WHAT EXACTLY DOES LAUREL CASEY DO???

It’s ALIVE and must be seen LIVE.
Bits and pieces of a Laurel Casey Improvisational Happening can be found
on You Tube- but video can’t capture the energy of her live performances.

Hailed as an “Improvisational Mastermind” by New York Press
and “A Relentless Observer of The Human Condition” by the
Providence Journal, Laurel, also a writer and columnist, “Writes
on her feet”— and presents a one of a kind completely unscripted
stream of consciousness theatrical piece that interweaves satire, music,
audience connection, poetry, dance and comedy.

“Laurel enters the room, and a party begins!” – Doris Duke

The stories are legend, from a curtain catching fire during her song, Too Darn Hot,
and a seamless rescue with a throw of her martini, to her outrageous performances
on St. Bart’s at L”Hibiscus for Billy Joel and Liza Minell that included jumping
into the swimming pool in the middle of Beyond the Sea, coming up for air,
and continuing with the refrain.

Laurel started out as an actress: (Nunsense on Broadway, Jacques Brel is Alive
and Living in Paris, Off Broadway) Her work evolved to jazz
singing and touring with jazz greats Todd Baker and Kent Hewitt. .

She took a radical turn during her
Fellowship at The Eugene O’Neill Cabaret Symposium where I was
teaching cabaret technique with Margaret Whiting and Erv Raible.,
She began turning jazz riffs into comedy vignettes –
going in and out of characters that could expound on both the
song lyrics and whatever political and socially satirical connection
she decided to invent,including audience comment with the topics of the day.
A sacred standard from The Great American
Songbook became scaffolding for her work. This was jazz torn apart…
controversial and, sadly, for the most part, venue-less. Jazz Clubs saw a
comic, Comedy Clubs saw a jazz singer. Audiences
were riveted, but Laurel was often canned before they even knew where
she was appearing! Part of the legend became: showing up to see Laurel
only to find she’d been fired the week previous.

That pretty much explains why conventional fame eludes Laurel, no doubt
partly because she’s been in the USA too long.. but the fun continues.

I consider myself among the lucky- having experienced Laurel Live at
Steve McGraws when a loud argument broke out in the audience and
the police were called in. The fight had nothing to do with her performance, but
in Laurel style, the fight, the police, the audience and evening turned
cathartic and ended with the entire room holding hands as Laurel sang
“People” — Where does this kind of live, impromptu, edge-of-your-seat
radically honest experience occur in performance? Rarely.

Julie Wilson, 2009
NYC

It’s time for me to go, he said. I was nagging him about getting some exercise. Just a walk around the block. I’ve lived long enough, he said. He’d been sleeping hours during the day after a full night of sleep. A slow gait in slippers, to the cupboard for soup or tea and back to the television set. Couch lounging, intermittent reading, then back to bed under a throw blanket in front of another TV set. This is a man who doesn’t feel good but, in my estimation, aging is a new planet with an atmosphere of discomfort. The doctors said the diabetes was borderline, with diet and exercise, manageable. Depression, on the other hand, is unmanageable. It hides and if it is manageable, it isn’t depression. What a weak word for a devastating state. I alter my approach from nag to empathy. It only makes matters worse. I should know that. I’ve been where he is, as I cusp in and out of that purgatory and continue forward only because society doesn’t allow people to give up until at least age 70. He is 74, about to set himself free of the societal demand to endure. We barely recognize the exam…. pass or fail… We all want permission to enter hell or heaven with an honorable death after an impossible fight. – A man in slippers, a widower, sipping tea. He doesn’t need encouragement, judgement or empathy. He needs space in his mind and heart to conclude as he sees fit. To be left alone with his innate intelligence. I’ve had enough, he says, and who am I to argue?

The Hillary Aha!

She was about to begin her speech at the podium. Bill behind her. The crowd cheering, and as usual, never fails, here comes “The Point” of a finger into the crowd and an “Aha!” —as though someone “out there” in the audience is a personal friend, a person of merit. In this case, Bill, instead of Hillary, points to someone “out there” and whispers to Hillary.. Hillary is focused on something else, but follows Bills lead and takes a look at “somebody” “Out There”- Aha!!! Wow! She beams and nods, Yes Bill! I see! It’s wonderful!! There “They” are or “It’ is-!! An intimate moment between the two of them indicating to audience and press that they have a supportive and remarkable “someone” in the audience. The moment ends. As she shifts from the Aha! and Wow! back to her speech, Hillary’s face turns to stone.. a mini-second of stone, a stolid reptilian nano-second of deadness before she refocuses on her prepared speech.

The Suspicious Evoke Suspicion

He always closes the window shades.I open them, he closes them. Why are you closing the shades? It’s daytime. – I don’t want anybody looking in, knowing my business. –
Nobody cares about your business. What business? You’re eating a sandwich? It’s noon. Lunch time. What’s wrong with eating a sandwich? – None of anybodies business about my sandwich.
No daylight in the apartment. Shaded sunlight, the outside is the enemy. Provokes a suffocation. encourages Agoraphobic. And you can’t see the dust, the dirt, the bits of dry dog food, stain on a shirt, dried soup drops on the counter. Can’t see the real.
I keep my shades open, summer, winter, night, day, city, country. I want to see OUT to see what’s looking in. I want to see what’s coming, if anything. Always preferred a house high on a hill, or a skyscraper apartment, ten floors up. I like an expanse. Do I care if people look in? Why should I? I can see them looking in. They aren’t going to look in if they know I’m looking out. Evening, turn on the porch lights, solves the problem.

I am suspicious of those who are suspicious. They must look in windows themselves. Is their self consciousness ego-based? Do they consider themselves worthy of being observed? It’s a strange phenomena and gives me the creeps. Anybody have an ideas?

Loss is Gain!!

Congratulations! You didn’t win the lottery. Instead you had severals days, or at least a few hours to imagine what you would do with lots of money. Your fantasies are of value because you can make them come true anyway. Maybe you wanted to buy an island. Well, go to an island. Can’t afford to go to an island? Sell everything you’ve got and move to an island. Have too many commitments to move to an island? Quit your job, take your family with you, and move to an island. Sure it will be more difficult to move to an island without millions of dollars, but it will be more exciting and take every ounce of your creative brilliance. Once you get to the island, you’ll realize that you don’t have to own it, you just have to live there….
More likely you fantasized on how many friends and family members you could bail out. I don’t need to explain how you can bail them out anyway in more personal, valuable ways. – or less valuable ways. There is something in your apartment, closet, recipe book or mantle that a friend would cherish. You damn well know it already but you don’t want to let it go. So much for your “help your friends” fantasy!
Passion, courage, blind optimism, madness are your birthright. Each one worth a billion in and of themselves. The many gifts in the loss of the lottery include a message sent from your soul to your brain:– This is what I long for.– Your mind has long told you your dreams are irrational and impossible to manifest without big bucks. But here they are: brought to the forefront by a lottery ticket: your Dreams. Your gift this morning, in lieu of cash: the reality that you must take a huge risk if you’re going to get what you want… and the truth that, in reality, you have nothing to lose.


RELENTLESS OBSERVER

of the human condition.

-New York Press

Improvisational mastermind

-Boston Globe

Order the CD

“Small Hotel” with Todd Baker, Bass Gabe Evens, Piano

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Dr. L.H. Casey, Therapist