For the third episode of the Windward Podcast, I had the opportunity to interview Jennifer Pielak, a theatre creator and improviser living in Vancouver. She, like me, specializes in musical improv—that is, creating music and lyrics (and sometimes choreography) all on the fly. She is also something of an entrepreneur, having founded the company Off Key Improv, as well as running a series of classes for musical improvisation. Most recently she created the show Inside Voices
with pianist Peter Abando. The show itself is a fascinating connection point between psychotherapy, psychology in general, music, and live improvised theatre--it is "all about giving the personas and judges in ourselves space to play (and sing)." You can learn more about Jen at her website jenniferpielak.com.
We talked about the intimate relationship between the disciplines of psychology and acting, as well as the (in my opinion) under-discussed overlap between therapy and artistic work. Therapy and art can feed one another, but the relationship can become dangerous. Sacrificing one’s inner soul-work to one’s art is common enough to be considered an archetypal dynamic, and, on the other hand, “performing” one’s own inner work can be detrimental to truly sinking into it. I know this from experience…
Jen was very open about her work in theatre as well as in therapy throughout her life; as a result, I found myself being very open as well about my own process. I think we discuss some pretty interesting and relevant insights about the whole psyche/art constellation.