"Well, when I left the house this morning I didn't think I'd be yodelling today…!” laughed Setting the Scene participant Ian, during this week's Switzerland themed workshop. Over a cuppa and a delicious Swiss truffle, practitioner Jenn shared with us some fun facts about the nation of Switzerland, including the fact that Swiss men have the longest life expectancy in the world yet the Swiss people eat more chocolate than any other country! She also told us how when walking in the Alps it can feel quite musical because the cows wear bells, the horses wear bells and even some of the sheep wear bells. "Yes, but how many people have bells on?” joked our mischievous Ian.
Following on, we played an example of some traditional music in the form of yodelling and Mary-Gay said that the piece gave her goose pimples. When our group attempted to recreate this iconic sound we perhaps caused more giggles than goose pimples but we had a lot of fun practising the techniques. "When is the van coming for us?” commented Tom wryly.
Next up, practitioner Rachel explained how, with its cold climate and many mountains, Switzerland is a very popular ski destination. Armed with some ski goggles, gloves and a few walking sticks improvised as poles we imagined getting onto a ski lift and set off down the slopes. To the Ski Sunday theme tune we took part in a ski-themed movement exercise in a unique take on musical statues. Excellent marks to Mary-Gay for her exuberant style.
Considering that we'd explained how famous Switzerland was in the art of chocolate making, it seemed unfair not to offer up some tasters. Based on the concept of a chocolate fondue we served up fruit with lashings of chocolate sauce. During this, Jenn shared her experience of encountering an alpine marmot on her holiday, which is a bit like a big, fat squirrel, explaining that its girth was due to hibernating during the frozen winters in the mountains. Given all the chocolate we'd just eaten, this led to a few jokes that we'd be storing fat for the winter too.
The session ended with a beautiful sing-along to Edelweiss and She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain. We had a lovely morning with the group, though perhaps Ian summed it up best. We asked if he'd had a good time and he said, "It's great, you get to know everyone, meet new people and do something a bit different. I think it's really good.” We couldn't agree more and look forward to welcoming everybody back soon.
Setting the Scene is a series of creative sessions provided by Theatre by the Lake, run with support from Amy's Care for people living with dementia and their carers. Sessions are free to attend and are on Thursday mornings at 11.00 - 12.30.
The current block of Setting the Scene will run until 20th December (no session Nov 8). Occasionally sessions take place at alternative locations. For more information, please contact Mary Elliott on 017687 72282 ext. 269.
To hear more about or contribute to Theatre by the Lake's work in Dementia please call our Box Office on 017687 74411