Theory of Mind (originally published 4/20/09)

Last night, Bridget and I went out for our anniversary (Seven years! I think she must have broken a mirror or something back in ’02…)

 

We caught a performance of “Theory of Mind,” a new one-act play about two high schoolers out on a first date. “Bill” and “Hilo” have all the jitters and misunderstandings familiar to anyone who’s ever been on a first date, the biggest of which is when Bill explains to Hilo that he’s “on the spectrum.”

 

It was a wonderful play, put on by Playhouse in the Park and hosted by District-A. (I’m not sure if there’s another showing or not, but I’ve got a call into the Education Director at the Playhouse to see if we can make that happen.) After the show, the actors came out to answer questions about the play. Josh Odsess-Rubin (whose portrayal of “Bill” was incredible!) was asked how he prepared to play someone dignosed with autism. He began by telling us how he researched through books, movies and Youtube. I was a little underwhelmed by his answer until he talked about meeting with a UC student diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. He described the time they spent together reviewing the script, with the student giving him insights on how he would react and pointing out which lines might not be all that realistic. He basically just got to know him a bit, which helped him with the performance.
Bravo, Mr. Odsess-Rubin, for making that effort!

 

A couple of notes from the evening:

 

  • “District-A” is a grassroots effort to build community around the arts in Pleasant Ridge/Kennedy Heights. A very cool project and they’ve really embraced inclusion from the start. I got to meet with Maria Kreppel, who is on their board. She’s got a ton of enthusiasm for the neighborhood and a big vision. If you’re connected to Pleasant Ridge/Kennedy Heights in any way, I would encourage you to get in touch with Maria and see how you can be a part of things! Here’s a video of an interview with Maria regarding District-A and Theory of Mind.
  • Maria connected me to Rising Star Studios in Covington. They are an arts studio for youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders. I was happy to hear that they’ve started talking with Visionaries and Voices about collaboration. That would be terrific for both organizations and the artists they serve!

An interesting experience:
Barbara Bonar, who runs Rising Star, was at the play and introduced me to her daughter, Alex, who is an artist at Rising Star and (as you’ll see) excellent at starting conversations. Alex asked her mom if she could ask me “about the dwarves.”

I was a little confused, at first, but then she said “If I had a cold, I’d be ‘Sneezy.’ If you were one of the dwarves, which would you be?” Bridget quickly picked Happy, so I was left to choose between Grumpy, Dopey, Sleepy, Doc or Bashful. We spent a few minutes discussing that, and I eventually settled on “Dopey,” but what a great question to get conversation started, huh?

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