King Fool’s Treasure

As part of our King Fool events, we gathered with our audiences for conversations after each performance.  King Fool’s content sparked discussions about many related topics: elders and dying, caring for people as they move towards death, and how our culture is beginning to incorporate ways to make it a healthier process for everyone. We came away with a number of resources that we are pleased to be able to share with our community.  But this is an incomplete list! Please use the comment feature on this post to add additional resources you’d like to share.

thank you!

– Lauren

 

King & Fool

 

Hospice of the East Bay, Pleasant Hill, CA

Hospice of the East Bay is committed to providing the hospice and palliative care services that support and comfort people and their loved ones through the final stages of life.

Hospice of the East Bay provides compassionate end-of-life care to terminally ill patients, while offering emotional, spiritual, and grief support for the entire family. As a not-for-profit organization, we accept all medically qualified patients, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. We also offer free bereavement services to the entire community. Since 1977, we have served over 20,000 patients and their families.

A Yelp reviewer says:  “I couldn’t imagine a better place for my father-in-law’s final days. It is located in a converted home that completely melds into the rest of a beautiful quiet neighborhood. My father-in-law had his own large room. Staff were attentive, caring, and respectful.

Most of all the beautiful gardens in the back complete with memory stones is so tranquil and peaceful. It still brings me comfort two years later to remember our own memory stone my son and I left for grandpa in that beautiful place.”

Sobonfu Somé – keeper of Dagura grieving ritual

Destined from birth to teach the ancient wisdom, ritual and practices of her ancestors to those in the West, Sobonfu, whose name means “keeper of the rituals” travels the world on a healing mission sharing the rich spiritual life and culture of her native land Burkina Faso, which ranks as one of the world’s poorest countries yet one of the richest in spiritual life and custom.

Dagara rituals involve healing and preparing the mind, body, spirit and soul to receive the spirituality that is all around us. “It is always challenging to bring the spiritual into the material world, but it is one of the only ways we can put people back in touch with the earth and their inner values.”

Zen Hospice Project, San Francisco, CA

Our mission is to help change the experience of dying.  We create a space for living that offers the opportunity for individuals, their loved ones and caregivers to find comfort, connection, and healing in this shared human experience. Through our pioneering model of care, we inspire each other to live fully.

Frank Ostaseski and the Metta InstituteSausalito, CA

Metta Institute® was established to provide education on spirituality in dying. Inspired by the Buddhist tradition, we encourage the integration of the spiritual dimensions of living, dying and transformation, through professional training, educational programs and materials.

Our Institute was formed in 2004 as an outgrowth of the Zen Hospice Project (ZHP), nationally recognized as a pioneering model in the movement to improve end-of life care. Our Director, Frank Ostaseski, helped form ZHP in 1987, and guided the program for 17 years.

Currently, the Metta Institute’s primary program is the End-of-Life Practitioner Program. The goal of the innovative training is to establish a national network of educators, advocates and guides for those facing life-threatening illness and the individuals and systems that serve them.

Judith Redwing Keyssar

Judith is the Director of the Palliative Care Program at Seniors at Home, a program of the Jewish Family and Children’s Service in San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties. Her book, Last Acts of Kindness (2010), is a collection of her experiences being a self-described “midwife to the dying”—working in both palliative care and end-of-life care and supporting people through their personal dying processes.

http://www.amazon.com/Last-Acts-Kindness-Lessons-Bedsides/dp/1453749233

Healthy San Francisco

A low-cost health care option for San Franciscans, with elder care protections recently restored via the work of faith groups in the Mission striving for a Covenant of Care

Improv for Alzheimers

Karen Stobbe offers workshops on how to use the tools of improv with people who have dementia.

On This American Life on NPR, Producer Chana Joffe-Walt talks to a woman named Karen Stobbe and her husband Mondy about a plan they’ve recently enacted in their family. Karen’s mother lives with them and she has dementia. Karen and Mondy are actors and they stumbled upon a skill they have that is incredibly useful in communicating with Karen’s mother – improv.

You can listen to the story at http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/532/magic-words?act=2#play  – if you have trouble with the link not playing the story, play the Act 1 audio above for the “Magic Words’ story, and jump to 36 minutes in.

Advanced Health Care Directives

An “advance health care directive” lets your physician, family and friends know your health care preferences, including the types of special treatment you want or don’t want at the end of life, your desire for diagnostic testing, surgical procedures, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and organ donation.

By considering your options early, you can ensure the quality of life that is important to you and avoid having your family “guess” your wishes or having to make critical medical care decisions for you under stress or in emotional turmoil. This site by the California Office of the Attorney General offers a helpful checklist and additional resources for assembling your own AHCD.

The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California

The CCCC promotes high-quality, compassionate care for all Californians who are seriously ill or approaching the end of life.

We provide our expertise, tools and resources to families, patients, policy makers and healthcare providers to help ensure that all Californians receive high-quality palliative and end-of-life care. We also lead efforts to train healthcare professionals about Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST), as well as cultural diversity and end-of-life care in California. The CCCC helps them develop the skills they need to talk with seriously-ill patients and families facing decisions about goals of care. We work with and support local coalitions throughout the state that provide support and education to healthcare providers and those facing treatment and care decisions.

We bring together people with a passion for increasing access to palliative care to spark growth of community-based palliative care throughout California.

King Fool and Night Walk this Friday!

We Players invites our community to join us in a Night Walk through the Mission in advance of our final San Francisco showing of King Fool, this Friday.
(Our 9/26 event – including performance, conversation and festive closing reception, will begin at 8pm, in a private warehouse just south of Mission Bay. The address will be revealed upon placing your reservation)

One of the things that has come up in our post-performance conversations is the truth that we cannot know when we will die.

Many of us hope that we will be blessed with a full life and well cared for by those we most love as we age and approach death. In our adaptation, Lear is blessed in this way, and yet his story is still heartbreaking.

It is a far greater tragedy for young people to die from violent crime.

The faith communities in the Mission – with whom we shared our opening performance of King Fool, have been making a positive impact in their neighborhood by being present and peaceful.

Our creative team is inspired to connect the timeless themes of death and relationship with current realities and join these communities for this Friday’s Night Walk.

We welcome your participation.

More info below.

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For over a year now, several faith communities have been regularly walking some of the more violent streets of the Mission with a simple three-fold message:

  •  We care
  •  Stop the violence
  •  What do you need?

At this next Nightwalk we will also celebrate the re-emergence of an important street-intervention organization in our neighborhood. This organization, called CALLES (meaning “Streets”), has been one of the Mission’s most effective organizations reaching high-risk youth. It has been dormant for the last few years, but makes its comeback as part of our next Nightwalk.

When: Friday, September 26, 6-7:30pm

Where: Starting with a short ceremony at Instituto Familiar De La Raza (IFR) // 2919 Mission St, SF, CA 94110 and walking to Centro del Pueblo // 474 Valencia St

Gold from King Fool post-performance conversations

Our King Fool project is an experiment on many levels.

I’ve been kicking off our post-performance conversations with a brief summary of We Players’ mission: connecting people with place through site-integrated theatre and using our art to provoke thought and stimulate conversation on the shared themes of play and place.

We are sharing King Fool in a variety of locations, which does two things:

1) stretches our site-integrated practice to make the piece seem to emerge from and be at home in the place, without a lot of scouting and on-site rehearsal time; and

2) reinforces that the core theme of death, and supporting one another as we approach death, is not unique to any one place.

talkback

Our post-performance conversations have largely flowed without much effort on my part as a facilitator. Ava and John’s acting, the narrative of father-child relationship and Shakespeare’s rich language plucks at our heartstrings. Nature, in her constantly shifting vibrancy, holds us in the present moment. A respondent shares what struck them in witnessing the piece, and offers some insight garnered through encountering death and loss in their daily work. There are so many directions to go!

We’re halfway through the run and I’m looking forward to attending all the remaining performances! No live theatre event is ever the same. Performing outdoors, We Players really embraces and celebrates that truth in all of our work… but since the audience is different each time ‘round, our conversations take the concept of experiencing something “fresh and new” to another level.

I’m heartened that our mission appears to be working. Most people are yearning to talk about death and loss, and theatre is forging the container for an informative and inspiring conversation between folks from very different backgrounds. Below are short summary bios for two of our respondents, demonstrating the very different directions our discussion might take.

Join us for one of the remaining King Fool performance and add your voice!

Friday, September 19 – Cara Rose DeFabio

Cara Rose DeFabio lives in San Francisco and makes experimental performance that examines how technology mediates human experience. Her solo work After the Tone examines how digital debris has transformed the mourning process and how the technological capacity for memory may be shaping our ability to forget. Weaving together newspaper headlines, tweets, forgotten choreography and audience contributions via their cell phones, the show uses multiple platforms to weave together the story of our new digital afterlife. Her latest work, DARKNET explores the deep web, anonymity online, the expectation of privacy and how we behave when we think no one is watching.

Sunday, September 28 – Lois Williams

I am a hospice chaplain in the East Bay. I am also an Episcopal priest, and have at times been considered to be a little mystic. I work with both dying patients and their family or friends helping them come to terms with their terminal illness. I do this from a background of psychology, philosophy and theology. I will assess their spiritual needs, and journey with them as someone who holds hope in a future – whatever that looks like, while allowing them to find and share their own meaning of life with their family and/or myself.

I respect everyone’s faith tradition, or spiritual concepts; we are too complex, and the universe is too amazing for there to be only one way to be. My God is a loving one who does not reject anyone, and I desire to walk in love as Jesus did, as Buddha did, as Martin Luther King has, along with many others, and I do this one conversation at a time.