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Join the Council on Aging’s Intro to Theatre Series

Intro to Theatre Participants

Current Play: Seven Guitars by August Wilson 

All the world’s a stage – and seniors play an active role in the Cambridge Council on Aging’s Introduction to Theatre class series! Offered on Thursdays at the Cambridge Senior Center (806 Massachusetts Ave.), 1:30 – 2:30 p.m., the class focuses on a single play for 6 weeks. Participants read the play together, voice act roles, and discuss the play’s historical and cultural context. Cambridge residents ages 60 and older can join classes at any time (no need to register).

“We welcome everyone to our group. You don’t need to have any experience with theater to join our explorations of the plays,” says Sarah Fader, the Introduction to Theatre instructor and a lifelong actor and dance instructor. “Theater is a mirror of society, and we have amazing conversations about how the themes of the plays relate to everyone’s life.”

Fader aims to provide a holistic learning experience to the people in her class. While reading the play Sonia Flew by Cuban playwright Melinda Lopez, Fader played Cuban music from different historical eras as an introduction to each class. She also brought in books about Cuban art, politics, and history for participants to enjoy.

Fader draws on her connections to the greater Boston theater community and invites guest speakers from the industry to the class. Special guests have included Lopez, who joined the class to discuss her play during the "Sonia Flew" segment, and Charles Haugland, Dramturg and Director of New Work at Hungton Theatre. In September, actor, director, and choreographer Maurice Parent will join the class to speak about his experience in theatre.

"When I saw that the Senior Center had an Introduction to Theater class, I decided to check it out," says participant Ira Benowitz. "My expectations were low. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it was going to be so interesting and informative. Having Charles [Haugland] speak was a special treat. Having another guest speaker so soon is incredible! I feel extremely lucky to reap what [instructor Sarah Fader is] sharing with us."

Jayashree, a class participant, enjoyed acting in plays while growing up in India, but had little time to pursue her love of drama after graduating from college. The Introduction to Theatre class offers her the chance to reconnect with her lifelong interest, and she often draws parallels between a play’s themes and her experience living through the Partition of India.

Jo, another participant, did not know much about theater until she joined a class. “My favorite part of the class is the discussion,” she explains. “It’s great to read the plays together, and the huge bonus is that we meet incredible people and have great conversation."

“You don’t need to have ever gone to a play or read a play, but you can still enjoy the class,” agrees Jayashree.

The Introduction to Theatre class reflects the Council on Aging’s commitment to encouraging lifelong learning through their programs. “There is always time to pursue something you have wanted to do,” says Alicia Johnson, Director of the Cambridge Senior Center.

The Introduction to Theatre class is now reading Seven Guitars by playwright August Wilson, which follows the experience of Black Americans in post-war Pittsburgh. Fader plans to incorporate the works of musician Buddy Bolden and artist Romare Bearden, who were major influences on Wilson, during the series on Seven Guitars. “Start anytime!” says Jo.

Page was posted on 6/23/2023 10:07 AM
Page was last modified on 10/10/2023 5:02 PM
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