Sprat Theatre Company
RC Shen, casting director.
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Sprat Theatre Company
RC Shen, casting director.
Sprat Theatre Company is casting "One Day in the Life of Henri Shnuffle," an immersive, site-specific theater experience that aims to bring awareness to the realities of living as an elderly person today.
Rehearsal and Production Dates & Locations
Saturday rehearsals begin March 23; runs May 16-June 9 (Thu.-Sun. evenings).
Compensation & Union Contract Details
$250 stipend. The producers have not yet applied (but plan to apply) for the Equity Showcase Code.
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Additional Performance Info
Sprat Theatre Company will first present "One Day in the Life of Henri Shnuffle," a play highlighting one elderly man as an illustration of the larger elderly population. Throughout the play, the audience will learn about Shnuffle’s daily struggles, which include limited physical ability, isolation, and the onset of dementia. The play will be performed in various non-traditional venues to insure accessibility and diversity among its audience. For example, the performance will take place in an apartment building. We hope to broaden our audiences by traveling to nursing homes, community centers, and schools in the future. With these traveling performances, we hope to start the discussion at the source, engaging senior citizens, as well as other generations, in a dialogue about the necessary improvements to our social and economic systems that are in place to support the elderly.
As a multi-generational company we hope to show audiences the importance of collaboration, regardless of age, race, gender, or background, as a means of strengthening our community. Sprat believes it is our youth's social responsibility to ensure stability for our senior citizens.
In the U.S., persons above age 65 number 39.6 million. That is roughly 12% of the total population. This population is steadily increasing; in fact, by 2050, 1 of 5 Americans will be elderly. Despite their numbers, the elderly are often forgotten and neglected. 90% of nursing homes have staffing levels that are too low to provide adequate care. Decline in physical abilities, isolation and battle against disease are among the biggest challenges the elderly face. In our site-specific theatre piece "One Day in the Life of Henri Shnuffle," Sprat Theatre Company aims to begin a discussion about these issues across our multi-generational audience. As a community, we hope to examine the social and economic systems designed to support senior citizens, and imagine how they can be improved. Our play is a rendering of what life is like for an elderly person living outside of a nursing home and the daily challenges they face. Shnuffle's simple, but rich life is a direct parallel to real, everyday older persons experiencing the effects of time, death of loved ones, illness, and memory. Sprat believes our country's senior citizens have much to teach us about the innate human spirit. In our unique and innovative design based show, we hope to stimulate our audience members' imaginations, opening up possibilities for empathy and a broader understanding of the issues facing Henri Shnuffle, and millions of other older people like him.
Ryan Elisabeth Reid founded Sprat with the intention of creating a diverse community of multi-generational actors, artists, and designers. While doing fieldwork for design projects at Parsons, Ryan was especially drawn to topics regarding the elderly. She'd noticed the problem they faced and the harsh treatment they encountered. One year ago her grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Even though he has many loving caregivers around him, it made her wonder about people who aren't as fortunate. This was the impetus for founding Sprat Theatre Company - a theatre company dedicated to raising awareness about issues facing the elderly, debunking stereotypes, and creating empathy for this group on the fringe of society.
Sprat Theatre Company focuses exclusively on creating immersive theater pieces, where the elements of design hold as much dramatic weight as the text and live performance itself. Our goal with this kind of work is to engage the audiences’ imagination, as well as the five senses. We want our audience to fully experience what One Day in the Life of Henri Shnuffle is like. The audience will touch Shnuffle’s belongings. The audience will see a realistic portrait of his home. The audience will hear music from diverse, international musicians, each commissioned to make a single song for the play – using the sounds of a decaying apartment, unusual instruments (accordion, violin bows on guitar, clocks) and scattered French dialogue. The audience will taste and smell a dish designed specifically for intermission, and prepared by Shnuffle. All of these elements combined create a harmonious, interrelated whole, where the capacity for empathy is increased. We want our audience to leave the show with a new perspective on the lives of the elderly. We at Sprat believe that our country's senior generation has much to teach us about the innate human spirit. With our immersive theater piece, we hope to cross generational divides, showing that the distance between a young person and an old person is a construction. We are all human.