BWW Blog: Play at Any Age by Mary Parker
Some people think that being a senior citizen means that all of life's important experiences are behind you - opportunities are at an end. I used to be one of them. Honest Accomplice Theater never did think that way.
It is the mission of Honest Accomplice Theater to change useless, antiquated points of view through theater experiences. This company facilitates change, not only in their audiences, but also in their actors.
When I joined the ensemble for "The Birds and the Bees: Unabridged" I had no acting experience. I had never written anything for anyone but myself. I had been through some large and unhappy changes in my life, and yet I could not see my life ever changing for the better again. I had a hard time believing anyone would want me to participate in a show, but I felt at home immediately.
The devising process is like play. Directors Rachel and Maggie lead the group through games, improvisations, and quick-writes. Because it's fun, it's easy to forget to be shy, or to hold back ideas. The words, actions and scenes that come out of the process are often funny or touching. They are sometimes surprising. In such a diverse group it is lovely to realize how much we all have in common. When negative feelings of frustration, oppression, or inequity are brought out they drive us even more to be truthful and share, in the hope of letting the audience walk a mile in our shoes.
Eventually Maggie and Rachel built an evolving script, and we started rehearsing. It was thrilling to have some of my words used in the final show. It was even more thrilling to act on stage in front of an audience. All of it was better because we did it together as a group. Besides the experiences of writing and acting for others, I learned so much from getting to know our diverse cast. Nobody ever told me to let go of my limited point of view. Because they shared their lives with me they opened up new vistas, and because we grew close I embraced them. I changed.
Now I see the world as being full of possibilities. I am taking acting lessons, and applying to a graduate school program for creative writing. I am participating in the new Honest Accomplice production about the body called "ReConfigured." By sharing my experiences, I am hoping to bring a greater appreciation and recognition of the experiences of older women to the ensemble and the audience. I'm forever grateful to Honest Accomplice for letting me try, I hope to see you there.