Directing Play and Players from 5-95 years young

Hello! Welcome to my blog for PLAYers. Below, first, a pic of two teen students, enjoying one of two improv play classes I was hired for, courtesy of a grant from Petaluma Rotary and Cinnabar Theater --a grant to work with COTS kids, whose parents were without homes at the time... A challenging and wonderful welcome to back to the Bay Area where I began my love affair with Improv in 1978. Second, here's a shot of me in front with my wonderful senior troupe/class mateys from L.A. Pierce College. "Second Childhood Players" reveled in two years together --and several classmates are still at it.


Improv Play Show for parents Fall 08


Second Childhood Players in L.A.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Player’s Self-Evaluation Quiz (c) M Singer 2000


This exercise allows you to explore some of the qualities of play and assess your relationship to them. It is meant to stir thoughts and feelings, challenge growth, and help you enjoy life more thoroughly. Respond with a YES or NO to each statement. Suggested answers/points are at the end. Please be honest with yourself and don't worry about your "score." Use the results for self-guidance.

1. I frequently indulge in leisurely activity in unstructured time. YES NO

2. I usually wear a watch even if I don’t have an appointment to make. YES NO

3. I exercise primarily to keep fit rather than for the fun of it. YES NO

4. I am a “toucher,” and often spontaneously give and get hugs. YES NO

5. I enjoy playing with kids or pets on their terms. YES NO

6. When tending the garden, I take time to smell the roses. YES NO

7. I am in touch with my feelings most of the time and welcome them. YES NO

8. I can invent stuff on the spur of the moment: ideas, amusements, action steps. YES NO

9. I would prefer a 40-hour workweek to a 40-hour play week. YES NO

10. I work hard and play hard, taking both very seriously. YES NO

11. A good ballgame is enjoyable regardless of who wins or loses. YES NO

12. I have at least one pastime I indulge for its own sake, goal free. YES NO

13. When I see playground swings, I might indulge myself with a to-and-fro. YES NO

14. I can turn any board meeting into a playground. YES NO

15. I have experienced carefree lovemaking and recommend it. YES NO

16. Family settings are the best place for me to “let my hair down.” YES NO

17. I enjoy friendly joshing around with perfect strangers. YES NO

18. I can relax others who are stressed out with my creative imagination and wit. YES NO

19. I go to social or networking events seeking playmates. YES NO

20. I tak 20. I take time every day to pleasure at least one of my senses –consciously. YES NO

21. I prefer efficient showers to leisurely bubble baths. YES NO

22. Playing can be fun but it is really more appropriate for children than adults. YES NO

23. I like to disguise my personal discomfort by making people laugh. YES NO

24. I can name at least three life skills that regular playing provides. (Name ‘em.) YES NO

25. I have experienced how playing with someone or something makes us friends. YES NO

26. I am lonesome and feel like I don’t belong much of the time. YES NO

27. Sometimes I really enjoy picking out my clothing and getting “dressed.” YES NO

28. I find that there are very few people to play with. YES NO

29. I prefer predictable activities where I have more control over what happens. YES NO

30. I experience playing as a very spiritual time and connection. YES NO

Each playful response counts as 1 point. Tally your results accordingly.

1. YES A definition of playing.

2. NO True play has an unhurried, unstructured time frame/feeling.

3. NO Play has no goal.

4. YES Touchy subject: playful touch is kind, friendly.

5. YES Be willing to trust unknowns.

6. YES Aaaahhhhhh...

7. YES True play embraces life as safe, everything as “friend”—even emotions.

8. YES Free, wild imagination characterizes play.

9. NO Thank goodness!

10. NO "Serious" and "hard" are not players' terms.

11. YES Even a “bad” ballgame can be enjoyed by a player.

12. YES Glad to hear it.

13. YES Go for a swing, even if just in your imagination.

14. YES Tell me your secret –and hurrah for you!

15. YES Never lose it.

16. YES Even if they disapprove, "being yourself" is the best policy.

17. Play is a perfect way to make a friend out of a stranger.

18. YES Keep it up, the world needs you.

19. YES "Networking" is only play if you are completely unattached to "results."

20. YES "Sense"-ual pleasure is a major key to reduce stress, increase well-being.

21. NO Gain an extra point for adding music, candles, and so forth.

22. NO We never outgrow its benefits.

23. NO Play's “safety” allows us to drop the persona masks and feel acceptable.

24. YES Give yourself two points!

25. YES A hallmark of being a player.

26. NO Best remedy is to remember how to play.

27. YES Turn any ordinary activity into conscious playtime.

28. YES –NO: "Yes" gets a point if you understand the pain and fear that most people have around their loss of play mode, and "No" gets you a point if you initiate real play with them, anyway—bless you!

29 NO: Spontaneity, love, and fearlessness are hallmarks of authentic play.

30 Yes :Play blesses Spirit with kindness, enthusiasm, and wonder.


Soon after arriving in the north bay from L.A., Cinnabar Theater presented me with an opportunity to direct a few children from a Petaluma homeless shelter program --in playing Improv games.  It was hugely rewarding, and hugely challenging, since most of the boys are "ADHD" and I am getting older!!


The PLAY of RECOVERY: This "13th STEP" leaves us fit for Life
By Marcia Singer, MSW, CHt  (c)2004

"Conscious recovery of the playful child within is both a means and a joyful end to the journey." -Marcia Singer

When was the last time you "played?" You know, did something enjoyable with your whole heart and soul, got so involved that you forgot what time it was, just having fun? If you are like most people, it's probably been way too long. And if you >re currently struggling with an addiction, you=ll have especial trouble trusting spontaneity, an essential component of natural play. Yet the powerful connections among losing our facility for playing, finding our authentic selves and recovering Ajoyfulfillment@ have barely been explored.

We live in a society of stressed out, "deadly serious" people, habitually attempting escape from registering life=s heartache, pain and shadows. Addiction is the name we give to the habit of avoiding disquieting feelings or thoughts on a regular basis, as well as to our particular anesthesia or distractions of choice. The Recovery movement in the U.S. is an enormous grassroots effort to heal the shame and debilitation associated with addictive lifestyles, and restore people to healthier, happier lives. Happy people are naturally playful, indulging in, childlike, unadulterated, free hearted self-expression that helps keep us fit in every way Bin physical, mental, emotional, sexual-creative and spiritual facets of our being. Remembering how to play is a context in which to remember who we Are.

I have found over the past ten years as a therapist who works with healing addictions, and as a woman who has suffered from her own, that the skills, connections and insights offered in Play retraining offer a powerful, natural means to heal. My own discoveries came out of a branch of recovery called inner child work. This process focuses on uncovering within the adult a vulnerable childlike self which has been unconsciously hidden or pushed away for protection. Unfortunately, these attempts to protect and control also interfere with joy, trust, spontaneity, creative breadth or depth, vital energy and intimacy with others. These qualities of the "free" or "divine" child are also qualities of authentic play itself. And yet the utilization of play as a tool specifically for rehabilitation and for soulful restoration in therapy programs has yet to be exploited.

The idea that Play can be our "13th Step" in recovery is an exciting one: now we can imagine ourselves "playing through" our fears with courage and heart, until we are free enough at last to engage the world as Friend. Everything that has been interfering with our aliveness and confidence in our own inherent value will arise in play recovery --the same stuff associated with any addictive or compulsive pattern we've been running.

The process of recovering play shows that distrust deeply underlies addictions. Whatever deep hurt, shame or anxiety we experienced as children that took root in us as an expectation to distrust life, ourselves and others, also keeps us from playing, because true play requires a free, trusting heart. Envisioning ourselves as players underneath it all gives a wonderful, compassionate twist to the work of soulful recovery.

Our 13th Step program begins with admitting we are in need of healing, and proceeds with a compassionate, in-depth examination of our hidden inner needs and current outer actions. We may discover our innate connection to a Higher Power by "playing through" the fears we encounter along the way with courage and increasing faith in positive outcomes. Finally we are "in play" with Life itself, with Spirit, and the joyous possibilities of living a soulful, fulfilling life.

The recovery movement embraces hundreds of thousands of men, women and young people learning to value themselves, empower their dreams, and change unwanted behavior. Changes may involve habits relating to health, relationships, sexuality, work, sense of purpose, worthiness or recreation styles. Whether it's the abuse of drugs , an eating disorder, unhealthy sexual or co-dependent relations, anger displays, pack rat syndrome, smoking or even compulsive neatness or jogging, recovering our right to free hearted, innocent self expression has an immediate positive effect on dissolving the anxious distrust beneath the addictive patterns.

Some of the most wonderful playmates and actively spiritual people I know are former 'addicts.' We understand that addictions and compulsions are unconscious, often-desperate attempts to "fix" a lingering, shadowy sense of impending doom --a sense of disconnect with what is good and meaningful and promising in being alive. Remembering how to engage as Friend, how to live with an open heart and mind contains the practical and spiritual fodder needed for the journey of Recovery.

Whatever the addiction, there is a "13th Step" possibility: Play mode. Playing can be both both a means and an end to resuscitating the ageless child within us and to assuage the longing for the uplift of creative spirit, and the longing to belong.

Step out of identifying with being a defective, disconnected human being. One day at a time, become a Player for Life. Although we may live in an addiction-based society, as each of us recovers the art of true Play, we may mentor others around us in the joy of being alive again.

AFFIRMATION: I put my whole self back into Play, and with faith and courage, open to recovering the joy of being unflinchingly, overwhelmingly alive.

(873 words) Reprinted from Step To Recovery, March 2004.

Addendum to Humor Chapter! Ooops

DE-LIGHTENING UP Game (AKA "The Toon Up"). What are you dead serious about? What can't you find any humor in? Your job? Your son's marriage? A friend's physical pain? The lack of peace in the world? Today you can elect to be a Norman Cousins or Patch Adams—an ambassador of delight and self-styled alchemist of positive changes. Begin by proclaiming today, "Humor Day." Create laughter in your life and spread it around.

Read the funny papers, use the library or bookstore to find jokes or cartoons, or check out comedy videos—the more outrageous the better. Loosen up. Stand in front of a mirror and make ridiculous faces at yourself; then, find a kid and play "Mirror," taking turns making and mirroring funny faces. Feel how good it feels to stretch your face and smile muscles. Try out a dumb riddle or "knock-knock" joke on a grumpy cashier, even if you get a groan in return (or less).

Practice until all the animosity leaves you and you really start to feel better, even good. Now take a look at that situation to which you brought only anger, heartache, or "poor me." Breathe into the Bigger Picture and take a snapshot. Got it? Can you see a ray of light there where there seemed to be none before? Feel how compassion, even creativity, can flow? Find some kind of gift in the situation. Yes. You are now "deLightening up." Continue to practice every day until perfected. Catch a heartfelt humor condition and infect everybody you can: at home, at work, at the supermarket—in the mirror.

Treat yourself to a "toon up" on a regular basis. We'll all be so glad you did.

(1063 words)

Marcia Singer, MSW is a Love Arts educator, shamanic healing artist, and hands-on Hypnotherapist (ABH#1743). Reach her at about private sessions, classes, trainings. “Humor” is excerpted from her book manuscript The Tao of Play is being represented to the industry by Hurley Media/Leigh Publishing..

Sample Chapter from The Tao of Play: HUMOR

by Marcia Singer, MSW, CHt

"Humor is our greatest national resource." — James Thurber

How do you spell relief? H-U-M-O-R, nature's own best remedy for the blues, the blahs, and anything else that gets you down. Healthy humor (not the kind that intends harm) is a lighthearted, playful perspective on a situation, a vantage point that lets us breathe. Natural play can tickle funny bones quite, um, naturally, dissolving tensions instantly. And it's free.

Humor is anathema to our fears, to our beliefs that life is unsafe and unwelcoming of us. For that reason alone, seeing the funny or silly side of hardship—even a life-threatening illness—opens up the possibility for hope and healing to intercede. The word disease comes apart easily into dis-ease—a serious, grim lack of ease and certainly the absence of play. Inviting playfulness in to transform dis-ease brings to mind two men who have proved the power of humor and its sidekick laughter in the healing process: Norman Cousins and Dr. "Patch" Adams.

I found details about Cousins in a book written by my humor expert friend Terry Braverman (When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Lighten Up: How To Be Happy in Spite of It Al). Cousins was perhaps the person best known for bringing to mainstream attention the power of humor to heal. A UCLA professor and former editor of The Saturday Review, Cousins cured himself of a so-called incurable collagen disease. Given only six months to live, Cousins determined that he would die laughing, requesting that his visitors bring "funny books, tapes, cartoons, gag gifts, and anything else that might provoke laughter." His disease went into remission after just a few weeks of self-prescribed laughing therapy, added onto his other medical treatments. He managed to live another 15 years, receiving a humanitarian award for his works shortly before his death.

Equally inspiring is the evolving tale of physician Patch Adams, made public via the 1998 box office film, Patch, starring Robin Williams. At first severely criticized during his medical school years for his penchant for wearing a red clown's nose during patient visits, and finding other seemingly outlandish ways to brighten and lighten the load of his patients, Patch went on to make medical history. Graduating in 1971 and determined to revolutionize the way medicine is understood and practiced, he founded the Gesundheit Institute, which ran as a free community clinic for 12 years. The center was funded by private donations, proceeds from Adams' books (Gesundheit! and House Calls), and "The Wellness Show," a traveling production in which Adams plays a 19th century snake oil salesman selling nutrition, exercise, wonder, friendship, and love.

Today, Patch and his cohorts are building a hospital and health care center on a 320-acre farm in Virginia. His dream is a model for a "happy hospital," continuing his practice of charging no money, carrying no malpractice insurance, no third party reimbursements, and integrating all the healing arts, including performing arts, crafts, farming, nature, friends, and "fun." He remains a dedicated clown doctor, spreading humor and laughter wherever he goes.

Also a fan of wearing red clown noses is Terry Braverman, a West Coast "recovering stand-up comedian." In his lectures to health care professionals, Terry emphasizes the relationship between humor and health. East Coast play expert Cathy Raphael ( agrees. Both cite scientific evidence for the power of a humorous take on things to benefit physical, emotional, and psychological healing. Laughter releases endorphins, "like chocolate and exercise," says Raphael. Braverman tells us that laughter increases blood circulation, aids digestion and elimination, and "amplifies respiration." In fact, "a good belly laugh can elevate oxygen intake. . . fivefold," he says.

Laughing also boosts our immune systems, according to the new science of psychoneuroimmunology. Energy Times magazine (May 2003) reports that "mirthful" laughter that's not "sarcastic or bitter" can "increase NK cell activity, raise the number of other immune cells called T-cells, and lower output of cortisol," a hormone released during stress. Braverman, Raphael, and Energy Times also reiterate the power of humor and laughing (endemic to play) as a stress and burnout antidote; as a bonding element for human connection, communication, and teamwork; and as a lube for creative wheels.

In a similar vein, Diane Loomans, co-author of The Laughing Classroom: Everyone's Guide to Teaching with Humor and Play (H.J.Kramer, 1993), offers "The High Fives of Humor.” Included on her list are various physical and social benefits for players in learning situations.

Humor and laughter are part of the joyful side of life. They make learning fun and healing and connection more likely for everyone who embraces the Tao of "en-lightening-up."

AFFIRMATION: Today I prevent disasters by not taking them seriously. I breathe into the present moment, meeting each challenge with a lighter heart, willing to find deLight along de way.

SOME GAMES via "Improv Play Workout"


FUNdamentals of the creative Improv Play Workout

Marcia Singer (c) 2000

ACT ONE -WarmUps, CoolDowns - focus is on the readiness to play, interact, explore. Emphasis is on preparing oneself as The Instrument of creative impression and expression –“tooning up” in dingo lingo. Loosening up, flexibility, relaxation and equilibrium are emphasized. Interactions with other players are light, often superficial or ritualized as we begin. Games for getting in touch with the physical (body play), emotional (emo play)., mental (mind play) and energy bodies (“shakti play”) are included. (May be called Wild Anatomy induction). IMPORTANT GUIDE POINTS: focusing on the process, the moment, rather than a goal such as performance, winning, gaining approval. Focusing on the exercise itself decreases self-consciousness, judgmentalness and self criticism. If done as directed, players effect a meditative orientation Bmindful and heartful awareness.

GAME 1A -SAYING OUR PLAYERS (Aka Name Games) (loosening up, getting acquainted) Players form a circle. They take turns announcing their names one by one around the circle once or twice. Next, an ATTITUDE is added. Body language will tend to follow along.

GAME 1B -ECHO-MIRROR (getting acquainted, active listening skills with mind , body, emotion). Players form a Circle. Moves either to left or to right. Each turn takes 20-30 seconds, as each player tells about how s/he is feeling and is mirrored visually and echoed auditorally by the whole group. The reciter must deliver her info in bite sized chunks, so that the group can follow. Focus each player taking his turn is on the chunking effect, and making contact with the group. The group's focus is on imitation of all mannerisms and vocalization. This exercise helps create a group bond and support, and a feeling of equality, as both shy and outgoing players are equally imitated.

GAME 4 1D -MY USELESS TALENT -Each player comes center circle and invents/shows us a useless talent s/he has. Object is to make up something silly, useless or impractical -absurd. Exercise tends to relieve players of some of their fear of losing face by being uninventive or >stupid.=

GAME 1G -WHAT'S THIS/FOR? Ordinary or unusual items are passed around the circle. Each player is to invent a usage and show or tell us about it. Examples are a frisbee becoming a chip on one’s shoulder, a UFO or a new hat. Coach the players to refrain from pre-determining what they will do Ba very great tendency. Note how this urge removes us from the moment of true play, and organic flow from player to player.

ACT TWO - Extensions In this next group of games and processes, players will be at”toon”ing more to self in relation to others. The exercises may be more complex, requiring more skill in being present and noticing.

GAME 2G : "YES, AND..." This is a wonderful exercise to develop the attitude that whatever is offered by any team player in the games is acceptable, good enough, and to be respected. It can be incorporated into the game of freeze tag (below) for more practice. A STORY is built around a circle. A title is chosen, and the first player begins. Taking about 15-30 seconds each, when each player is done, s/he passes it on for continuation to the next player (to his left or right), who begins the next part by saying, "Yes, and..."accepting whatever is given and adding on to it. "YES, AND..."can be played in any game involving a scene between or among players. It is the antidote to "denial," the tendency to override another player's suggestion with our own. "YES, AND..." is an adding on game of awareness that all players are equal in value to the games. VARIATION - Using a basket of items, a story is developed as the basket is passed around.

GAME 2L -PASS THE SOUND Another exercise to open up the body and emotions through movement and sound. There are many variations -make up your own! Players stand in a circle. Someone begins play by passing-throwing-pitching a “sound” -of any kind - to another player, who catches that sound with a sound of his/her own. Play continues around as the catcher then sends a new sound to another player. NOTE: clearly look at whom you are passing the sound to. Players don’t have to stand still in their place when in sending or receiving mode.



Making Joy, Vitality, Originality & Connection A Way of Life

by Marcia Witrogen-Singer, M.S.W.

"Play is the pattern that connects all living creatures. . .The trust of play is a natural wisdom." –.Fred O. Donaldson

International play specialist Fred Donaldson teaches in his remarkable book, Playing By Heart: The Vision and Practice of Belonging, that play is a "universal language." It cuts across humanity's ethnic, social and gender differences, continues across species, melts time and space considerations, and may be ultimately the intergalactic dance. The question arises, why then do so few of us remember how to play authentically? How did we forget to take our playing seriously, both as joyful enterprise, and as a subject for study and research?

Like most of you, I spent most of my adult life aware that something was often missing from my sense of fulfillment. No matter how intelligent or accomplished I knew myself to be, or how diligently I tried to be spiritual, compassionate and responsible, I spent long years in a depression, a dark night of the soul that became a cauldron on fire during my menopausal years. Hindsight reveals these years to have been initiatory ones, bringing me home at last to my soul skin, my deep heart, and the consciousness of the state of being called "play," a state too seldom entered into, and if entered, often by happenstance rather than conscious choosing My body of work called The Tao of Play strives to bridge the gap.

Naturalist author Diane Ackerman in Deep Play remarks that play is "fundamental to evolution." Likewise, in Going on Being Dr. Mark Epstein asserts that play, like dreaming, may seem "superfluous," yet we cannot live without it. Says Epstein, "Like breathing and dreaming, play serves a homeostatic function. . . to help bring things internally into balance emotionally, how we "breathe air into our emotions and how we find out what we are feeling." Researchers on physical health and healing, too speak of the value of play states, noting that the laughter often associated with play states has a beneficial effect on our immune systems, releasing endorphins. Playful recreation is related to reducing stress and its potential ravages, potentially increasing fuller breath and vital energy, along with calmer nerves.

While health research yields good reasons to indulge in playing, perhaps the most well understood benefits are attributed to its relationship to creativity. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, noted Jungian analyst (Women Who Run With The Wolves, Creative Fire) has stated that play is a "central core of creative life," an "instinct" without which no creative life unfolds. She tells us that when this instinct is injured, violent tendencies are "normalized," addictive and compulsive behaviors substituted, and our "wildish" selves stunted.

Apparently "play" is not mere distraction from responsibilities, or solely the domain of small children. Authentic play at all stages of life is far more important than we had previously assumed. My own study reveals that the ‘deadly serious’ states of being that we humans experience as ‘normal’ are themselves distractions ---departures from the deeply soulful and highly spirited states of Being to which many of us aspire. Indeed, during play, while we are having fun, en”joy”ing ourselves, wholly, innocently engaged in the moment, we’re the essence of Ram Dass-ian "being here now with full access to Eckhart Tolle’s "power of now." During genuine ‘re-creation-al’ activity, thoroughly ‘be-mused,’ we iterate the creative legacy of the gods, the inspired “lila”energy states told of in ancient Sanscrit texts; Lila and Divine Play are one and the same.

The Tao of Play then, teaches that anything that prevents us from being wholly present, from embodying our inspirations, from utterly trusting the “play of the moment" removes us from experiencing our divine origins. “Not play” means not experiencing connection—within or without. It is a state of pain. The Tao of Play points to the work of consciousness ahead of us, the challenge of creating true "commune-ity," of befriending life itself. Says Donaldson in another of my favorite play quotes, "The magic circle of life includes everyone [and everything], making us face whatever we have to give up to do that."

Plato once argued, "Life must be lived as play." As a rule, we don't, yet before us stretches the opportunity to rediscover what it means to be at play: with ourselves, our psyches, with each other, with the wind, the sky, the moon, with Universal Spirit. From the vast stillness at the center of All That Is, in the heart of pure Loving Awareness, play exists as All That Stirs within that still void, and that dances out of it. Play awaits us as the altar-ed’ state of divine interaction between and among those persons, creatures, beings and elements that know no fear.

Fear may suppress our urge to play. Anger rails at being stuck without the life-giving, joyous properties that playing provides us, while grief cries out for joy’s reinstatement. Will we as a species, in our "conscious" communities create an intention then, to engage play more consistently, more consciously? Or will we continue to think of playing as a brief reward for ---or respite from ---the so-called real, hard-and-therefore- important stuff of life?

The invitation exists for you and I to create new openings to delight in the relationship of play, to experience play as tao, to make it a way of life. We’re invited to rediscover play as the ultimate relationship, the expression of both a free heart and mind ---a fearless engagement with Now. In play there is "anam cara," a Gaelic term meaning "friend of the soul." Here we’re at our most creative, resourceful, fully embodied best.

Like spiritual intentions, play exists solely for itself, for its own blessings. May we each revel in bringing play back to life, putting our Selves into play..

[978 words]



By the age of nine, neighborhood kids were coming to Marcia for help with their troubled hearts; she's been at it ever since. Today, after three decades of "Love Arts" service within two interrelated careers, her natural talents and skills as a hypnotherapist and spiritual relations mentor, an expressive artist, and hands-on healer have merged as a mature and compelling body of work called THE TAO OF PLAY.

Marcia completed her Master's in Clinical Social Work at U.C. Berkeley in 1970, surprising everyone by spending the next 15 years honing her singer-entertainer talents on live stages in the United States, Europe, and the Far East and appearing on top radio and television shows. In 1985, her natural healing abilities took center stage and in 1990 her Foundation For Intimacy training programs and private practice were established, assisting hundreds of clients and students from ages 10 to 94 to achieve better lives.

A natural innovator, Marcia, along with noted sex therapist Bryce Britton, helped articulate a conscious language of touch in 1988 with “Touch Awareness Trainings” for The Wellness Community in Los Angeles. Other innovations of Marcia’s include a body-centered hypnotherapy, which she presented at hypnotherapy conferences and consciousness expos as early as 1983. In 2004 Marcia presented "The Tao of Play" to the L.A. chapter of The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), a 50,000-

member organization founded by Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell after his historic flight to the moon.

Marcia has always been smart—intelligence tests for private school at age 12 revealed an I.Q. of over 180—but brains alone couldn't prevent lifelong depressions. Her high sensitivity, intellectual depth, and creative genius were destined for healing and growth work. To "en-Lighten up," she wrote "conscious" Hollywood scripts, songs, and voice-overs (she is a member of the SAG/AFTRA actors' guilds); created cartoons; fashioned talisman dolls and masks; wrote poems; and danced to regain her footing. Marcia's facility in these art forms helps make her an outstanding helpmate and dazzling presenter.

Playshops evolved out of the author's love affair with improvisational theater games and performing once in the late 1970s in a San Francisco comedy venue with actor Robin Williams. Marcia immediately set about adapting improvisation to her passion for self-discovery, establishing herself as among the first to develop theater games (and a lexicon) specifically for this purpose. In 2000, Marcia developed a course and manual for The Learning Annex (San Diego/Los Angeles) and produced a playful series of cable shows in 2002 with young professional actors and one with seniors from her community college class.

Marcia describes her work as "high play." She is currently creating "edu-play-tional" programs for community colleges, senior living communities, and private clients. Publication of The Tao of Play book and companion wisdom card deck will "legitimize” the importance of the subject matter in the corporate arena.



© 12/09 M Singer

1. “Yes, and…”

In order to keep the theatrical action moving along, the spirit of play happening, and the mind-heart free to express fluidly, we must trust each other. First I trust myself with a “yes” to whatever comes to me to say, do, be. Then, I extend that “yes” to you, to whatever you will say, do, be. For most of us, this takes practice.

Another vantage point: when doing an activity, game, scene together, each action --each “yes” will have another one added on, as the activity unfolds: This, “and” then this, “and” then that.

As a theater and play skill, this means take whatever is handed to you, say “yes,” to it, validate it, don’t reject it, negate it, worry about it --etc.

We’re all making it up as we go along, and it’s all OK. Relax, Enjoy!

2. Denial

Forgetting the “yes, and…” This creates at best a lull in the play, a confusion or setback as an offering has been rejected. Or, at worst, a struggle for control of the scene, play ensues -- often an unconscious one.

“Either way, it’s OK” -- just a great duo to bear in mind, take to heart.

Not only in the play group, but in the art and theater of life. ♥ Marcia