John Haggerty: Broadway Actor. Standardized Patient.
John Haggerty is a Broadway Actor who has appeared once before on Feisworld Podcast in episode #7. While visiting John in Portland, Oregon, I decided to turn on the recording and chat with him about his new show, Kodachrome, as well as working as a Standardized Patient in New York City, helping medical students better interact and treat patients.
"This is good for the planet because it gives everyone the chance to have a trial run. We do (as actors) a week of trial runs before the grand opening. Everyone should get a chance to do that, especially people who are in charge of human lives. If I can be a part of that, that’s just a wonderful payoff."
- John Haggerty
To learn more about our co-host Adam Leffert (producer and freelance C# .Net Web Developer), visit his website or email him at mindmodel (at) gmail (dot) com.
John Haggerty: All of us every human being as an artist as we have those questions in our minds about. What's great what's terrible. Doesn't answer anything just asks you to ask the questions because it's a never ending thing about all of us as human beings is finding some sort of connection with perhaps one special person and maybe with yourself in a way. We can all admire the Picasso's of life that we from afar and admire that but if you have your own personal Picasso is kind of. Nice to. Be in that in the in the wake of that or to be alongside that as it were. You have to know how to do it correctly to understand what corners you can cut as a doctor. So I had to learn all that stuff and as a result I learned so much more about my body about my health. And I went and had my blood sugar checked again because I said I have all the symptoms. This patient this simulated patient this person's back story that's me that's me that's me that's me. I think it's a miracle that doctors can walk and meet a total stranger in 15 minutes say get very close to saying a headache means the difference in a brain tumor and you know he went out drinking last night. There's a wide swath between that and his by very precise questioning can come with the reason why that's happening. I think that's an amazing art form that doctors can do that. The part that I can play as a person that can help future medical students become great doctors has been has been very satisfying to why this is good for the planet is that it gives everyone a chance to have a trial run. They were doing trial wise we have a week of trial runs before an official opening. Everyone should get a chance to do that especially people who are in charge of human lives. Now if I can be a part of that and I think that's just a wonderful kind of psychic payoff
Fei Wu: This is your friend and your host Fei Wu. And I'm so thrilled that you choose to spend the next 45 minutes to an hour with us. As you know there are many more podcasts these days. So by choosing to stay with us and to spend the time with us it means a lot more than you think. Today on the show I will not disappoint you. I have John Haggerty appearing for the second time on Feiworld. In an earlier episode number 7 John Haggerty joined me as a longtime friend since 2003 and shared so many stories of himself as an actor on and off Broadway. As a reminder John has appeared on the Ms. King and I, living room Yoshimi Battles The Pink robot and most recently which is a new story we're introducing to this episode is his appearance in Portland Oregon at the armory for Kodachrome. This was a place seen through a photographer's eyes in a small town. It was very fascinating. I wish I could release this episode a little earlier but due to travel and other Feisworld obligations the show Kodachrome in Portland Oregon has already concluded as of March 2018. By the time we interviewed him the show was still in preview mode which was in early February. In addition to Kodachrome and acting in general this episode gave me the opportunity to explore something John has been doing lately with his acting skills which has fascinated me really for a long time. John lives in New York and when he isn't rehearsing we're acting for a new show. He helps medical students learn bedside manners and better interact with their patients. The stake is high because the students are graded on their interactions responses and overall performance. And for John he has to be an active listener at all times. In many ways he sees this as being more difficult remembering thousands of lines from a Broadway show. In one example John describes in details how he had to go off script and act out as an extremely difficult patient. He couldn't believe the words that came out of his mouth. My associate producer Adam Langford also happens to be John's best friend and college roommate joined us in this conversation. I think when we talk about this it all made a lot of sense. I can't even imagine why aren't so many other actors to pursue a role like this. Would benefit so many people. I can imagine for example how his skills as an actor could really benefit people in mock interviews or seminars on dealing with difficult conversations. If this sounds like a good idea and you're thinking about exploring a project will John get in touch with me and will be more than happy to make an introduction. Last but not least we always have young people in mind meaning people who are perhaps pursuing a career path to become actors or actresses themselves. John knows intimately that this path is not easy. Therefore as someone who has been in the industry for more than 30 years John can offer you firsthand information on how to overcome fear and pain and perhaps some of the fundamental skills and things that you need to think about well pursuing a career like this. I thought that was so honest and valuable. So if you enjoy this episode I would encourage you to share it with one more person and hopefully it will light up their day and their imagination. Without further ado Please welcome John Haggerty to join us for the second time on face world podcast.
Fei Wu: So I'm here with John Haggerty who has appeared on an earlier episode of Face roll podcast much earlier episodes within the first ten and we are now. We just launched episode 138. So pretty unbelievable. I'm also with my partner Adam Ledford who also happens to be John Haggerty's best friend college roommate and has really followed him everywhere since then. And you mentioned that you're in the show which we happen to have just watched it about an hour ago. And it's called Kodachrome. So could you could you tell us a bit about the show what your role is.
John Haggerty: Well this is a brand new play to the planet. They did this play as a as a reading. They developed this play a year or so ago here and they decided to put it into their official season so I have been blessed to be cast in this play. And I was talking to one of the box office sellers as someone asked him what does this play about and because no one's seen the play it's not something you say oh HAMMAT OK Danish prince goes to some problems and he gets killed at the end. We all know the plot. So no one's seen the play and the the box office person said it in a way that I thought wow that's pretty cool. And he told me that he's telling people it's like our town Thornton Wilder classic meets Love Actually the movie by Richard Curtis came out 10 15 years ago 15 years ago probably where these little vignettes of interrelated people talking about watching them go through their experience of trying to connect. And there's a narrator character which is what our town aspect is of watching a small town. So that's the similarity I thought that was pretty good bridge between the two and someone else in the cast said it's a little bit a sprinkle of Amelie. The French movie of people trying to find each other. And so I thought that was pretty good so if people want to know what this play's about. It's our town. Amalie Love Actually and you guys just saw the play you can tell me from your experience as an audience I never expressed this one audience member. If that's pretty close or not I admit I simony quite a long time ago.
I've heard of Love Actually so I can't speak to that but I think the sense is right.
It's about people who want things want each other want connection and love and seek it in their own way and keep seeking it in our own way and the ups and downs of that.
Yeah. Well there you go. And what do we all do in life as as people we that's a constant theme in life. And Adam CIMB Coates who wrote the play decided to have a riff and do a piece of writing on that and it was interesting hearing the titters in the audience about some lines that the narrator speaks out loud as if to the audience and hearing them respond very viscerally with some sort of reaction. You know she she asked is is it is the point of love to be miserable or not. And that is that the point always is to learn. And I think that's what the play doesn't answer anything just asks you to ask the questions because it's a never ending thing about all of us as human beings as finding some sort of connection with perhaps one special person and maybe with yourself in a way. I think some of the characters don't actually find that connection because they're unable to do with other people because they can't find it within themselves. And I'm speaking I'm actually personally of one of the tracks that I play.
So speaking of which we all play multiple characters in the play except for the narrator and who is the photographer of the town as you if you happen to be in Portland's and see this as the premise and all of the actors place a few different characters I play a perfume maker and a history professor and I also make an appearance in two quick scenes as a emergency medical technician. Saving a couple that are over thrown by throes of love. I don't know who else to put it other than that but it's been a year catching me at the end of a long long tech week and I'm so grateful for both of you to come out all the way from Boston to come out and see this play and support the theater and support me and I so appreciate and love you.
We're bringing out to that so for me over these honestly decades it's been the same and the same for me and the podcast as well to have an extraordinary opportunity to connect and kind of insert myself in that life without the talent or the effort to become an actor or an aerialist or a surgeon and to say about the play that we saw you talk about. No. The joy of living your daily life in the small moments and the joy of being an actor and being in the play the characters are somewhat strongly identify this person without giving anything away or spoils anything. Somebody is very shy somebody is very bold somebody is very persistent and other persons reticent and sometimes you watch a player movie and think oh I'm like that person or I'm like the idea I'm not this guy in this show. But what I felt about the show we saw tonight about Kodachrome was that we're like we're almost all those people in media in any given moment. Right. Right.
There are so many prisms of experience that I think the playwright was trying to touch upon that we've all had that little feeling of ecstasy see let's say when you get you find young love and getting divorce which I've been through personally and separation and reconciliation and longing.
I think it's so interesting to me part of why I notice with my podcast which is kind of feels in a way kind of selfish it's like I get mad pretty quickly that I always like to ask my guests first about how they are as people because I don't know many of them as well as I do. No you for the past you know 14 15 years. But I wonder I want it all to get to know you a little bit more as a person because in case and haven't listened to where they don't really know what it is like to be an actor and you are a very experienced one. So for example one thing I notice is that all the shows I've been to you're always introducing me to people on the show. But as friends you know people you spend a lot of time with and really try to be real learn from and you're not at all possessive about their relationship and you're always promoting other people whereas in the acting world and all the academic world and and you know all the other worlds I notice that there somehow is something that we don't talk about is that if I'm a project manager I don't almost don't people won't introduce you to someone else in that position or you five minutes go you're celebrating also. You know they went on to do theirs.
Went on to do that like I wonder you know why. Why do you feel that way.
Obviously one degree of separation makes you feel more intimately involved in other people's struggles and what they go through and and and their and their victories. And I have great love and respect for you and for people that whom I've gotten a chance to cross paths with and I'm pulled in by their work and I we can all admire the the the Picasso's of life that we from afar and admire that but if you have your own personal Picasso is kind of kind of nice to be in that in the in the wake of that or be alongside that as it were continued every every time. Every time you do an acting job I think I really literally think is the last time I look at these experiences as I get one more chance one more chance because you don't know. None of us know. It might be a really might be the last one. And so let's try to do it as as well as we can on that particular day.
So we know that the acting and the passions and the journeys are deep. Well we also didn't want to talk about things that are happening outside of this particular engagement in this particular show. Other things you're doing in your life that are related to the arts that are not related to the arts.
Well there are very very few people I know I mean personally of course we all know who the big stars are go from show to show or from TV show TV show for the most part. My circle is pretty rank and file actors in New York and none of us have 365 days a year of employment in our and professionally. So when I'm not doing this I work for a medical school and a lot of actors do this in New York anyway. But I fell into doing something called standardized being a standardized patient. So I help doctors students in medical schools aspiring doctors to help them become better with their bedside manner to help them figure out a diagnosis and the Kumbaya feel good feeling about this amazing kind of side job that I have is that whatever kind of slip ups they make or or things they did they didn't ask a patient. That could cost them their life out in the field when they're gone. I'm able to coach them because I've been coached about how to train them how I feel like in some ways I'm saving someone's life down the line. And they are very very few jobs I've ever had that you can give someone satisfaction but to think that somehow what I did today helped this person they're going to meet this person that I've been asked to portray because we get a case study. We have to portray a certain type person when they meet that type of person if they don't have that training before medical school they may slip up. They may hear important piece of information in an interview with the patient that they were supposed to catch which told them about a major problem that they missed. So if they do that then I'm able to say when we have our post simulation and we do our feedback they say Hey you missed that part we should have asked me about that. And they go Oh thank you for telling me that.
I mean that is so great for me. It's that extra beyond whatever they pay me feeling that you walk away psychically saying I did a I did some good for the planet today. That's someone's. Mom Brother sister brother
Was father was. What might have been saved later in life because
Hi there this has failed. And you're listening to the fazer old podcast. Today on our show Meet John Haggerty. Broadway trained actor who uses is acting skills to teach medical students in New York City how to better interact with their patients.
I feel like there are also moments where that's even less so than life or death is that those few hours that you may feel. I mean we have all encountered poor bedside manner so I got you re very aware we are as caretakers or as patients ourselves and comes down to really small ailments that really not at all a life threatening but you know I recently had a friend who was in an emergency room and out of the blue based on his conditions he was told that he could have either a stroke or something much more minor but because he didn't have any symptoms at the time he was asked to wait in the emergency room for six hours every second of those six hours. He thought you know about having a stroke or a heart attack which you know the way that he was told as much as a matter of fact as in a could be a possibility that I think that reminds me that just one recent experience I and myself have experienced much more with my dad with my mom. And so what you're doing really has excited me so much probably more so than you thought. You probably think we're friends like you know this is something new and exciting for you. But we think that you are really a very perfect candidate for that job. So like I want to learn a bit more about as a patient. What do you work. What are you holding to kind of get into that zone where that condition OK now.
Well it was it changes from case to case for example.
There are. What is it almost 40 something points 40 something things for someone to get a full physical a full physical exam when I had to learn every single one.
How is properly done. I realize I've never. Probably no one on the planet really has had a full physical exam done correctly or at least the way the school teaches it and to the doctor out in the field to their due to their argument. There's no time you wouldn't do certain things on certain people because you know they're not. That's not a health risk thing. They can bypass certain things. Certainly my doctor does it. He Bibe I said you know I do this all the time and I know you're going to miss my property. PAULSON You're going to do that. He goes Yeah I know you do this and that's fine.
But but you have to know you have to know how to do it correctly to understand what corners you can cut. As a doctor so I had to learn all that stuff and as a result I learned so much more about my body but my health. In fact I went and thought I may you know I went and had my blood sugar changed checked again because I said I have all the symptoms. This patient this simulated patient this person's back story. That's me. That's me. That's me. That's me. So every case is kind of different and depends upon what they are training the students to learn that day. Are you are you looking for high blood pressure that day.
And then I have a like typically I will I will have a name a back story and I have to listen to very specific questions and I have to give an exact scripted response because the idea of standardized patient is that the medical students are getting the same answer every time.
So I have to listen very carefully you know my answer might be I feel I have a hard time going to sleep at night and if that's the answer that they scripted in that the doctors who have written the case of scripted and I can't say yeah you're sleepy it they can't be that it has to be a certain say to say the same wine every single time. And I have to remember that. So I have to Reno the script script dead cold like enacting exercise. But that same time my acting partner is changing the lines every time they walk into the room that medical student is giving me a different line I have to say now I can say this line to them. You
Sound like a computer almost like a binary. I mean not binary yes or no. But you almost have to function like a computer and calculate in your head all the time do it. Which option the ABC or or D or E. And then you have kind of thought of that way. All right. It's kind of crazy because in the way that I feel like it's almost like you're taking the test because this is not a free range Creative Writing because they're being graded and if one student gets a different answer because I screwed up the answer they can always look at the videotape is all the sessions of videotape.
They can say well this person missed that sometimes as much as I prepare much as all of us on the staff prepare. You're only human and sometimes we make mistakes. And if a student challenges what we said you missed what or what why what I screwed I gave the wrong information I may have had that you know they said so tell me about your father's family history.
And I said my my my father has diabetes or my father had a stroke at a certain age and I missed. I said the wrong thing that gives them totally different information. That's a blood sugar thing or a heart heart problem. So depending upon the case they will start diagnosing me in a different way. And that's just not fair to them and they have to be on point as much as I can.
Why is why is the consistency of your answers to be so important.
Because they're being graded and they all the consistency of standardized is that everyone gets the same test.
So instead of a piece of paper I am the piece of paper the human actors the piece of paper that they're being tested against. So I have to even though every human being every every interaction is a little different because you can't help that's energy. I have to still deal with the permutation and give the same verbal response and sometimes you know that you have to maintain if I've got a stomach ache they want my demeanor to be. I got to go sometimes because they want to say what you like. Can I do. Would you like me to dim the lights you want to. You want some water. That's positive points for them as a bedside manner. That's good stuff. They want that students to do that. They want to incentivize them to learn that. But a lot of them don't know what to do with the patient patient. They're just trying to get the. It's got to be really hard. I think it's a miracle that doctors can walk and meet a total stranger in 15 minutes they get very close to saying a headache means the difference in a brain tumor. And you know he went out drinking last night.
There's a wide swath between that and this by very precise questioning can come with a reasonable reason why that's happening. I think that's an amazing art form that doctors can do so. And I know your family Adam is in the dock you know you're all family doctors. You know I my respect for a great doctor is exponentially just blown out of proportion because it's a very hard thing to do. Not just the medicine it's the art form of interacting with another human being who is in distress and they're looking for. Please help me and you have an assembly line of patience all day and you got to figure it out. And they're depending upon you. It is a lot of responsibility. So the part that I can play as a person that can help future medical students become great doctors has been has been very satisfying. An ancillary kind of career to doing this. I say about half of us or two thirds of us on staff at this hospital at this medical school are our actors because that's basically what we do. We memorize scripts. We try to maintain a character. So they they they do look to the acting pool in New York to fulfill this position.
If I were if they are listening they as in the ministry as traders who are from New York or elsewhere I would love for the actors to get a wild card to say you know what you you're off script now you're going to scream I want you to say you're screaming this person or scream of the doctor or make it quiet. Shake it up. And I think because that's the that's the first that's real life too. I find it really difficult to do that as a non actor actress to really just be like snap my finger you snap your finger and I be in there's only millions it's really difficult for normal people to do. You know I think the medical students hopefully not to be graded on ever.
But for them to have that experience and to respond to that ending it would be tremendously helpful.
To wit I was one of the hardest days I've ever had doing this is that I had to play a psychiatric case. And this was based upon a real person an event and it was the hardest because of what you were saying have free reign to do what you want.
Interpret this character. This is the back story. It's based upon a true story. This very high powered executive was accused of perhaps molesting his 15 year old daughter and physically abusing his wife shoving her up against the things so she against the wall one morning. And he was apparently very high up in the ranks in his company and he was used to having things his way basically. So they said this is the guy he had he had a very alpha. No don't listen to me I'm always in charge of the room and I'm smarter than everybody else. So they gave me a backstory. They took. They chose three got three men. They chose me and two other fellows. They briefed us before and they said You're so human being being seen by a psychologist because a simulation is because your wife called you and you were picked up by the police because of what of shoving your wife up against the wall as she called the police. So you're the first your official the doctor coming in as a state psychologist who wants to do an evaluation where we're going into with you and you have to be toe tapping wearing a suit looking at your watch and saying I'm missing meetings I've got things to do.
I don't believe in psychologists.
Go and whatever whatever you want to make whatever you can do to rattle the student we want you to do it. And I could not believe the stuff that came out of my mouth. And they had no idea. All they knew was that this man all they they are the students all they knew was that this man this is the situation there. No idea of my personality or anything they had to find out that I that I was a high ranking vice president at a company. And after the first encounter with a student who had gone to see who was had gone to a foreign medical school and I disparaged the country shoot she was a woman I disparaged your gender. I said everything that made her upset but she her job was to keep it calm. So they wanted just like you were asking me what can you do. But I remember that I had six of them all in succession all different people that I had to figure out how to make them upset and I knew nothing about them. I had a make it up and in some ways it was a satisfying improv actor thing that oh yeah I did that. But after the first day after the first encounter after she walked out I just remember leaning against the door thinking I'm not going to I'm going to be sick. I cannot believe I said this things that came out of my mouth. No human being I I just would never I wasn't I wouldn't even think these things but the actor your actor brain starts playing this character and I'm you know be this guy.
If you feel like apologizing to say I did. He's out there I will say I'm sorry I'd make this Dessau make believe.
And they actually the medical staff after the day this normally doesn't happen. But they brought the three of us and to debrief us because they knew we had to go through a little bit of getting it out of our system. Talk about it and Forche. I don't think I could ever do that day to day because even though we all know a simulation we're all playing a role that even the the the medical students are playing a role. It's where I walked the line up to reality of trying to play these characters because that's the idea of it. And I just I say I'm not this person. I just felt very very tired and almost sick inside. At the end of it. So people who play I don't know play a character who has to be really evil person. Day after day it shows on Broadway or in a movie you know every actor that I could do what I could do. But I think I really do that I really do.
That stuff is so fascinating. I mean this as bad as it sounds. I believe that happened I forgot it was in the US or China but somebody was playing an evil very evil role and the guy was getting not just hate mails but life threatening messages from. I mean is this as crazy as it sounds. I mean that guy must have done a really good job. But what I would it's interesting to me that I think about all the time is people like yourself John who is acting your whole life. I know you have other endeavors just like what you talked about. But you also happens to be you can be very dramatic in real life. But for the most part based on what I've seen you're very mellow. Like I don't know. Mellow is the right word. But why. Why do you think that is. Like what do you do to kind of offset that energy to be on stage all the time. I mean especially when you're in King and I miss. I mean those are hard core heavy duty stuff doesn't matter which role you play. Like what do you do on the side of gonna offset energy enough.
I used to be jogging. It is still jogging right now in my early 50s it becomes more jogging walking jogging walking stuff stuff like that. I think we all find some sort of release physically more you know time time alone. I think some people have a problem with that but I actually have I find a lot of solace just fine being by myself for maybe not days on end but ours. Yeah I don't need to talk to people can't I don't. You'll be surrounded by it. In fact that's what I that's what I did between our rehearsal today and the performance but when I was called I was I I went jogging I went across the bridge on the Willamette River and just spent all that. I just need because after I just needed the time to clear my head. So that's my decompression to ask you be asked about if anything don't get getting getting back to being standardized patient. I think in some ways in a very strange way it's been a very interesting acting class because of where it has its place my listening skills as a person too I'm not actively trying to remember your responses to me and how we're doing. But when I'm at work at that medical school I have to remember everything they say almost verbatim because sometimes I have to type it out on a computer checklist or tell them back so if I have a 10 minute 15 minute encounter with somebody I have to remember my response is plus someone else's that requires a lot of intense listening and remembering I'm remembering trying to amend what I said and remembering their response. Most people do not do that in life you just have them one to one to back and forth back and forth
Hi there. This is faith. And you're listening to the fazer old podcast. Today on our show Meet John Haggerty. Broadway trained actor who uses is acting skills to teach medical students in New York City how to better interact with their patients.
It's even more difficult because like if you go to a job and you park in a similar parking space but not the same one and you're there five days a week. You can't remember where you park. So to do that once is tricky to do that with a series of people where those half a dozen or dozen conversations are similar because different med students. That's got to be even harder.
It's a worst thing is that when the same meds doing to two people looks similar come coming back to back and they say almost the same as about one or two is different I go oh oh what did they say. That's when you conflate that. That's the that's difficult for me. That's really hard. That always happens especially by the middle of the afternoon. Oh my God. That I get there that I get their names right I get their answers right.
But it's something that you probably get better at.
I mean how long have you been a couple of years so it's been getting better at it. Definitely. And to the credit of the school they they don't they just don't train you and we all go through some training and simulations before they unleash us to students. But they check up on us because they're always watching us too. Not only today but they are watching our performances and coach. I remember the first time I got a video tape back from my boss's boss and she said look at your answers look at your script. You know you. You didn't. You screwed this one up. And I looked at it went oh my god I really am thinking that I was not too bad. And I realized they are. I said I've got to step up there. This is their grades. This is whether or not they're going to get their get they get get their degree whether they can pass the bar or not. And I think about that investment I have to there is committed to going to school and working your asses off there and being doctors. And I just going for you know whatever six to eight hours a day and and do my thing in there. They're up all day and all night for four years and that's before they become residents.
And so you're sort of like your role in the experiment like the control in the scientific experiment with where the other things are variables. So you know knowing you in real life putting aside all modesty of your own frankly speaking what sort of a you know if it can be answered What sort of a person should give this kind of a job a shot and also to mention it isn't something I do 40 hours a week or somebody could do it. And as part of this and who shouldn't do it just what kind of person you think probably wouldn't make it and what kind of person like Asian investigators this could be a good thing for you.
Well there are not all actor types have done this.
I know that I was interest I had a I have a friend named Martin Martin solo. If you're out there who first term me the idea he was doing for a while and he's now he works. He's always working. So he doesn't do it as much anymore. But then I started applying to schools and trying to get an audition because they do audition people and they're not slobs depends upon the demographics of what they're looking for work what they need a very to the know they need the planet because of different diseases and different things that happen to people. So we're very very different kind of a staff where I'm at and if you're not if you don't like to memorize that's one thing or if you don't feel like you're yeah that it's helpful if you if you're not good with remembering words. That's absolutely paramount.
That's why the medical schools go after the acting pool because there's kind of a discipline and a experience of doing that and also a little bit of a volition. I thought I said OK just a way to make money. But then when I got exposed to it really about what's going on in the why is this why are standardized patients programs they're there. They're at the heart for for for helping helping medical students become full fledged doctors and making their their trips in school where should happen rather than out rather than out in the field. We don't want to be that patient who has a doctor who has never encountered you. I want in my my most high way of why this is good for the planet is that it gives everyone a chance to have a trial run by were doing trial ones we have a week of trial runs before an official opening and and we are there's some steaks being done in our show that the director is catching and we're costly fiddling with it. Everyone should get a chance to do that especially people who are in charge of human lives. And if I can be a part of that then that's that's just a wonderful kind of psychic payoff you know to close on a tougher questions.
But it's going to be a two part question. I wonder what are some of the things that Jain you think the the world at large or the theaters or the sort of the actor communities can do for these working actors you know whether people are entering into where people are working more on a part time or full time basis like what are there's a reason why I ask that question because I think like well my mom possesses I think there's a certain skill set that I witnessed you on these shows. Ms King and I and I know the art form is disappearing. And I know in a way some of the audience. It's also getting smaller. But I think that it's a very precious form of sort of a human artform that need to be preserved. So I wonder if there's anything that we can actually do you know that there's no limit by that.
There's no right or wrong answers all of us. Every human being is an artist because we have those questions in our minds about what's great what's terrible but watching someone else interpret it either through painting or music or performance or whatever a computer program you know programming it's all a is a way of you coming back yourself and recognizing everyone's costs and asking the question.
So if we all sat in our own little bubbles and didn't go to museums or concerts or theater or go to movies rent Netflix whatever if we didn't have any access to that and any people doing that then we'd have to live perhaps in our own little islands and read digest stuff over and over and then it becomes incestuous in our brains about who we are what we're what we're supposed to be doing here and our and are of small time on the planet. And sometimes when you see something it just when you see someone else's idea of something that even thinking about your brain cracks open where your heart cracks open and you go oh I get it how I can apply this to my life. And I never thought of it that way. You know let's and I can add this to my life or subtract it. I was a fool for a thing that for so many years.
So in some ways when we see something that we were moved by or respond to it's it's like a someone has come up with a way of thinking about it in a very distilled form. Sometimes I think what is the true enjoyment of of acting or being in some sort of public performance of telling a story. One of the things I find so interesting so amazing about being in play is because we are expected to produce some sort of something for people to watch and to experience from zero in a very short amount of time. And that journey is one I it. I always find it really interesting. So that's what keeps me going. Certainly it's not the same as not being showered with flowers or signing autographs.
That's never happened to me and it's never really been interesting to me and certainly money. I mean I get paid a living wage and I'm happy to be in Portland. But if it was about that then I would be very disappointed. But it has to be a deeper psychic agrees about being a human being.
And I think it's we've talked a lot like in this past hour or so and I think there is a new future that exists for people with your set of skills and love and commitment and love for the Arts is through companies like medical schools or law firms. These companies not only need you they also have the financial means to really provide people with the right opportunities. This is not again not charity that they need you in a way more than you need them. Right because the skills that you have is replaceable. That takes training and I think that message is so strong. And I think especially for people out there anybody pursuing any forms of art and putting something that they create out there to say I mean this you know and to my put my name on it I think it's such and such an act of bravery in a sense and that we are so conditioned to do that to never do that. Yes you're right. You're absolutely right. Yeah. And you don't put yourself out there. I always I remember precisely that moment where when I raised my hand I went I did really well in school particularly math. I was really good at math until I was about third or fourth grade. I stopped raising my hand because my teacher told me not to my teachers and even my classmates and said Don't forget that your girl you're a woman and your hormones will not know hormone. I didn't know what that were meant. But she said biologically you're going to lose that edge very soon. And the boys will exceed you.
I mean this is late 80s that's crazy.
That is crazy but in one form or the other maybe not in those exact words because it's not at all acceptable in today's society and it did happen to kids growing in the 80s and they sort of you know I definitely remember putting down my hands on do that again so I'm so I love talking to people like you to really learn. I'm still in the process of learning all that you know I'm glad you said something like that.
It's it's always a reminder. The very every every show and certainly last night when we had our first show we were all I think the cast were all so happy to have that audience. This show was not well. No one's never done that we had no idea about how the artists were going to react. We had no intercourse with that audience with how to how do we how these lines can land where what's there hustling to come across. So there was a topspin of nervousness I would say with certainly with me I can't speak on anybody else but I'm sure they had a little bit. And it's the first five minutes I feels like when you walk out on stage I don't say anything for five minutes and I'm frozen. But I feel like my blood is ice water and I'm doing nothing but my heart my heart rate is I'm just trying to breathe free. You got this. Just say a line. That's all I have to do and what you're talking about before about you not being told that you can't do this you can't do this. I keep forgetting that that the audience wants you to do this. People want you to do this podcast people want you to succeed. They want to. They want to see you fly it exalts them to see to see greatness happen because then we can attach vicariously we can Tasch our wings to that.
And I just brought our brains seem to fall into now nope nope nope I can't. Don't deserve this. I'm going to fuck it up. I shouldn't be here. It's all a big mistake. And turning now turning that switch off because I think I'm going to be a little bit magnanimous about that. I think human beings want other human beings to do well.
I think that's such a positive message. It's really precisely what I needed and what I heard from another colleague to launch the first episode as he literally said people in the restaurant. They're all eating away at their sushi. He's like they want you to succeed. I'm like No I was thinking No they don't they don't care. And I realize what he's right. What if that's even a maybe maybe I should push that button. It gives you a lot. I think we all need a little bit of a momentum. I think it means so much that I read stories about people even thinking about committing suicide and then hearing the positive word from another child walking back from school and being with to save their lives. And it's I think it's that is huge American.
Yeah well that sounds like that's like a good coda to all of this. Yeah. Summed it all up.
I think he did. Thank you John. Guys thanks for coming out. There's me again I want to thank you very much for listening to this episode and I hope you're able to learn a few things. If you drew what you heard. It will be hugely helpful if you could subscribe to the face podcast. It literally takes seconds. If you're on your mobile phone just search for Fays real podcast in the podcast app on iPhone or an Android app such as podcast addict and click subscribe. All new episodes will be delivered to you automatically. Thanks so much for your support.
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[08:00] What’s your latest show "Kodachrome" about? What is your role?
[12:00] (Adam) In some sense, compared to other shows where you relate to one particular character, in your new show it feels like we are a bit of every character. Do you feel the same way?
[14:00] Why do you think that in the arts world people are open to introduce you to more people, while in other worlds (academic, industry) people are more conservative and restrictive?
[16:00] What are other things that you are doing in your life outside of acting?
[20:00] When helping medical students, and as a patient, what are you told to get to play the character? What information do you have?
[24:00] When playing these patients, do you have the freedom to improvise?
[25:00] Why is the consistency of your answers so important?
[28:00] What was your hardest role as a patient?
[33:00] What are some of the other activities you do to balance some of the energy you have to put into the shows?
[37:00] How long have you been helping medical students?
[38:00] What kind of people should look into doing this type of work (as a standardized patient)? What would be your advice to them?
[41:00] What are some of the things that you think the actor communities can do for active/working actors, whether they are new young actors or people that are established on their careers.
[45:00] What is your opinion/experience with critics, feedback, and what we call ‘putting your stuff out there in the world’. People who see and evaluate your work. What’s the tradeoff between opinions-critics/things learned?
[15:00] I look at these (acting) experiences as the last time. I always think when I have a new opportunity that this is one more chance. Because you don’t know. You don’t really know. None of us know. It really might be the last one. So let’s try to do it as well as we can.
[22:00] Every case is different and it depends on what they are training the students to learn that day. Are you looking for high blood pressure? Typically I have a name, a backstory, and I have to give exact scripted responses.
[26:00] It is a very hard thing to be a doctor. It’s not just the medicine. It’s the art of interacting with another human being who is in distress, who's looking at you for a ‘please help me’. You have to figure it out what’s going on and they are depending upon you. It’s a lot of responsibility. The part that I can play as a person that can help future medical students become great doctors have been very satisfying.
[40:00] This is good for the planet because it gives everyone the chance to have a trial run. We do (as actors) a week of trial runs before the grand opening. Everyone should get a chance to do that, especially people who are in charge of human lives. If I can be a part of that, that’s just a wonderful payoff.
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