Phillip Seymour Hoffman did not have choice or free will and neither do you.


As always, science is the answer.

Originally posted on debbie bayer blog:

Phillip Seymour Hoffman 1967-2014

Phillip Seymour Hoffman 1967-2014

In the wake of the tragic loss of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, a great artist, partner, father, brother, and son, I offer the following facts about the neurological disease of addiction.

The overwhelming majority of adults in the western world have passed through experimental stages in their lives where they have dabbled with some kind of brain altering addictive substance, i.e., cigarettes, alcohol, prescriptionpain killers, ADHD medication, anti-anxiety medication, and yes, even marijuana (save the ‘it’s not addictive” arguments for later, please).  And the overwhelming majority of these adults will emerge from their experiments unscathed, believing that their free will and good choices are what saved them from becoming addicted.

The problem with this thinking is that it is factually incorrect.  In other words, they are all wrong.

What saved them (you) from becoming addicted is that their brains did not respond in the same way that…

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Welcome to the global theatrical community #2amt

IMG_3394My Director’s Notes that appear in the DOVE program. DOVE has it’s world premiere Friday, November 15th at Swine Palace in Baton Rouge, La.

(pictures of Estonia by our workshop dramaturg, and all around dispenser of wisdom, wit and charm, Illana Brownstein)

“Many years ago, Jill Anderson, General Manager of The O’Neill Center in Waterford, CT and it’s Founder George White had a vision that someday the United States, Estonia, Latvia and Russia would trade artists, scripts and best practices across the 4 countries – creating a real global theatrical community.

estoniaIn 2012, after years of planning, fundraising and several trips back and forth, , the 1st  Baltic/American Playwrights Conference took place on the island of Hiiumaa, Estonia. Each country sent a director, a playwright (with a play), and several actors. The plan was for the larger group to work on a play from each country – to share actors, ideas, and see if we could discover commonalities about how we all made theatre.

426700_4473755848282_1244007596_nI was selected as the director to represent the United States, and I headed over not really knowing what we’re all getting into – but that was part of the adventure.

207024_4511453990712_403389277_nWhat was instantly inspiring was that each country had brought a play that it believed was about it’s culture – something so specific to them that the other countries would probably be bored or confused – AND YET as each country read theirs, you could watch the faces in the room light up and lean in – every play, while the language and nuance was different, was universal – every play was ultimately about the human condition, the search for meaning and connection. Every play was about all of us.

578695_4473812529699_1317706154_nWe all left with a burning desire to see what would happen if we opened up a global conversation – what if we staged each of these plays in different countries and began to start a global theatrical conversation.

546714_4511446150516_1735334005_nI contacted George Judy upon flying home, and asked him if Swine Palace wanted to be one of the American hubs. In true George fashion, he bravely and quickly answered yes.

20120814-223417.jpgI was attracted to DOVE  instantly. What amazed me is that it’s about life in the theater – what do we do with aging actors? How do we hold on to what’s sacred about our craft? How do we define ourselves as artists against the onslaught of Christmas programming? The usual American theatrical questions, BUT FROM THE ESTONIAN PERSPECTIVE. They share the exact same issues we thought were so specific to us.

As artists around the world, we were all struggling with some universal questions and we didn’t even know it.

1DOVE’s world premiere that you are seeing tonight is an Estonian play being performed by American actors. Just last week, TURTLE, the American play we took over on 2012, had its world premiere in Latvia, performed by Latvian actors.

3The world just got a little bit smaller, didn’t it?

Welcome to the global theatrical community.” -

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One Flew Over The Cohort Club (the pdf)

Cohort Report1

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One Flew Over The Cohort Club

One Flew Over The Cohort Club.

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Get Unlimited Behind The Scenes Access at Geva.

Originally posted on Geva Journal:

20130215-145615.jpgHey friends,

Did you read about Geva’s Cohort Club, and find yourself wishing for the opportunity to participate yourself?

Check out the blog here for all the details:

Well, now’s your chance!

Uncle_Sam_(pointing_finger) copyFollowing the success of our pilot program,we’re expanding this year to let more people be a part of our artistic immersion experiment that has gotten so much national attention

Based on what we learned in the first round, we’re making some tweaks and hoping that you’ll be a part of the next iteration of the program.


Identify 2 groups of 20 Rochesterians each, of varied ages, races, and socio-economical standings. One group will engage with us in the Fall, the other in the Spring.

These 40 people will become a part of the process of creating theater right here in Rochester through observing the rehearsal and production process, and conversations with the artistic…

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Collaboration never ends. #roc #gev39 #2amt

Originally posted on Geva Journal:

“I had four revelations about the play creation process today:

photo21. Collaboration never ends.

Tuesday rehearsal started at the very beginning of the show with Richard Hannay walking on the stage and setting the stage. Again, I was impressed with how hard everyone worked and how much collaboration was going on.

The actors would suggest something, Sean would say “What about” maybe they would try it, or suggest something else. In the end the final decision was always better and, I must say, funnier. Funnier is so much the key to this play.

2. Motivation makes a difference.

It was interesting to hear how many times Sean would stop and ask an actor…”What is your motivation?” why are you doing the scene a particular way. It is pretty clear that once the actors had articulated the why, the scene was better. I guess I never realized how much that internal…

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A Cohort’s Final Thoughts on All Your Questions Answered

Originally posted on Geva Journal:

Questions Answered“After seeing numerous rehearsals in my role as cohort, I saw the show with a public audience at the Saturday matinee this past weekend. It had a couple of tech elements that I hadn’t fully seen in rehearsals, but overall it was just a nearly flawless execution of the hard work put in by these young, talented actors since they started this journey back on August 20th. The cast was relaxed and polished.

ColinHuthPhoto- CAH_8197-1I was happy I brought one of my good friends to the show who knew nothing about it other than the little bit I had shared with him – which amounted to my telling him there were a couple of dozen off-the-wall skits which were often hilarious, sometimes deep (while not appearing to be), and often challenging. He told me that he had been wondering about the title, and after seeing “Molds” early on, thought he understood…

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