27 Tips for Banishing the Blues postcarddirected by Ken Prestininzi
video design by Andi Stover and Elliott Mazzola
Dixon Place, NYC
June 22 & 23, 2010

Mad Dance

Mad Dance


Angel Man 1 Man 2

l-r: Margarita Martinez, Morgan Shattuck, Felix Feich


Man 1 and Famous Chef

l-r: Felix Teich, R.Bobby Ducharme

Reviews

“Lurking beneath the zany surface of Charlotte Meehan’s play, which is having its world premiere at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, is a thoughtful look at our struggle to balance despair with hope.”
~ Terry Byrne, The Boston Globe

Full review

“Considering that we live in a society that demands quick solutions to complex problems that can be solved with a pill, a new diet or a 30 minute “Insanity” workout program, it’s a wonder that there aren’t more works like ‘27 Tips,’ either on stage or in other media, giving the frauds their just desserts.”
~ Mike Hoban

Full review

I am very grateful to the Howard Foundation for a 2008-09 fellowship in support of my writing this play and to the Alpert Foundation for nominating me to be an Alpert/MacDowell Colony fellow in summer 2008. Special thanks to the MacDowell Colony for a blissful stay there during which time I completed a draft of the play.

I am also grateful for the support this play’s development received from Arnold and Mars fellowships through Wheaton College. With this help I was able to work with a Wheaton student on gathering research materials for the play. Very special thanks to 2009 Wheaton graduate Clara Bene, who assisted me in wading through countless self-help books, cultural criticism, confessional format tv shows, and a number of the most outrageous dollar store quack books you could ever imagine.

Poster design: Jessica Kuszaj

Excerpt

Scene: ASTROLOGER’s office.

At rise: ASTROLOGER and CLIENT in mid-session.

ASTROLOGER
Aside from your cat’s sudden death, what other issues bring you here today?

CLIENT
My umbrella was caught in a gust, flipped outward and snapped. That burst of yellow overhead in the rain, gone forever. I need some relief.

ASTROLOGER
The Libra Moon’s objectivity helps us to see where our lives are out of kilter.

CLIENT
Good. Because my mind is endlessly racing. I try to grab the thoughts but they fly. What appears to be priceless I lose as fast as a cruel indeterminate wind floods my senses.(beat)

There is no more me.

ASTROLOGER
The Moon is in philosophical Sagittarius today, reminding us to rise above difficult issues by aspiring to understand them.

CLIENT
I hear that pulsing in my head again. Must be the birds and the trees don’t agree with me.

I need the sounds of the street.

ASTROLOGER
Ask your ancestors, spirit guides, wise teachers, power animals ¬– and the Earth herself – for guidance and faith.

CLIENT
Are you kidding?

ASTROLOGER
Life continues to demand much from you, but this month a lighter breeze will blow through your window.

CLIENT
I wish I knew what to think of all this.

ASTROLOGER
This could be an intense day filled with strong emotions that don’t quite fit into the present circumstances. Yet we are more cautious about expressing our feelings and trusting our intuition.

CLIENT
Are you talking about me? Us? The royal We? I’m confused.

ASTROLOGER
We are inclined now to ask for what we want, or maybe even demand it, because we assume that we’re entitled.

CLIENT
Wait. Don’t you just love water towers? I want my view of the water towers.

(Suddenly, on the screen, a famous self-help GURU.)

FAMOUS SELF-HELP GURU
Depression can mimic a great number of medical disorders because your mood swings often create a wide variety of puzzling physical symptoms. These include, to name just a few: constipation, diarrhea, pain, insomnia, or the tendency to sleep too much, fatigue, loss of sexual interest, light-headedness, trembling, and numbness.

CLIENT
(to FAMOUS SELF-HELP GURU)
It’s true. I’m feeling pretty fucking awful.

ASTROLOGER
Our subjectivity is strongest as the emotional Moon fully reflects the Sun in sensitive Cancer, emphasizing our vulnerabilities and our need to surround ourselves with nurturing friends and family. It becomes even harder to express our emotions when the Moon enters quirky Aquarius. What I’m trying to say is, take heart, this too shall pass.

CLIENT
Holy shit. I think I need to go find someone who can be more specific.

ASTROLOGER
(as CLIENT exits)
In leaving here, you are taking a dangerous path.