It’s been one of the oft noted facts that’s been around for some time, stating that money can buy just about anything and everything except one form of human desire–happiness! One can purchase a vast supply of goods where one is content with their personal being, never feeling sad, angry, confused, fearful, and other states of personal emotion.
     However, a recent study that was published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science noted that researchers discovered that material purchases can provide routine happiness over a period of time while experiential purchases offer more intense levels of happiness in spite of the fact.
     The study conduced by Elizabeth Dunn and Aaron Weidman based at the University of British Columbia wanted to know what people felt during a certain period of time after making a large purchase such as an article of clothing to some electronic gadget vs. a purchase that was in the form of an experience, such as visiting a spa or attending a sporting event.
     Study showed that when somebody made a purchase such as a sweater, one may not get overly thrilled of the item per se, but will gain a sense of content every time the sweater is worn. If somebody nabs hard to get tickets to a concert, one will feel that sense of joy recalling the event many weeks, months, and years later, recalling that the purchaser had themselves a great time. That is, assuming that attending the event didn’t lead to something forgettable, say losing a wallet or attending with a person that one would rather long forget!
     It’s noteworthy to point this fact now since this is around the time of year that those credit card statements are being sent out to folks that used them during the past holiday season, stating how much one purchased during that period where joy and peace is promoted, as well as the act of encouraging to spend to their little heart’s content.
    Become the holiday season did push the state of joy and happiness, people reacted to those emotions by spending away, since making purchases connected for a joyous time leads toward further happiness. Getting gifts for those that are of concern present that feeling of joy a massive boost. And the more one spends, the more one feels quite content.
     However, many folks are now going through the post holiday blahs. The Christmas trees that once stood in living rooms and related places are either boxed up and already thrown in the garage, basement, attic, or other places one stores their personal junk, and the real trees that folks used are sitting along street curbs ready to be picked up and hauled away to the yard sweepings dump. Ditto for the string of lights, plastic wreaths, and other forms of decorative items, all put (or thrown) away! And there’s the notion of gaining all of that weight from taking part of the goodies that were spread around, making that waistline spread even further!
     But getting back to those credit card bills. Yeah, there may be some “sticker shock” in play, not realizing how much one had spend between Black Friday (and its equivalents) right up to December 24th. A few folks did give gifts to themselves, since very few of these same folks would give fancy electronic devices to somebody, but instead gave somebody a cheese and sausage gift set that can last well into Memorial Day since the cheese blocks and sausage logs one finds in such a gift box have that lasting power. (How do they do it??) But many did make purchases for gifts intended for somebody worth giving. The state of giving rather than the physical spending boosted the happiness factor to those that did all of the buying.
     Of course, the academic study as well as the reasons to buy as noted within this article doesn’t totally prove the fact that money can really buy happiness! It all depends how one spends the noted cash and for what reasons. One can grab box seat tickets to the game and be content, or one can pay the gas bill and feel anything but! So it’s all in the heart, mind, and wallet/pocketbook of the beholder. And one can take those facts to (or from) the bank!
                                        NEWS AND REVIEWS
     Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills presents the return engagement of Katherine Bates’ THE MANOR, a play that speaks of a rise and tragic fall involving a very dignified family living in one of the nation’s prestigious communities.
     The story begins in the roaring 20’s, where liquor flowed if one can find it, jazz music was all the rage, and fortunes were climbing at sky high paces. The MacAlister family that made its capital gains in mineral mining as headed by Charles MacAlister (Darby Hinton), is celebrating the wedding between his son and heir Sean (Ben Gavin, alternating with John-Paul Lavoisier) and the blushing bride Abby (Annalee Scott, alternating with Shelby Kocee). As the two are joined in marriage, Charles meets up with his friend from Washington, Senator Alfred Winston (Daniel Scott) on a business opportunity. It appears that on the US territory of Hawaii, the Navy desires to build a naval base station within the location known as Pearl Harbor. Alfred asks Charles for a $100,000 loan to finance this development. In return for the requested amount, Alfred would receive rights to mine a valued mineral deposit that Charles operates. This well intended exchange opens what later becomes a scandal developing into government bribery, business corruption, and overall disgrace to this wealthy clan leading up to dire consequences; Not only for Charles, but to others within this domain set high among their “quaint” 50+ room estate overlooking the bedroom community called Beverly Hills.
     This original play written by Katherine Bates was inspired upon the actual family of Edward Doheny, who made his fortune in oil production. He was involved with tactics that later lead to a bribery scandal known as the “Teapot Dome Scandal” that followed after the breakup of the Standard Oil monopoly in the early part of the 20th century. What makes this play rather unique, outside of the fact that the plot is inspired by actual events that involves greed, corruption, family disgrace, and even death, but the settings takes place at Greystone Mansion, a 46,000 Sq. Ft. building and estate once owned by the Donehy family. Many of the play’s backdrops are founded on what did occur within the mansion when Edward “Ned” Doheny, son of Edward Sr.,took his own life with a hand gun. (The reasons leading up to this death vary, but it was indeed billed as a murder-suicide!) As to the play itself, it offers plenty of drama as depicted by the cast members that also include Katherine Bates (the playwright) as Marion MacAlister, Annalee Scott, alternating with Sarah Van Der Pol as Henrietta Haversham Pugh, Melanie MacQueen as Cora Wilson, Martin Thompson as Frank Parsons, Esq. and Daniel Lench, alternating with David Hunt Stafford as James the butler, Katherine Henryk as Ursula the housekeeper, and Ester Levy Richman as Ellie, the maid.
     As to how this play is set up, it takes place within a handful of rooms in the mansion where the audience is broken up into three groups. After the first scene is performed, each group is lead by one of the domestic staff into another nearby room where a second scene is presented. Then the groups, rotating to other rooms, witness yet another unfolding scene. These scenes performed by the selected audience groups are performed in a different order, but not out of context to one another keeping its continuity in check. The background of the mansion itself serves as the backdrop giving this production an authentic feel. Each room offers limited stage furnishings as the original furniture and other decor has long been removed. David Hunt Stafford & Jackie Petras provides the set design that is part of the play, rather then for the actual building where this showpiece is housed.
     THE MANOR has been part of Theatre 40’s repertory since 2002, offering limited run performances at the location where many of the inspired stage settings developed. If one attends this performance, one will see just a small glimpse of a humble home built when elegance, even at an excess, was at its peak. They don’t build places like these anymore, and it’s just as well! Along with viewing the homestead and the grounds, one will see a great play that’s fully loaded will all the drama that such a stage work firmly allows

     THE MANOR, presented by Theatre 40 in association with the city of Beverly Hills Recreation and Parks Department, performs at the Greystone Mansion located within Greystone Park, 905 Loma Vista Drive (north of Sunset Blvd. off Mountain Drive), Beverly Hills, until February 5th. Showtimes are January 15th, 20th, 26th, 27th, 29th, February 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th at 6:00 PM, and at 1:00 PM on January 17th, 30th, and 31st.  For further information and for ticket reservations, call (310) 694-6118, or via the website
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