GeriActors and Friends – Artifacts Exercise.

Editor’s note: The GeriActors are back in rehearsal creating material for our Christmas performance in December. Here is a blog post by Bill Yong.

     I had always been curious to see the treasure box excerise. Much of the GeriActors and Friend’s early stories were prompted by an artifact. This Thursday, with new members of the GeriActors, we had an opportunity to do this activity.
Table full of artifacts
     It started with members bringing in artifacts that evoke memories for them. People brought barbies, a beer stein, old dolls, toys, photographs, a handwritten notebook and placed it on a table.
     After being given the prompt to let the object evoke a story rather than trying to find one after picking an object, the group began their journey of discovering their item. Some would spot one and immediately know it was the one, some would sift through several, feeling the texture, playing with the artifact before moving on or making a decision.
     Certain people found inspiration in one artifact and formed a group, while others found their own unique artifact and formed another.
It was electrifying witnessing how a certain item or story would evoke another story:
     A friend shared how she got the nickname “Thief” from sneaking things in her pocket as a child.
     A GeriActor shared a story traveling in Missouri on a train during the Second World War and watching the black passengers being forced to the back of the train before crossing a state line.
     Another GeriActor shared a story about how his brother would sing Lili Marlene to his sweatheart in occupied Netherlands.
To hear the song:
Where do these stories go next? Stay tuned for our December performance to find out.

A Photo-Documentary of our trip to Drumheller.

     Last Wednesday, the GeriActors and Friends had the opportunity of performing We Decide When at the Grey Matters Conference in Drumheller. The audience consisted of three hundred caretakers, social workers, health care providers, people interested in the topic of working with seniors. The performance was preluded by a presentation by Jacquie Eales, a gerontologist we had been working with for the last five years on the effects of creative aging. This blog will feature photos of our journey to Drumheller.
For more info about the conference go to:

     We Wecide When is an work-in-process intergenerational play based on a scene from Shakespeare’s King Lear and echoes it with stories from Friends, GeriActors and parents of the GeriActors. It is a play about agency, choice and how our choices affect other people’s lives.

We began our journey at 8:45am at Charle’s house, where we boarded a 15 seated van to Drumheller. Driving us was Liz Alchin’s husband, the incomparable driver Daryl.

This was the van that took us from South Edmonton to Drumheller.
The Van

We performed at a multi-functional facility: it included a public library, art studios, art gallery, fitness centre, indoor children centre, banquet halls.

Badlands Community Facility
Badlands Community Facility

We were served a fantastic meal upon arrival, the menu included: Roasted Potatoes, Cauliflower Casserole, Stuffed Pork, Roast Beef, Mixed Salad, Caesar Salad, Apple Crumble.

Charles having lunch
Charles having lunch
The GeriActors and Friends having lunch before the performance
The GeriActors and Friends having lunch before the performance

After our meal, we warmed up inside an art gallery inside the facility and then waited our turn to present at the conference. When we got into the space, we took a few minutes to test out the acoustics and warm up our voices.

Helen waiting outside the banquet hall before our performance
Hansi at the Gallery
Hansi at the Gallery
Our audience
Our audience

We performed We Decide When.


Before leaving Drumheller we had to take at least ONE picture with a dinosaur!

Dinosaur beside our venue

And of the Badlands



We didn’t arrive back in Edmonton until 8:30pm. A beautiful sunset follow us back on our journey to Edmonton.