Proving that sometimes real life is funnier than fiction, the Senior Shenanigans ensemble often draws inspiration from everyday occurrences for its annual variety show.
"They are always looking for new [ideas],” said Terri Cox, program director for The Grand Theatre in Cartersville and director of the upcoming Senior Shenanigans production. “We get some of our information off the Internet and YouTube and things like that. Some of the skits just come from funny things that have happened to us. … We have several people in the group who like to write and put the scripts together.
"One [past skit] was something that happened to my mother. She got a letter in the mail from her sister who lives in Columbus. The sister had cut an article out of the paper for her to read, and she wrote all about how this is something I thought you'd really be interested in at this time in your life."
She continued, "The article was actually about somebody [who] had been arrested from something in town that mother knew about. But on the back of the article was an article about senior citizens continuing their sex lives on into their 80s. It just happened to be on the back, and that's what my mother read. So the letter, combined with that article, was really funny, because that wasn't at all what she was supposed to be getting."
Kicking off with an organizational meeting Sept. 10 at 1:30 p.m., the Senior Shenanigans production will showcase the talents of Bartow’s 50-and-older performers. After being conducted every Monday at 1:30 p.m. until the week of Thanksgiving, rehearsals will continue in January and culminate with the production Feb. 23, 2019.
According to a news release from The Grand Theatre, "Senior Shenanigans is a chance for community members to come together for fun, fellowship and an opportunity to present their wide range of talents to a welcoming audience. The show includes comedic skits, musical numbers, dancing and lots of laughter. Most participants will tell you that growing older is not for the faint of heart."
Previously an offering of Cartersville Medical Center’s former Senior Friends program, Senior Shenanigans now is under The Grand Theatre's umbrella.
"Back in 1993, the Cartersville Medical Center had an outreach program for senior citizens," Cox said. "They did a lot of different programs, but one of them was what they called a Senior Showcase. They got in touch with Don Kordecki here at The Grand, and he sort of helped them put it all together as their director. So that was the first year that they had a show. Then after that — somewhere along the way — it became known as Senior Shenanigans. Then eventually the hospital discontinued that program. So the [Cartersville-Bartow County] Cultural Arts Alliance sponsored it for a few years, and then The Grand Theatre just took it over as one of our regular programs.
"We think that the comedy/variety style of show really treats itself to the senior citizen age group. We like to mix things from their past that are sort of nostalgic with our struggles about aging and dealing with the modern world — modern technology. So it's a mixture of old and new. It just helps keep us laughing through all the ups and downs of our lives. We just love being together and having fun. We just think it's a great outreach for that age [group]."
For more information about joining the Senior Shenanigans group, individuals may contact Cox at 770-386-7343, ext. 4. Prior acting experience is not required.
"It's a great way to be with other people that are your age and that come from the same place that you're coming from," Cox said. "We get really close to one another, but we just have fun. We just love laughing and having fun.
"We also love sharing that with other people, especially family members. I think it's a wonderful way to bring the generations ... together."