About 90 Plus Group: theatre against ageism

90 Plus Group is us: a group of theatre people developing a play designed to challenge ageist attitudes. It’s called The Secret Lives of Extremely Old People.

90 Plus Group: the team behind The Secret Lives of Extremely Old People

Even at 70 or 80, we cannot imagine how we will think and feel by the time we turn 90. We have no idea. So all the characters in this play are nonagenarians (and one mystery character is 100). The script is built around a dozen interviews with people over 90, conducted early this year. The characters are fictional concoctions based on those very real, very old people, and so the play has a core of authenticity.

Cartoon of five authentic characters in their 90s. Typing, in love, thinking, waving and feeding a quail.
These characters are all in their 90s.

Performance details

  • Circa Theatre, Wellington, New Zealand
  • 25 November–16 December 2023

One way to tackle ageism

Changing ageist attitudes is not easy, because half the people in the world hold moderately or severely ageist attitudes, according a huge multinational study by the United Nations. (Ageism is a global challenge: UN.) And much of our toxic ageism is directed towards ourselves.

Our way is to entertain, not to preach. So we hope that The Secret Lives of Extremely Old People will open minds and hearts to the real feelings and experience of the very old people in our midst. And bring hope to those who are tempted to despair about their future old age. (Or their parents’ old age.)

More later. Much more! Because I’m a bit obsessed by the nitty-gritty of the aging process. Also, I’d like to offer you a sneaky look at the process of writing a play. It’s very different from writing a poem or a novel. And I find it exciting! This is not my first play by a long chalk. Times have changed, I’ve changed, theatre has changed. Which makes it a scary new phase of the creative life of this particular writer.

I’m looking forward very much to sharing this process with you. Search the website with “90 plus” to find blog posts about the progress of this rather amazing and very entertaining play.

The Secret Lives of Extremely Old People: the play

While the play is still in development, the heart and soul of it is firm. Here’s what we can say so far.

90 Plus: the team behind The Secret Lives of Extremely Old People

Meet our core team. Rich in professional experience, unflinching in our desire to challenge the stereotyping of old people.

Why are the nonagenarians in this play like the mighty tecomanthe speciosa?

Read on! Multiple reasons, especially their longevity and courage in old age.

Specific advice on maintaining brain health

We know all the powerful lifestyle tips for keeping a healthy brain: exercise, treat heart and blood pressure assiduously, stay sociable, and so on. But here from Brainfit are practical tips for natural exercises for mind and memory. Lesson to myself: believe in our brains, stop saying we’ve got a bad memory — that’s self-defeating. I’m learning how to do things differently, and of course that’s fun.

Older dancers bring depth to a work about grief

Yes: older dancers have as many advantages as disadvantages. Hard to believe? Watch a short video about a work revived after 16 years: Requiem, music by Karl Jenkins, danced by Crows Feet dancers.

Dandelion clock and old age: our logo

Why choose a dandelion clock as a symbol for old age? We have ideas but we want yours too.

Here’s where you chose a title for this play

I asked you for a tagline but you favoured The Secret Lives of Extremely Old People so emphatically that I changed the title. See? Crowd-sourcing in action. Thanks again! To think I nearly called it 90 Plus Now: how boring, how obscure!

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