Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Nov-Dec 2013 Contents Culture
Ageing topics in unlikely places -- outside
the box, on the screen, under the radar...
By Keryn Curtis
HEALTHPLAY IS A contemporary theatre
company based in Melbourne that specialises
in writing and performing plays that offer a
humorous outlook on challenging health and
ageing issues. The company was formed by
playwright and actor, Alan Hopgood, who made
his name as a playwright and screenwriter in the
1960s and 70s with titles including And the Big
Men Fly and the film, Alvin Purple. In the early
1990s Hopgood was diagnosed with prostate
cancer, an experience he captured in a book,
published in 1996, Surviving Prostate Cancer
-- One Man's Journey. Those experiences
were also the inspiration for a humorous play,
For Better or for Worse in 1997. The comedy
toured widely, attracting strong crowds seeking
to better understand the experience of the
condition using a production model where the
play was accompanied by a discussion forum
with tea and scones.
It was such a success, Hopgood was
approached to take on other subjects and since
then, HealthPlay has created and toured nine
different plays with titles including You're Never
Too Old; Four Funerals in One Day, about death
and grieving; The Empty Chair, on dementia; Six
Degrees of Diabetes; and Wicked Widows.
The plays can be performed almost
anywhere and can be accompanied by a
discussion forum. The good news is that a
film production company, Moonshine Films
has applied for funding to bring four of the
nine HealthPlay productions to the screen for
release on DVD, YouTube, Facebook, and
iTunes. Those four titles deal with palliative
care, prostate cancer, dementia and diabetes.
It's hard to imagine a better way to
galvanise a community around what can often
be really tricky subjects.
For more information, go to:
A LANGUAGE EVERYONE
TRYING TO BUILD understanding about
dementia across the wider community
is a difficult challenge. While years of
campaigning on the part of organisations
like Alzheimer's Australia and its
counterparts has succeeded in raising
the profile of dementia as a disease there remains much misunderstanding and fear,
particularly among people who have no direct experience of it.
This is where pictures and stories have an enormous role to play. The messages from
the photographic exhibition by US sociologist and photographer, Cathy Greeblatt, called
Love, Loss and Laughter: Seeing Dementia Differently, currently touring Australia and
previously reported in this column, has now been made into a 16-minute documentary
from Corinne Maunder, a producer with Fire Films Australia.
Called Love, Loss & Laughter - Living with Dementia, the film is an excellent way of
introducing anyone to the reality of life with dementia. Using a combination of interviews
with people with dementia and their carers; footage of their daily lives; interviews with
Cathy Greenblatt and Alzheimer's Australia Victoria's Jack Sach; and footage of Ita
Buttrose speaking at the launch of the photographic exhibition, this film achieves what the
advertising world calls 'cut-through'.
If you need to explain to an individual, family members, staff or even large groups, what
it means to have dementia, how with the right approach, life can continue to be navigated,
and how much health and happiness can be maintained, then this is worthwhile viewing.
The film was screened on 14 October at the inaugural Reel Health International
Health Short Film Festival at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, at Melbourne's
Federation Square. It is available on YouTube [search: Love, Loss & Laughter - Living with
For other details, contact the film's producer, Corinne Maunder at corinne@firefilms.
com.au or through Alzheimer's Australia Victoria.
"It is not true that
people stop pursuing
they grow old, they
grow old because
they stop pursuing
dreams." -- Gabriel
Documentary Love, Loss & Laughter
- Living with Dementia produced by
Tova in Renegades
Edie and Margaret
WITH A RACING HEART
AN EVENT FROM this year's Victorian Seniors Festival in Melbourne shakes up the stereotypes
about older people, exploring perspectives on rebellion, risk, aspirations and ageing. Renegades
is a unique intergenerational dance theatre production produced by the City of Melbourne's Arts
Participation Program in collaboration with the Healthy Ageing Team and it took to the stage at
Melbourne's iconic HiFi Bar from 6 to 13 October.
Ten 'super elders' (75+) told stories about events in their lives that made their heart beat fast
and the recorded interviews
were then given to a
group of young artists who
developed a soundtrack
for the performance,
led by musician and
composer, Rose Turtle
Ertler, with choreography
by contemporary dancer
Martin del Amo.
The production included
a wide range of musical
and dance styles, providing
appeal to both younger and
Inquiries about the
project can be made to:
03 9658 9190.
Scenes from "The Empty Chair" by HealthPlay.
Images by Bec Reid
60 | NOVEMBER -- DECEMBER 2013 | AAA
Links Archive AAA Mar-Apl 2014 AAA Spt-Oct 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page