No child’s play: listen to tales from the golden years.
Transforming memories to powerful stories, the seniors stretch their imagination to the fullest with director Jeffrey Tan. (Photo: The Arts House)

No child’s play: listen to tales from the golden years.

In this day where mindfulness and being in the present are highly valued by many, a creative writing programme for seniors seeks to transport participants back in time instead. Its intention, however, is rooted in well-being.

Remember When: From Memories to Monologues is a writing programme for seniors, organised by The Arts House, to help seniors mine their memories to stay creative and inspired. Participants are led by theatre director Jeffrey Tan through an eight weeks-long programme to turn their personal memories into stories and monologues, which they then perform.

The programme started in 2018 and its sixth run ends 15 Oct. Five monologues, created by participants since its launch, will also be produced as online monologues and made available as part of the upcoming Singapore Writers Festival (30 Oct to 8 Nov).

Tan hopes that the programme will help seniors “imagine, reimagine, connect and make sense of their lived experiences.” He also hopes the exercise will help them avoid “forgetting or regretting what they could or should have written down to share.”

For retiree and emerging artist Shahnaz Ali, the experience of creating a monologue based on her memories has been so enjoyable that she signed up for the programme a second time and is a participant in the latest run.

She says: “Because of this project, I have been remembering and reflecting on my many experiences in life. Through it, we have all become more aware of why we are the way we are, why we choose to do what we do, and why we live the way we live.”

And just as the experience allows her to get in touch with her inner thoughts and motivations, it also connects her to others.

She says: “The last time I performed, many strangers in the audience walked up to me after my monologue and introduced themselves to me. They were comfortable coming up to me, and I too, felt connected to the audience.

“The monologue, surprisingly, also allowed me to connect with my family on a deeper level. In that small window of the performance, they could view a different perspective of me, as a person, instead of as a family member.”

Details about Remember When: From Memories to Monologues here.

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