For Thomas Sadoski, acting has been in his DNA for as long as he can remember. With a decades-long love of the stage, he's landed award-winning performances on and off Broadway, features in movies like John Wick, The Last Word, and Wild, and TV shows including The Newsroom, Law & Order, Ugly Betty, and Life in Pieces. And, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming CBS series “Tommy” where he’ll be featured alongside Edie Falco.
What stood out more than anything in this conversation, though, was Sadoski's big, open heart, honestly, commitment to family, as well as his powerful embrace of service. He currently sits on the board of directors of INARA, an organization that provides life-saving and life-changing medical care to refugee children wounded in war, and serves as an ambassador for War Child USA, which works to provide educational, legal and economic aid to children and communities devastated by conflict all over the world. We dive into all of this in today's moving conversation.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
So for my gun,
today, thomas a dusky typing here
Is more or less been a part of his dna for as long as he can remember, born in connecticut?
raised mostly in texas. He found
health immersed in the world of new york, theatre at the age of nineteen and never looked back and in the twenty plus years sends his stage. Creditors
kind of mine blowing, including
features in reasons to be pretty where he was nominated for tony other desert cities which earned him adobe reckless, which was his broad.
debut opposite mary, Louise parker and no more recently, susan lorry parks, white noise, which was this fierce
get race and humanity in the stores we tell ourselves,
just so many others. You may also know him from movies, like John wake, the last
word wild or maybe leading tv rolls on the network law and order ugly
eddie life in pieces and more
by the way, be
absolutely sure, to keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming CBS series tommy, where he will be featured alongside eighty falco cannot wait for that to come out and with such an accomplished
national resume. What really blew me away, though, in our conversation, is how big an open
his heart- is how cheaply he thinks about work and life and how much care he gives to his craft and to the community. He both co creator alongside and offers his art and his
and his mind to we diving into all of this. In today's conversation, along with the role of
being an ardent belonging in society and his personal commitment to be
much more ass. He put it forward footed in his
ism, now sitting on the board of directors and being very actively involved in a narrow and
organization that provides lifesaving life, changing medical care
refugee children wounded in war and also said,
as an ambassador for war, child the usa, which works to provide education.
legal and economic aid to children
and communities who have been devastated by conflict all over the world? So
conversation on so many levels and am incredibly incited to share with you I'm jonathan fields, and this is good life project,
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So did you hang out with you sweetie I am?
was a real watching. The first episode of the newsroom say you twenty two
They re eyes about one gaga hires around like this.
Is as relevant, if not more so today than it was when it get almost preshent in a weird way,
Well that sort of the nature of great art there. You know that
seemingly is ahead of its time and simultaneously timeless yeah, I mean it hit term was so much of it or a moment and an problem
deserved a lot more attention being paid to it. While it was of its moment, because I do think that we
saying something that a lot of media is actually demanding beset now, which is in a way to me.
Pay attention to us: there is a legitimate fourth estate here and it has a job to do and it is an important job. It is nothing short of the survival of our republic is on the line you know of our democratic process, and I think that too
You know at the time we were living in her and america,
that we thought was sort of moving at air,
unstoppable pace forward, and as we learn repeatedly, there is nothing
Yeah history is funny like that right yup, we take two steps forward, and sometimes we take three steps back him and you know. Sometimes we can only take two and a half steps back or one step back, but there's never a movement throughout the course of history. That doesn't doesn't have some resistance and it never goes smoothly. For you know, progress has never
see. That's the point. I think yeah I mean, and and it's interesting to sort of explore what the role of art isn't that too yeah. You know
which are beginning to back into our own. Take a step back in time. What kind of work our way back to her to a certain extent were hanging out here in new york city. Where feels like, you know, you have spent the vast majority of your dot life
a solid chunk of because you were born not too far out of here.
bethany but then jumped down to college.
In texas. Yes, as a kid five, six years old, something like that, yeah the. What was that move about my father, my father got a job teaching it
Texas, aunt, em university he's a professor and then the sort of that letter, part of his career, became
primarily research scientists in the feel of red
psychology and he he got a great opportunity down there.
Some wonderful town to grow up in as a kid you know, lots
wide open spaces and a really very solid community. You know not live in terms of problems that we have down there at the time of the. Then you would
in your normal college town. So that's where we were that's where we
were until that was what nineteen or so twenty years on, and then I got out. I got I got to new york as soon as I could.
This is the place to make more sense to me,
became. A research psychologist. Interesting parallel might entered one job, his whole life. He was here
research psychologist, ran a lab.
Recital human cognition, like you're learning for close to fifty,
Are you retired and that's my father? That's too funny madison wonder if they actually know each other. I wouldn't be surprised. They'd probably do that with your thirty funny yeah and
kid, though it seems like you're you're down there, you dad doing the professor thing and knowledge.
It also end one is performing acting
Start a shopping list that you remember, you know that that is the quest
Now, that's the same question that we always get asked as like. When did that moment, sort of hate you that you wanted to be an artist
and I dont know tat. I ever had a specific moment of like if I do,
did, I don't remember it and I don't remember having a specific sort of like oh no. This is what I meant to do. This is what I I will sacrifice everything else in order to do the moment, it just sort of made sense. It was frankly like one of the only things that made sense after sort of writing.
Through any number of different potential vocations from dolphin trainer to marine biologist to cook too? You know
fire person. Wasn't anything yeah police, but it just was the one thing that just always seem to make sense to me, and I dont know how and I dont know why, but my
just drove relentlessly forward towards that curious. How that she had a yacht.
a father, I dunno what your mom did and she worked in. I mean she worked all over the place. She she was a member of the p t a
and she was she sold insurance and she saw audio visual equipment and she were worked at a she was like manager at health club.
Then I mean she did all sorts of things she's, one of those sort of jack all tradespeople. Never she just sort of gets herself into she exceeds that you know
and the just removed around in that way, but you know,
merrily was was- was my mom, so
yet a mom. His has a pretty business minded and hum
who's in the rather of academia,
it doesn't always go well. When the kid says hey, I think I wanted
pursue something in the theatrical are performing. Arts is my jam. You
You know my parents were
readily brave. We also didn't leave the country.
yeah. This isn't happening no matter what so, let's find a way to be your gave. That's really that's true, but they were also incredibly raven, incredibly supported from ebay, and they didn't understand exactly what
was what I wanted to go and do or how it one makes it happen. I didn't understand either
but they were just so generous and so supportive and so loving about it in. I couldn't have asked her for more, but there is an artistic under current that runs through my family in the entirety of my family, like my my dad, so the family and my dad is actually a really
as like an artistic saw. Ah, he now and retirement takes really extraordinary landscape photography and before that
If he was an art major in college before he became interested in academia. But he was from a super working class background and you know he couldn't afford the materials to to be an artist, so he had to go a different way. My aunts and uncles are you know some work in poetry, stained glass painting
In a woodworking framing in there is so there was a context of vocabulary around it. When you are coming up. Large is definitely part of my familiar vocabulary, Michael
as to in a minute a big family, it's it's a big family and it runs through everybody. You know everyone's got some sort of touch to it
Which is pretty amazing, you know my grandmother, who is sort of my guiding light, really inspired pettiness and supported that in us and
in as much as I don't recall her ever being particularly artistic herself, you know, as somebody who
and when she did something's, but you know like she did it,
everything in her life. She didn't make a big deal of it now she sort of kept to herself and kept her focus on her family and and her act
Isn't she just loved that part of her family and supported it and was just so generous about it in every one in the family was always so, if just second nature,
I think we on some level as a family almost took it for granted that everybody
This sort of artistic touched on
he would return to other a hobby or career or something you know just and there really good.
Hence the thing and exalted sorted disturbing to his little work ethic and tell it runs in the valet layer. It's just you know where we
come from that tribe of particular kind of
working class. Knowing lenders who, over on our side of the house
our family. Does this can interesting stuff with a great deal of support from its matriarch and guidance from its matriarch, and we really lucky in that way?
yeah yeah. Do you still identify more as a new englander than a texan yeah? I think in my soul you know I I I have a lot of love and respect for texas. It taught me a lot. I was exposed
to a lot of different kinds of people and a lot of different kinds of thinking in and I was really import,
from a growing up has been very important for me.
Adult to and who have that in my history, but this has always been.
You know when I sort of imagine in my soul what home looks like it's
It's those marcy rocks
mountains and males of doing one man,
something that I have been here, my life, I think, even if you just share of the version had there
then it gets inside of you. It's like becomes a party
It's like no matter where you are in the world for how many years, it's almost
There's this mega like Paul back to a certain extent, I will always relate more to make them hale. Then I will the davy crockett
where SAM Houston, you know like those well, those will always be the things that speak more to that you know and care.
but your dad started out in the world of art also, which is really fascinating, because it's kind of like it's. Actually, it's not that far away from psychology. It
It's really it's two different ways into the exploration of human nature: the human condition
you know one sort of his he has this incredible capability of operating in with great logic,
The member growing up my would go to his office and Texas aunt em to visit.
A hi and he always had a picture of MR spock on his desk
termites him too. You know
that logic was his on.
And I did not have a picture of mister spock on my desk. You know that I'm I'm just cut from a slightly different cloth, but but at the end of the day I think that all roads are are both of our our roads lead to the same spot. Just in.
Seemingly wildly different ways, wildly twin starting point there. So you end up getting
high school. You end up in eugene, denton fur semester, universe, nor texas of their semester,
There was stricken you're from then I went back home
back to college station to sort of like my wounds and figure out what was going on and why
somebody who loved learning as much as I did in theory just couldn't make college happen. Just wasn't working for me and when I sort of talk to the artist that I lived in college station, who are my primary source of inspiration and these two really sort of defining
People in my life, who ran the local community theatre, who had actually been on broadway and been mia.
No pontius pilate in the original broadway production of Jesus Christ, superstar no kidding Y know.
just happened, a land in college team and the back up in college station texas running that immunity, theater and them
other one was my acting teacher. The person who first sort of like too.
Under her wing, and she had been. She was actually grudge.
of the royal academy of dramatic art in london, and I,
I had the opportunity to to work with Randy wilson, who's just recently passed on and and Joe spiller, who really like. Inspired me and told me, look tommy. You know. We know that your parents want you to get a degree
but you're never gonna be happy taking biology. You're, never get me. Have you taken chemistry, you know them. That's just not gonna work for you,
Something inside of you demanding to go out there and do what he was put on this planet to do, and I don't I I trusted them and so did my parents. So off I went to circle in the square. In new york city there did
you want to been in the city before that I mean. If I had read from lake.
five, when you're in tat year what
like when you I mean you're you're coming from there. You know you, theatres, your job
Acting as your like? This is your thing and europe, and you say: ok, I'm going all in right:
you land in new york city. You have you,
I with a certain set of expectations.
At the same as like, when you actually get here
curious did. Your experience me does
nations was a widely different with a big surprise. You know, throughout the course of my life, one of the great blessings today
said. My reality has never match my expectations, and I am so grateful
that I don't remember what my expectations of new york were, because the reality
york so rapidly. Outgrew them I mean- and I mean within hours
I mean I still remember that feeling how my first year in the city of walking around him.
just now I remember that feel I still get it. You know sometimes walkin around the city, there's just a an energy that sort of starts to crank up like an indian
It just starts running underneath inside my soul. You know and like that is just a that's the energy I sort of associate with new york, and I knew almost immediately that I had found my place. This was this was my home. This is where it was meant to be for me
there. She saw training in this legendary institution and also young
It's the only theatres
seems like you have had from the earliest days a strong paul too.
theater I mean they're so may outlay, someone who is to express the craft
it's like there's a you almost had like this set point that keeps pulling you back to the stage yeah. You think that was I mean was that from the earliest days you know I, my father, my father's reference points to this version of art. This medium were all film and that's what I was
both to when I was when I was a kid he here he gave me a really great foundational education and great art. You know in the film in industry and in the media
and in as much as I appreciated it. Ah,
The first time that I really got on stage. There was just something about that. I knew that in the film world you weren't acting in three hundred and sixty degrees, that the art wasn't happening. You know fully encompassed. It was ultimately two dimensions, you know and a beautiful two dimensions and you can do extraordinary things with it,
But for me, what made the most sense was the full immersion of the theater, because if it just seemed to me that if you're going to tell human stories to human beings who have given of their time to come and sit in this hallowed, darkened hall together,
I participate in one of the most ancient traditions, then.
we as a species have met, you owe it to give them as much of a story.
As much of an encapsulating story as you possibly can, because it's important I'm I'm resistance as I've gotten gotten older.
Nor does it has started sort of working as a director
but also, as might have become sort of more publicly in personally front footed, as an activist.
I am really resistant to
Allowing my audience too many places to hide it doesnt serve them,
As an audience, I know that it doesn't serve me as an audience. My wife and I were actually talking about this the other day, and she said you know why? Don't you like movies cause
really go and see movies very watchin. You know, I don't frustrates ervic issues, she loves him. She loves him. A visa in hustle, maybe go ahead.
You can buy, all means, gonna movies are needed,
and she was saying like One- would you like movies and I've- been thinking about this and she brought it up, and I think that part of it is so many the vast majority of movies that I have ever
but certainly these days just
from behind their audience too many places tied, and I think that comes because.
You're, either painting and really broad strokes were allotted time
Movies are falling back into troops that they attempt to appeal to only certain parts of it
as an audience or frankly, they just don't trust their audience, their spoon, feeding their audience, morality and, and- and I just it doesn't- it doesn't work for me. I I don't. I don't like the feeling of being manipulated or being forsaken or not being trusted and not to say that you don't
in some feeder. To course you do, but more often than not in this year, because it takes a very specific type of person in a very specific type of work, to make good theater and to want to even be in the theater
More often than not, there's not a lot of places to hide when you're sitting in a row
with other human beings and there's a tangible, actual human only feet from you living an experience does not give you a lot of places to hide. Nor does I think the theater as an institution as an art form, has it ever sort of
been a place that that's satisfies that fear in its audience, and I think that part of what my love so much about it said it's just all their it. It feels a theatre.
again. This is that I can always be to my experience in my answer is in, but it feels a theatre.
Me has always is its pleaded differ.
well one society. Then tv or film has played where's
not to be low, any them they're all really interesting, powerful, valuable formats. But if it can be filled
and has has always been the place of provocation.
Much more so
The film- and I don't know why that is I dunno if it's related to the the economics behind it or the people who are drawn
with the different forms of expression, but to me sort of like when I look at the the role of society of theater versus tv vs film. They play very different roles. They absolutely do and there are also different mediums for different artists. So theater is an actor and a playwrights medium film is a director's medium.
and and advertisers media too, to a small extent and televisions almost entirely and advertisers medium ends.
That is certainly true of network television other now things are changing a lot to do with the different platforms, and
places like hbo on netflix, amazon and apple plus. Some. You know
like this, that are just starting up is becoming
moreover, writers media, which is interesting now, that's exciting by tom,
didn't that differentiation between those three voices that are sort of prominent in the different expressions in you know the performing arts. Specifically this type of work.
I mean art. I think that there's something about that. I I can't unpack it. I don't know that I know necessarily what any of that means. That's just something that I'm a sort of acutely aware of you know I have much more of a voice as an artist on stage than I do on film. You know film is like I said it's a director's medium, but it's also largely an editor's medium and the
your performance can live or die based on the quality of the person, who's, editing, the film and you can put as many brilliant moments down on film as you want, but once they get into the room, if they're cutting around them, no one will ever see it. You know, and that's
It's a powerless position to be here.
As an artist that I don't know. That makes a whole lot of sense to me. I certainly respect the people who are great at it and that format, but it's just not something that has ever sort of linked up, particularly well with me. I mean it seems like yeah, it's more for giving better at the end of this year,
time it's different stakes to vastly you now with which has got to change your experience of it as the person who is actually deliver hope.
I mean in a huge way. You don't get the same kind of adrenaline bump here that you get walking out on stage on a film set. You just don't you know you you it's it's hard to get
and lend bum when somebody's coming to your trailer door, knocking on it with a cup of coffee and walking, you said you know,
you stand around for half hour generated. Go into the thing it does. You know, whereas in the theater
someone comes knocks on her dressing room door half hour and says you got a half hour, you know and then that's that's when all the real stuff starts flying
and before you know it your shot out of a cannon. Under that stage
Who knows what will happen now, there's no cut, there's! No! I
we go back and fix that light or that move. You know it's just go, can't go, you know, and I will see what happens and a man. That's just that's the best that I would have to imagine-
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it's interesting. I spoke to an.
A writer actually little while back
it interesting because at the end of the book
I suddenly it's nothing said words, but he wrote
every time I say yes to writing a book. It I'm saying yes to three to five years in my life.
A decision a long time ago that I will not take on a substantial prodded like this
unless I believe truly that the process
researching and writing the book will not just
create something that will go into the world and make meaning for other people, but will in some way leave me deeply change simply through the process,
I wonder if you have it, there's like a similar carlo with what you do. Oh yeah, that's that's art its part of the deal that you make. That is fundamentally the deal that you make with art as an artist.
You can't ask your audience to show up.
And be willing to learn about the human condition and potentially be changed by what they hear. If you're not willing to put that on the wine yourself.
There's it's just not it's non negotiable and.
One of the things I think that audiences can feel and its most profound levels are when an artist has signed off on that deal, has made that deal
Sometimes it's too much sometimes is overwhelming and they're, not
willing to go half way. I just did a playlist
Yours is more parks play called white noise air and it was very challenging
share a bit about what that was it, sir? It's a pretty pretty unapologetic look at race in america as it currently exists.
two thousand nineteen, but as we're as it relates to.
Our sort of greater regional national syn.
The gist of the stories for lifelong friends,
two women, two men, two african american two white, are sort of ripped apart and put back together again after one of their friends has a run in with the the cops black man has a run in with the cops in which he gets beaten up by the police, simply for walking around the block late at night and how it then
subsequently unravels each of them harm, as he pursues his mission to feel more safe again in society. And what that means is I mean it's a brutal journey and when I say earlier about in a piece of art that do not allow people a place to hide, white noise was unapologetically not allowing any one a place to hide. I mean it. Susan lorry laid all of the questions out on the table and gave the zero answers, and that is.
an act of profound artistic courage, particularly in this day and age, is an in an act of profound courage to show up and really take that in
the things that really sort of landed with that play, for the people
Two to show up and allow it to land with them is that there is a certain population that makes up the sort of regular theatre going audience and
demographic and both their hearts and glad that they do and they keep on showing up, but
one of the really big take away. I think of your paying attention really closer to white noise. Is that just by showing up at the theater and seeing a piece of art written by a black woman dealing with race in america does not mean that you have actually done anything? You have simply showed up and paid money to buy a ticket to see this play. The rest is up to you.
And it starts from the moment the curtain rises, and it continues
from that moment on until you know you shuffle off this mortal coil as it were, it demands the questions that were asked, demand answers outside of the theatre and
people, you know a lot of people not willing to sign that part of the contract. You could you,
they, while you're little
literally in the room while you're performing. Could you feel that oh yeah? Absolutely you know I played this characterised
it offers sort of what you consider to be or what was considered to be a pretty woke lefty college, professor and by the end of the play,
hey because of the deal that he's made with his friend this african american friend with black friend, who I won't give away too much of the playing as people want to go reader. Does it have an opportunity to see a production
but by the end of the please kind of ended up being a proud boy. You know he's he's borderline white nationalist, if not fully, and the transition from one to the other
just as it was in the actual creation of the pro boy movement didn't take very long. You know the guys who started vice
eventually ended up starting this, what they refer to themselves as western massage nest right, they did not take long. The evolution, trade devolution from one to the other, the regression from one to the other does not take long and it sir. You can feel people reacting to that being put in their lap that
we're not as evolved as we think we are, and only you at the end of the day, know what happens
your mind and in your heart.
When you as a white person, are walking down the street at night and you come across
of young black men, would you know
is there something inside of you that urges you'd across the street. The puts up red flags that tightens up you know only. You know that
but I think, with the last few years has highlighted if anything and are sort of cultural and political existence in this country, is that a lot more people.
Are having to answer that question
in a way that is surprising and uncomfortable to them. Then they willing to admit publicly, and
It has ended up in a place where those private moments
translated into beheld them,
the that in the election and the ballot box, when you press the button- and here we are and
we have now given voice as us
I to the worst of us, and we know you know we have to be clear about this. There are actual literal neo nazis, marching in the streets of the united states of america and two thousand night
That's a fact not going a single out anyone one politician and said they definitely are this certain. Not you know, I don't know how much that service hum. There is definitely a case to be made.
The way things are right now has allowed us to get to a point that culturally, we are in a very ugly place, but I think also of
Lastly, important place as a society and as a country an art has,
real responsibility now more than ever, even more than ever, but it certainly has its most important responsibility is when it. But when moments like this present themselves- and this is where art really succeeds- we dont remember cultures for their great
wealth or war victories. You know, unless it's just one person that we remember you know we remember genghis khan or alexander the great, but we don't remember the rest. However, the cultural impact that the mungo empire and the greek empire made artistically and culturally
vastly outlived those names and will forever outlive those empires. In that
very ozzy, Mandy and way. You know,
and this is where we as artists, have of our most important responsibility. I believe to raise our voices
and to hold up a particularly clean, mirror back to society and say this is what's going on
now. This is who we are ass. Human beings
This is who we are ass: human beings right now,.
Do we really want to be like this completely agree and at the same time, it.
It's a really interesting tension between saying this,
the fundamental role of art in this moment in this season, where we're out right now and at the same time, zone,
the ones out and servicing. Okay, so wrapped around. This is a business context too, and
when you ask people the castle, pay money.
To come and show up and sitting in room
two to three hours to
witness and participate in this.
experience that may move you profoundly and open your eyes, but also make you really really uncomfortable this
two fascinating tension in that to me, surely bundling all that together, yeah and you know, I think, that sort of way
this our nature of art, capitalistic economy. You know and trust me.
rather be doing art in a capitalist economy. Them
is too costly or in italy will take that bar. I am all for the free market,
only when it comes to our artistic expression
I dont want government interference, sort of happening here. But I'll tell you a very interesting experience. I did a project but ten years ago called the bridge project that sam Andy sword,
raised between the brooklyn academy, music in the old vic in london and
He got a group of actors, half of them were american, half of them were british, and we took to shakespeare plays
we took our particular year was, as you like it in the tempest,
did them in rap and we took them literally around the world. We started in brooklyn.
We went to hong kong, singapore, paris, madrid
Amsterdam, a little town in germany called regling housing a couple months back at the old vic in london and then back to northern spain, and there were a couple of places where I mean. First of all, you know you have vastly different experiences in in every place that you go doing those plays, but doing anything you know, singapore,
wildly different country than spain, but when we were in madrid, one of the interesting things that we came across was that there were.
Governments subsidize tickets to the theatre, which meant that in as much as is a free market economy, that there were government subsidies for the arts that made attending that play anymore,
possible to anyone of any demographic and
audiences were so diverse and.
Sort of alive and present
in a way that I just found so incredibly interesting. You know, I think that there is, of course, a danger. You know when it comes to government.
You know subsidizing art, because there is always the danger of it. Putting it's done.
let me on the scale troll yesterday.
But to see I mean, there's a like. I said, vastly different experience going to like singapore, where every place
Done there has to be run through the government sensors first, as opposed to spain, where it was like
do whatever you do and will make sure that everyone could go. You know to the broken academy amused
You know where it was. You know if you can afford it, we'd love to have you.
It was really interesting. Really
interesting and if they don't like, I said I,
Another necessarily have answers, but I do have questions about it and I do did recognize it so yeah
area. There is this very interesting trade off in an hour sort of economic reality. That's always true in other intersection of art and commerce is always very difficult.
very it's always. Fraud on some level is and always will be there, and it should be
that's. It has to agree to easy them. Then then, you have to really are worrying.
But I think one of the cool things is that you now is it you, you,
the opportunity to participate in any full suite of experiences and show up. So, yes, you could show to white noise and be rattled and have to
face your own internal stuff and how you know,
you, ve been in the world and how you want to be in the rough net montfort, and then this
in time. You know you can show that come from away and you can witness this other gorgeous cited.
Manatee workpeople, embrace absolute strangers and welcome them into their families and your hand, and I almost feel it
it part of your commitment is to let me just participate fully in you away,
I'd array of what's being offered and I'm going to get the the dvd full experience of all aspects of my humanity from
later amazement to provocation, to her sorrow and that's kind of what we're here for will. It is an ideal
no frankly, that those two stories are vastly different now agri, honestly, on a fundamental level, I dont know.
That the stories behind white noise and come from way are fundamentally different because I think for some segment of the population, as we have witnessed a lot in the last eight years,
there's a significant portion of the population for whom the idea of welcoming strangers into their home or their country is in fact, a horror movie and
would rattle them to the core. That's why
there has been this profound rise of right wing populism in europe is because of the refugee crisis
literally no other reason for that is what sparked off. So a play like come from away.
is asking the same questions just doing it in a different way, but it for it is audience individual dependent as to what effects
m in what way if you were to take some of these golden dawn.
You, know, sort of right wing populists, marie le pen, you know irreverent, stick them in come the audience for come from way. They be shook, ends.
That's really interesting to me. That's that's me, says great art. That's art will tell you know it's just
he on a fundamental level. It is the same story because it's our story, it's our story as human beings. It is the human story and it is a huge story, and it's important you know to regardless of what show you're doing or
it is being marketed to know that as an artist who is performing it that europe,
it meant to noises off is just as valuable as your commitment to hamlet. You know.
It's going to reach people on some level. Something is gonna region there and do something, even if it's just giving people an opportunity to laugh for two hours. That is a great
service, but it also has a way of trying people together
Sitting in a room and laughing with people who are different than you.
but who are all laughing at the same unique sort of human foibles that doesn't in straw, ordinary job of drawing us all together, and I, I think that that's part of art's responsibility to is to is to give people a break
you know it's such an interesting point. Also that part of the experience is,
almost the experience,
The humanity in hundreds of other strangers, almost erasmus yeah it- which I never really thought about that way. But that's pretty cool
in the end. They talk about us, leaving an imitation too
to experience that on a regular basis in this day and age too. You know
Teresa once said that part of the problem we have is that we
Cotton that we belonged to each other. You know, and whereas I have some may have some philosophical quibbles with her in this sort of christopher Hitchens bent and it's a good point, that's a good point, and it matters
We do belong to each other and it's important to remember that and when you go and you sit in the darkened room, like I said doing that tradition engaging in that ancient tradition, that goes all the way
to the caves he sitting by firelight him listening to
Where is that were told about the hunt, your engaging in something that is primarily necessary and that binds us all? And I don't know that
As for me, I don't know that there is much more that's as important for me, then then, being an active participant in that
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yet a ginger saying the m,
is. It is a psychological, active physiological, some moral need an imperative in our lives and
over the last generation or so many of the sources that we used to turn to to find that sense of belonging have vanished in Iraq, Robert Putnam wrote this fascinating book called bowling alone, chunk of years back, where
kind of like documented the m. The demise of belonging, at least in the u s, whereas I can't we used to belong to local weeks.
most of those have gone away. We used to find a sense of belonging in
The religious or spiritual organizations- and there has been a fleeing of those organisations in
and your generation or two ago. We would find that to a certain extent in in our work. You know where he Kennedy
at the first day at state in this community people fur
your entirety of your work life in and make it. There was a commodity and a sense of belonging there and that's laura
the way these days and an were wearing this window. Where.
This plenty resource that shows that we have to have this thing to be okay and the world, yet many,
the sources of it for general.
actions, have stopped being sources of it, so now were were feeling the pain of not having it.
and not quite understanding where that pain is really coming from
also not having those places that we used to turn to to find it. So it's fascinating to me that the company or the idea that participating in theater different events- emotional,
driven experiences where we come together and participate in them and feel them collectively is around
It'll be interesting source for that it is it's it's a vital source for that that we are profoundly alone. We are profoundly lonely right now we are. We are no longer as much a contemplative society as we are contemptuous society, and I think that
it's from that profound ache of loneliness. That's why we you find so much tribalism now and you know, that's that's real and that pain is real and it leads to some proof,
I think the EU. What you'd, like you said we were seeing right now- is the result of that this,
the society in lurch.
In sort of a it's it's caught in this moment of
Profound uncertainty and how do we get back to each other, you know how do we find each other and I think they are.
is almost always the answer. You know. I hate when you start asking these questions about humanity when strapping these big questions about humanity. The answer almost always comes back to art, yeah, yeah,
One other thing that has become
major part of your life is
and you mentioned earlier, what's been happening that reduce around the world and then also.
You mentioned even earlier conversation how you serve them, been more forward footed about your activism, about your
getting the world say, saying: okay, so beyond my devotion, MIKE,
women too, to create art than someway moves into people provokes them. Lift them up opens them that you're, looking at the world and sir last asking yours,
who or what more, is my responsibility? How more can I be of service? I know that used to fairly recently back from Beirut, yeah I'm curious,
What that was about our sir. I know you become involved in it. Nora and war. Child
I would love to share more about what's behind this, what we
you're doing in borough and also
these organisations would seem to be doing really powerful work in your involvement, and so the first
The jumpsome, and the first thing that comes to mind is the great just strummer once said: without people you're, nothing and you know
I think that it relates very much to what we were just talking about in terms of loneliness where we are
the two organisations that have sort of given myself completely to these days in accra and war child
On some level, what they
fundamentally asked people to do, is to be present to just take a moment to be present for
What is really broken.
about, where we are and who we are right now and down you know, you Nora, provides life, changing life, saving medical care to refugee children who are injured as a direct result of war or in
the biosphere of war, meaning driven from their homes and into deplorable living conditions in refugee camps, which they are completely unaccustomed to living in and an injury sustained within the camps because of those living conditions war,
I wild basically attempts to shelter, children from war and rebuild communities based entirely on this ideal that individuals and locals
with their society and their worth
more than anybody else does, and that in order to reach
the community you have to start with its future, and so
I know. You have a war child which offers legal support to victims of gender based violence, in that there are a registered legal organization and in afghanistan and some other places, so they offer people who are the recipients of war crimes an opportunity to see.
Truth and reconciliation. They provide opportunities for education to children, because education is often the first thing that disappears in a war situation in a con.
situations the firstly, the gets taken away from children has the opportunity to grow and be educated and their thrust into this biosphere of war. That is just the forsakes.
The most innocent and the list of us, so it provides education opportunities and then they do like micro, granting and sort of setting up.
Opportunities for the local population to rebuild itself and to find a purpose again, one of the great sort of accidental,
harms that has done in humanitarian work. A perfect example behavior you have
tremendous human suffering tremendous human need and the first.
Happens is the
when or american based ngos role in with tons and tons of rice to help feed people who are desperately in need of food, which is amazing and necessary,
for a period of time. Unfortunately, what they do is they break into so much that they crater the market and drive the actual local rice farmers completely out of business permanently. So
taken people who are productive members of society and who want to be productive ever since I can help rebuild and
grow there on society and you ve cast them completely aside. So not only have you taken away their livelihood, be fomented this sort of resentment and hat and helpless.
this in an accidently colonial away and war. Child works, the disorder, genius of or child that doctor Samantha not came up with is that it it operates, complete
the outside of that
there is no sort of white savior isn't happening with with war child henri nara. You know, there's this some real effort to help people who will then go on to rejoin society and rebuild society
You know it's difficult to talk about, wounded children as a burden. You know, but these are the terms that are are used by economists and by governments. So, unfortunately, the terms were short of left with interment in discussing this work, as we have to do with governments and large dose
organizations, but in our takes these kids, who would be considered burden some to the economic future of their families ends
through the the life changing life, altering surgery allows them to rejoin society right, so they're going back to school, their learning
able to go back to work their families Don'T-
The worry about staying home and caring for them
not being able to go out and look for work because they have to take care of the children, have to worry about the massive medical bills piling up that prevent them from being
to put a little money away so that they can hopefully move out of the refugee camps in back home if they want to
I want to go so yeah these. These organizations sort of have grabbed onto something inside of me, and you know it.
Was thinking about it, as I was coming up here eyes like what what is it
was on the train, and I said what is it about something? I've been doing a lot of talking with both organisations. Recently,
I'm just trying to legal mail
what it is about these these particular organizations that that just really grabbed me- and I don't know- but they just did- and I think that before
the two of them going back to the sort of concept of three hundred and sixty degrees of life lived in three hundred and sixty degrees. You know between
in the two or child any nara. You know we're providing opportunity and help in three hundred and sixty degrees for people who are desperately in need of it, and that is something that I just find invaluable right now and it's something that has to be done.
The reality of where we are at the human species right now, there's so much suffering, and it's not to take away from this
if people here in the united states who are finding it difficult to put food on their table. I you know that there's have not oftentimes, you know one of the things that happens with activists and particularly people who are are activists.
For causes outside of their own borders,
is it. You have won the first criticism. Zorn offers questions. Who gets people come
if you say well, why don't you give take care of people here? They need help here and I kind of don't ever want to participate in the atrocity olympics. You know I'm not, I'm not going to get in into that sort of debate about who's suffering, it's worse, because all suffering and suffering it's just that for right now. This is where I find that the need speaks most specifically to me and and and- and I think that it
everybody can recognise there. The real extraordinary need and pain that exists
In the horrors of war being delivered on what are literally literally the most innocent dead, the definition of the purely innocent- and you know these are kids- the kids who have no
concept of what is being done around them or why they just happened to be the unfortunately,
of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and they ve had the worst of it
delivered upon them, and it's when you sit with these kids in their families, as I did over overrun sober refugee camps in the city of the cabinet.
The camp in Beirut. You know you realize that thing
The first thing that you see in their faces is this question: why? Why did this happen? You know whether
capable of sort of understanding it or not. But if it is it's just the most heartbreaking thing to say, because I don't have an answer for it, I dont know you know: adults were unable to work out their grievances responsibly, and so you have to suffer and all
You can do the greater dharmu teacher, frank, most recess, talks about term meeting human suffering with a strong back in a soft front, and it all that you can do is just said.
There, with as much strength as you can take on the weight of human suffering and is much compassion and openness as you possibly can and just be present in and do as much as you possibly can in those moments, not just for those children for their families at some, you know any
I can imagine, or maybe doesn't want to imagine, bonds
level has had fears about you know. Sitting with these kids is heartbreaking enough.
sitting with these parents who are struggling so hard to provide for their kids and who did nothing wrong. Also,
you know just happened to be living in a house that you know an air strike hit next door or
whatever it was, and the pain that these these
parents, feel watching their children suffer needlessly is if that doesn't
reach into your heart and and push you into action. I have real concerns
yeah. This activism has become a primary driver in my life. You know I did sort of grow up with this. Like I said this grandmother who is my guiding light
and my grandmother was an activist and
she did it in her own small way and she did it in a quiet way, but she did it and
one of the things that I just knew about her, whether it was working in her. You know local church gift shop you know are or who has just giving clothing to the poor or whatever it was that she was doing. She was.
You know, and I she made it a real centre piece of her life was compassion and an action based on their compassion and
I have responded to that on some level. It's the light that you know the buddhist less teaching was
Sort of be a light unto yourself right and then and you will shine the path for others, while my my grandmother was definitely a light unto herself and she lit the path for me, and I I and you know so many of my family members and I have proudly picked up that torch and and will continue to carry it as long as I possibly can- and you know that is my responsibility, I believe as a human being, but also as an artist.
My job requires me to be front footed about this stuff and for a long time I wasn't, you know,
It's funny you I'm sitting here coming up here. I had big this incredible, I'm not in my stomach about coming here,
during the shock is obviously I've listened to show, and I love it. You you've had
conversations with such extraordinary people, and I was thinking like where do
get off sitting in the same chereas. Britain
Knowing what I know about me and knowing what I know about my past and you know a story of sort of
drug addiction and alcoholism. Men pain,
it was caused. You know through that sort of behaviour, and you know this in imperfect sort of journey to some small awakening. You know there's some teaching and buddhist scripture, and particularly in them
terrible and tradition, the forest monks, the thai forest monks. They talk about this, a person born under a robber star called the angouleme Allah and then the name literally translates into a mala. You know, being like a a necklace or wristband and angrily being fingers and so
Well, you know this, sir. This murderer, who is known throughout the land as he had been a student who had been
told by a jealous teacher and jealous fellow students that his responsibility
world in order to attain enlightenment was together necklace of a thousand fingers, and so he had to kill a thousand people and take one finger from each person, and he was doing that. He was nearly known throughout the country as this sort of horrible
bring her of destruction and chaos in them. He was
his nine hundred ninety nine finger and he needed one war to complete his necklace and attain.
Bastardize version of enlightenment that he had been promised when he came across the buddha and he took off running after Amman.
story goes that the buddha kept on walking but angrily momma could not catch up, no matter how fast he ran no matter how slow the buddha walked and angle him Allah. Finally, yelled out to the buddha, you know, stop stop and the buddha turned round. Two and william Allen said I have stopped. It is you who has not stopped, and so they sit and they
work, and there are the buddha at some point- tells angrily. While I take your sword and chop a branch of the tree, so he does, he get seventy chops, a branch of the tree and the buddhist has now put it back an angle.
How I can't me says your power so limited all you can do is destroy, and I think that term you know you ve been there.
Of course, goes on to you, young girl, imala, then at a moment froze his sword and shield over the side of the mountain.
Becomes a renunciation, monastic and then
spend the rest of his days, sort of walking about and giving of himself and finally, at some point, attains enlightenment becomes a great sin.
And there they talk about her in the british scriptures. You know him him being like her shining like the the moon removed from behind a cloud.
and that was the thing that just kept on landing on me on the right up here was like.
you know I've made so many mistakes and have caused so much pain throughout the course of my life to innocent. You know people, people just turn.
It was sort of misfortune at that time of being in my orbit, the self destructive sort of orbit- and you know that that question of who do you think you are- who do you think you are and the answer just being sort of like hey? I too can be the moon. You know that shines when the cloud is removed, and
Part of my front, footed activism, comes from
an extraordinary amount of time spent. I completely in self involvement, inconsiderate ego, driven and angry and lonely
life, and once you ve been down that path and you ve seen it and owned it and sat with it then
When the opportunity to you know my angela said right
If you walk down the path, you don't like what you see turn round. If you don't like what you see, get off the path and make your own, you know when that up
Kennedy presents itself, you do it and
for me. I've done it with a zeal aura, a level of risk
stability that I feel that is really
the deep and cellular. I just. I feel that I've taken enough from the world and now it's my time to put it back and that's it.
That's why they're that's that's the front, footed activism and just sort of the drive of where it comes from
comes from a history of having a hero in my immediate life and in this sort of depth of undressed,
Ending of you know what it looks like on the other side and wanting to make the path easier for as many people as I possibly can. If I can do that with the time that I have remaining.
Feels like a good place for us to come full circle as well so sitting
in this container of the good life project. If I offer the phrase to live a good life, what comes up to live a good life to live a good life, you have to live a good life live, be present ethical kind life, meaning this moment to moment, existence that is so fragile and that you
hold too tightly with all of the wonder. There comes in every moment of sorrow and every moment of joy. Thank you. Thanks.
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Transcript generated on 2023-06-25.