Category Archives: assisted living

Assisted Living

Life and art collided for me in one simple gesture of going to the theatre on Friday evening. Don’t you love moments like that when what you do, and what you know to be true, are in complete sync?

Maybe I don’t mean “collide” so much as commingle. But it can be startling when it happens.

Or as writer Sarah Bird notes, “It’s gratifying when you’re in a world, and you see that the author gets that world right.”

Startling, humbling, gratifying….

This week I attended the preview at ACT Theatre in Seattle for the world premier of “Assisted Living.” Written by Katie Forgette, Assisted Living imagines a scenario in the not-too-distant-future in which an overwhelming number of elderly baby boomers–a “tsunami,” the playwright calls it–are housed in prisons. Prisoners having been outsourced to make room for them.

Or rather, for us.

It’s bleak, it’s debilitating, and it could be what’s coming. But for one thing: a band of residents with a love for theatre find each other and form a troupe. Together they give readings, write plays, perform, and save their own souls, during permissible social hours, of course.

Artistic Director of ACT, Kurt Beattie, refers to this as “…the survival instincts hard-wired in the human spirit, and the essential elements of a life worth living; community, hope, and love.”

Playwright Katie Forgette works in a retirement home. “We have a theatre group and we’ve read everything from Hedda  to, yes, Glengarry. What can I say? They’re a game bunch.”

And I see this every week in the writing workshop that I run in a retirement home in Queen Anne. What started as a six- week, I believe, teaching practicum requirement for my MFA, is still going two years after completing the degree. But with writers and individuals and relationships blooming, how could I ever leave?

And I know we’re next. In such a residence, I for one, would be despondent if a MFA student, or a writer, wasn’t coming in to offer something of this sort. I would consider it my saving grace.

It’s all about finding your tribe, at any age, anywhere.

“Assisted Living” runs through May 12 at ACT Theatre, Seattle.

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