The SWAP Players Presents
by Estela Torres
From the September national meeting...
In 2001, a group of seniors affiliated with the Seniors Well Aware Program were looking for opportunities to share their experience and “give back to the community”. This group became known as the SWAP Players, an evolving theatrical group founded by Estela Torres, Outreach Counsellor for SWAP. Acting was a new experience for most of the members.
The group objectives of the SWAP Players are to:
- have fun
- present skits/plays to community audiences as part of the prevention education work that SWAP does
- raise awareness regarding aging, retirement, depression, and substance use issues, and
- invite reflection on how people change and make healthier choices to improve their quality of life.
The group provides a safe space where SWAP members can explore an alternative recreational activity; meet people with similar interests; explore and develop their histrionic and or public speaking skills; and gain self-confidence.
The group has given 13 presentations since August 2001 when it was first formed. Last August, the Players attended the "Theatre for Livin" training workshop with David Diamond, and the members had their first exposure to the philosophy and techniques of the Theatre for the Oppressed developed by the Brazilian theatre innovator Augusto Boal. Two group members are developing into strong potential directors of the group, particularly since their participation in the Living Theatre Workshop.
One of their pieces is titled "Dreams of Retirement" and was originally written by Lilian, one of the SWAP Players. The skit has been conceived, written, directed and rehearsed by the Players themselves, who describe it as a work in progress.
The skit is approximately 15 minutes long, with the opportunity for questions and answers afterwards. SWAP Players are keen on being asked questions and having the opportunity to talk about their experiences. They are open to talk about their personal stories, and they do it with honesty, spirit and dignity.
The Players are, in alphabetical order: Ann, Chuck, Lilian and Sybil. The group is actively developing new scripts and recruiting new members to fill new roles.
As one of the SWAP counsellors notes
”There are highly creative, gifted and skilled people in this group -they have musical, writing, public speaking, histrionic, and leadership skills. However, their greatest gift is their determination and courage, not just to live, but to make the necessary changes and healthier choices and dare to explore life at its fullest, with its joys and limitations.”
We hope you enjoy their new work in progress.
Next Section is Marie's Story
Jump to Dreams of Retirement script