Normaler Than Everyone

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When award-winning singer-songwriter and photographer Brian Joseph got the news that his wife had a rare and serious kind of cancer, he was stricken with the paralysing fear that any husband and father would feel. But as an artist, his reaction was anything but normal. He began to obsessively photograph her treatment and her daily life, using an antique medium format film camera. And he also began to write songs about his own feelings as a caregiver.

“Everyone knows that the spouse is supposed to be the main cheerleader when someone gets cancer,” Joseph says, “…but I was so angry, I found the cheering pretty damn difficult. I had to fake hope and optimism, which feels awfully weird when you’re terrified.” Normaler Than Everyone unearths both the pain and the humor of what seems ubiquitous – a loved one going through cancer. The play addresses small moments – making soup, lying to friends on social media, parenting… and large moments too; calling 911, bedside vigilance, medical treatment.

Normaler Than Everyone is essentially about an artist trying to use the many disciplines of his craft(s) to both get through and to get away from his darkest hour. Through his songs, writings and photographs, Joseph presents a funny and moving portrait of a cancer caregiver, enraged by soup and terrified by the specter of ghosts. Co-devised and directed by Dani Bedau, NTE is ultimately a meditation on love and mortality.

Brian Joseph is an award winning composer and singer-songwriter from Los Angeles who can dunk a basketball. Brian’s 4th cd is called “If I Never Sleep Again,” and is widely known to be the greatest thing in the history of recorded music. Listening to it is guaranteed to make you more sexually attractive, and will increase your odds of winning the lottery. Same goes for the other three brilliant Brian Joseph records. Brian has written music for numerous television shows including America’s Next Top Model, How I Met Your Mother, Trick My Truck, and many more. He is only slightly embarrassed to admit his lifetime love of musical theater.

Dani Bedau is a theatre artist and educator. She is an Associate Professor in the School of Theatre, Television, and Film at SDSU. Dani has directed at the Mark Taper Forum, Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, Cornerstone Theatre Company, Native Voices at the Autry, Indiana Repertory Theatre and others. She created the Coming Up Taller Award-winning Will Power to Youth program in Los Angeles and has engaged work that uses theatre to forge alliances with the Arab-speaking world. Her play Broad Canvas premiered at the 26th Annual Arab Theatre Festival in Casablanca, Morocco. Dani served as founding chair of Arts Alive SDSU, creating programming and infrastructure for students, faculty, and staff to engage in transformational arts interactions. She launched the Interdisciplinary Collaborative Teaching Program at SDSU bringing arts and non-arts faculty together to team-teach.