Thursday, June 9, 2011

Don't Miss NOW WHAT?! This Sunday!

This week's guest blog is by Marie S. Paxson.

“Overture, curtains, lights... this is it, the night of nights!” Now What?! is Sunday!

Let me apologize in advance for being a shill for the new production of Now What?! Two performances of this show about adult ADHD will be held at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center this Sunday. While the name of the show may seem odd, for those with a recent diagnosis of ADHD it sums up what’s likely been going through their minds…now what?

The show is a must-see for anyone who has been diagnosed with ADHD and could use some good information about dealing with the disorder and what treatments and options exist. In fact, if you are close to someone that you think has the disorder, my suggestion is get tickets and go see this show! Oh and the best part? Rick Green and Patrick McKenna, two stars of Canadian television and PBS, make this show hugely funny with their comedy bits and sketches. It’s just good medicine for those affected by ADHD, plain and simple!

If you’ve ever seen the PBS documentary about ADHD called ADD & Loving It?! then you know the talents of these two men. They’re joined by Dr. Umesh Jain (Dr. J) an expert in ADHD, who plays the straight man to the comic antics of Rick and Patrick. But there’s more to this show than fun and games. There’s a lot of good information delivered in the form of an engaging stage production. The actors even bring members out of the audience to play “roles” in the show. The purpose of the show is to dispel the myths and rumors about ADHD and to let people with ADHD know that a diagnosis is not a death sentence. Many, many people diagnosed with ADHD are hugely successful actors, authors, doctors, athletes, and politicians.

Many people feel that ADD & Loving It?! has taken a lot of the blame and shame out of having adult ADHD. It would be good for recently diagnosed adults, as well as those struggling to accept that their lives will be different than they expected. Public television stations across the country have run the documentary ADD & Loving It?! and it was featured on the most recent cover of Attention magazine.

In Now What?! Rick, Patrick and Dr. J discuss ways to manage money, improve organizational skills, and provide advice on what to say to those who feel that people with ADHD are daydreamers and lazy. And while there’s nothing funny about ADHD, the actors provide poignant dialogue about the foibles of this misunderstood disorder. Interestingly enough, when Rick approached Dr. J with the idea of creating a humorous documentary about ADHD, he was met with incredulity. A show that makes fun of a mental disorder… Is nothing sacred? Well, my friends, the old adage is you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar and this production is sweet honey!

I hope you’ll take my advice and see this show.

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 this Sunday, June 12.

TICKETS ARE NOW AVAILABLE AT DISCOUNTED PRICES WITH SPECIAL PROMO CODES! For information visit the CHADD website or contact CHADD directly at 301—306-7070 x118. For online ticket orders click here. Adults can purchase tickets with the promo code SPECIAL at $24.50, and students may use the promo code STUDENTSPECIAL to purchase tickets at $10.00 each. Tickets may also be purchased at the box office.

Marie S. Paxson is the immediate past president of CHADD.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Geniuses Behind NOW WHAT?!

This week's guest blog is by Barbara Hawkins.

I am so looking forward to seeing the new stage production about adult ADHD called Now What?! with Rick Green and Patrick McKenna. These two popular Canadian actors/comedians have created a new show to dispel the myths and misinformation about adult ADHD. No small accomplishment if it works.

I’ve enjoyed watching McKenna and Green in ADD & Loving It?! on PBS more than once. The popular documentary has likely done more for people affected by ADHD and their families than a lot of other “treatments.” What I am really excited about, however, is that this new show is a stage production, not a documentary. That means live on-stage performances that include skits and interactive exercises in which the audience actually gets to participate. It’s kind of like an entertaining therapy session with no doctor’s bill afterward!

Rick and Patrick have themselves long been diagnosed with ADHD. That’s the reason why their production should be something special, because everything in the show is influenced by their personal experiences. They are joined onstage by Dr. Umesh Jain, or Dr. J as he is known, internationally recognized in the field of ADHD.

Dr. J can boast some major career accomplishments, with over 50 peer reviewed papers and book chapters, 90 peer-reviewed posters, invited lectures and workshops and over 300 presentations. He’s the perfect straight man to the comic characters portrayed by McKenna and Green. Dr. J has joined with Rick on in an effort to take ADHD into the mainstream and get people talking about ADHD with facts and certainty rather than drama, fear, and misinformation.

Rick Green has made hundreds of innovative television, radio, and stage shows including History Bites, The Red Green Show, Prisoners of Gravity and The Frantics. I think his greatest roles are the ones he plays in ADD & Loving It?! and in the Now What?! production.

To quote Rick, “Everything I used to know about ADD was wrong. Getting a proper diagnosis and treatment was transformational; like losing 400 pounds, only from the mind rather than the body. I was more productive with far less wear and tear on my soul. Everyone deserves to have this feeling of being in charge of their lives, rather than being a confused victim of mysterious whims. It’s possible.”

For a long time Rick managed his ADD in an “ADD kind of way”—sporadically and only when it reached a crisis. God bless television deadlines. The more roles Rick took on (producer, director, actor, writer, teacher, and father), the more he took on his ADD—and the more surprised he was at the amount of stigma, misinformation, and vitriolic opinion masquerading as fact. Knowing the power that understanding makes in addressing this syndrome, Rick created ADD and Loving It?!

While it may seem odd for a comedian to be doing something quasi-educational, Rick actually has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics, which he barely earned in his three years at the University of Waterloo. (That didn’t stop the university from naming Rick one of their Top 50 Graduates of the First 50 Years!) Rick’s first job was teaching at the Ontario Science Centre where he ran demonstrations, wrote and produced science-themed plays, developed exhibits, and set his hand on fire with a 40-foot-long, 1000 watt laser. OMG!

What about Patrick McKenna? He spent most of his life trying to hide what he suspected was ADHD. As a child, he was chastised for doing badly at school and didn't feel very good about himself.

Still, he is one of the fortunate ones who came through the tough times. Today, Patrick has a very happy, successful life—his career as an actor and comedian feeds into his ADHD-fueled needs. To quote Patrick, “I always craved something new and exciting, and all the scripts, characters I played, and bright lights fulfilled that desire.”

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.

Barbara Hawkins, president-elect of CHADD, is the former coordinator of CHADD of Greater Baltimore and a recipient of the CHADD Volunteer of the Year Award. Hawkins is assistant dean of Villa Julie College in Stevenson, Maryland, and chair of the Children’s Mental Health Conference in Baltimore.