Episode 8: The Ordeal

Welcome to the sHeroe’s Journey Podcast©, a podcast for sHeroes and the people who love them. I’m Pamela Prather and for over twenty years, I have been empowering actors, executives, and curious humans with tools to unlock their voices and tell their stories.

In this episode, I speak with Fay Simpson. Fay is the founder of The Lucid Body Institute and the Artistic Director of Impact Theatre, Inc. Informed by her 20-year career in dance and theatre, Fay created The Lucid Body, a psycho-physical process of introspection, exertion, and mental challenge which empowers actors to express their fullest potential. She conducts private classes and workshops at her Manhattan studio, The Lucid Body House. The 2nd edition of her book The Lucid Body; A Guide for the Physical Actor (Allworth, 2008) was released in August of 2020.  The book was hailed by Drama Book Shop as “one of the ten most essential books for the actor.” Fay is an Associate Arts Professor at the Graduate Acting Program at the Tisch School of the Arts. She has taught at the Yale Drama School, The New School, Marymount Manhattan College, Stella Adler’s School of Acting, the Studio/NY, and conducted extensive international teaching tours.


Segment #1

  • Hitting a dark spot, completely changed her life. “Picking a wild card”, it is the basis for the Lucid Body.  She was a modern dancer, had a company called Impact Theater.  Was married, had a child, living on a houseboat.  Great times.  Then her marriage fell apart, she picked up more work, around 1988.  AIDS was circulating, didn’t seem real back then.  Part of the “demonization” of gay men.  She slept with someone after marriage fell apart, that person came back to her and told her he had the virus.
  • She remembers that moment the doctor told her.  AIDS was now ravaging and killing people all around her. 
  • Her world changed instantly.  Doors started closing on her.  She started working with chakra healer.  Also worked with russian folk healer.  They all told her the same thing, “you must be comfortable with death”. Once you accept it, your body will relax, it will stop going into stress mode trying to fight off everything.
  • It calmed her, knowing that any day could be her last day. She then meant with a shaman woman who then helped accept that fact that her life was still a gift.
  • She felt she could not talk about it at all, as her being a single white privileged woman, she did not want her daughter to be ostracized because of her.
  • Shaman told her to pick up rocks, rearrange them and assign each one a purpose.  So you can then change your relationship with the virus. She had to do that for 14 days.  
  • Each rock assumed an identity such as anger, blame, the body of the virus.  This work allowed her to push that bad negativity around and to pull love and life closer to her and it helped her gain acceptance and move on.

Segment #2

  • What came next was an unraveling, the death of the ego.  She had an appreciation for old age, even though she was only 33 at the time.  She celebrated each year and could not see how people tried to reverse age.  She celebrated because she was a survivor.
  • She was adverse to taking the medicine at first, because people were dying.  Then she took the triple drug cocktail, and present day she is healed.  Not present in her body.
  • About The Lucid Body: it was not her plan, she was helped a lot.  She was fighting for her life, trying to beat the clock.
  • She was trying to come up with a dance that would reflect all that was going on in her life.
  • She started working on dances, one of the first was one that channeled her ex-husband and it helped her see “his way” of things and it came from a place of understanding, not anger
  • She then went on to develop The Lucid Body, which primarily actors use, as it helps them to utilize their whole body for their work
  • Lucid Body House, virtual now but getting back to classes








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