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The concept of psycho drama is for the participants involved to explore their own particular problems in the process of acting out whatever they're involved in. This play was created. By the people in it we all worked together for over three months improvising every day to communicate our own experiences for an audience so that we would share something that we had with other people it is a form of psycho drama and no it's not at all if you like to draw it again I because I didn't follow you. Psycho drama is for the individual involved to explore his own problems. Right road so that he gets up on stage and say acts out a role where his mother hated him and he said to my mother you did this to me blah blah blah. No they didn't actually occur. No it didn't. They act out their past to arrive at an understanding of who they are in the present. What we did was took all of our experiences as a group collectively and everything we knew in the
present to mold it together in theatrical form to communicate this to an audience. You're not working out any kind. No we're not actually now we're not working out any problems at all. What we're doing is working together trying to be creative enough to show an audience something that we feel is worthwhile showing. When did the theatrical part of this idea take shape in other words when did someone decide that it would be a good idea to get onstage with this kind of arrangement. And move through the sequences with who it was my idea I work at the top I'm on the staff. And Larry's also had. Years of experience. At Cafe La Mama cafe Chino a lot of other. Theatrical. You know he said you're bringing it out because you know and often on this program Larry is basically a theater person a theater director and I gather this is true Larry that you were asked to join the
staff a day and that he formed a de top theatre group and you've also performed other plays there. Yeah we did that gets and game last year. And after we did end game we decided to form a permanent theater company made up of people at daytime. Every year it's kind of interesting every year in October we have an anniversary celebration which is a costume party it's called the guy Denzel Denzel who is an Italian racehorse who fell down and got up to win the race. Oh what a great Phoenix. Yeah it was a it was a contest right. It was I never heard of that before. It was the very stair. And David asked the kids in the house to think of a name and last time sanitarium boy came up. No way man I didn't come up with that one. Not sure what a great big name I know I didn't know what would it be possible. To have two or three minutes of what happens in the concept right now between
James and Carol we set up a situation can we start the opening or would you be giving away what you don't want to give away ours or is it feasible. Anything. Just my one of the heightened highlights of yeah let me just finish responding to how the how the thing was formed and then we you know we did it and we got sidetracked and I've been trying to write a goddamned I mean I'm sorry I have to go dance in October. People do skits and various things sort of entertainment for the evening. And what I saw there was just fantastic in terms of talent and use of expressing themselves. And I. Thought of getting a group together to improvise a play about dates up because the people involved in date up all seem so talented and so capable. So we did first game and then we did form together last summer which last June or July stayed in our other facility
and met every single day in a workshop we did exercises and various things based on yoga. Cetera et cetera. And discussed for hours and hours about what we wanted to communicate. And out of these discussions grew scenes in the scenes were improvised and all the improvisations were tape recorded and then we edited the tapes and chose the best out of hours and hours of taped improvisations and then put it together and it was a very very difficult and painful period but it was tremendously rewarding because of the fact that we worked together in community. And it was created by the group. Everyone suggesting different things. And that's how all of the scenes grew. Then your first production was at the end game or was that I mean what was it and did you use another play. Then gave me a very first ever game was the
first production that we did and you run nightly as the way a regular play. I mean I would you're performing Karo in Germany or performing every night except Monday I'm there one day. Yeah except Monday and there will be a couple of different casts. You see it's not it's every it's kind of characteristic of daytime village that the concept can be played as effectively by one cast as by another that would make sense because you know in the end it would keep adding excitement to it as maybe it adds excitement to it and also it keeps the kids from. Running ourselves out you see because you gonna stand it it's different. If you were a professional actor. You know you're a shock on or shut off your identity. Between 8 and 11 you know when you go in and ready and that's the way it is but in this case we're dealing with something that practically transcends reality so that you have this recall
technique that that has been developed very painfully through these periods and there's only so much you know you can't sustain that for for too many times or too long over a period of a week so that the alternate caste system that we use is very fact let me ask another question about the organization Day top. It's comprised of ex narcotics addicts. What reason do they have to be there to carry me Carol. Either one. Well my reason for being here. First of all I used to work for nine years and I had experience and haven't gone to hospitals and institutions and I'd spent a number of years in jail. And at some point although all it meant in the beginning that I really wasn't ready to stop and the whole thing and I guess that my reality is I don't see them as I did later on. And
when at some point I realized you know what I was doing to myself and how destructive it was and. And and I became very afraid. And I had the attitude that once a drug addict I'd always be one and I didn't think there was any hope for me and I spent about three years ago I spent a year and a half and attention here in New York I'm originally from Chicago and I don't know of any way of anyplace that I could really get help because I had gone through so many things before and it really didn't help me any. And I really came today to bonding you know on blind faith that perhaps this will work for me and perhaps it won't but at least I'll give myself a chance. And what I found there was something completely different from anything I've ever encountered in my life and that was. First of all I was confronted with the fact that I would have to do something for myself were before then. I always look for somebody to put in do something for me work some kind of magical or get me well.
But I never realized that there was a lot I'd have to do for myself. And here in de top I was shown exactly you know I was the rock that you know as to how I could work out my own problems and become a person a well-rounded individual. I know myself learn about myself and know myself as well as other people. And I had the help of everyone around me who would who could relate to the same experiences that I'd had. And out of basic training there and our concept of being honest which is sometimes painful and really hard but this is what we're confronted with and the fact that this is what hat you know you have to do in order to make it work. It doesn't work for you unless you are on it. And we have an initial interview where there is a lot of reality right in the very beginning to having to face yourself and you know what you were who you are and you know just all along I see that's pointed out to you that it's unbelievable when sometimes
you have before then you like to think in terms of there's something really to magically wrong with me I've got all kinds of problems and and maybe I need real psychiatric help with something you know maybe I'm mentally ill. And the reality is that we're we're all like emotionally had never grown up. And I was given the reality you were stupid in your baby it was just the simple as that and I didn't see it then I don't really know what it meant but through my struggle and they talked you know I began to think and I began to learn more about you know myself and what this actually meant. That's a great summary of the way and it's so true about the whole. It's true you know about the whole world. I mean it's also true about all forms of any form of literature Dramatica or novelistic or any kind that strives for some meaning and some truth is in the destruction of the of the of these allusions death of a salesman for example the living the
lie. That's the basic you know I wanted to. Kind of like what you said earlier when you said that these problems everyone has a hang up or everyone have a one on something rather and it's great oversimplification the great profundity that comes from the Bible really is nothing more than I think many precepts in the Bible whatever bible you read translated in psychiatric in present day psychiatric terms and techniques for example. This the idea the truth shall make you free. I mean this concept properly understood does exactly what you just described. This process of being honest if someone understood the vast implications in this one phrase the truth shall make you free. We would be on the same kind of. Path of recognizing what we are without taking for granted whatever one tells us what we are. Scuse me I like you Jimmy. How have you been a little over a year now. How long
have you been there Carol. Over to you two years. I don't want to back to the question though Carol. I'm not saying that you are saying you don't have any hang ups anymore. I mean I assume you have a number of hangups like all of us so and so does Jimmy. This is what I want to bring out you like I get any time I hear Carol trot out sort of like. My past is like similar you know I get that all blacks and thin and go and every time I turn around and say I'm some kind of jail cell and like if I was staying at they thought like as far as the interview was you know consigning when it was pointed out to me that like but there's nothing wrong with you I drug is only a symptom. You know just like anybody else. The difference is like about a feel like getting up to go to Reich. I didn't get up you know I get off my feeling and I was pretty responsible and I'm quite sure half of the human race could identify with that as far as getting up in the morning all worried like. So what we really want is you know what I really
want is like to be responsible like if you don't go to work you're not going to pay your rent at the end of a month you know. So when the variable i use for Xscape was drug and the people that might be a book another guy might be a game of golf you know they had a name you know and value anything they wouldn't have algae in it is that you have the Oka tapioca TV sex Cracker Jacks whatever it is if you don't want too much of it. Go away for fear of using it as a means to evade you know something that's more important to you. Then let me go back to you Carol and Jimmy both because you're both ex narcotics addicts and yet you still connect with data why don't you just sort of take off I mean you're you know you got rid of the particular hang up that they top exists for let's say presumably. And when you go on to other areas to other organizations Well I'll tell you why.
I have not. First of all I have found something there that has some meaning to me and is a way of life and it's something that I have become a part of and I don't think that I could just completely excommunicate myself or detach myself from what. I found the day top. I'd love you know I love our involvement there. I love the car the way the environment is structured that the response to it is the responsibility of every member of Lear to challenge confront and be concerned about the next individual and this is something that you don't find you know like outside with people really honestly concerned about you and you know how you know you know you can know how to give responsible concern and also you can accept it you learn how to accept it and you recognize it for what it's worth. And. And it brings such coarseness to people and and all the love and the struggling of growing up together. And also it's fun growing up you know once you really get
entirely get it so yeah. And also it's a struggle and it's also fun. And I don't intend to like stay in de top you know and use it as a crutch or next day you know from the society and the environment in which I came from. But instead I am going to stay a part of day top and try and do what I can to change the situation that I came from. And as Larry said before and they talk is not geared to sort of like harbor people from you know society and the problems of society into the grammars you know that doesn't mean it's not enough but it is good to integrate people back out into society and become change agents and you know and try to change some of the things that are happening out there and I think the point of the concept is a wonderful wonderful way of reaching people and there are several other things that we're doing like. We have community projects that I
am involved and I work as a supervisor there and I really love that I love I love my work and I love to do that I mean the day time. Well right now I haven't had much of a transfer to all of this I have started now but before we started the previews and and the pully chair and square. That's what I was going to miss was with most of your first first time on the stage acting. My first time as a first time. And aside from the house like I was saying about the skits. Yeah I was here I was smoking watermelon. You know Marie skid How do you feel in terms of acting do you feel like you want to go into acting professionally. No no I don't. You know I don't I don't either. And Larry your background is theater yet and I get the impression that the work you do here even in terms of theater is much more exciting
to you than conventional theatre or traditional theatre and you wouldn't want to be involved in this kind of theatre I take it in traditional studio I don't know why I came to a point in my life where I wasn't getting anything rewarding from meeting for with actors for three weeks and staging someone else's script and all of a sudden getting involved with day top was theatre as part of community and that the theater group itself and something that I stressed very very strongly was that we are first people together and that it's important for us to have a sense of community as a theatre group and then as a result of that will do place a couple of things about the top. Our current attics allowed to become members of de top village as long as they don't continue using drugs and other because there is no comment no drug treatment I mean there's no methadone no treatment given no lock on the opiates no physical no eye and of course with the chemicals at all
really it's up to the guy. All right then you take drug addicts current I mean current drug addicts as long as they fulfill this kind of validation of not taking a cent why they wanted a top right then how many other centers are like top around this area or throughout the country or any other centers were functioning like when I don't know there are lots of programmes about I don't know if anyone is like daytime talk show now which we have we have people coming over to lay not technique or method. Mike we've got a saying I give it away you know like we've got something here that's working for us cause when you drug addicts and we sort of know what works. And people who haven't taken any kind of drugs and don't want to lie and well you know we've been doing it for years and we can you know break the ice so that we don't go we allowed an entire house and to use our groups and to seek out tools and methods and for them to go out and give it away to try on that it's and whatever House they're going to open up or whatever program they're going to
open up. I saw this for like we usually point out though with a rule about this and we're not doing this for material things and like we'll also ask the patients to look at themselves. All right you want to help people what your motivation is for a fact checker for material things or you can sign what humanity if you walk. You're welcome and I House. Do you think that they top the theatrical part as an exploitation of all of the individuals in it. I don't even see that. What about I don't know I was all right oh I'll rephrase it I mean what it means is this. Are you exploiting the foibles you are exploiting the past emotional states are you exploiting all of these individuals. Ond in theatrical settings that's what I don't know what we're doing is sharing our knowledge without the people. I mean to me Art takes a conscious experience and transmits it to an audience so that this audience can be elevated to a higher plane of consciousness and
understanding. Let me be clear this is not about is it. Yes it is. Well then we have to redefine what Mr. Cantor started out in saying that this is a risk to do in cathartic because a certain principals are involved in our lesson I will withdraw that phrase Nobody understands in any way. But the point and the point I'm trying to make is there's no Lily gilding here. This this is what's on the stage is not done to shock or to stimulate or to titillate or in any way to exploit for any other reason than to show people that this is a. A modest way towards the truth that's been found by a group of people. I mean I can force it seems to me that if the world were one huge day top. Then it might it would be an awfully good world. Well better let me explain a little bit more to you there is no sensationalism and the play at all. And as he said before with that phrase from the Bible this is what people find a
day tops and we just had a group of our you know sentimentality and another but mind you my asking these questions is not a judgment on oh no no no we understand I think you're being a very intelligent interviewer. There's no sentimentality in this this is not out of the Reader's Digest You know it ain't the story of how you know go and sin no more it isn't. It's very down to earth. The language is very tough. You know I'm from Boston I'm shocked very easily by things. This is the one of the first times in my life in the theater. That I've never I haven't been shocked in the slightest by what goes on in that stage and I know a lot goes on because it's completely. Unvarnished I mean and there isn't as we were talking about having a minute it's a completely minute Carol and Jimmy are ready while they're getting their minds in order I just want to say one other thing. We had a fortune in men's eyes cast on the show. At one point and it was just. It's sounded similar
although things that sound similar are never particularly well say that in its way it was very honestly I don't know how they had an ex convicts are in the play. Well the guy it was written by and written by Nixon resents have been railroaded out of the country in some form or another up in Canada but I want to could we is a possible Larry to set Carol and Jimmy off into a just you know the last place I found them and it had a very difficult and I was very very got with two because it's everyone is involved in all of the scenes really at it. It's an ensemble acting company and two people never sort of carry on together nor the others always participate. It's uses by the way I was it to get back in a theatrical jargon again which I knew I had to do was a jargon are just gone. I think jargon is the Yiddish way of saying if you are in any way X speech teacher is the point is the point is that. When it's done in the concept. It's it's the
game's technique is you wish you had. That's how it developed and the game's technique is a very valid technique that was the basis of the recent movement in improvisation you know it started in Chicago didn't say that. But Paul serves as mother or something. Anyway And that's I was. That's right no relation to him. No fossils mothers Viola's silencer Seve Ballesteros and spawn a cigarette. But they use the game's technique of improvisation that's how they do it. And they all participate all the people are always on the stage. They're always in it are they sitting around they're standing. It's a very prudent plan to get to know there's a question what number one why couldn't if this is so vital in this prison is all that you say doesn't every listener here has a chance to see themselves at the Sheridan Square plant you know my mention oh I don't know at all in this case why can't we utilize these techniques for our
theatrical experience for the kind of theater that we would like the kind of experience we'd like to have every time we go to the theater. Well I don't know that these techniques are universally usable for all kinds of plays there are all kinds of theater and all kinds of audiences. One of the problems with I want to go into a Broadway situation but the trouble or the trouble with Broadway is the trouble with a lot of things in our contemporary American society and that the audience for Broadway is an audience that pays seven eight nine 10 11 12 15 20 bucks a ticket. It's a middle upper middle class audience. And you were you not only have to. You have to participate actively in theatre to really enjoy it. This kind of audience has great difficulty because of their own hang ups. They're addicted to their own middle upper middle class hang ups and they need to get you know the Who's the audience coming to Broadway. Well it's
just it's a mix and it was another one I'll tell you every every every one of them. This is typical middle class broad audience that comes down is transformed by and they will be another response to a question is that one of the problems in arts today is that there's a lot of interesting things being done with form and nothing with content or very little. And that because of what data is about the content of the play appeals to so many people who are hungry for content that's an interesting point and it's good for another 55 minutes because I think they've given up content and and have had depended on form alone. And I think that will die out very soon. But one of the thing about the concept. Is it applicable to all of the problems of what would happen if you use this technique to solve the wars. Well it's happening it's happening OUT PEOPLE ARE COMING TO DE top more and more people without drug problems. We had a marathon which is a 40 hour group. Two weeks ago with a group of artists that was funded by the New York State Council on the
argument and it was unbelievable and we we met. We now meet with them weekly and they tap is breaking through in the field of human relations and reaching all kinds of people. So I think if you have a marathon which I do not it's of Washington or noisy it very likely something might happen on that note we have to we have to close communication out in time but I want to I want to thank Arthur Cantor producer co-producer with more of the Levitt of the concept to play written before him to buy its narcotics addicts with members of the theater company of the top village and the director Laurent second row and the actors and actresses of the cast Jimmy Castaldo and Carole Bruce this was seminars in theatre a recorded series of discussions with leading members of the theatrical profession to join us again for our next program when host Richard Pyatt will lead another conversation about life in the theater seminars in theatre is produced by radio station WNYC in New York
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Seminars in theatre
Episode Number
Episode 20 of 31
Producing Organization
WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series Description
For series info, see Item 3231. This prog.: Discussion of the play "The Concept" performed by ex-narcotic addicts (ex-drug addicts). Arthur Kantor, co-producer; Lawrence Sakerol, director; Carol Bruce and Jimmy Costaldo, actors.
Media type
Producing Organization: WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-11-20 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:26:14
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Chicago: “Seminars in theatre; Episode 20 of 31,” 1968-05-21, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 5, 2023,
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APA: Seminars in theatre; Episode 20 of 31. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from