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  • Michael & Susan Parker

Where Laughter Knows No Limits (Coming Soon To A Theatre Near YOU!)


Have you ever experienced a time when you laughed so hard you could barely contain yourself, and the giggles kept coming? Do you remember what it's like, that euphoric feeling of giddiness, happiness, and child like fun? Is it possible to feel that way again in a world that seems all too serious and appears to have forgotten how to laugh?


WHY IS LAUGHTER IMPORTANT? (Okay, this isn't rocket science)

As a playwright of comedies, I was pretty sure I knew the answer, but for moral support, I did what any red blooded computer nut would do, I investigated the benefits of laughter, and guess what, a plethora of ideas touting why a laugh a day is important popped up on my screen. As suspected, it supported what I already knew to be true, and one that surprised me. Did you know it's a super fun way to burn calories? (10-15 minutes of laughter = 40 calories.)


A Laugh a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!

Medically, laughter is said to decrease stress hormones and increase immune cells (Dopamine Baby). It triggers the release of endorphins that promote an overall sense of well-being and is the natural way your body relieves pain. Psychologically, laughter is pleasurable as it releases built up tensions. Biblical scholars encourage the importance of keeping laughter in our lives, quoting scripture such as, "A glad heart lights up the face, but by mental anguish the spirit is broken." (Prv 15:13) 


Emotionally, laughter has been described as an expression of positive affective states, such as amusement, joy, affection, cheerfulness and surprise. A giant feel good self-hug! These all seem like pretty good reasons for us to laugh... a lot! So why aren't we?


Sex Please We're Sixty

LAUGH MORE / WORRY LESS (Channeling Our Inner Child)

Laughter is that magical experience that allows us to forget how frustrated we are at home or work, how worried we are about finances, how hopeless we might feel when we watch the news or how sad and lonely we are after losing a loved one. Case in point, while visiting the Swamp Fox Players theatre in South Carolina a few years back, as they were producing the Parker Play, There's A Burglar In My Bed, a women came up to me after the show. I will never forget what she said. "My friends dragged me out tonight and I didn't expect to enjoy myself. My husband died six months ago and tonight was the first time I have laughed since then. Thank you."


But sometimes it's so difficult to remember that laughter is the great elixir. It's so easy to become fixated on the negatives in our life and forget how to laugh. I seem to be an expert at the mastery of misery when I get disheartened and discouraged with writers block or lack of new ideas. That's when my fiance Joe, (who has a New York sense of humor) will quickly find loving, yet sometimes irritating ways to get me to laugh. I'll snap, "What-Are-You-Doing?" and then, despite my best efforts to stay upset, I start laughing. "Love that laugh," he smirks, and our joint laughter seems to right my world again. I'm able to see my frustrations for what they are and find a positive perspective.


SO0000, what helps you laugh more and worry less? Gurus of happiness share their secret antidotes such as write down something that's funny and when you're tempted to complain, pull out your notes. Other options offered are limiting negative news and media, engaging in playful activities, starting a gratitude journal or practicing mindfulness. I'm not saying these are bad ideas, or won't help you feel better, but if you're like me, when I'm frustrated with life, they're just not going to make me laugh. Thank God I have Joe!


IS THERE AN ANTIDOTE TO LAUGH AT LIFE?

YES! Playwrights discovered it ages ago! In 450 BCE playwright Aristophanes, who is considered the "Father of Comedy", wrote political satires. One that still brings laughter to the stage is Lysistrata, which is about women's sex strike for peace. In the 1500's Shakespeare, the greatest writer in the English language, wrote comedies like The Tempest and Twelfth Night, that poked fun at the social, political and economic troubles of his time. Why? To give an outlet for the masses to escape from the realities of daily life and enter a realm where down-trodden folks could be entertained, laugh and forget their difficulties. (Who doesn't want to do that today?)


Modern day plays like Oscar Wilde's witty take on societal norms in The Importance of Being Earnest to Neil Simon exploring dysfunctional friendships in The Odd Couple and the hilariously chaotic The Play That Goes Wrong, continue to cover quite the spectrum of the idiosyncrasies of life and create much needed cathartic laughter. 


The enjoyment of laughing and sharing that laughter is why I embrace the genre of situational comedies. With titles such as Love, Lies & the Doctor's Dilemma,  Sex Please We're Sixty!, or Sandy Toes & Salty Kisses, you know you're not in for an evening of profound life lessons that boast a deep philosophical musing. Rather you'll experience a side-splitting emotional wellness session that transforms into a shared identity, connecting you with other audience members who are forgetting their problems through the magic of laughter.


Sandy Toes & Salty Kisses

HELP! I NEED TO LAUGH

If you're one of those finding it difficult to find something to laugh at today, I'd like to suggest a humor break! Maybe watch a comedy on TV (if you can find a funny one these days), stream a live comedian, or GO SEE A COMEDY AT YOUR LOCAL THEATRE! There are plenty of theatres producing comedies, because just like back in 450BCE, they understand that people need a place to get away from the realities of life and laugh with others.


At Parker Plays, I'm committed to writing plays that create moments of sustained laughter, where actors have to wait to say their lines or they won't be heard. My plays are crafted to offer theatre audiences refreshing, quick-witted, laugh-out-loud entertainment. They consistently produce belly laughs that bring tears to your eyes as they give a wink to the absurdities of life. "The cast had a blast in rehearsals. They were so pumped by the amazing reactions from every audience: clapping, laughing and the standing ovations." Sandy Toes & Salty Kisses/ Email from Grand Prairie Live Theatre


For those of you who are theatre makers, I encourage you to check out Parker-Plays.com For those curious as to what I'm all about, take a peek at my website. Then, and most importantly, go directly to your local theatre and purchase a ticket to see a comedy! I guarantee it will not only personally benefit you, but when you're there, you can forget your worries for a few hours and experience the camaraderie of laughter!


















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