A New Wrinkle! A musical revue that illuminates the pleasures and opportunities of aging

 

A New Wrinkle spotlights some of the key issues, pleasures, developmental tasks and challenges of aging. The play’s witty, provocative songs investigate links between creativity and wellness in later life, propose innovative ways to counter ageism, explore retirement, re-invention, risk-taking and adventure and describes age as a valuable stage of human development.

The Songs (click on links for lyrics):

Passing for Young takes a witty look at our cultural fetish about looking young.

Hip Hop Elder’s Rant protests marginalizing, stigmatizing, and other forms of dismissal with an invective edge.

In Baba Yaga’s Raga the hag from Russian folklore describes the advantages of being an archetypal dangerous old woman.

Reclaiming Old is a choral piece that explores positive aspects of aging and of older people.

Retirement, Refirement and Re-Invention focuses on creative ways to approach the later years.

Acid and Acid Reflux: Reflections on Drugs and Medications provides
a humorous look at how experience regarding drugs and medications has changed over the years.

Are You Gonna Take it with You to the Grave? takes a humorous look at long-held grudges and the value of forgiveness and resolution.

Sex After Sixty playfully reveals the lively, ongoing interest of many elders in intimacy and sex.

Ancestors is a choral piece inspired by an ancient Celtic poem.

Why My Grandma Belongs in the Elder Hall of Fame – a grandchild sings a lullaby about Grandma’s well-lived life.

Scintillating Secrets of the Older Brain spotlights exciting new research and the potential for continued learning, growth and creativity in later life.

Death is Right Around the Corner is a song that reflects on matters of life and depth with Death sharing his unique perspective.

 

Script and lyrics by Gaea Yudron
Music by Laura Rich

Passing For Young
Once upon a time not so very long ago
Blacks they passed for white and
Gays they passed for straight
And speaking in the latest tongue
Ringing all bells that can be rung
I’m going to pass for young.
What, is it wrong? No way!
70 is the new 50
60 is the new 40
50 is the new 30
Turn back the clocks!
Botox! Restylane!
Body shaping liposuction
A little nip, a little tuck, a little surgery
And you’ll evade time’s tyranny.
Look at my face
Does it sag or does it flap?
If wrinkles give me character
I say, erase, erase!
I don’t want to look like Rumplestiltskin
Even if it rhymes with Paris Hilton!
I’m going to pass for young because
70 is the new 50
60 is the new 40
50 is the new 30
Botox Restylane
Body shaping fat reduction
You can have a little liposuction
Turn back the clocks!
Marilyn Monroe insisted
that her face would not get lifted
but she died very young so I think she would have shifted
I have my anti-aging strategy
I stay trim and dye my hair religiously
and never mention the Big D!
70 is the new 50
60 is the new 40
50 is the new 30
40 is the new 20
Turn back the clocks!Just do the math!
And draw your own conclusions…
Chorus

When you took your old face off
and the wrinkles escaped
What happened to what was
written all over your face?
When you put the new face forward
When you put the smooth face on
Where did it go, the map you made
dancing along with life?
Let’s face it; you could have lost face there.

From the musical revue A New Wrinkle
Copyright 2015 Gaea Yudron

Hip Hop Elder’s Rant
Oh listen up, I was young already.
But you have never been old.
So I am one up. Bim bam! Hold everything!
Forget your flim flam.
I ain’t your sweet little old man. Damn!
Being nice is too high a price
if you put me on ice cause I’m old.
Don’t diss my age, don’t turn your eyes away
as if I don’t exist. It’s lame.
Stigmatize, marginalize…
Why play that sad little game? Huh!
Just like you, I’m bona fide unique
before geeks showed up I was a freak
I like being listened to when I speak.
I know the meaning of the word oblique
I have my own mystique
So listen to me, check out what I have to say.
I’m giving you this rant
this portent, this lament
It glints. I want to wake you up
from sleepwalking, badmouth talking
the nightmare coverup
it takes a dragon’s scalding breath
to burn through the scam –
that’s why I’m your man.
What I mean: folks scared of their own shadows
herding old people into ghettoes
like lepers niggers or untouchables
The way they segregate, overmedicate and restrain
does a number on my heart and brain. And the names!!
crock! bed blocker! subhuman piece of shit!
Damn! people treat their dogs better than that!
You call that elder care? Insane—
to me it seems like torture
And dude that’s not what I lived 7 decades for!
Who brainwashed you to the belief
that old age is a bad disease?
You people are obsessed and dense:
in spite of all the evidence
of well-being and longevity
you keep outdated references,
insist that aging’s a catastrophe
that guarantees senility,
a steep and sure decline
Hey, wake up: most old people are doing just fine
If you’d read any studies, you’d know I’m not lyin….
Sometimes I think you’re just afraid of dyin’….
What do you expect at your age? Some bozo asks
Seems he thinks I should shuffle like a misfit.
The guy lacks wit. Told the poor clueless schmoo,
I got my work to do.
I’m agitatin’ ‘til eradication of this ageist shit
expect to be a righteous sage with a bit of an edge.
Won’t stand for being treated grievously
as I believe I said previously
I want my rights both human and civil…
I’m on the level
I’d rather wrap myself into a sheet
and pray my prayers out on the street
than get bundled off to the old folks prison
just because I’m frail or wizened.
Longevity is quite a gift
Something to celebrate not mourn.
So let’s shift together, let’s shift
Into increased affinity
Are you with me?

From the musical revue A New Wrinkle
Copyright 2015 Gaea Yudron

Baba Yaga’s Raga
I’m glad that I’m a universal symbol
rather than a more specific mortal.
I’m someone mythologically occult
impervious to all insult
I’m unashamed of how I might appear
no matter just how absolutely queer
my bony shins and greasy hair.
I see you stare and do not care
I’m a mythological figure
that’s the kind of figure that I cut
Marie Antoinette I’m not, so what?
I’m happy singing Baba Yaga’s Raga.
Living in the forest free
to ride the wind and wend
between what’s seen and what’s unseen
The Mother of All Hags– that’s me
my house stands up on chicken legs
it twirls and never sleeps
it makes a fearful frightening sound
that gives the people creeps
and that’s okay
yes that’s just fine with me.
Most fortunate and to my joy
no Disney animation freaks
have turned me into Looney Tunes
my squawks and groans remain my own.
About my age I never fret
demand respect—it’s what I get.
Rash offenders are beheaded!
Here in the mythical dimension
We’re unconfined by convention
I’m glad to be a universal symbol
Rather than an ordinary mortal.
I’m happy singing Baba Yaga’s Raga.
Being archetypal is delightful!
It may not be your cup of tea
But it works for me.

From the musical revue A New Wrinkle
Copyright 2015 Gaea Yudron

Song Of The Chorus: Reclaiming Old
Old. Now we reclaim the word
Old, the word whose roots mean “to nourish.”
The world is old, ensouled with meaning
It breathes us in and out.
We fall into the ruins of the past.
magic animals painted long ago
hieroglyphs whose meaning we no longer know.
What lasts sustains the heart somehow.
We were untried when we were young
thirsty for life
beautiful to see
we hurled ourselves at life
tasting nectars as they came our way
We knew nothing of time’s alchemy
how it would test and change us.
The soul is hidden in the world
A pearl refined from friction and travail
Bliss brings its brightness
Loss, betrayal, each misstep and each success—
a patina gathers into oldness.
Should we hide this gift
Conceal it from the world
try to pass as young eternally?
(They laugh with a lot of gusto)
The young are still untried.
Why should we take them as our guide?
Bless them—how much they think they know
Bless them, bless their hearts and souls.
Young forests and old forests are different.
Now we are old
halfway to the spirit world
Looking back at what we’ve done
Released from many things
that troubled us when we were young
Free to be what we’ve become.
Old has a purpose
Old knows how to make things flourish
Old knows what a gift it is to nourish.

From the musical revue A New Wrinkle
Copyright 2015 Gaea Yudron

3 Rs: Retirement, Refirement, Re-invention
The kids are grown; we’re on our own, starting all over again.
First time since I can’t remember when.
time to decompress—figure out what’s next.
We could go on the road,
like folks who think it’s nifty
to drive around in a big RV.
Might work for a few weeks, maybe.
Should we relocate to Bermuda or Belize?
Beach days sound pretty nice
would that satisfy the rest of our lives?
Yeah, feels good to downshift,
but we don’t want to call it quits
We missed the Peace Corps years before
should we join now, fly to a distant shore?
Turkey, Nambia, Bangalore…
how should we glide into this part of life?

2.
Yes I was a CEO O O O who made a lot of dough O O O O
had a high octane life and a trophy wife,
big wine cellar, fine chateau
it was a very nice slice of paradise.
Didn’t last: fast cosmic blast
took a fall, lost it all
but now I am a lot more free
I’m traveling light, reviewing life
Every day’s a gift to me
When I can, I heal the past
Make friends with uncertainty,
Everything is temporary
on this rather brief journey.

3.
No more watching the clocks
No more monthly reports,
office politics, working the rolladex.
No more wearing hosiery!
nobody ever told me
how sublime it could be
to live in natural time
free from every trace of hurry.
hours spent watching the clouds
unexpected grace
of a garden filled with flowers,
an ant’s slow passage on the earth
flowers abuzz with bees
the night lit up with fireflies
like a forgotten treasure
the wild ecstasy of childhood and
its rapt pleasure have returned to me.
the glint of sun on grass
time opens out into eternity
with quivering
Iridescent wings
the dragonfly
dissolves into the sky.
From the musical revue A New Wrinkle
Copyright 2015 Gaea Yudron

Acid and Acid Reflux: Reflections on Drugs and Medications
The drugs you people took when you were young!
You hippie freaks who loved the Rolling Stones
You freaks who hated war and greed,
whose pleasure was in smoking weed
sickened by hypocrisy
lost faith in society
really wanting to be free
of a half-dead reality
where stupendous cosmic energies
lay still as Sleeping Beauty.
In your quest for the authentic and sublime
you dropped some LSD from time to time
these days you may sound evangelic
about your trips so psychedelic
what you learned back in the day
decades before your hair turned gray.
Having sex is much more fun
than shooting someone with a gun.
Make love not war!
Violence we sure abhor.
Global warming climate change
Glaciers melting hurricanes
Wars are raging, we are aging
Earth needs saving
That’s for sure.
Smoking pot was really radical olé
marijuana’s simply medical today
all you need’s a card to get it
and you needn’t even fret it
How strangely hypothetical
That weed is finally legal.
Counter culture: part 2…
As I was saying…
Humans are incredibly complex HEY HEY
Some take five prescription drugs a day
some ascribe their good condition
to avoiding doctors like perdition.
you may think this is heretical
or health-wise antithetical
and you may think that it shows wisdom
to choose the present health care system.
you may not even dare
to question choices in your own health care.
But I ask you—(this is spoken)
What’s the right medicine for you for sure?
Don’t be so reticent, be willing to explore.
Should you take Lipitor
should you go to Zanzibar?
Sometimes a perfect remedy
Is sunbathing in Bimini.
The doctors say to get more rest
Your cure’s a hot blonde on your chest.
These types of wishes and sensations
May impact your choice of medications.
I like a potion with a bit of brimstone
And that is why my remedy is Prednisone.
Its side effects are legendary
quote me on the TV
but don’t expect me to appear
for I’ll be far away from here
deep in the forest where I dwell
doing magic casting spells
far from ship’s bells, jail cells and motels.
Remember to be subversive,
or you probably will be worse off!

From the musical revue A New Wrinkle
Copyright 2015 Gaea Yudron

Are You Going To Take It With You To The Grave?
When I set eyes upon that man
got so hot I had to use a fan
as he walked by 10 past 11
thought I’d died and gone to heaven.
Right away I had a plan
to snag him as my mister
and everything was really grand
until he shagged my sister
I chased them with an ax
I chased them with a gun
I chased them with a javelin
Just to see them run.
Twenty years ago this week
Not a day goes by
When I don’t damn them both to hell
For how they made me cry.
Are you gonna take it with you to the grave?
So love’s nectar turned to sludge
Are you gonna nurse that grudge
till you become its slave?
Are you gonna take it with you to the grave?
Ten years ago I loaned 10 grand to Jane,
My buddy from the age of 10
And though she was my dearest friend
I never heard from her again.
When people say that cursed word– Jane.
I feel a real bad shooting pain
Oooohhh! Woe! She wronged me long ago.
May her prospects wane,
may rats eat all her grain
Let fall the pestilential rain
Let fall the pestilential rain.
Are you gonna take it with you to the grave?
So love’s nectar turned to sludge–
Are you gonna nurse that grudge
till you become its slave?
Are you gonna take it with you to the grave?
I do believe our Uncle Clem
Should get the prize for nasty kin
We would be a wealthy clan
Except for that appalling man
that shameful Uncle Clem
sure knew how to betray.
I can’t forgive, I can’t forget
his exploits fill my head
even though the bastard’s dead
i hope he suffers for all eternity
for the way he ruined our family.
Are you gonna take it with you to the grave?
So love’s nectar turned to sludge–
Are you gonna nurse that grudge
till you become its slave?
Are you gonna take it with you to the grave?

From the musical revue A New Wrinkle
Copyright 2015 Gaea Yudron

Sex After 60
Some old people are like Sophocles
They think it is a big relief
That as they age, libido leaves.
It’s just as well, some will say.
O lalalalala
Too old for that. They’ve had their day.
Their sex life’s in the past. It’s gone.
Correct me if you think I’m wrong
you don’t expect the ancestors
to roll out in the meadow grass
under the trail of shooting stars
voluptuary luminaries.
That’s how much you know
about love’s glow—shine.
Peace to those who find it muy placido
To be released from their libido
And to those who still smoulder—a little bit slower—
While doing the fandango and tango
with their well-seasoned mango
from here to Durango.
Don’t you think it’s good news
that pleasure’s not reserved for use
by the beautiful and young
the beat goes on
so even when you’re old
you still like your jelly roll? Uh huh.
Ahhh s-e-x….a passionate embrace
a gift that opens out to brilliant space.
Within it all, this is our song
“To love that well
which thou must leave ere long.”

From the musical revue A New Wrinkle
Copyright 2015 Gaea Yudron

Ancestors: A Song for the Chorus
I am the lamp that lights the darkness
I am the needed medicine
I am the ancient forest
I am a hill of poetry
I shift my shape
I am the ship’s main mast
I am a blue bird
I am the beautiful flower
the dewdrop shining in the sun
I am the word of knowledge
I am a bridge across time and space
I am the messenger, the conduit, the keeper of archives
I hold the wisdom of the long story
I am halfway to the spirit world.
I am the one who nourishes
the one who holds the children softly.
Who but I knows the secrets of the unstruck music?

From the musical revue A New Wrinkle
Copyright 2015 Gaea Yudron

Why My Grandma Should Be In The Elder Hall Of Fame
I think I am a very lucky child
because my grandma is quite wild.
There’s lots of reasons why I gave her name
to the Elder Hall of Fame.
She should get a prize!
Her skin is wrinkled as a tree. I like to keep her company.
She does not have a TV!
According to my Grandma Anne
“TV fries imagination,
shreds the art of conversation
leaves you beguiled with stuff that’s second-hand.
Honey, she advises me
get life fresh, not canned.”
She knows about board feet. She poured concrete.
With her hands she built a house
made of adobe, just outside of Taos.
She sailed upon a dhow in the Arabian Sea
She has planted many trees
And even lived communally.
she played the flute in Pocatallo
taught high school, met an amazing fellow
and raised four kids, one of them’s my mother.
I would not trade my grandma for another.

From the musical revue A New Wrinkle
Copyright 2015 Gaea Yudron

Scintillating Secrets Of The Older Brain
When he was 60, dear Sigmund Freud
enjoyed big thoughts and wrote big books (just fine)
Yet he believed the older brain was past its prime
Then everyone believed it for some time.
Thus arose the popular refrain
can’t teach old dogs new tricks.
There’s folks believe it still, they will insist
cognition peaks at 25, then it declines,
discovery’s the business of much younger minds
these youth of whom we speak
bring forth the new techniques
So they will say.
Please keep your wits about you when in company
of those who hold such prehistoric views
and when you can, do share this news.
(Like a newscaster)
New research shows cognition peaks midlife or older—
midlife or older! Cognition peaks midlife or older.
(the following line is sung operatically)
Farewell, outdated theories of the human brain!
Thinking and creating all those years
Means you’ve got dendrite density my dears
forest of dendrites in your brain—branches that shimmer
the woodlands in the younger brain are so much thinner
youth needs more time to grow a wiser mind.
Memories, insights, lifelong skills and great imagination
Brings a capacity for complex cogitation
Now everything you know is an architecture
ready to be orchestrated with a flare
that only you can muster!
And why use one hemisphere when you can use two?
Though few folks know it—that’s exactly what older people do.
Bi-lateral brain activity –a proclivity that grows with age
the stage when you gain access to life’s whole archive
holistically—synergistically—and on dual drive.
Though the subject has not made headlines yet
Don’t let that stop you from enjoying it!

(the following line is sung operatically)
Scintillating secrets of the older brain!
Let’s not forget the almond-shaped amygdala—
With time, torrential storms of feeling
that earlier sent us reeling no longer blow through town.
That’s right! Old people mellow into greater wisdom
and partly that’s due to the amygdala and limbic system.
Farewell outdated theories of the human brain!
In other words,
Be erudite or recondite
be smart, be wise, embody equipoise
be an authority or a magician
be prone to flights of great imagination
raise your expectations
set aside your reservations
engage big neural fireworks
& join the celebration!

From the musical revue A New Wrinkle
Copyright 2015 Gaea Yudron

Death is Right around the Corner
1.
When I was young my hours in bed
included James or Seth
In bed these days I read Carl Jung
and think of Mr. Death.
According to Jung preparing for death
is the task of the later years.
Late at night when in the dark
the whole world disappears
there are times when I can hear
the radiant music of the spheres
a resonance that’s calling me
from time into eternity.
2.
Human life is transitory
and meeting death is mandatory
In fact, he’s right around the corner
waiting to sweep up the next goner.
Ah, the brilliance of impermanence!
My torrid orchid, it’s real, not morbid!
We’ll pop the cork one day.
Now’s the time to practice giveaway.
Pass on your precious rings
let go of all the stories,
right wing, left wing, bling bling, ka ching
We must surrender everything,
addiction to games of chance
that glorious fling, Beijing in spring,
that fascination with the ambulance
and even if you are fond of abstinence
you must refrain, I mean abstain.
3.
Make sure to send a very lazy man to go for the Angel of Death
for I am loath to leave you love.
You are my path,
my tiger burning bright,
my bath of light
my very life
my mirror and my map, my breath.
4.
Humans are a funny race,
you’d think they’d welcome any chance
to drop the load they carry, discard that worn out body
fly out beyond the bounds of time and space.
But no, they think in such small ways
and crave what’s visible and known
being highly sentimental
fearing otherworldly tones
so even if a transcendental
choir of angels came to praise
they’d still be glued to their cell phones.
Well that’s their pickle. I have my own.
They run away. No one will play.
I feel rejected and alone!
It’s no help to have the name Grim Reaper
which makes them weep and groan.
I want a name like Diving Deeper
something that will help them see
there’s no need to flee from me
as they drop their mortal shell
they can do it peacefully
they can do it willingly
and be a whole lot freer.
Death! it’s a hard job but somebody’s got to do it.

From the musical revue A New Wrinkle
Copyright 2015 Gaea Yudron