Mark Travis used his past regret to create opportunities for others.
“It was about 20 years ago and my grandmother said to me before she died she wanted to see the Boston Red Sox play one more time. Well, I never did take her. This was the year before she died and they even went to the World Series that year. The opportunity was there had I acted on it,” he said.
Instead of focusing on the past, Travis launched a program to help bring entertainment and happiness to senior citizens.
Travis is a writer, director, producer, teacher and the founder of “Adopt a Senior Citizen” (A.A.S.C), a program that encourages theater-goers to donate money so a senior citizen can go to the theater.
“This would get the senior out of their retirement home. To me these places are like storage units. They just seem sad. These are the people who brought us into the world and I want to honor them,” Travis said.
A.A.S.C. contacts certain theaters to see if they want them to send their sponsored seniors, but on one condition they have to treat them special, Travis said.
“When they get to the show they need to be treated like royalty. They should be greeted off the bus, guided into the theater, helped to their seats and given good refreshments,” Travis said.
Wilson Wong the coordinator of residential recreations at the Motion Picture and Television Fund Retirement Home said he is always looking for creative and high quality interaction for their residence. Their senior citizens were taken to Theatre West in Hollywood and saw Arthur Miller’s “The Price.”
“Mark addresses the issues our senior citizens are facing. They can’t afford leisure activities on a fixed income because medical costs are high and the cost of living on Social Security is an issue,” Wong said.
Lilianna Adams, 87, of Woodland Hills, is an actress and a four-year resident at the retirement home. She said she and 25 other senior citizens jumped on the opportunity to see live theatre as a part of the A.A.S.C. program.
“It’s hard to get out because of age and infirmities. I don’t like going all the way to Las Vegas, so when they said we could go to the theater I was thrilled,” Adams said. “The staff and Mark Travis were all so gracious. It was beautifully done.”
“The last thing I want them to sacrifice at this point in their lives is having fun. I saw their faces light up. Theater isn’t like a movie, it’s an entirely different experience,” Wong said.