Woody Allen’s statement, made years ago, that ‘80 percent of life is showing up’, is the theory behind Peter Michael Marino’s show, Show Up. The production is more a happening for the audience than something to sit and watch. As a group, they are making something happen just because they are there. Marino, too, believes that showing up is most of the battle, not just for entertainment but for living a good life. ‘Doing is so much easier than thinking about it’, he says.
Research has shown that he has a good point. He provides a wild, unpredictable ride for his audience commenting on his own social anxiety and performance challenges. When the improvisation begins to happen, one can see the visible changes in audience attitude. They become absorbed in creating a brand new original show based on their own random contributions before the actual story begins. When each person becomes involved in thinking of incidents from their childhood, about addiction or their love life, they are focusing on sharing with others rather than whatever personal problems they might have. Any anxiety or shyness evaporates because everyone is involved together in a group endeavour. In fact, any situation where a group works together builds confidence in the individual members. By including his audience in his production, Marino creates an unforgettable experience and turns audiences into participants and co-creators.
Marino tells his audience that creating these stories from incidents they provide lifts him from depression - the unsaid implication is that it does for everyone involved in the show as well. Psychologists tell us he is right. When you’re depressed, the tendency is to withdraw and isolate. Even reaching out to close family members and friends can be tough. Compound that with the feelings of shame and the guilt you may feel at neglecting your relationships. Unless you reach out to others, you’re in a downward spiral you’re unable to stop. This dark cloud need not be permanent. The good news is that social support is absolutely essential to depression recovery. Staying connected to other people and the outside world will make a world of difference in your mood and outlook. In showing up to Show Up, people find themselves totally involved with a group of strangers in an enjoyable project. They love the show but what they do not realize is that they also ARE the show.
- Lynn Ruth Miller
Links relevant to this diagnosis:
Social Anxiety - MOODJUICE Self-Help Guide (NHS)
Audience Participation - Cas McCullough
Reaching Out to Cure Depression - helpguide.org