Thursday, May 26, 2011
Now What?! Join Us on June 12!
This week's guest blog is by Steven Peer.
I always take an interest in new efforts that focus on ADHD education and information, especially when those efforts are fun, creative, and innovative. The new stage show about adult ADHD called Now What?! is one of those efforts. And it is coming to the Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Maryland.
Rick Green and Patrick McKenna, the creators of ADD & Loving It?!—the popular documentary that has aired on PBS around the country—along with ADHD expert Dr. Umesh Jain (Dr. J.), have created this new stage production to help dispel the myths and misinformation about adult ADHD. They have made the process fun and engaging. This unique show was created for people with adult ADHD and for those who suspect they may have adult ADHD or who know someone with adult ADHD symptoms.
Now What?! is not a Broadway production or a long-winded dissertation about ADHD. It is a stage production the promoters call “edutainment.” As far as I know, nothing like this about ADHD has ever been done before!
If you’re familiar with the ADD & Loving It?! performances by McKenna and Green (both of whom have ADHD), Patrick gets his own ADHD diagnosis and learns from top experts about adult ADHD. The groundbreaking documentary is a blend of humor, hope, and science that educates while being entertaining, ergo edutainment. Now What?! does the same, but is a stage production that engages the audience in ways the film production doesn’t. It goes to the next level and takes the audience on a hilarious and transformative journey combining humor, drama, first-person stories, and interactive exercises.
Dr. J. and Rick Green created this funny, lively audience experience to help adults recognize the symptoms of ADHD, understand the process for a proper diagnosis, and become familiar with the various treatment options. The primary message of Now What?! is that much can be done in treatment and that diagnosis should not lead to fear, but hope!
In Now What?! Rick, Patrick and Dr. J. explore everything from careers and finances to relationships and parenting; from the history of ADHD to coping tools and strategies. “I’m the free form, free thinking out-of-the-box kinda guy,” McKenna says to Dr. J. in a hilarious skit called “The Therapy Session,” in which Patrick plays an adult with undiagnosed adult ADHD coming to see Dr. J. As the patient, Patrick inadvertently displays the most common adult impairments. “Where do you work, by the way?” asks Dr. J. “On an assembly line… making gas pedals for Toyota,” responds McKenna. And it goes on from there… hilarious at times, intense and enlightening at others.
“I’m not here to make you normal, I’m here to make you functional. Mediocrity is overrated,” Dr. J says in one of the show’s interactive audience Q&A sessions. The audience gets into the act a lot during the show. “Relationship Issues—Opposites Attract,” “Are You Smarter than an ADDer?” and “Embracing the Diagnosis” are a few of the other funny and informative elements in the production.
There's something about Canada that breeds great comedians. Rick Green and Patrick McKenna join the ranks of Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Phil Hartman, Seth Rogen, Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, and John Candy.
These two world-class Canadian comedians talk about their experiences and relate how they initially resisted their diagnosis, then discovered the facts, and the resulting rollercoaster of emotions from anger to joy to sadness to relief. Rick and Patrick talk about the difference knowing that they have ADHD has made in their lives. Despite all their career successes, according to McKenna and Green, life was much improved once they learned about ADHD and more importantly, that it was not the end of the world—more like a new beginning.
The initial Canadian performance was sold out and I expect the upcoming event at the University of Maryland will sell out, too. If you’re in the DC area on June 12 I recommend you take time and see this production, for yourself and for your loved ones.
Now What?! is scheduled for two performances (1:00 and 6:30 pm) at the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Dekelboum Concert Hall on the College Park, Maryland campus on June 12.
For information visit the CHADD website and for ticket ordering, click here.
Steven Peer is the president of CHADD.