LAYTON—It’s no fun to get old, but a series of plays written and performed by seniors are meant to make the audience smile at the process.
The Davis Arts Council, in partnership with Walk-Ons, Inc., a group of theater professionals, has come together to create Senior Stages: The Art of Aging.
“It’s a new program,” said Teri Cowan director of Development, Community Outreach and Education for the Davis Arts Council. “We’re trying to reach out to the senior citizen population. We found that generation loved live theater but now they either don’t want to go out at night or they don’t have the income to see plays.”
The program consists of three short plays meant to be entertaining but also to promote discussion of issues the senior population faces.
“They are wonderful, funny and touching plays,” said Cowan. “They don’t talk down to seniors and they’re not condescending. One woman who saw the plays had been married for 50 years before she lost her husband 20 years ago. She said the plays were a wonderful reminder of what they had gone through together.”
Playwright Elaine Jarvik, who wrote all three plays, has written several successful plays and wrote for the Deseret News for many years. Robert Benjamin co-wrote two of the plays with Jarvik, “Stuck” and “Together at Last.” He is a retired physicist and playwright who has also written and produced senior theater in New Mexico. Justin Ivie, producing director of Walk-Ons, Inc., directs the plays. He has directed and acted in numerous plays throughout Utah.
The three short plays are: “Dead Right,” that follows a couple as they read a friend’s grammatically incorrect obituary at the breakfast table. It’s a touching comedy about how everyone hopes to be remembered after they’re gone; “Stuck” is a humorous look at Linda and Bert who meet through an online dating service but find themselves stuck at the top of a rollercoaster on their first date; Ed and Patsy are newlyweds who visit Ed’s first wife’s gravesite in “Together at Last.”
Jayne Luke, one of the actors, has been on stage for more than 40 years. “She has been an actor forever and she had gotten to a place where she wanted to do something different,” said Cowan. “Elaine had written ‘Dead Right’ and Jayne performed in it. We thought it was wonderful so I contacted her (Elaine). She got the actors together and I worked on our end. I just reached out and everyone was excited about doing it and bringing it out here.”
Cowan also talked to Davis Hospital and Medical Center who loved the idea and became a sponsor, she said. The hospital runs the award-winning Senior Advantage program for adults 50 and over. Because of the generous sponsorship, Senior Stages is free for the senior centers.
“We are really proud,” said Cowan. “We hope to continue with this every year. We’re currently taking it to assisted living and senior centers three days a week through Nov. 6.”
Senior Stages: The Art of Aging will be presented the following dates and locations throughout the county:
Oct. 22 at 11:30 a.m. – Autumn Glow Senior Center, Kaysville and 2 p.m. at Life Care Center in Bountiful.
Oct. 23 at 11 a.m. – Apple Village Assisted Living, Layton
Oct. 29 at 1:30 p.m. – Country Pines Retirement Community, Clinton
Oct. 30 at 1:30 p.m. – Chancellor Gardens, Clearfield
Nov. 2 at 11 a.m. – Davis Hospital & Medical Center, Layton
Nov. 3 at 1:30 p.m. – Heritage Place Assisted Living, Bountiful
Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. – Legacy House of Bountiful, Bountiful
Nov. 6 at 11 a.m. – Pheasant View Assisted Living, Layton
“It’s so fun to watch the actors and audience,” Cowan said. “It’s obvious they can relate. The whole program takes about 45 minutes. It is a wonderful outreach for an audience who doesn’t get the opportunity to see plays.”