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Intergenerational

December 2, 2019

Puppetry, Storytelling, Music

On Saturday, December 7, students from Falmouth High School (FHS) and residents of The Cedars retirement community in Portland will gather for An Intergenerational Celebration of Puppetry, Storytelling, and Music. The event will mark the culmination of a four-month long project in collaboration between FHS, The Cedars, and Figures of Speech Theatre (FST).
FST Director of Education, Ian Bannon, designed and directed the project, which began with a series of TimeSlips creative storytelling sessions at The Cedars. TimeSlips is a collaborative storytelling format designed by MacArthur Fellow Anne Basting for use by people with cognitive disabilities like dementia. Creativity is an ideal way for people with cognitive challenges to communicate. TimeSlips is developed as a ritual so people with memory loss can learn it through their subconscious or implicit memory. It is based on shifting the emphasis from memory to imagination.
FHS students took turns joining Bannon for the sessions at The Cedars, assisting with the storytelling sessions while gaining first-hand experience with TimeSlips and familiarity with the residents.
FHS Theater Teacher Dede Waite’s students from FHS then dove into the rehearsal process, learning about full-body silhouette shadow puppetry from Bannon and Devon Kelley-Yurdin, a visual artist and community organizer. Students then used the skills learned during rehearsal to adapt three of the TimeSlips-generated stories into original shadow plays. Students in FHS Music Teacher Jake Sturtevant’s music composition class created an original score for each performance, elevating and polishing their fellow students’ work.
Towards the end of the rehearsal process, Cedars residents were invited to join FHS students at the school for a hands-on shadow puppetry workshop, allowing students a chance to work side-by-side with the residents to create short vignettes using the skills they had developed.
The final performances will take place during An Intergenerational Celebration of Puppets, Storytelling, and Music at The Cedars at 1:30 PM on Saturday, December 7. Students will present their adaptations live for the residents. Following the performances, the students, residents, and audience members will be invited to join in an ice cream social designed to foster an intergenerational exchange about the process and performance. Members of the public are fully encouraged to attend.
This project was been funded in part by a Project Grant for Organizations from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Since 1982, Figures of Speech Theatre, has toured the world for more than 35 years with original works created at the intersection of drama, poetry, sculpture and dance. The company has performed in venues including the New Victory Theater, the Smithsonian Institution, the Kennedy Center, and Tokyo’s International House. Through their educational programing—which takes place in all 16 Maine counties—FST seeks to engage imaginations, impart skill-based training, awaken consciousness regarding world cultures, and expand students’ sense of life’s possibilities. We offer a range of programming and touring productions in service of that vision.
More information about Figures of Speech Theatre is available on their website: www.figures.org.
The Cedars, Maine and Northern New England’s most comprehensive, non-profit senior community was founded in 1929 as the Jewish Home for Aged. As we celebrate 90 years of innovation, The Cedars offers a full continuum of senior living options, including: Independent Living, Assisted Living, Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Care. Currently under construction is the new Sam L. Cohen Households, due to open in Fall 2020, will provide a home environment using the best practices for an enlightened, person-centered approach to care in private rooms for rehabilitation, skilled nursing care and a new, vitally-needed memory care assisted living.
More information about The Cedars is available on their website: www.thecedarsportland.org.
An Intergenerational Celebration of Puppetry, Story-Telling, and Music will be presented on Saturday, December 7 at 1:30 PM at The Cedars, 630 Ocean View Ave in Portland. The performance, which will be followed by an ice cream social, is open to the public free of charge. For more information, please contact Angie Hunt at (207) 221-7171.
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