A group of talented elderly performers staged a successful premiere in October of the original dramedy The Final Escape, a local production inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear that reflects the issues faced by the elderly such as in-law relationships and father-and-son relationships. The 45-minute performance at The Quayside, Link’s headquarters, filled the office with laughter as the audience reacted to the performers’ excellent performances, flexible movements, and funny jokes and interactions. The performers, with an average age of 64.8, are all members of Arts’ Options Inspirational Drama Programme for Elderly, a professional drama training programme sponsored by Link Together Initiatives.
Wong Cheuk Ming, who plays the protagonist, CEO Lee (Father), said, “Although I was a part of amateur theatre before joining this programme, I rarely had the chance to perform. As we only had six face-to-face rehearsals for this production due to the pandemic, I was very nervous.”
Despite their nervousness with being on stage, the entire cast has enjoyed the experience a lot.
I notice that I have been happier and more energetic since joining the programme, as I have made many new friends and had a more fruitful life packed with rehearsals,
said Olive Chan, who plays the daughter of CEO Lee.
As the old Chinese saying goes, “life is like a drama”. Both Cheuk Ming and Olive find acting contemplative, as it inspires them to understand life more and allows them to think with different perspectives. In addition, during this drama training programme, which has taken place amid the coronavirus situation, they have shown that they can be flexible and adaptable such as using Zoom to rehearse.
Arts’ Option’s Executive Director Rebecca Po said, “Compared to younger performers, these elderly participants cherish every single chance to rehearse and act more.”
About The Inspirational Drama Programme for Elderly
The Inspirational Drama Programme for Elderly was founded by Arts’ Options and is sponsored by Link Together Initiatives. Aimed to unleash the potential of the elderly by providing professional theatre training, the programme allows aspiring elderly performers to connect with the community and develop a second career. With the objective of establishing a professional elderly theatre company in Hong Kong in the near future, the programme plans to also include elements such as theatre management and directing.