This is an excerpt from Frank South’s one-man show, Pay Attention: ADHD in Hollywood, on the Rocks, with a Twist. It overflows with hard-but-entertaining truths about some adults’ experience of ADHD.
South, formerly a hit-show TV writer and producer, is now a stay-at-home dad and freelance writer.
More about the show, performed live at the Santa Monica Playhouse in 2009, from a review in the Santa Monica Daily Press (“One Man Show Is A Real Ordeal”):
South brings all this to the stage of The Other Space at the Santa Monica Playhouse in a one-man show called “Pay Attention: ADHD in Hollywood, On the Rocks with a Twist.” The “twist” is that, between episodes of working as a waiter, South was one of the most successful television writers in Hollywood. Among his hit shows were “Melrose Place,” “Cagney & Lacey,” “Fame,” “Hill Street Blues,” and “General Hospital.”
To demonstrate his typical behavior, he begins his story in 1964, when he quixotically signed up to appear in his high school’s spring talent show. Which was unfortunate, he tells us, because he had no particular talent. But, unfazed, he decided he could teach himself to play guitar in time for the show. And then he reveals one of the major components of ADHD: “If something is really important, I don’t pay attention.” So he never learned to play the guitar, but he showed up for the talent show anyway, delivered a rambling rant, and totally humiliated himself. In that experience, he says, he learned that “shame and pain are great teachers.”