We act all through life to portray a ‘normal’ self that balances the chaos within with the demands of the world around us. When we get older sometimes this chaos is even more difficult to tame since we are subject to physical and mental changes. Slipping into the role of somebody else and taking up acting as a professional endeavor has many benefits. It allows us to take on somebody else’s voice and by doing so encourages us to step outside ourselves, it might allow us to explore other sides of our personality or get in touch with dreams we had when we were growing up. All this seems a luxury during an active working life but becomes an opportunity when we have time in our later years. In addition, studying a part keeps the mind nimble and being part of a troupe fosters community, social connection and engagement.
StageBridge a senior theatre company in the Bay Area founded in 1978 by Stuart Kandell offers this opportunity. Josiah Polhemus, an actor himself and its artistic director recently discussed with us his philosophy and future plans for this theatre company. He talked about his own learning process in working with older adults where recognizing the person beyond a physical weaknesses becomes key. Even though somebody might not hear or see well they are a valuable member of a troupe if they can act. Professional expectations and training are at the core of StageBridge and are not ‘watered’ down for seniors.
Similar to parents being their kids’ audience, this is a chance for kids to see their parents and grandparents in a different light. Here is to a chance to “act out” at whatever age you are!