Seniors stage a theatre group for their retirement community


Step inside Good Samaritan Society – Cedar Lake Village in Olathe, Kansas, and you’ll often find residents “making a scene.”

“I got the most fun part in the program,” resident Carl Kruse says.

Carl moved into independent living here eight years ago but is really at home on the stage.

This time, he’s taking on the role of Rumpelstiltskin.

When asked how he got the part, Carl jokes, "I don’t know. I guess because I have a loud mouth or something."

The 94-year-old is one of several practicing the comedy with the “Act Your Age” theatre group on campus.

“We enjoy what we do. The nice thing about being retired, you do what you want to do,” Carl says. “This is one of those things. 'Act Your Age,' we’ve had several plays and I’ve been in all of them."

Experienced director

Carl and crew hope to perform the fairy tale for family and friends in August.

“They really get into it,” Society wellness assistant Darryl Guzman says.

Darryl came out of retirement for this gig.

“I think they leave with lots of endorphins. Lots of energy and feeling good about what they’ve done and feeling good about being with each other. I really think it’s a feel-good class,” Darryl says.

Led by someone with 37 years of vocal music and theatre arts experience from a Christian school in California.

Compared to a school, Darryl says, "It’s not much different. People are people whether they’re 13 or 93. I come to class energized and I leave even more energized by working with these wonderful people. They’re very dear."

'I've accomplished something'

Resident Joyce Archer has been acting since she was five. She enjoys working with Darryl.

“He’s fantastic. He wants us not only to enjoy this but to learn something,” Joyce says.

When Joyce was a kid, a movie company came to town looking for a child who could cry on cue.

“‘Play the part of a kidnapped child’ – which I can’t believe my mother let me do that. It didn’t bother me. I knew I was acting,” Joyce says. “That’s all I had to do and I cried. I got the part."

The 88-year-old continues to shine in the spotlight to this day.

“It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something,” Joyce says.

'So many activities'

And there are many more activities happening every day where residents can make their mark.

“There’s something all the time. There’s something for everyone,” Joyce says.

The calendar is once again filled.

“Whether it’s bean bag baseball on Friday or whether it’s the acting or whether it’s the music. There’s just so many activities. I’ve been as busy here as I’ve ever been,” Carl says.

Glad to be at the Society, Carl knew this was the place to be years before arriving.

“I knew I was going to move here when the time was right. It’s home and it will be home from now on,” Carl says. “If you make the move yourself before you have to, you’ll be much better off."

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