In my other life, as a journalist, I’m mired in that awful smell outside of our town, the floodwaters, and the upcoming things to which we’re looking forward. How I wish I could have been at a music festival called Rhythm on the River, but issues got in the way. Similar issues will likely deliver a disappointment next weekend, too, and next Saturday I really need something fun to do, to be around people. But, such is life.

Have you ever felt like you were done, just tired, wanted to go home (only to no home that exists now if it ever did), to make arrangements in case you’re not there to finish what you started, to disappear? That’s me now, and it’s not a good time to be in this place.

We need more assets and resources from somewhere. I’m even thinking of visiting some business people and entrepreneurs I know to figure out how to generate some.

There is good news: Times Square Chronicles did a profile of our work, our upcoming performances of Maximalista (#MentalHealthPlay). Read about it here.

The cast and crew are so excited about their work on this show, and that’s what makes the stressors worth it. They’re exceeding director Cammerron Baits’ expectations, and it’s going to be a glorious performance run. I believe that, even as I feel the unmet needs of the show.

We must ramp up the production side. I’m so happy we gave ourselves generous time in pre-production, but now we’re in the mix and have a big need to make it happen.

City of Love

I was in New York City at the finish of May and start of June for a journalism fellowship at Columbia University Journalism School. I’ve been home a week, and I still can’t begin to describe how amazing it was.

After the fellowship closed Saturday afternoon, June 2, I put my artist hat back on. I met up with director and original cast members of Maximalista (#MentalHealthPlay) and I happened upon Bryant Park, where they were setting up for a musical performance.

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Scattered across the grass were music lovers also loving one another. I captured those images in the still-bright sunlight of early evening. My own soul surged with love, and a tinge of loneliness as I wished I could have a companion for these moments.

So much of artistry, even in a collaborative art like theater, is done in solitude. I trade a social life for the adventure of telling everyone’s story on the pages of the newspaper, the bandwidth of the web page, the blogosphere here, and on the screen and stage.

When I’m working, I trade affection and companionship for the opportunities to be in New York, in Boston, and I hope soon in other places to have my artistry come to life on stage.

Usually it’s a quite fair trade and I feel there’s not much I’ve missed.

Sometimes, though, I would trade an opportunity for a hug, a kiss, a word of encouragement, or just the companionship that comes with seeing the same thing at the same time, together.

Enough of that. Time moves and so does the pace of performance. Maximalista is in rehearsals. Today, director Cammerron Baits did a film shoot of flashbacks and mind obsessions, which will play on projections during the show.

I’ve seen some stills, and while I was hesitant at first, I believe it will be phenomenal.

You can spread love and joy in your city, right where you are.

NY Summerfest – 1,000 supporters/$10

One thousand.

That’s the number of supporters we seek to make Maximalista at NY Summerfest happen.

Watch the video:

Why do we need upwards of $10,000?Because we want to pay the human beings who make this possible a living wage for their 60 or more hours of rehearsal and the immense prep time it will take to make this the amazing experience we know it can be.

Because this may be The Big One and lead to a full-length, full run in New York City.

Because we want to partner with the best people on the ground innovating new ways to deal with people who have mental illness.

Because this is a model case for projects all over the nation and perhaps beyond.

Because so many hours and so much love has already gone into this show.

Because we’re ready to transform the world.

#MentalHealthPlay goes to NY Summerfest!

mentalhealthplayWe’re in!

The amazing news: #MentalHealthPlay is part of NYSummerfest to be performed Labor Day weekend, Sept. 1 at 1 p.m. and Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. in the beautiful Hudson Guild Theater, at 441 W. 26 St.(between 9th and 10th Avenues).

I keep picturing it in a show tent with bleachers or something, and then I pinch myself to remember it’s in a fantastic theater and this is really happening.

The challenge: Festival rules say we have to show it with a whole new cast after its run at Manhattan Rep Theatre in September-October, 2017.

Rehearsing a new cast for 60 hours, paying actors, directors and crew for their deep presence, acquiring props, some costumes, comp tickets for industry pros at $23/each, and developing the social justice project — even a minimalist budget feels pressured.

Can you feel the pulse of this show making a second, larger burst onto the scene? Will you be part of delivering this project from idea to experience?

Cammerron Baits (the director) and I believe with our souls in this project. We invested blood, sweat and tears into the original project. Time was a big crunch for the Manhattan Rep run (but Huffington Post and Broadway World gave it big love). The one-act needs more audience, more love, more space and time and a new cast will give it a fresh look and attract industry pros.

We’re looking for one love. The person who can and will invest in it, take a risk for this show to have a full length, full run in NYC followed by a tour. We’ll bring back some of the original #MaxFam and some of our second cast who invest in it.

We’re looking for a community to each invest what you can to make it happen. Watch for a crowd-funding effort to cover the initial costs of rehearsal space and related expenses, then a big push over the summer to do it all.

Bottom line: $5,000 bare bones. Anything above that allows us to better invest in the human beings who are devoting time, talent, heart, voice, motion, emotion, and soul.

If you’re an actor in the NYC area, I hope you will submit your stuff for this. Send headshot and resume to cammerronb@gmail.com.

Jed Ryan, writing for the Huffington Post, picked up the unique visual elements and individual performances as well as the whole.

Take a dive with us. Be part of this adventure.


Going to Barbados for “On the Block”

April 26, I will be in Barbados as part of a week-long visit. I aspire to photograph the unique natural world of the island, to get to talk to locals.

However, the pinnacle of the trip happens on the last full day: seeing students from Barbados Community College participate in the first public production of “On the Block” by Glenville Lovell. 

Screen Shot 2018-03-23 at 6.01.40 PMLovell is perhaps the most noted writer/creator from Barbados. A playwright, dancer and novelist, Lovell grew up in a chattel house. These structures were built “on the block” and the entirety of the house, including the blocks, could be picked up and moved as landlord-tenant relationships changed or employers migrated their sugar cane operations.

I’ve been assigned a photo-essay about the production by a U.S. theater publication and seek more outlets for the documentary of this beautiful experience.

“On the Block” was the winner of the Frank Collymore Endowment Award in 2010, but has yet to be performed in public.

It has already been a beautiful experience communicating with David and Rosemary of The Gap Theatre in Barbados.

The play happens at the Daphne Joseph Hackett Theatre in Queen’s Park, Bridgetown, which was closed for 12 years until its reopening in 2017.

#MaxFam @ Drake postponed

The students who make up Drake Theatre People and I have decided to postpone the reading of Maximalista #MentalHealthPlay until Mental Health Awareness Week in October, 2018.

With great love for their efforts, and their stated desire to house this play, the New York cast and I continue developing it in the interest of shining a light on what one person can do for people who struggle with mental illness.

This postponement does not mean you couldn’t go sign up for Mental Health First Aid class where you are and become part of the greater solution to the mental health crisis.

With gratefulness…