“How To Be A Wizard”: Professor Laura Brandel- Session 1 (Part 2)


Dear W.I.T. Classmates,

I hope you enjoyed part one of session one with Laura Brandel.  I am especially excited about this week’s post as we will talk about Laura’s current project and encourage you to go after your dreams without waiting for “permission”.  We live in a world now where there is no reason that you can’t do what you love and create beauty to be shared with the world.  So go do it!

Now, here’s Part Two:

On Moving Towards Your Dreams

L: Not everyone is going to like your ideas or what you’re thinking isn’t necessarily “posh” right now.  But it doesn’t mean its not valid and it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be working in the field.  There was another opportunity…surprise, surprise…I just lost again and it was a much faster turnaround. I was sad for a second and then I was like “Nope!”  And then I just thought, I might be at the part in my career and I’m not a writer and I know that about myself, but I like to work with writers and help writers and shape stories. I might start to commission my own work and develop my own properties.  Just because if I am trying to tug at people’s…again that image of a child tugging at their Mom’s skirt saying, “Can I play, can I play.” And people are saying, “No”.  Instead of saying that, just to give yourself permission to just say, “I’ll just do it and I’ll invite people to work on this thing that I’m excited about.” You don’t necessarily need to ask for permission all the time. And it could be a harder road that way, but hopefully a satisfying one if you are doing the work that you are passionate about.

E: I have heard that a lot, “make your own work”.

L: Yeah, Yeah. ‘Cause not everybody will let you do the work that…you know…

E: Yeah, and I feel like for women even more, like it’s so hard.  It’s just so hard.

L: Uh, Amen! Amen! It’s so hard!

E: You just gotta do it. 

On Creating a Life of Joy

E: What are the three main things in your life that bring you joy and happiness?

L: Oooh! This is such a good question!  The three main things that bring me joy and happiness in my life.  My husband is the best! He really is and before he was my husband he was my fiancé, my boyfriend, my friend and then he was just always just like a good person and he makes me very happy and I’m very happy to have him in my life every day.   For the most part it’s the people. My family is terrific and my sister is amazing and I’m so happy to have her and my brother is amazing too.  But they are really fantastic. I guess we can count that as one because I think its cheating, but family is important and they are why I am here.  They are the people that bolster me and make me feel supported, even when its hard.  And as hard is New York is and people kind of have a hard time here I kind of unabashedly love New York.

E: Yeah, me too.

L: I do and it’s not, “It’s hard, but I love it.” I just love it! And I love living here.  I’m a lifer. Like I’m going to live in New York my entire life and I love every aspect of it. How everything is right at our finger tips and I don’t have to drive a car and how I can take a walk anywhere in any neighborhood and see something spectacular.  The magic of that is really never lost on me. I just love New York City and this is a very happy place for me. And I love theater and I guess that’s what keeps it ticking.  If at any given week I’m not at a show maybe like two times, it’s probably a wasted week.  I love sitting in an audience and learning through that. So, those are three things, but I could keep going.  I love bodies of water, I love swimming. (laughing)


E: Okay, so finish these two sentences.  I feel I am loving myself best when I am…?

L: Eating and sleeping well.

E: What happens to you when you don’t?

L: I get Hangry and grumpy and I’m not fun to be around. So, if I am not getting around 7-8hrs of sleep and am not eating meals that are healthy-ish and in a consistent way like, this is my breakfast, this is my lunch, this is my dinner it’s not a great combination.  And sometimes when we are at our busiest it’s like, “Oh yeah, I’ll have a snack on the subway or I’ll have a bagel in the morning”, and then forgot to eat until 9pm.   It still happens, I don’t know how.  But if I sleep and if I eat, I am doing a good job.

E: Okay, so finish this one.  “I feel I am loving others best when I am….”

L: Listening.  Yeah, I feel like people don’t always do that for one another and in a way that’s unselfish.  In a way that’s compassionate. Just compassionate listening and having that time.  I end every day a day doesn’t go by that we don’t say at home, “How was your day, what happened today?”.  And that’s such an important part of being good to each other.

E: That’s awesome.  Last two questions.  They sort of can really go together.  It could be upcoming it could be something that is happening right now.  What are you most passionate or excited about right now?


L: So, I started pre-production today for this devised piece called, “Cry Eden”. I’ve been the choreographer on it for the past year and a half.  It’s a devised piece.  I’ll just shout out, Director Sarah Wansley, her husband is the composer, Tommy Crawford and the Playwright Patrick Barrett.  We’ve been working together on the Cain & Able mythology and just looking at it.  It’s been written about in so many religions and cultures and its this very iconic story that’s been written about in different lengths and ways and we’re just kind of relating it to where we are today.  Again, current theater. Very exciting. It has been one of the most joyful processes I’ve been a part of because basically Tommy and Sarah invited me to their apartment and were like, we want to do a story about Cain and Abel do you want to choreograph it? And I just went, “Yes!” Like there was no play.  They had an idea and they liked the story for a reason. But then we made a dream team and just started making it.  Now it is on paper and we’re getting a workshop production this November.  I was in a rehearsal room today with two of the Actors we started with at its inception, a year and a half ago. These Actors made these characters from the first day.  We developed how the story telling is going to work and now we get to do it.  That’s kind of the idea of making your own work and not having to get permission.

E: And with people that you like.

L: Yeah, and with people that I love.  These are like my people and we just laughed for five hours today! Playing with balloons and it was so exciting.  So, I’m really excited to continue to explore this in our rehearsal process coming up and to share it in November at Access Theater.

The End

I hope you all got something wonderful out of Session One with Laura Brandel.  If you would like to take a Yoga class with Laura, check her out here.   Laura’s show, ‘Cry Eden’ closed on Sunday, November 20th.  I was able to check it out and it was a beautiful piece. Stay tuned for updates on more performances.

Come back in two weeks for Session Two with Gabra Zackman.

To The Revolution!