Age And Ancient Myth

UWM and a theatre company from Oregon collaborate on a project with Luther Manor senior living community.

Mar. 13, 2011
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Experts say that, what with advances in medical science occurring at the rate that they are, the average life spans of future generations are likely to double in the next century. Some fifteen years ago, the head of Alcor Cryonics said that practical immortality isn’t that far away. If we can get out from beneath the weight of all the current problems facing the world, society’s perception of the world is going to change pretty drastically in the next 200 years. If this is at all true it’s going to be a bit strange to think of how a 23rd century society might look back on some of the last generations to die of natural causes.And while this is a perfectly interesting speculative legend, precisely how aging is looked on by society has changed a lot over the years.

In the interest of exploring the current and future state of aging, the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Center on Age and Community, UWM Theatre Department, Luther Manor and Oregon’s Sojourn Theatre have been collaborating on a really interesting project. The Penelope Project: The Power of Myth in Long Term Care looks to reconstruct the tale of Penelope from Homer’s Odyssey in the stories of residents of the Luther Manor senior living community.


The story, as I recall, centers on the wife of the King of Ithaca who remains faithful to him even after a twenty-year absence when he goes off to fight in the Trojan War. Precisely how the stories of the Luther Manor residents fit-in to the story hasn’t been made clear, but it should be interesting to find out when the project is presented this month. Gazes into the process of the collaboration can be found on its wordpress blog.


UWM/Sojourn Theatre’s The Penelope Project will be staged for one night only on March 15th at Luther Manor on 45445 North 92nd Street in Wauwatosa.




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