"The Improv Pilot was a great experience that expanded our horizons and approaches to communication, opening access to aspects of being that we don't necessarily connect with often enough. I didn't know what to expect from this pilot project, You see, as I'm learning, verbal retention and processing is one of Jane's most significant challenges, whereas other forms of expression such as music and visual arts still come very naturally to her. Honestly, my own verbal communication style leaves much room for improvement. We're both interested in creative activities so the improv was an easy draw. Lo and behold, Chris Simpson, our guide for the morning, started us all off with a basic exercise on stage communication that the theater actors do prior to performance having to do with eye contact, and giving and receiving non-verbally. "Us" included young people from the theater itself, as well as care providers from Home Care Assistance of RI, care-giving spouses, and people living with several forms of dementia-- an interesting and broad mix that enhanced the smooth flow of all the exercises. I found myself directly addressing what was on my mind, not by looking into Jane's eyes when we speak, but by gazing into her eyes without saying a thing. We all became more comfortable and jovial as further exercises stretched our imaginations, collaborative efforts and non-verbal skills. There was time to reflect, and time for community. We ended with a discussion regarding "where next?" and left looking forward to another day at the improv".
- John and Jane
"I was at the Pilot project for Improv for people with dementia at the Contemporary Theater and I wondered if it would work out and it did! What was so good is many of the actors (young to older) who do the Improv at the theater were there to work this out with us, and that was wonderful. Also wonderful is that we were asked to do the warm-up work typically done before a show and it was amazing in so many ways. Not pushy, do it only if you wish, Chris Simpson gave us what we needed to know to let us be in the present and have fun. This really works give it a try!" -
"Steve and I both enjoyed the improv class. Working together as a group we explored movement, sound,emotion and the concepts of communication . Some participants in the class have neurological challenges, and come with their partners, some are home health care workers, others are teachers of improv at the CTC. It is fun and relaxing as well as energizing at the same time. Chris Simpson, the founder of the CTC, leads the class in gentle exploration."
Mary and Steve