Art and Artistic Research

 

© 2017 Margaret Morganroth Gullette

 

Prime Time, A Play by Núria Casado-Gual

A Preface with Reflections on Anti-Ageism

 

by Margaret Morganroth Gullette

 

               While I was in Barcelona to give a talk at the SIforAge International Conference in October 2016, I attended a play called Prime Time, by Núria Casado-Gual, which manages to be both amazingly funny and successfully anti-ageist. The audience, conference-goers from all over Europe, was topped up with elegant locals—many midlife and old women—drawn to the Caixa Forum for a chance to see Imma Colomer, a beloved television and theater actor and a brilliant comedian with a raucous voice, in a spunky leading role. A famed Catalan actress who is close to seventy, Colomer brings her own experiences performing in a long-running soap opera to her work on this revolutionary anti-ageist production.

 

               At the Caixa, the full house roared, and so did I.[i] Comedy—broad satire, with dollops of farce and a soupçon of existential dread—turn out to be what the politics of age needs right now to make its most scathing points about culture and yet leave the umami taste of hope on the tongue when all is said and done. The play is interesting enough, conceptually and philosophically, and surprising enough plot-wise, to be an insightful, provocative teaching text for undergraduates and graduate students in age studies. (With a three-person cast, a relatively short one-hour script, and a captivating role for the female lead, in the theater it could also become one of those beloved long-running shows that executive producers dream of discovering.) In a classroom, students who read or acted out scenes would find plenty to discuss. The author, Núria Casado-Gual, has given ENAS the opportunity to make the acting text available in English. My hope is that making Prime Time available here will bring the play to the attention of age scholars and teachers—and possibly, producers—everywhere in the English-speaking world. Having brought the script to ENAS, I am happy to write a brief introduction to this landmark play.

 

 

To stage the play, please, contact Núria Casado Gual (ncasado@dal.udl.cat).   

 

 

[1] Three more shows sold out in Lleida, and another captivated Barcelona again in December.

[2] The playwright, Núria Casado-Gual, one of the co-founders of the theater company Nurosfera, played Gina Guasch in the recent production of Prime Time. The other founders of Nurosfera are Ferran Farré, who played the head screenwriter in Prime Time, and Óscar Sánchez, a film director, who directed Prime Time and produced the location videos of Sort, the charming Catalan mountain village (pop. 2,000) in the Pyrenees where the imagined soap opera depicted in the play takes place. Marta Miquel translated Prime Time from Catalan into English. Brian Worsfold, editor of the Cultural Gerontology book series and a UK native from Sussex, adapted that translation into edgy British English.

[3] All the quotations are from interviews I conducted with the playwright via email in November 2016.

[4] Casado-Gual mentioned that two of my books, Aged by Culture (2004) and Agewise (2013), sparked her interest in ageism. Ashton Applewhite’s This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism (2015) inspired her use of the phrase “I want to occupy my age” as part of the final monologue.

[5] For more about the University of Lleida’s Cultural Gerontology program, see http://www.pro-age.udl.cat/index.html. For a few images of Casado-Gual’s  2008 play see: http://www.nurosfera.com/oscar/nurosfera.com/CollAge_ING.html

 


[i] Three more shows sold out in Lleida, and another captivated Barcelona again in December.

 

Dancing Age(ing)

Two dances and a book by Susanne Martin

 

Dancing Age(ing) is an artistic research project and a PhD dissertation. From the perspective of a dance artist, I investigate how improvisation practice and performance making participate in a critical rethinking of age(ing). I basically argue that practitioners of dance improvisation ‘do’ age(ing) in ways less prone to dualistic stereotyping and (self-)discriminatory age(ing) narratives that dominate our culture as a whole. Additionally, I suggest that certain strategies in performance making enable representations of age(ing) that collide with, resist, complicate, and ambiguate normative expectations of age(ing). In other words, I argue that specific approaches to a long-term, open-ended dance practice, alongside critical images and new imaginations of age(ing) in performance, allow dance to evolve as an age critical arts practice.

 

The book:

 

Dancing Age(ing): Rethinking Age(ing) in and through Improvisation Practice and Performance, published by transcript in 2017

The introductory chapter of Dancing Age(ing) is available through the publisher’s website:

http://www.transcript-verlag.de/media/pdf/7776f9e51c2d172e7d66081de9793adb.pdf

 

 

Two solo dances:

 

The Fountain of Youth (Gothenburg 2013) and The Fountain of Age (London 2015)

 

The Fountain of Youth is a dance on forever-youngness and on being old enough to tell the story differently. It is an untrustworthy lecture on trusting an ever-changing body. It is the first of two artistic outcomes of Dancing Age(ing), which explores and questions dominant views on aging dancing bodies through improvisation-based dance practice and performance making.

 

The Fountain of Age is the second artistic outcome of Dancing Age(ing). Like the Fountain of Youth, the solo dance addresses age(ing) through a collage of scenes in which dance, text, costume, mask work, and music interrelate in such a way that ambiguity, discontinuity, and irony support the audience’s critical reflection on age(ing).

 

Trailer The Fountain of Youth (4 min):

https://vimeo.com/130871033 

 

Trailer The Fountain of Age (4 min): 

https://vimeo.com/142264906

 

Or see the full performances in the video documentation album of Dancing Age(ing):

https://vimeo.com/album/3144399

password (best is to copy the password to avoid mistakes): Dancing Age(ing)   

 

Dr. Susanne Martin researches, performs, and teaches contemporary dance. She focuses on improvisational approaches to performance making, narrations of the ageing body, contact improvisation, and practice as research/artistic research. Her solos, collaborative works, mixed evening formats, lectures, and workshops are presented internationally. She studied dance at Rotterdam Dance Academy, Folkwang University, Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin, and holds a PhD from Middlesex University London. www.susannemartin.de

 

 

 

 

Zonder versnelling/Changing speeds

Documentary/Animation 2013

21min

By Janneke Swinkels


In 1950, Swinkel's grandfather decided to cycle to Rome with his friend Broer. A trip that is in sharp contrast with the rest of his less than adventurous life. The short film can be watched at https://vimeo.com/69575820.

 

Since 2009, Janneke Swinkels (1986, Maastricht, graduate from KASK Master of Animation Film, Ghent), is working as a freelance filmmaker and animator. Her company is called ‘Janneke filmt’ (http://www.jannekefilmt.nl). In collaboration with several societal partners, situated mostly in the Meuse-Rhine Euregion, Swinkels films, edits, animates and/or illustrates audiovisual productions.‚Äč