ERIC Number: ED207120
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Jul
Reference Count: 0
Elder Theatre: Positive Image of Aging and Forum for Intergenerational Communication.
If art, when defined by existential and phenomenological boundaries, promotes self-understanding, then the verbal arts in particular offer fully developed hypothetical analogues of humans in action. The need to find some measure of self-knowledge through art does not diminish with age, but the self-understanding promoted by the portrayal of the elderly in contemporary media is that the concluding years of life bring poor health, loss of income and love, closed-mindedness, and passivity. This image even permeates children's perceptions of the elderly, which research shows are extremely negative. Two studies, however, suggest that children will perceive the unique qualities of the elderly if they are given situational clues for the inference that the elderly are successful. Thus, Arizona State University has organized an Elder Readers Theatre group, which performs literature for young children, adolescents, and adults to promote positive images of the elderly and to allow self-understanding for the performers. Elder Theatre selects literature with highly organized positive and productively humorous descriptions of aging and with personae whose chronology is advanced but characterized by success, and which promote productive apprenticeship for the aging. The Elders Theatre also has established good conditions for extended periods of informal interaction between audience and performers. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Age Bias
Note: Paper presented at the Meeting of the Summer Conference on Communication and Gerontology (Edwardsville, IL, July 22-24, 1981).