The GeriActor’s and Friends Experience

Editor’s Note: The GeriActors and Friends are filming a Documentary! Here is a glimpse into the filming experience by Bill.

Support, open, safe, vulnerable and invigorating: these were the words that the GeriActors and Friends used to describe themselves this weekend as the company reflected on their process and its impact on their lives. This Saturday and Sunday we began filming the G&F documentary as a part of a research project with the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the U of A’s Human Ecology Department on how theatre is the pathway to healthy ageing. The film will feature interviews from GeriActors and Friends about our experience and thoughts about the company, an audience talkback and our three original plays Prodigal Son, Felixstowe and Lear.

GeriActors performing Lear at Holiday Party.
GeriActors and Friends performing Lear at Holiday Party.

It was an inspiring two days as both the seniors and students asked ourselves the questions that brought us together: What makes the GeriActors so unique? What does  intergenerational mean to us? In what ways has art and theatre enriched our lives? Although everyone had their own unique reasons for joining and how it has affected their lives, we had all come to consensus that what makes the GeriActors unique for us was its supportive, open, safe, and vulnerable yet invigorating environment. Here we can feel safe to bring our stories, the challenges we face in life and utilize theatre as a medium to explore, understand and appreciate.   

During an interview I was asked if the GeriActors had a performative style. I was startled as I knew that the GeriActors had a very unique way of acting, but had never really compared it to anything else. “They are story-based actors” I said. Every gesture, every line, every emotion they portray reinforces the story, the story is the precedence of everything. I realize that as an actor, sometimes I would get all caught up on HOW I would tell the story, that I began to neglect WHAT the story is, and more importantly WHY the story needed to be shared. A lesson I have taken from the GeriActors: to never lose sight as to the significance and impact of the story I am sharing. 

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