Edad de Oro

Foto: Gobierno de Guanajuato

By Cristina Vázquez

Today being an older person does not mean the end of dreams, goals, exploring and taking on new challenges, rethinking limits … with the same passion and vitality as the youth.

This way of thinking by Leticia Ruiz was so convincing that the jury decided to select her to participate in the virtual theater workshop Edad de Oro (Golden Age), aimed at people over 60 years of age and at cultural managers who usually work with this sector of the population, free of charge.

What was most motivating for Jorge Rodas, 75, was finding in theater the ideal discipline to combat the physical wear and tear that afflicts his age. There was no shortage of those who considered the workshop relevant because it contributes to changing the image and stereotype of older people.

Edad de Oro, under the direction of Luis Martín Solís, was created precisely with the purpose of restoring the voice to people between 60 and 90 years old, in over 10 sessions through the digital platform Zoom, over the course of a month, which will be concluded on May 13 with the reading of a text that will be worked on in the workshop.

I was interested in the fact that the project was the result of binational cooperation between the State Institute of Culture of Guanajuato, the Secretariat for Migrants and International Liaison, through Tu Casa Guanajuato Chicago, and Aguijón Teatro, based in Chicago.

This collaboration was finalized and will continue with the aim of forming, from this workshop, a multicultural artistic company.

One of the participants is the actress Ana Santos, who will be working as a training to give continuity to the project, as part of the Aguijón company. Born in Puerto Rico and living in Chicago for several years, Ana highlights the importance of her work with the community through theater.

Among those selected are Guanajuatoans from both sides of the border, but also from other towns in Mexico who live within the country and in different cities in the United States.

It must be remembered that the elderly have been among the most vulnerable since the Covid-19 pandemic began more than a year ago, since they have had to remain in isolation because they are a high-risk sector. And what better way to fight this marginalization than through virtual theater.

The response of the applicants was so emotional when explaining the reasons why they wanted to join this experience that the organizers, together with stage director Luis Martín Solís, decided to create a second workshop with those who were left out of this first call, which will possibly take place in June of this year.

After the first session, which took place on Tuesday, April 13, I understood even better the importance that older people attach to Edad de Oro when they shared part of their life stories. Among those selected there are also some disciples of Luis Martín Solís in the Ruelas Project, dedicated to promoting community theater within the International Cervantino Festival. There the director has spent more than five years working with older people who attend Las Teresas and El Cambio, two gerontological centers of the DIF in Guanajuato.

If Edad de Oro can be taught free of charge, it is partly because Luis Martín is a member of the National System of Creators of the National Fund for Culture and the Arts (FONCA). The workshop agenda covers old age in different times and cultures, its vices and virtues, text, dance, movement and gestures, a review of works from the international repertoire and writing experiences.

With all the richness of life shared by the participants, I am eager to see the results of this first workshop and confident of the need to continue counting on artistic and cultural initiatives with a social vocation, which are at the same time the fruit of international cooperation.

You might be interested in: Cooperation and cultural diplomacy of Mexico in the United States.

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