A Midsummer Night’s Dream is getting a make-over by a group of retired Broadway entertainers who emerge from retirement to reawaken their spirits and their dreams in the documentary film, Still Dreaming. As the actors stretch their physical, mental and emotional limits, they share the value of Shakespeare and Creativity no matter your age. The producers are launching a crowdfunding campaign today and I think you’ll love it.
For filmmakers Jilann Spitzmiller and Hank Rogerson, the idea to do Shakespeare with seniors came as a follow up to their film Shakespeare Behind Bars, a documentary about a group of Kentucky inmates doing The Tempest.
“We were inspired by the idea of doing Shakespeare in another unique setting,” says Rogerson. “On top of that, there are the issues that lay just under the surface, or really out in plain sight, of how we care for our elders, the value of creativity no matter one’s age, and intergenerational involvement between seniors and younger generations. We are creative people, Jilann and I, (everyone is!) and we wondered what it would be like to be creatively engaged at the age of 80.”
He adds, “It is a film anyone can relate to, as we all have aging grandparents, parents, or are growing older ourselves. The film shows the highs and lows of engagement by seniors and their caretakers (nursing home staff and families), and amidst the seniors mounting a production of MSND, we see people surprised, transformed and uplifted by their journeys. In that way it’s very similar to Shakespeare Behind Bars, and yet these characters are more accessible to an audience. They’re our father, mother, sibling, or even ourselves.”
The film takes place in a nursing home for retired entertainers called The Actors Home, which is owned and operated by the Actors Fund. Rogerson hopes that the film will inspire many similar theater art programs around the world, in any senior home or center, or theater, or school, or even one’s own living room. “Hug your elder today and read some Shakespeare with them,” he exclaims.