripts. She even pays a driver to take her to the copy store! She says, “The Playreading Group is my salvation! I scrape together the money because it lifts my spirits and makes me happy.” Carolyn says, “Theatre is the highlight of my life!”
Executive Director, Connie Knapp, sees how residents enjoy each other and communicate better when they are active and engaged with culture. She says, “Carolyn is a joy to have here!”
So thank you Carolyn for reminding me why I do my work. I help older adults fulfill their theatrical dreams because of people like Carolyn.
Bonnie L. Vorenberg
ArtAge Senior Theatre Resource Center, President
Speak, present, perform in Washington D.C.
Senior Theatre is coming to Washington D.C. next summer and we’d like to feature you! We’re looking for presenters and performers for ATHE’s Senior Theatre sessions at the 2012 conference from August 2-5, 2012.
Deadline: October 14, 2011
If you’d like to present a panel presentation, workshop, paper, or if you’d like to perform please submit your proposal. We’d like to explore topics like:
Using theatre to advocate for senior issues and needs
Using life stories for legacy and education
Street theatre for and with seniors
Senior Theatre in retirement housing
Senior Theatre for health and wellness
Funding Senior Theatre
New ideas in Senior Theatre
Performances by Senior Theatre companies.
These are suggested topics, but we welcome your ideas. Share the Senior Theatre passion! Deadline: October 14, 2011.
Halloween Plays. You still have time to pull together a Halloween play. Consider one of our wonderful, short Halloween scripts. Try the plays in Skits for Seniors: Holiday Plays. You’ll also find several plays for mystery and suspense in Readers Theatre Anthology–including The Tell Tale Heart, The Gunman, and more. They’re already in readers theatre format, shortened, and ready for your readers. One of our new shows is great for Halloween. Try A Profusion of Roses,a mysterious show about two sisters…or is it about a mother and daughter? The play will have your audience guessing until the final line!
Holiday Plays. Our collection of holiday plays are total winners. We have many different lengths, from easy to more difficult. Some of the most popular ones include Frank’s 75th Christmas which was performed eleven times in Arizona last year. Take a look at The Christmas Coffee for a short, easy show. The Merry Christmas Caper is a longer play that works well either staged or as a play reading. Scrooge with a Twist combines Christmas carols with a well-known story in a short show that flows quickly and easily.
There are many other holiday plays, so if you need help making selections, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Tip of the Month: Use Smilebox
Our tip of the month comes from Bill Frankeberger who uses Smilebox for slide shows both in production and for cast photos.
When Bill staged Reunion at Mt. Sanguine, he wanted to introduce the audience to the high school and set the mood. He created a slide show with photos from the time and music that took the audience back to high school days. He played the slide show at the beginning of the production. Immediately, the audience was with them!
After the shows were over, Bill used Smilebox to distribute his cast photos, including both on-stage and back-stage shots adding music in the background. It’s easy to see that Bill and his company created an excellent production that pleased both audiences and actors.
Take a look at both of his Smilebox shows. Sit back and think about all the ways you can use Smilebox!
Last month’s column about Transformations, prompted many wonderful responses. A special story came from Rodney Nall, who leads the South Iredell Senior Readers Theatre. The company tours shows into the community. After each one he welcomes audience members to join the company. The day after their performance at the local Lutheran Church, into rehearsal walked Marion Bricker, a very shy, quiet, and meek senior who had little to say. When she did speak, it was in a very soft voice. Rodney worried, “What am I going to do with HER?”
Soon, Rodney discovered that all Marion needs is a script. “With play in hand, she transforms. Marion becomes the character in voice, action, and costume. On the stage, in front of any group, Marion is fearless!” She now plays the lead in most of their productions, takes direction like a gem, learns her lines, and is very dependable.
Marion has blossomed…she has transformed into an actress!
Send us your stories of transformation. We’ll share them!