Theater Group Entertains at Western Reserve Masonic Community

This article was published in the Medina Gazette in April of 2019 | Article and photos by Bob Finnan, Medina Gazette Reporter

Working with a group of thespians from 75 to 90 years old can be tricky at times, but the Western Reserve Masonic Community Readers Theatre Group makes it work. The group of about 15 performers put on shows every six weeks or so in the chapel. All are residents of the Masonic community, 4931 Nettleton Road. The show Thursday consisted of six comedic skits and was titled

“April Showers Us with Laughter.” The actors read their lines instead of memorizing them.

“They don’t trust their memories any more,” said Jim Gilder, drama director.

His wife, Betsy, helps her husband with the group. Both are retired.

“We just love them,” she said. “Some of them have Alzheimer’s. It’s tricky that way. But it works.” Jim Gilder is a retired English and drama teacher at Cloverleaf High School. He said this is his ninth year directing the theater group. There were about 65 people in the audience, mostly residents.

“It’s one of the highlights,” Jim Gilder said. “We get a good turnout. There are a lot of family members — sons, daughters.”

Jim Gilder said he sometimes takes the show on the road, as the readers group has performed at the Medina Community Recreation Center, some churches and the Ashland Senior Center.

All performances are free and open to the public. Gilder said his next show will be May 25. Then, they take their summer break.

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