BWW Interview: Ted McGrath Defines His Play GOOD ENOUGH
TMB presents the workshop production of a world premiere play Good Enough, written and performed by Ted McGrath and directed by James Barbour. Good Enough will open on Friday, July 26 and perform through Sunday, August 25 at the Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood.
Good Enough is the true journey of world renown author and story teller Ted McGrath. Playing 15 characters, McGrath takes us on an emotional roller coaster ride through addiction as he sabotages his family, his career and ultimately his life in the attempt to answer one question burning inside him his entire life: AM I GOOD ENOUGH? Now, having reclaimed his life and at the pinnacle of success, McGrath's play asks each of us that same question: Are you "Good Enough?"
McGrath took time out of a hectic schedule to tell our readers about himself, his new play and why he is doing it.
I have seen many shows about addiction and recovery where someone manages to turn his life around. Though amazing, your story is hardly new. First, we must have background. Tell us about when and how all the problems started?
TM: I started drinking when I was like 14 just got into regular social parties, you know, and then you get wrapped up and you start drinking. And then I started to do drugs. I got into cocaine or ecstasy my junior year of college and then started doing cocaine, right around my senior year for like a year and a half before the overdose. I had a year and a half really. I wasn't doing as many drugs as I was drinking, but I was doing quite a bit of drugs and then I OD'd.
What specific paths did you take to recovery? Which one worked the best?
TM: I never went to AA or anything like that. I looked at it from the perspective that addictions could completely be resolved. And so I was searching for that answer. And what worked for me was doing a detox program that completely got the drugs and the alcohol out of my fat cells, which is where it stays and gets stored. I always used to think that you get on a treadmill and sweat it out. But once I did this detox program and got it out of my fat cells, then I was able to completely rehabilitate from it ... meaning I was able to completely like give it up once and for all. For years before the detox program I'd been wanting to give it up. I could go like sometimes seven, eight months without it, and then I'd fall back off the horse and just go on a bender. So I decided to go through this detox program. It worked and it just got it all out of my system. And to this day I don't have a problem with alcohol at all. I can have a glass of wine and be totally fine and have no issues and no addiction to it whatsoever. And I've always looked at it from the perspective that addictions can be completely 100% handled. That's just my viewpoint on it. And I'm completely free today and I feel great.
If I were to come hear you talk as a motivational speaker, why would I want to come to your program? What in your mind makes it better than any other one out there? Give details.
TM: You know, I believe we are what we dream and I have a system that I've created that's called Message to Millions. Not only has it helped coaches, experts, speakers, and entrepreneurs get their message and story to millions, we're now bringing it to the entertainment industry. So we're now merging the world of business and art together and combining the platforms of coaching and speaking with the platforms of entertainment and movies. And what we're doing is very game changing. So why would somebody want to come see me, well I'm one of those people who goes after my dreams. And I think people would be inspired to see how an entrepreneur who had no acting experience just six years ago jumped into his dream of being an actor and wrote a one man play and is continuing to perform it and is also currently creating a feature film. So to be able to cross industries like that, you don't typically see it.
If I could do it across industries and do more than one thing and bring forth my abilities to do that, I believe that every other person on the planet has abilities they can put forth to do many things they may enjoy and have multiple purposes in life and completely be fulfilled and change the world with their purposes. I'm also not a guy who just talks about motivation. I have the system to do it. I can teach people how to speak from the stage, I can teach them how to get their message out to the world. I'm a great marketer and I believe that if you control marketing, you control your destiny. Once you have the audience, you can completely 100% communicate with your audience and get your message out.
How do you relate to others' problems? Were you accessible as a child or closed in? If private, what specifically brought you out?
TM: You'll see some things in my show that happened when I was a kid. I was a little closed off. My parents got divorced and I got a little closed off. And then when I was nine years old I had an experience with a boy sexually. Then I had experience with a girl who was about four years older than me. And I was like, wow man, I'm doing some weird stuff here and I was like, do, do you even talk to people about this? So I kind of kept things private. So I would say I was closed off and then over time as I began to change my life, I became more open with people. And now on stage I open up about 100% of my life and am totally game to talk about it. I relate to others' problems because I'm human and I'm vulnerable and people come up to me after a show and they'll tell me something they haven't told somebody in 30 years and you'll watch the weight drop off their shoulders.
Do you bring humor into the work? If so, how do you incorporate it?
TM: Into the work, yeah, absolutely into my play. I think if you can laugh at things in life, and look back on things and go wow regarding things that might have been painful or crazy then, but you can crack a joke now to make it light, I think it's fun to do that, particularly when things can be heavy and dark and you're going to share something sometimes that other people might be like 'Oh my God, he's sharing that from the stage'. You know, if I can make it a little light and crack a joke at it, people can have it a little bit more. So I think although this is a drama and a journey about my life of not feeling good enough and then overcoming that and really going after my dreams with the obstacles of addictions and different types of experiences as a child and the divorce, you know, if I can overcome that and make light of it and that gives people freedom to also be able to communicate freely themselves, that's the result I'm after.
Why is it important for you to do a play about your work? It has to be more than self-promotion. What do you expect to accomplish with it?
TM: I'm doing a play because it's a passion and I think when somebody has a calling in life, a calling is just beyond oneself. A calling is also about the contribution to the planet. And I had a calling to share my story and my message. And I believe that when you tell a story, you take people on a journey. And when they are listening to a good story, they're actually living the story through their own eyes, not just how you're telling it. So they're having their own journey. So if I'm talking about a time where I overdosed from drugs and alcohol and almost died, somebody may not have had that experience, but they'll go back to a time of loss or a time of pain and they'll think about it. And when they hear my reflections in my breakthroughs about my life, they'll have reflections of breakthroughs about their own life. So after every play, I pull up a chair for 30 minutes or so and I just answer questions because people have questions of how I made the change. People have questions about, you know, how I had this massive success in my business. I want to help them. And so I'm doing a play and having a meaningful conversation because oftentimes in the business world, you don't get to have those conversations. So having a meaningful conversation is important to me and I want to influence and impact people's lives. So this play goes way beyond me. And I also support causes out there to educate people on drugs. I'm a big proponent of educating people and making them aware.
That's another contribution the play gives beyond the contribution of just entertaining. It is educating and giving people their own insights and realizations about their life, which I think is surprisingly powerful in storytelling. I don't think there's any type of self promotion that doesn't include other people unless you're doing something to just talk to yourself and the four walls and then it wouldn't really be art because art has to communicate with an audience. There has to be someone there to communicate it to. So for me, it's not an art and my art form unless I'm communicating to people and helping them.
What do I expect to accomplish with it? The play is being turned into a film. By the time the film launches in the next year and a half, my intention is to have millions of people on my email list who have opted in already, who are interested in the movie, and we're already building that email list. And then we're going to take the film to different networks and we're going to show them what we've done and start to partner with them and get it out on a massive level. And I'm going to spread the message of Good Enough. I'm also writing a book right now, ?I'm Good Enough?. So we'll have the movie, we'll have to play, we'll have the book and we'll create a movement called The Good Enough Movement that helps people wake up to the fact that they are good enough to go after and do what they love. So that's my goal with it and to make the biggest impact on the face of the planet possible. That is in line with what I feel I want to do and the contribution I want to make.
In summing up, describe reactions so far. Tell us what you are changing in parts of the piece, as I was told I could not review just yet.
TM: In summing it all up, we have reactions of people who came to see it. Marty Cove from a Cobra Kai came and saw it and he loved it. We have a great testimony from him on it. I've had a Major League Baseball player come and watch it So we have testimonials. Regarding things that we've changed, we're adding in some more experiential stuff from my days in corporate America. So you get the experience of it and you actually watch how I did a sales call. So we're adding stuff like that to make it more experiential and fun. We merged a couple of scenes into one, so that when I finally get what I thought my dream was of making partner you see what really happens when I hit the quote unquote dream, becoming Partner of the top life insurance companies in the country. I'm working with James Barbour, the Director, on structure. We changed the way the message was communicated and delivered. Remember The Lounge Theatre in Hollywood opening July 26 and running until August 25!
For tix, call 800-838-3006!