I am very excited to announce the latest program Laughter For A Change is offering, Senior Improv at Metro Chinatown! This will be the first program with L4C I am responsible for spearheading, and is the culmination of many years of learning, preparation, and thought. We begin next week, and I cannot wait to finally get started!
I've felt for a long time that improv could be a beneficial activity for those in advanced age, and spent some of my time during my tenure as Chairercise Instructor at Melrose Gardens Assisted Living (best side job ever, btw) a few years ago trying out games with the residents there. They really took to it, despite their physical and mental limitations, and everyone involved had fun. I've since seen the transformative power of play with youths in High School and really gained confidence in my ability to lead a group through the Spolin games and curriculum we've created these past 5 years with Laughter For A Change.
My Co-Comedy Mentors Keong Sim, Bryan Cain, and I will be leading a group of low-income seniors in downtown Chinatown through an 8-week course of theatre and improv comedy games, culminating with a (tentative) performance at the Senior Olympics this September. We met with some of the residents this Past Monday to do an introductory workshop, and it was already a really incredible experience. Here we were, playing with the most unexpected group of 40 improvisers I could imagine, all over the age of 62, our instructions being translated into Chinese as we went, and finding that, despite the occasional chaos, everyone in the room was smiling, laughing, and engaged.
I met this particular population through the organization EngAGE, which works to "transform aging and the way people think about aging by turning affordable senior apartment communities into vibrant centers of learning, wellness, and creativity." Their staff and everyone at the beautiful apartment complex have been exceedingly welcoming and helpful, and their support and encouragement is very affirming. I am so grateful to have been connected with them and must thank Jane Kagon and L4C Founder Ed Greenberg for keeping an eye out for like-minded organizations that we could partner with!
I'm so excited to adventure into uncharted territories, both personally and alongside our students, and promised my friend Laurel Felt that I would document my experience here on my blog. So here we go! Please let me know if you have any questions, and check in again soon to hear how our classes are progressing!