Over the past decade David Greenberger has offered lectures, taught writing workshops, participated in artist conferences and conferences on aging. These outreach programs have served school children just beginning to understand how to structure a story, college students expanding their writing skills, and professionals deepening their practices.
2003 marked the premier of a new work, Legibly Speaking, commissioned by the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art with music composed by the ensemble 3 Leg Torso. There was a tour of northeastern cities in the fall of 2004.
A residency at Atlantic Public Media in Woods Hole, MA for Peabody award-winning independent radio producer Jay Allison collected the voices of elderly Cape Cod residents in the series, Voices of the Cape.
David Greenberger’s residencies and performances reach communities on multiple levels. When Greenberger is preparing a regionally specific work, he visits area seniors in nursing homes and mealsites, engaging them in the conversations that form the basis for a performance. Staff at these facilities, family members and onlookers are exposed to fresh approaches to relating with the seniors in their care and surroundings. A performance by Greenberger distills the conversations into character studies, drawing the audience members into a relationship with the artist, as well as with the character’s he reflects.
Residencies can engage the student population by means of lectures and readings as well as discussions of how one engages in conversations, recognizing and writing stories, and dialogue about the barriers to knowing old people within our society.
Performances can involve area musicians in the formation of a new musical work designed to support, and deepen the emotional qualities of the stories, created in collaboration with Greenberger.
An exhibition of art, An Exact Spectacular is a traveling exhibition of 123 drawings and fifty carved wooden sculptures, showing works by Ed Rogers and Henry Turner. This exhibition can be presented with a lecture and gallery walk guided by Greenberger.
“I'm ever-awed by meeting all sorts of people in decline. Having never known them I don’t mourn their losses and can only move forward with them, accepting them as they are. It's always enigmatic, the act of meeting people and forming relationships - their lives prior to knowing them can never come into complete focus. Shortly after his second stroke, my father started going to a day center and he continued for many years. As soon as he began going he sounded in better spirits; he was genuinely energized by his experience. I would go to the facility with him when I'd visit Atlanta. I saw that the other people were not harboring sadness about his diminished circumstances, they simply accepted him as Frank, the only way the possibly could know him - as he did with them.
“Though I have traveled to and met seniors in other cities around the country, the voices of the Duplex Nursing Home in Boston continue to course through the 25 years of writing. The many people I've met in creating The Duplex Planet now appear to me in my dreams. The act of bearing witness to someone else's life is an honor and this material resonates with anyone who faces aging in one way or another – in short: everybody.”