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  • Writer's pictureTyler Calhoun

Solo Aging Takes Center Stage in Solo Acts: A Theatrical Compilation on Solo Aging

But, but I guess we all want to be connected to people, you know, nobody wants to be by themselves. But you have those who choose, who want to be by themself. You have to respect that too, you know.

- ‘Bob’, a solo ager

We invite you to share the results of our epiphany, which began in Buffalo on March 12, 2020. Our Michigan-based issue-oriented theatre company, Limelight, had been invited to perform Vital: A Fugue on Aging at a Faith Convening focused on caregivers and caregiving for 70 Buffalo faith leaders. Their organizer, Rita Hubbard-Robinson, asked us to include a scene about “elder orphans” (older adults aging alone). That brief 3 minute piece struck the multi-faith, multi-generational faith leaders so deeply, it felt as if we all were one, with an almost collective sense of amazement. “I see myself.” “I see congregants.” “How can I serve them better?” Then, the next day, the world shut down.

I kept thinking about those older adults, aging alone and knew we needed to give them (individually and collectively) a voice. Some day.

Some day is here. Solo Acts: A Theatrical Compilation on Solo Aging has taken a two year journey of capturing, curating and crafting a theatrical piece about solo aging and agers. We are coming back to Buffalo on September 23, to share our work with you. Solo Acts is generously funded by the Ralph C. WIlson Jr. Foundation in partnership with Generations United.

What is Solo Acts?

Solo Acts is a uplifting, funny, thought-provoking theatre project, based on interviews with 18 culturally, economically and racially distinct solo agers from Southeast MI and western NY. Instead of talking “about” the collective experience of this growing population, you will hear their voices. Our creative team included members from Michigan and WNY (Sharon Cramer). Sharon encourages you to attend a performance: “Solo Acts” enables us to transform our ideas about solos. Viewing it will leave you changed.”

Who is Solo Acts for?

Everyone. According to the Pew Research Center, more than 25% of adults 60 years of age and older are considered Solo Agers and that number is only expected to rise. This production offers all – caregivers, faith leaders, non-profit directors, policy makers, philanthropy, family members and solo agers themselves – opportunities to reflect on the complexities of living as, or serving, solo agers.

Solo Acts will host two free performances (advance registration required) at the Getzville JCC, Friday September 23rd at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Event details will be available on both the JCC site and the Limelight website. The show is approximately 40 minutes, and is followed by a talkback. Click here to reseve tickets.


Jessica “Decky’ Alexander directs Limelight, a company which creates theatre that illuminates less visible people and problems. She is also a professor of Applied Drama/Theatre at Eastern Michigan University, director of the Office Engage@EMU, and currently serves as the board president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor.

A Bit About Limelight:

Limelight is a theatre consulting company. We create theatre and use theatre as a story-telling, community building, and/or problem-solving tool.

At Limelight we encourage you to think of theatre more broadly than something solely on a stage, but as a flexible and malleable art form that can be utilized in both theatrical venues and many ‘non-theatrical’ spaces such as schools, government, business, hospitals, and community organizations.


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