SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Senior Center Young at Heart Players, under the direction of Pat Tomsovic, will present three performances of “Who’s Herbert” and “Any Body for Tea,” 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
“Who’s Herbert” takes place in a retirement home as two women try to remember exactly who Herbert was married to and whether the man on stage is, in fact, Herbert.
“Any Body for Tea” concerns Detective Dennis O’Finn, who is investigating the death of an elderly lady.
Tandem Productions is sponsoring the performance royalties for one of the plays.
Senior Theater director Pat Tomsovic said she likes to put on melodramas because they involve a large cast and the roles are not very complicated. This is the fourth year she has directed the Young at Heart Players, which is made up of patrons of the senior center.
Actors are recruited through the senior center newsletter with a request for anyone who is interested in participating to just show up.
“I try to do something that includes absolutely everybody, there are no auditions so nobody gets turned away,” Tomsovic said. “I make sure that everybody has a part who wants to be involved. This year I was able to find a short skit to involve three actors and another play that involves dying.”
Tomsovic said participating in plays is a great way to make friends and have fun. Some of her dearest friends she met through the theater. It is also great for flexing memory muscles because the players challenge themselves to memorize their parts.
“It’s just a joy to watch it all come together and to see the pride that they feel as they get their confidence and self esteem,” Tomsovic said. “I’m really enjoying just working with these seniors and showing them the possibilities of what you can do when you’re 60 and 70 and 80. They really can prove to themselves that they are capable of perhaps a lot more than they thought.”
Sheridan Senior Center creative director Jane Perkins said when the senior center started putting on the senior theater, she spoke with Nick Johnson, the executive director of The WYO Theater at the time, about starting a little theater group. He recommended his assistant director at the time, Erin Butler, who is now the executive director of the WYO.
Butler started the Young at Heart Players group and then moved to Los Angeles, which is when Tomsovic stepped up as director.
“The senior theater evolved out of the natural creativity process of trying to find something for everybody to do, no matter what their talent, skill or even their dream of doing something,” Perkins said. “We’ve got people that have been in theater for years and then people who have never done it before so they can be mentors to one another.”
Tomsovic has been involved with theater in Sheridan for more than 40 years, including the WYO Theater and the Sheridan Civic Theatre Guild. The first play she ever directed was in 1971. She has obtained her experience through volunteering and learning from other talented people.
“It’s a great hobby for me,” Tomsovic said. “I do a lot of costuming for shows and I’ve directed and acted, but I don’t enjoy being on stage very much any more. I’d rather show other people that community theater can be a pretty fun thing.”
Perkins said a wild imagination, a little incentive, working with good people that have the same visions as you and not putting limits on skills and abilities just because of age is how fun activities are created at the senior center.
In addition to plays, the senior center has a writers group and a hiking group.
The hiking group has partnered with the Wyoming Wilderness Association to get the word out and motivate more people to stay active.