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Young at Heart performs in Forest Grove

Acting troupe of retirees delivers full repertoire during senior luncheon


The 15 "retired” actors and actresses performed four readings that made their audience cry, think, reflect, admire, laugh, admire and realize that life is precious.

Live every moment to the fullest, because you never know what will happen next, they seemed to be saying.

Young at Heart, a local group of actors, directors and theater lovers who put on shows at elementary schools and churches for fun, performed for a senior luncheon Oct. 23 at the United Church of Christ in Forest Grove. Their repertoire included “The Titanic Remembered”, "The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill", “Have Some Madiera, My Dear” and “I Don’t Look Good Naked Anymore.”

Former teacher Dan Kelsey wrote the script for “The Titanic Remembered."

“Because my Aunt Goldie was born the day the Titanic sank, I developed an interest in the story over the last 15 or so years," Kelsey noted. "Until the 100th anniversary came up this year, I’d never given any thought to writing about it. The leader of our Readers’ group, Carolyn Azure, asked the group for ideas for new material. I suggested Titanic and with her encouragement and regular urging, over the summer came 'The Titanic Remembered.'"

Jeanine Stassens, who built the drama department at Glencoe High School in Hillsboro from the ground up, stepped in to help, Kelsey added. "Although I put the piece together, it was based on the accounts of the three survivors portrayed from the books they wrote," said Kelsey. "I can only take credit for telling their stories in a new way.”

Carolyn Azure, former teacher and star in many Theater in the Grove Productions, "outdid herself in her role as a woman dazed in shock, orange life vest on, wandering hopelessly on the deck of the Titanic," said audience member Dale Feik. "She seemed to move with the melancholy guitar music played by Tom Griffith," a former physics professor at Pacific University and TITG actor.

Ken Azure, Gary Holznagel and Bob Mazany all "passionately read accounts of what happened on the Titanic," Feik added. "Their performances challenged all of us in the audience to think about life and death, loved ones, meaning of life, how people react to the reality of dying unexpectedly (and) how some will offer to give up their life to save another."

Other members of the troupe include Mary Hutchins, Susan Munger, Evelyn Geiger and Carolyn Azure,

The UCC's senior luncheon committee "usually does not pay for speakers," Feik said, "but we were so moved by Young at Heart’s performance, we sent them a check for $100. Carolyn Azure said (the group) would donate the money to Theater in the Grove as seed money to pay for the repair of (its) leaky roof."