residents / Tin Grabnar, Hana Vodeb
About the project
Tin Grabnar and Hana Vodeb, the brains behind the project Seniors, decided to dedicate their year of residency in Glej to the stories of everyday people, for they firmly believe that thousands of dramatic, honest and relevant memories, incidents and confessions can be found under the surface of everyday lives.
Together with their team they will focus on the ignored generation, which is currently being pushed ever further towards the margins. Throughout the year they will get to know old people in their living environments. They will listen to their stories and metaphorically walk through the vast achieves of their almost forgotten memories. The elderly carry within them a rich hidden tradition, but nobody takes the time to listen to them anymore. In a period in which youth is glorified, we will take our time and hand the stage over to the elderly.
We all face the aging process. With every moment we are closer to having wrinkled skin, grey hair, a curved posture and trembling hands. Maybe this is why we are terrified of the thought of old age. We are afraid of the thought that we will - at a certain moment in time - witness the slow decay of our bodies. The team will discuss the aging process and the participating elderly are going to share their intimate experiences from the third life period. Does our society truly have a negative attitude towards old age? Are we infected with ageism? Maybe we are scared of contemplating the moment when we will, just before our lives reach the inevitable end, look back and ask ourselves: What sort of life did we live? What will we take with us to the grave? Or even better … What are we leaving behind?
The team will invite the elderly participants to choose one of their memories which they will re-enact on film. The elderly will be given the opportunity to become film directors, script writers, cameramen as well as actors in the re-enactment of their own memory. They will travel to locations where their memories took place. Search for people who are long gone. They will create spaces, which are today in ruins and play out the long bygone stories there. In this way they will be able - at least for a brief moment - to capture the transient memory. With the use of common procedures from documentary theatre they will bring to stage the fragility of their personal stories, disclose the treachery of brain cells and confront the transience of life.
The short film episodes that will emerge will become the central part of the performance entitled Seniors. The participating elderly, who will share and record their memories, will have the opportunity to present and describe the background to their life stories. In this way the film and theatre format will merge into a complex whole, in which they will intertwine and add to each other. The cinematic way of thinking will cross into theatre and vice versa. We are convinced that the theatre project will come to life on stage in an unconventional format, as the participants will not deal with classic theatre procedures, but will be present on stage in all of their life quality. At this all embarrassments, clumsiness and mistakes, which would function as shortcomings in classical theatre, will become charming in the direct, almost documentary-realistic presences of the performers.
In the spirit of documentary theatre, which combines reality with stage fiction, the team of the residency project has performed a vast research of retirement homes over the last year. Throughout the year they have organised narrative workshops for the elderly in various Slovene regions. Together with the participants they contemplated the aging process, the stigmatisation, the importance of dialogue and the long forgotten oral histories. They opened up their own memories and discussed the deceptiveness of thoughts. The results are - together with the documentary photographs (taken by the participants) - posted on Glej Theatre’s webpage.
The theatre stage is one of the last refuges, where the fast rhythm of our everyday lives can slow down for a moment. It offers us a priceless opportunity to discuss topics that are otherwise not discussed. This time we will listen to the ignored generation of the elderly.
Authors: Tin Grabnar and Hana Vodeb
Executive producer: Barbara Poček
Produced by: Glej Theatre
About Glej's Residency programme.