There have been a number of articles and essays appearing in print and throughout cyberspace (more on the latter platform than the former, although there’s been loads of print elements around) that speak upon mental health. These notions deal with everyday feelings ranging from anxiety to stress within the workplace, the domestic homestead, or other sources where people in this day and age place themselves through the standard periods of time and tide.
Now, when the issues of mental health are expressed, it’s usually based upon natural or organic enverements and rituals. These emotions are not to be confused with feelings or moods based upon outside substances, such as alcohol, drugs, or related methods where said moods can be altered comparing themselves to the same feelings when such substances are not involved. These are coming through standard and rather “normal” settings brought upon a routine method of life and living.
Being in such a state is far from something that’s new or different. People have been experiencing such feelings since the human race evolved throughout the years, decades, centuries, and other millenniums. It’s just within the last few years, these topics were starting to be expressed out in the open, down to a point where it was considered common to feel such emotions, especially if these emotions are not causing some sort of hazard or danger to one’s self or to others within the person’s domain.
When the pandemic hit in the early spring of 2020, these feelings of stress and anxiety blew themselves out into domestic society. When folks were huddled inside to avoid the virus that was sweeping the nation and through the world in general, folks were reporting through social media on how they were feeling and coping against an invisible enemy that few even knew about. Stories such as taking in animals as pets for comfort, starting new hobbies or bringing back old hobbies once long abandoned were part of the ordeal. People started to realize they were not the only ones out there to feel a fear of the unknown as well as to the anxiety that came along with it. And once those expressions were blasted through all of the social media portals, these same people not only realized that they were not alone, but started to believe that they could do something about getting out of the stress they were trapped in. In other words, people gave themselves permission to say something to the effect of “I’m OK, but not at this moment!” And everyone (or almost everyone) near, far, real, semi-real, or otherwise, totally agreed.
It’s been three years (give or take) since this declaration has been declared. And after the smoke has cleared and everyone is back to what it should remain to be, these same folks have stated that they are just as they were, but now equipped with the tools and knowledge to make themselves stable. To place these revisions in tech speak, it’s the program of “Me-2.0”, or even “3.0” if they wanted to proceed that farther out.
And perhaps the best part of this mini “doom and gloom” is the fact that they desire to remain aware of what they can feel, or how they can control their emotions. There is already an emergency number known as the suiside hotline (“988”), as well as the presents of emotional well-being places one may get access to to keep their feelings in check. Many college campuses placed within their standard list of amenities available are places that students and administration staff can visit for mental health. Ditto for workplaces where employees, both working in a physical location as well as a remote work option, can check in for stress awareness.
Although access is made more available, the “crisis” is far from over. However, it’s always best to seek out help if the need calls for such, or to visit everyone’s favorite search engine to check “hacks” on how to keep emotions at bay, and to live a near stress free lifestyle.
And the old joke that once read “Ya gotta be nuts to see a psychiatrist” isn’t that humorous as it once was, but now is seen as a new method of domestic life.
And to sum it all up as this writer once spied this message placed on a bumper sticker affixed on the real of a vehicle, “Experts Agree-Everything Is Fine”.
Terrance McNally’s IT’S ONLY A PLAY, a comedy about a group of theater people among the backside of an opening night party to Broadway’s latest opening and the drama behind it all, performs at Theater 40 of Beverly Hills.
The setting is at theater producer Julia Budder Manhattan townhouse where her latest stage show The Golden Egg is hosting an opening night party where a slew of celebrities are in attendance. As the party continues, many of the people involved in the performance are holed up in a back bedroom. These folks are playwright Peter Austin (Fox Carney), theater critic Ira Drew (Jeffrey Winner), play director Frank Finger (Peter Henry Bussian), leading lady Virginia Noyes (Cheryl David), Julia Budder (Mouchette van Helsdingen), the producer, along with James Wicker (Todd Andrew Ball), an actor who had a change to perform in this show but took on a sitcom rose, and Gus P. Head (Joe Clabby), who is a budding actor but for the moment is the hired help working as an assistant. There are jitters going on on how the play held up and if the reviews for the local critics will be cruel or kind. As the party continues with its showcase of celebrities in one room, its real drama is in the back bedroom where everyone challenges themselves on how well they did, or how good the show will pan out. It’s one thing after another on what will be the next big hit appearing along the Great White Way, or if The Golden Egg will indeed lay its name object as a brass version.
This play is one of the many works written by the late Terrance McNally who held a number of hits as well as a few near misses. Of course, the characters that are depicted in this play are rather stereotypical and somewhat cartoonish. But that is what makes this play amusing for what it is. The six performing players as seen in this Theater 40 version fit that cartoon aspect to a grand “T”. It also shows how the New York theater world still falls on its “hoidy-toidy” side of things, proving to the entertainment world that live stage shows are far superior than movies or whatever is on electronic media, even if that reach for theater is far smaller and more expensive that the latter choices.
Larry Eisenberg directs this show giving it its fast pacing attitude akin to a British comic farce. The cast doesn’t necessarily run in and out of doors, and nobody is scantily clad. But it comes rather close.
Among the visuals of this show, Theater 40’s residential set designer and dresser Jeff G. Rack dresses the set in a semi cosmopolitan motifs, along with some traditional pieces that show of a bit of the “hi-hat” aspects to what becoming involved on the Broadway landscape is what it’s all about.
It’s always amusing to see what it’s like to peek behind the scenes at a source of entertainment, even if it’s not what it’s really like. But that is why it’s only a play!
IT’S ONLY A PLAY, presented by Theatre 40 and performs at the Reuben Cordova Theatre, located within the campus of Beverly Hills High School, 241 South Moreno Drive (off little Santa Monica Blvd.) Beverly Hills, until April 23rd. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 7:30 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM.
For ticket reservations, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org
Performing at the Two Roads Theater in Studio City is HEAVENLY COUNTRY, a “jukebox musical” about a man who seeks the cowboy lifestyle, and the woman that desires to treat him as a gentle man than what a traditional cowboy would encounter.
Michael Reese Shald plays Nehemiah Sloavikozlowski, better known as “Nemo”. He works for a moving company where he and his fellow co-workers, Albert Ross (Ray Buffer) a.k.a. “Boss, and Danielle “Danny” Morris (Isabella Urdaneta) take part at a local karaoke bar singing along with classic country tunes. At one of their moving jobs, Nemo meets Lily L’Amoreaux (Jennifer Anne Grimes), who he takes a shine toward, in spite of company rules of socializing with clients. Nimo desires the way of life of a cowboy. Not roping and riding, but participating in the hard drinking as many of the country songs speak of. Lily, also having feelings for Nemo, drafts the aid of a pastor she knows of, Pastor James Roberts (Ashton Jordan Ruiz), and his spouse, “Sister” Ruth Roberts (Facilcia Taylor E) to get Nemo to accept a straight and rather sober life.
This theater production, written by Joel Russell and directed by L. Flint Esquerra, is a play with songs consisting of established tunes from the country & western songbook that are sing in appropriate segments into the storyline that are used to express what the characters are going through in the same vein as what one could pick through in a karaoke setting. The entire production itself from the sets by JC Gafford to Paul Cody’s transcribed musical direction and choreography are rather elementary. What this program’s focus is really on the performers on stage, and the selection of tunes of well known country hits from the 1960’s through the 1980’s as sung by the cast on cue.
Although the notion of demise is hinted upon, the story itself does sport an upbeat and rather happy conclusion. That is what a cowboy’s life is really all about. It’s enough to take on the tumbles of life, only to get back into the saddle again and to ride off into the sunset just like what Gene and Roy did back in the day. And that is what Heavenly Country is all about.
HEAVENLY COUNTRY, performs at the Two Roads Theater, 4348 Tujunga Avenue, Studio City, until April 22nd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, with a Saturday matinee at 3:00 PM.
For online ticketing, link to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/heavenly-country-tickets-440764718137aff=ebdssbdestsearch
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