Eddy Shuldman with playwright Martha Pomeranz, Rose Schnitzer Manor, 5/17/11
Members of volunteer Eddy Shuldman’s “Older but Wiser” playwriting class are hard at work finalizing their one-act plays.
Last Tuesday, Shuldman and fellow volunteer Laurie Fendel visited with the playwrights one-on-one to make final revisions to the plays.
The project will culminate in June with two readings, which have yet to be scheduled. The first will take place in a community venue and include professional actors. Shuldman plans for the public reading to “generate exposure to the notion that golden years can be creative and thoughtful.” Residents will perform the second reading at Rose Schnitzer Manor.
Playwright on Two Missions
Rose Schnitzer Manor resident and now also playwright Martha Pomeranz has enjoyed the creative process.
“I joined the group just to see what it’s about. At first I wanted to write about bullies. Then I changed my mind and decided on something more humorous because everything is so serious these days.”
Pomeranz has another mission in mind for her one-act play “Birthday Surprises”. She said, “I’ve found it very delightful to listen to others and their plays. It’s the only way to learn. But I’m also trying to get others to understand how much happens here. Maybe I do a little too much.”
At the final review session, Shuldman and Pomeranz discussed character development and how to add tension to the play.
Other “Older but Wiser” playwrights include Barbara Dubin, Ruth Henning, Evelyn Hirsch, Mike Mogell, Fran Stone, and Charlotte Wiener.
“Older but Wiser” Builds on Its Success
Shuldman has led the “Older but Wiser” writing group since 2009. Aiming to create a writing community at the Manor, Shuldman said she focuses on the writing process and creating a space for Manor writers to exchange critique openly and freely”.
The Group’s inaugural project culminated in early 2010 with the publication and reading of “Older and Wiser”, a collection of short stories and poems by residents.
“I saw the writers’ confidence grow,” Shuldman said. “The program turned out to be quite empowering for them.”
The playwriting class it the group’s second project. The final individual sessions were preceded by 8 classes, running between February and March 2011, facilitated by an experienced playwright and playwriting instructor Matthew Zrebski. Shuldman has coordinated and fellow volunteer Laurie Fendel assisted with the playwriting project (Fendel also facilitates “Mussar“, a personal practice group at the Manor).
“Older but Wiser” itself is an extension of the Jewish Arts Month, which Shuldman coordinates. “The JAM”, as she calls it, is funded by State of Oregon and National Council of Jewish Women grants.
Volunteering at Cedar Sinai Park as a Lifelong Project
A Portland, Oregon, native, Shuldman spent most of her career in education: for 23 years, she directed an alternative high school. After retiring from public schools, she started doing more work in the community. She’s a fused glass artist, a blogger, and a Bar/Bat Mitzvah instructor. Because she has also volunteered with Cedar Sinai Park since her childhood, she proposed a few potential projects to the Activities Department; the writing group won.
“I just love this place,” Shuldman said.
The feeling is mutual. Community Program Director Kathy Tipsord described Shuldman as “delightful and a wealth of information.”
Following the June readings, “Older but Wiser” will take a summer break and resume in the fall, expanded into two groups.
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