Gray Scott: The Future of Work and Death

photo-smallThere are many types of people in my life. Actors, Writers, Musicians, Attorneys, Accountants, Futurists. I met Gray during Michael Roderick’s ConnectorCon. A passionate discourse was had about quantum physics over paninis and salads. Little did we know that Gray was the keynote speaker of the event. A friendship struck up and wonderful conversations continued on our future. So when shared his news about being a co-executive producer for his documentary: The Future of Work and Death,  I wanted to learn more so I can share with you.  I asked him to tell me more and he did:

What is the meaning of life? Why are we hear? What is the purpose of life? These fundamental questions have yet to be answered. Until now, it seems humanity has been to busy surviving to answer these questions. That is about to change. Advancements in AI and robotics may allow us to automate everything. How will we live in a future without jobs? Can humanity cope with such a massive paradigm shift?

Will near future medical advancements free us from the chains of natural death? Several recent scientific studies have produced startling, some might say, magical results. Scientists have been able to reverse age in mice. Sounds like science fiction but age reversal has arrived. Human trials may start as soon as next year. So what will human life be like in a world free of work and death?

These are the questions that we hope to answer in THE FUTURE OF WORK AND DEATH.

Directed by Sean Blacknell and Wayne Walsh
Co-Executive Producer and futurist advisor – Gray Scott

BIO:

Gray Scott is a futurist, techno-philosopher, writer and artist. He is the founder and editorial director of SeriousWonder.com, and a professional member of The World Future Society. His work has been featured in and interviewed by the The Futurist Magazine, New York Post, Psychology Today, The Star, FOX5 News NY, San Francisco Magazine, H+ Magazine, IEET, Brighter Brains, Media Disruptus, London Futurists, OracleTalk and The One Way Ticket show. Gray lives in NY and is currently also working as the futurist advisor for EMBERS, a forthcoming sci-fi film.

Be a part of this wonderful project. The perks include producer and IMDB credits. I pledged and so should you.

Thank You, Dr. Angelou

65770636f2645c08d887f79999173d9dSome people are just extraordinarily gifted. They have a way with words. Their thoughts are clear and their intentions pure. These days it’s hard to find a public figure to be a role model. I always looked up to Maya Angelou. I loved her voice especially knowing that she had given it up as a child. She chose the written word instead. What passion and dedication! What a full life. What a power of example. I have seen many interviews and read many articles about her but my favorite is her Master Class on OWN. She stares into the camera and tells her story with love and honor. Because she’s The Phenomenal Woman.

My favorites:

“When people show you who they are, believe them.”

“When you learn, teach, when you get, give.” 

From the Oprah interview on Super Soul Sunday: 

OW: I’ve tried to let people know, as you have taught me over the years, that when you forgive somebody, it doesn’t necessarily mean you want to invite them to your table. 

MA: Indeed not. No, no, no. I don’t even want you around me. It just means I’m finished with you. 

TBB: The Quest of the Hero, Pieces, Mein Uncle

CaptureHappy Memorial Day! This week has been a whirlwind of good art happening in the city. What are the chances of seeing 20 different performers in one night, two original musicals Off-Off Broadway and two offers I can’t refuse? The chances are actually pretty good when you hang out and support with fellow artists. Inspired Word rocks and if you live within the five boroughs then there’s no reason to stay at home writing your songs, poems, short novel in a vacuum. Come and perform. We want to be inspired. How else do artists have the guts to write original musicals? Or write a book on cats or anything like that?! (FYI: I’m not writing a book on cats).

I will be writing about theatre beyond Broadway for The Write Teacher(s). I am looking forward to blogging monthly for them as I have list of phenomenal artists that everyone should know about. Also, I am reading my poetry at the Queens Council of the Arts Block Party at Kaufmann Studios on June 21st. Check out my upcoming events for more info.

Be sure to check out Pieces, The Quest of the Hero & Allie’s Appendix in Planet Connections. Two weeks left. Let me know what you’re doing and…

See you at the show!

Guest Blogger: Isaac Klein’s The School of Doing

UntitledIsaac and I met during his production of See Jane Give Up Dick at last year’s Fringe Festival. We bonded over our mutual passion for theatre and directing. Plus, he makes me laugh and loves puns. When Isaac told me that he was writing a book on his mentor, the well-respected Broadway director and teacher, Gerald Freedman, I felt very connected to that idea. I identified with his feelings about his mentor and funneling that history into a book. Like Isaac, I am still close to my two theatre mentors from undergrad. I still turn to them when I need guidance. I still use the tools that they gave me almost 20 years ago not only in the theatre but in life.

     The greatest teacher I’ve ever had is Gerald Freedman. He revealed to me my true calling, then provided me with the tools I needed to pursue it. There are thousands of others who share this sentiment, in schools, theaters, and communities around the world. Gerald’s singular teachings resound in so many hearts and minds, but they’ve never been written down in full. It is my mission to do so.

     Gerald Freedman was instrumental in some of the most important theater in the last century. As a young man, he went back and forth between directing for the screen in Hollywood, and working in New York with Jerome Robbins, for whom he assistant-directed the original West Side Story. He banded together with Joe Papp, and directed numerous star-studded productions to critical acclaim in the early days of the New York Shakespeare Festival, commonly known as Shakespeare in the Park. Gerald directed the world premiere of the now-legendary musical, Hair, which was also the inaugural production at the newly founded Public Theater. He served as Artistic Director at Stratford’s American Shakespeare Theater and the Great Lakes Theater. He directed celebrated productions on and off-Broadway, won an Obie Award, and was the first American to direct at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in London.

     Despite these extraordinary achievements, Gerald’s most meaningful work happened in the classroom. He has taught acting and directing at Northwestern, Yale, Juilliard, and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he became Dean of the School of Drama in 1991, and proceeded to turn the program into one of the most highly ranked and well-respected drama conservatories in the United States.

     In February 2011, at the age of 84, Gerald suffered a series of strokes. His life has changed drastically since then. Gerald remains in good health and high spirits, but his strokes have left him hindered by aphasia.

     Gerald and I had often discussed the prospect of writing a book together, but soon after his strokes, we agreed it was time to begin the work. We were reminded of life’s fleeting preciousness, and, now that Gerald was retired, he needed a new project to focus on and keep him busy.

    Thus far, I have conducted in-depth interviews with over 90 of Gerald’s colleagues. This list includes Christine Baranski, Olympia Dukakis, Sheldon Harnick, Rosemary Harris, Hal Holbrook, Stacey Keach, Kevin Kline, Shirley Knight, Carol Lawrence, Ming Cho Lee, Patti LuPone, Larry Moss, Jack O’Brien, Hal Prince, Mandy Patinkin, Austin Pendleton, Missi Pyle, Chita Rivera, Alfred Uhry, Robert Waldman, and Sam Waterston.

     I have spent weeks interviewing Gerald in his North Carolina home, and months poring through old notebooks, articles, speeches, videos, and audio recordings of Gerald in action in the classroom.

     Gerald’s philosophy goes far beyond the technical application of craft; it provides fundamental tools for life. “How do I really listen?” “How do I communicate truthfully?” “How do I stay in the moment?” “How do I solve interpersonal problems?” “How do I teach and learn effectively?” “Why do actions speak so much louder than words?” “How do I discover what’s really happening between people?” “Who am I?” The journey to profound personal discovery begins with the key questions of Gerald Freedman’s curriculum.

     I began my work on this book with the earnest intention of creating a record of Gerald’s teaching, of giving back in some small way to the man who gave me my life. I have gained traction and momentum via the profound enthusiasm of everyone I talk to about the book. Over and over I hear: “I am so glad you are doing this.” Gerald has championed so many of us. The time has come for us to turn and champion him, and share his great wisdom with the world.

Piecing Together Pieces: A Look into DID

10338326_894072067285776_1055323499425487029_n (1)About 3 weeks ago, I received an email from Lauren Cunfer asking to be connected to Kristen Penner and Lorelei Mackenzie, writers of Pieces. Lauren is a student at CITYterm and needed more information for her final research paper about musical theatre. Now, it’s no secret that I am a part of the creative team of Pieces. I believe in the message of the show (to bring awareness to Dissociative Identity Disorder) and I believe in the team that created this beautiful musical. I thought the exchange was a wonderful mentoring opportunity. Honestly, kudos to Lauren for sending me an email.

Below is some of the questions asked by Lauren and answered by Kristen. You have 4 more chances to see the show.

What was the most difficult part about creating Pieces?

The structure! With other, more standard musicals, structuring the show is much easier.  But Pieces hold a different challenge than most. We had to include as much of the structure of real DID therapy while including the internal world of Tabby’s alters and also giving her an outside life. That should be three different shows that we combined into one. And the structure has changed numerous times throughout the show’s life thus far and may even change more as it developed. It’s a process.

Why did you choose to create this specific musical?

The idea sprung from my mind in college as I was deciding on the topic of my thesis. I had actually grown up being very familiar with the disorder (I knew 2 multiples growing up). And so after watching Sybil and reading numerous case studies, I decided on “How to accurately portray DID onstage and why it is important to do so.” From that point on I wanted to write a stage show centering round the disorder. My advisor for my thesis knew my heart had always been with musicals and one day she asked me why I didn’t just write a musical about it. At the time I scoffed, thinking it was too deep of a topic for a musical. But that as where the idea began. And the rest is history.

Was the idea of creating a completely original musical daunting to you?

Yes. Very. It is always scary starting a new project from scratch.  But we have an amazing team. And we are passionate about the topic. Combine those two things and you are doing a disservice to the world NOT pursuing your idea.

How did you take into account the many people who would be watching the show when you were creating it? How do you try to gear your show towards different audiences?

We knew we had to make the music and the story accessible to the general public. It’s a tough topic and not something that necessarily cries “Broadway Hit.” We knew we wanted the main focus to be about Tabby and her journey towards healing, we knew we wanted a love story, we knew one of the goals was to have the disorder be more understood by the end of the show. And with those parameters we began work. We also made sure to give the show plenty of levity- it’s a hard topic and we didn’t want to lose the audience by beating them over the head with the abuse. That wasn’t the point of the show anyway. The show is about hope and that’s what we wanted to showcase. We try to make the story and the music accessible. Especially in Pieces, there are so many different styles of music that at least some song should appeal to everyone. Whether they like, rock, musical theatre, or classical, Pieces has it. And the story, although centering around a very specific disorder, is a universal one. Everyone at some point in their life has trouble reconciling the different parts of themselves. Becoming whole. Loving themselves for who they are. Putting the past behind them. All of these things are the basis for the show.

Click HERE to listen to a few songs from the show.


Wednesday, May 28 at 5:30pm
Friday, May 30 at 9pm 
Saturday, May 31 at 8:30pm
Monday, June 2 at 4:30pm

PERFORMANCE VENUE:
Paradise Factory Upstairs Theatre at 64 East 4th Street

Book, Music and Lyrics by
Kristen Penner, Lorelei Mackenzie and Joni Ernst

Directed by Nick Radu

Tabby doesn’t know why time slips through her fingers like sand. But her alters, created to protect her, know. They know what’s locked away. But when survival depends on confronting those terrors, will Tabby and her alters be strong enough to look? Or will the darkness destroy them all?

From the award-winning creators of Pageant Princess, the provocative new musical Pieces tells the story of Tabby Morgan, a woman that has Dissociative Identity Disorder, who is desperately trying to survive in a world that she can’t remember experiencing. But her alternate personalities can. Along with Tabby, her alters bring a unique touch to the story that is all their own. Each of the alters is played by a different actor to give the audience a clear idea of how each personality sees themselves. They each also hold a different style of music; from rock to classic, jazz to contemporary musical theatre, their personalities shine through the electric score.

Stepping Out of the Box

IMG_8022-001What a weekend! Today’s post will be full of gratitude. The weather was beautiful this weekend and I definitely took advantage of it. Many thanks to everyone who supported my shows in Planet Connections – Pieces, The Quest of the Hero and Allie’s Appendix – as well as all the other great pieces. Congrats to Josh Rivedal and his amazing one man show this weekend. What a performance!

Much love to those who came to the Victorian Tea Wedding at Maple Grove Cemetery. It was fun to dress in costume and be in the ceremony. Kudos to the poets at Inspired Word’s Poetry Slam at Funkadelic Studios. Being a judge reminded me that poetry slam is next on my list to do!

I spent yesterday running around the city on a relationship building scavenger hunt. I met some great people through Small Pond Enterprises‘ event. Unfortunately, I can’t go into detail here about one of the places I visited. I will say this though:

Unless we step outside of our box, we will never know what else is out there waiting for us. Walk through the fire folks!

And…

See you at the show!

Queens Impact Awards Impact Others

photo (1)Usually I write about being in a room of creatives and loving the energy that wildly erupts. Well, last night I was in a room full of do-gooders who were being recognized by the Times Ledger through the Queens Impact Awards. It was a wonderful night. Lots of gratitude. Lots of love. Lots of service. These 27 recipients covered all of Queens as well as the areas of arts, medicine, higher education, civic scene, entrepreneurs and community service. Whether it was Salvatore Lopizzo creating YANA – You Are Never Alone – in the Rockaways to help the post-Sandy community or Audra Fordin creating Women Auto Know – empowering women about car mechanics, we were all united by one common goal:

To be of ultimate service to others through our best talents.

My friend, Valerie, says that 50% is showing up. I agree. Just by sitting there and listening, I am inspired to do something. And I do with Theatre Beyond Broadway and Friends of Maple Grove Cemetery.

Here’s a great note on inspiration:

When I slow down and listen I find inspiration. In contrast, when I was young, I thought the creative process was putting blinders up to the world with the idea that I could make something ‘uniquely from Me’. I thought that if I could come up with something no one had ever seen before, I would be special; I would be somebody.

Me, Me, Me! I was constantly reinventing the wheel and I thought I was clever in the process, but my resources were limited and so was my output. My childish misconceptions, My Ego, were suppressing my true creative flow. Later, attending artists’ workshops and poetry readings, I came to realize that the creative process is an act of opening up to, not shutting out from, what other artists are doing. I am one, my life stops at the corner of my experiences.  But, when I slow down, and open up to listen to other artist’s stories, I can grow exponentially. My life opens up to the corner your experiences.  It is about being present and listening so we are part of the ebb and flow of taking-in–putting-out –taking-in. Great people have been thinking and rethinking, feeling and re-feeling, since the beginning of time. Ideas are not new. I only have new ways of synthesizing them. When I show up, slow down, and listen, authentic creation comes. I can grow at a faster pace. It is as if I take the ideas and feelings I’ve collected home in a basket and rocked them in an old comfortable rocking chair until they become new again.  – Patty Marcinek Yaverski

 

 

Reacting v. Responding

51MfVDOlEkL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Once upon a time, in what seemed like a lifetime ago, I overreacted to every little thing that happened to me or someone else. I didn’t have a filter so I made snap judgments. None of it instinctual. None of it fact-based. None of it fair.  I would act on whatever emotion I was feeling in the moment to the chagrin of my husband and very close friends. I thought feelings were facts and that I had a right to tell the world everything that I was feeling. I asked myself why everything was so complicated, why the world hated me and why was nothing going the way I wanted it to go.

Then I had a moment of clarity. I asked for advice and was told from people I respected that I was the problem. Yikes. That’s a scary thing for an egomaniac to hear. Since I wanted to be released from my own crazy and be a functioning member of society, I started to do some work on myself. I decided to make some changes. The first one was learning how to respond rather than react.  For me, responding is taking the pause to allow the feelings to flow through me. I do this in many ways: writing it down, moving a muscle to change the thought, calling a wise friend. When I am done, I am usually relieved of the crazy I was feeling. I think clearer. I handle the situation better than if I was still in all-about-me land. Not that I don’t love that land. I have my own theme song. If I react, nothing good will come out of the situation at hand for me. That’s because I am going off my emotions and become accusatory.

As someone who has also been on the receiving end of a reaction, it kinda sucks. Though I have learned to not take everything personally (thank you The Four Agreements), it’s still hard not to separate what is being said from why it is being said. Thankfully, I have a special circle of people who I can go to guide me past my impulse to react.  It’s never easy. I don’t do it perfect. I just try my best.

 

Victorian Wedding of Mary & Jonan Coward; The Gospel According to Josh

imageThis weekend I am going to be a guest at The Victorian Tea Wedding at Maple Grove Cemetery. My husband, Ian, is portraying Jacob Riis as best man. and my best galpal, Amanda Doria is Elizabeth Riis as matron of honor. So there will be a toast and singing and celebration. The bride and groom, Mary and Jonan Coward, were separated during the Civil War and didn’t reunite until 50 years later. Friends of Maple Grove Cemetery is giving them, who are buried side by side, the wedding they never got to have as teenagers.

Very cool!

Planet Connections opens this week. If you follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook or are part of the Facebook Group page, then you’ll be reading all about about the shows that are going up.

Check out the listings to the right and http://www.theatrebeyondbroadway.com for more info.

See you at the show!


Capture

Josh Rivedal returns to New York City with a limited run of his show. I promoted his book last summer and am excited about seeing his one man show.

There’s a group of us attending opening night so I’d love for you to join us. Send me an email at Malini@theatrebeyondbroadway.com for more info.

From The Maury Povich Show to Huffington Post columnist, the critically acclaimed show returns for a limited engagement.
Tortured by his thoughts, Josh finds himself standing on the ledge of a 4th floor window, contemplating jumping out to end it all; in a moment of truth, he must reach out to the only person who can help him before it’s too late. Featuring cameos by Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis Jr., and Elvis; The Gospel According to Josh is a comedic and poignant true-to-life tale of love, loss, struggle, and survival. It’s a gospel account of one young man’s passage into manhood:  his 28-year Gentile bar mitzvah.

A journey through depression and coming out the other side…

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE
FRIDAY, MAY 16 at 7PM,
SATURDAY, MAY 17 at 2PM & 7PM
SUNDAY, MAY 18 at 3PM

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Guest Blogger: Linda Gnat-Mullin Shares How Kisses Started

kisses-out-of-the-blueAbout a month ago, I met and interviewed Linda for International Women Artist’s Salon Radio. She was our guest solo artist there to discuss her book Kisses Out of the Blue. We bonded right away because I am a hugger. Those who know me know that I say hi by hugging. It does throw people off but that’s who I am. I asked Linda what was the impetus to transition to the area of wellness. Then she told me the following:

Plastic bags. The F-22. Cigarettes. Nuclear energy. Porcelain collectibles. For nearly thirty years as an advertising copywriter, I wrote glorious junk about serious junk.

In 1999, after a day of meeting with a big banking client, my brain departed for thirty-six hours. Transient Global Amnesia. When consciousness returned, the message was clear: we all come here with a mission and I was screwing mine up.

There were earlier, gentler communications I had ignored. You see, I had always loved intuition and powers of mind. Even as a kid, I was fascinated by hypnotists on television. Starting in the 1970’s, I had learned several systems of healing, including Reiki. But I didn’t see a real place in this world for a healer/helper me. The amnesia finally taught me that it was time to get going.

I opened my Reiki practice in 2001. At the start, some clients had a conventional response to a session: receive energy, bliss out, float home. Neat and simple.

But life isn’t simple, life is messy, life throws you curves. Other clients came to me with strange constellations of symptoms. Clearly, I had to see the body as considerably more than a briefcase for brains. I had to learn its wisdom. I studied several shamanistic traditions and energy systems, Jungian archetypal work, soul retrieval, past life regression, mediumship, parts therapy, and spirit healing. Over twelve years, I learned to assist people in releasing deeply held effects of the past without re- traumatizing, so they could live their truth.

Ultimately, I believe that earth is the planet of distraction. We come here to clean up serious karma and do soul-stuff, but we can get off-course from all that earth demands. So we can also create lots of new karma in quick order. It’s like being at the high-stakes table.

I wanted to offer a gentle reminder, a little perspective, some help in the form of a book. It took me seven years to understand how to write my book. Piles of scribbled, chai-stained pages attest to it. Finally, it came to me: write the book I would like to read. Kisses Out of the Blue offers twenty-two strange and true stories, with lots of room for you as the reader to decide what to take away. At the end, some questions. In this book, I am telling you true and sometimes funny stories about life, work, healing. Showing you what lies beyond the obvious.

Giving you an opportunity to see your own life in a new and different way.

People have told me that these stories move their energy. They love that I don’t tell them what to do. They like how the book widens their perspective. They read it more than once. Readers keep it near their beds, even under their pillows. This is good. Perhaps with Kisses Out of the Blue, any wake-up call you may require will be as gentle and inviting as…well, you know!

Linda Gnat-Mullin

lindagnatmullin@gmail.com

NOTE: Kisses is available on Amazon, B&N, and other online retailers.

Reading and Book Signing

Sunday, June 1
The 440 Gallery
440 6th Avenue (Bet. 9th and 10th) in Park Slope.
4:40 pm