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Pangea Explores Senior Sex with No Expiration Date

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Pangea World Theater dives into love and sex among the elder set in a new work, called No Expiration Date: Sexuality & Aging, opening this weekend. The work, written by Meena Natarajan, takes stories that came out of a recent University of Minnesota study to create a play that ventures into a topic often not spoken about. 

Natarajan, the executive/literary director at Pangea, started working on the project last year, first by reading the study conducted by two doctors with the Human Sexuality program at the U of M. Doctors Sara Mize and Alex Iantaffi conducted nine focus groups of people in their 50s through their 80s, talking to them about their sexual habits, desires, and frustrations with the added idea of mindfulness.  

"You don't think of an older person as a sexual being," Natarajan says. "When I started reading the study, it was so fascinating. It made me laugh and it made me cry just to read different people's reactions and the healing that happened at the end of it."

The play is made up of the stories that came out of the study, with additional pieces that occur throughout the show. These more abstract scenes involve "word harmonic" moments that help fit everything together. 

Natarajan also employed input from the cast of actors, whose ages range upward from 56 years old. Natarajan would ask them questions, like how their childhood experiences affected how they feel about sex and how they view their bodies. Directed by Dipankar Mukherjee, the cast includes Patricia Enger, Beverly Cottman, Lonny Mclaughlin, Eric Wood, Tinne Rosenmeier, Fawn Wilerson-Legros, Liliana Espondaburu, and Edwin Korte.

Some of the stories that emerged from the study included people struggling to find their sexuality after their life partner died, or the experience of buying toys at a sex store following a divorce. One woman talks about the eye-opening experience of looking through the books available at her assisted living facility. "There are really cute stories from old-timers," Natarajan says. 

Meena Natarajan

Meena Natarajan

IF YOU GO:

No Expiration Date: Sexuality & Aging

June 5-14

Intermedia Arts

Tickets are $8-$15