Over the hill, onto the stage: seniors' theatre group performs 3 plays on aging
'I think we have to accept the reality of aging,' says theatre group founder
A group of Winnipeg seniors are taking the stage this weekend as part of an ongoing effort to carve out space for older people in the city's theatre scene.
Rick Caslake founded the Geri\the/atrics, a 55-plus theatre company to address a gap he noticed when he started taking acting lessons.
"I found out that there weren't any theatre companies specifically dedicated to senior actors performing plays about seniors' issues, the things that we face everyday," Caslake said.
"So if there isn't one out there, you start one, and that's what I did."
Caslake said he seeks out scripts that he thinks will speak to the audience and challenge the actors.
"I think we have to accept the reality of aging, and when we get a chance to see ourselves on stage, someone else being us, it gives us permission to respond," he said. "Sometimes we hold back our feelings."
For its latest run, the group is performing three plays focusing on age and aging.
Sophie and the Weiner Man is a play about an elderly woman in a care home in Winnipeg's North End and written by local playwright Carolyn Gray, while The Dance, by Tyler White, focuses on the relationship between an aging woman and her daughter.
The final selection is Janitor, written by Nova Scotia playwright Pam Calabrese MacLean. The group performed the play for its world premiere on Friday.
It explores the relationship between the aging, bereaved Florence (Cheryl Soluk) and the younger Ulysses (Andres Collantes), and what they both need from each other.
"I continue to respond emotionally and physically, and we've rehearsed [Janitor] a hundred times, and it still gets to me every time," said Caslake.
You can catch all three of the plays at the Lion's Place Theatre on Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15.
With files from Terry MacLeod