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Lights, Camera, Action!

Location : Newport Mesa

By Silverado Staff Writer

While many of us passively enjoy actors on the big screen or at the playhouse, few of us get to experience the theater from the perspective of a player. At Silverado Senior Living – Newport Mesa, the Theater Club has been giving residents and associates the opportunity to flex their acting muscles for the past five years.

Kent Irwin, the Engagement Coordinator, and Jackie Jonovic, the Director of Resident Engagement, run the Theater Club which can range from as few as five to as many as 25 residents. While Kent does more traditional script reading, Jackie has introduced more improvisational work to the club in the past year.  To make it easy for many people to participate, they read various scenes from scripts versus entire plays, which can be very long and challenging to follow.

The teachers always make sure to choose something humorous for the simple reason that humor is the easiest way to connect with other people. The lines are always exaggerated and involve fun voices and funny characters. Some they have chosen before are, “If I ran the DMV” and “Halloween Costume Party.”

For the improv part of the club, Jackie will choose various scenarios to act out that the residents are familiar with like being Jack and climbing up the beanstalk or being a surfer in a competition. Improv is just to be fun and silly and cut loose. Jackie also teaches simple techniques that she learned in drama classes such as vocal warm-ups.

Ironically, one of the biggest challenges the club faced had nothing to do with memory, but simply overcoming the initial shyness of the residents performing in front of one another, which showed everyone, you should never underestimate people with memory impairment. While residents may be shy at first, the ice breaks quickly and soon even visiting family members are getting involved.

The most important element of many of the Silverado clubs is that they are fun for everyone. Laughter being the central focus of the Theater Club, helps everyone cut loose and be silly in a safe and supportive environment. Fortunately, like all Silverado engagement programs, acting is not limited by age. Clubs like this one, help build self esteem and promote creativity. As they say in the biz, “lights, camera, action!”

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