Memory Loss  –  Learning the lines or improvisation, or neither?

by Joan Calder, retired/volunteer work, Frome, UK 

It is a known fact among actors that there are moments on stage when you cannot remember how you arrived at the point you have reached, but more terrifyingly, you just cannot remember your lines. The mind goes blank and panic sets in. This can happen more frequently as they age until some have to give up their profession entirely. It is not only actors who suffer this in older life, all those who develop some form of dementia follow the same pattern.

Often in life we hear people confessing they find themselves somewhere and have no idea how they arrived there, or they can’t remember names, or what they were going to do next. Perhaps not so surprising, if as per Shakespeare, “All the world’s a stage” and we are all transient actors entering and leaving.

Recently there was a research project with a group of older actors which came out with some surprising results. The research team followed a group of older actors as they took part in a course of improvisation classes at the National Theatre. Many actors who have been used to learning their lines and having to remember them find it difficult to improvise, the same with musicians, especially those older actors who were trained in the old way of learning lines by rote or memory and did not experience the newer style theatre training with lots of free form improvisation.

Continue reading “Memory Loss  –  Learning the lines or improvisation, or neither?”

Cancer and the three amigos!

by Rosie Bason, Australia. 

Let me introduce you to Susan, Nick and Ingrid, three dear friends of mine who are all friends and have a few things in common. Nick is my Dad, so he really is family, and Susan and Ingrid are family too but we are not related by blood in any way, but the love is there all the same. We often get together and have shared meals and support each other in whatever way we can.

Have a look at these three elders who are all around the same age and what do you see? To me, when I see them, I see the wisdom of their life, I see the glow in them, like something is radiating out of them and I see a joy that is infectious. Continue reading “Cancer and the three amigos!”