Last night a drama event was held at Rosyth library as part of Scottish Book Week. Five teenage girls performed a short show in two parts, which they had devised from work with old people in two Fife care homes. The first was ‘At the School’ and the second, ‘At the Dancing’. The show was choreographed with a lively look back at music of the forties and fifties; the audience got to join in the dancing, and were served fairy cakes at half time. As a standalone piece, the show was very successful and you could see that with further rehearsal it would be a winner round the reminiscence circuit.
However it was much more than just a show. I spoke to the girls afterwards and they told me they had visited the old people, many of whom had dementia, in their care homes, and carefully noted the words they used for the memories that remained with them. One lady gave them a poem she’d written when she was at school, and this was incorporated into the routine, along with various other poems the residents remembered learning from their school days. Another lady , who had been admitted to the home for end-of-life care, had sat silent and withdrawn throughout; but when she heard a poem she recognised she started to focus, and eventually joined in reciting it.
This is wonderful, skilled, meaningful work and I applaud the girls for their sensitivity, patience and grace in achieving it.