Little Games We Play

18 Nov

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It’s been a slow day.

…You can tell cuz this morning, WHS Pimp and I took to emailing “did-you-know-this-exists?” to each other…under guise of actual “work.”

…Like that super important Memo Change #33757.

Keep in mind, our offices are exactly three steps apart.

Also: We ran outta Keurig cups early  this morning.

…So the WHS Pimp had to find and plug in the old Mr. Coffee machine…dig up some leftover filters, and this bag of grounds which have been ossifying in the supply closet for about six or eight months.

…It mostly tastes of burnt twigs mixed in used engine oil, with a soupçon of battery acid to finish.  Yet we are forcing it down with a grimace, because: Caffeine.

…Also: It’s really flipping cold right now.

Both The Pimp and WHS Chick are bundled up like Randy from “A Christmas Story,” wobbling around the yard with the dexterity of The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man as they load and unload product from the trucks.  Watching them try to maneuver the fork lift is bonus fun…as it requires a two-man team to do anything at all.  One to sit there, in a fused-bundle, without any movement radius at all…like an overstuffed pillow in traction…the other to stand behind or in front as the actual “eyes” of the driver, to tell them what to do.  They are just super uncomfortable-looking, with puffs of white smoke, constantly-blowing out of their mouths as they scream at one another over the motor.

…I can’t hear them, cuz I’m inside, where it’s warm-ish.  

(Apparently, they can’t hear one another either…)

…But I can imagine their conversation.  Cuz frankly, there’s nothing else to do:

WHS Pimp:  …To the left!

WHS Chick: …Mine or yours?!

WHS Pimp: (not hearing her) No!  Left! Left!

WHS Chick: I think the gear is frozen!

WHS Pimp: (still not hearing her) I said left! Left!

WHS Chick: …It’s won’t jam in! 

(Giant grinding sound.)

WHS Chick: Fuck-cock-a-shit!…Hear that grind?! It won’t ease in!

WHS Pimp: — Holy Hell! What are you…?!  Stop!

WHS Chick: …There it goes!  It’s in now!  Where do I go?!

WHS Pimp: Fig Newtons!

WHS Chick: What?! It sounded like you said “fig newtons”!

WHS Pimp: Eclaires! Eclaires!

WHS Chick: Why are you talking in food code?!

(I notice my tummy is grumbling. Guess I’m hungry. Back to the window:)

WHS Pimp: –What the hell are you…??! What’s happening?!

WHS Chick: (standing up from the seat and cupping her hands over her mouth.) WHERE DO I GO…?!

(She tries to look behind her, but the hoodie blocks all peripheral vision, and she can’t turn at the waist as she’s too bulked up.)

WHS Pimp: (still not hearing her.) What?! You want me to do it?!

WHS Chick: What?!

WHS Pimp: You getting down?! You wanna guide instead?!

WHS Chick: I can’t…I can’t hear you!!  My earmuffs are…Where do I go?!

WHS Pimp: Okay! I’m coming!

(He jumps over to her in a feined slow motion run, like Neil Armstrong on the moon. They yell at one another face-to-face over the motor.  Warring puffs of  breath-smoke colliding in the freezing air.  Lots of gestures are attempted as a mapping out, but with little elbow movement, it’s hard to make out what the gestures mean. Some agreement must have been made as they return to their posts.  WHS Chick revs the engine and takes off the brake.)

WHS Pimp: Alright! Now, go left!

WHS Chick: …What?!…

(I take a drink of the death-coffee and grimace, like a dog-yawn. the end.)

~D
 
 

Don’t Forget: It’s An Honor Just To Be Nominated

17 Nov

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It’s regional BroadwayWorld.com voting time again!  The Seattle nominees have just started the web-rounds and are being picked up, voted on, and passed on by like half of my FB contingent. 

(Theatre Peeps, Unite!)

…Our Seattle division is made up of roughly 150  companies/groups/entities…and those are just the ones registered at our main theatre-hub on Theatre Puget Sound’s listing page. No doubt dozens of other companies exist as well…(for a fact I’ve worked with one not on their pages, which made in into the nominee rosters in several categories this year.)

…So I’m not a math person…but even at 150 companies doing 5 shows in a mainstage season (allowing for those with second-stages also running, to make up for the companies with less productions/special events/command performances, in a single season), that comes to 750 theatrical events…from the touring show big boy Paramount, and the Broadway Musical launcher 5th Ave…to tiny black box Stone Soup, and community theatres like 4th Wall Players.

…And the bulk of those shows include like…well…”actors” in a multiple number, usually…sure some starting with one, but a lot reaching to casts in the 10′s, 20′s, 30′s and sometimes above.

…So when you put it like that…even an average number of 750 productions with only two actors per show (say like doing “Educating Rita” for instance *wink, wink*) …is 1500 artists…and it usually takes a hell of lot more than just two people to do a show.  

…Which isn’t even getting into the Tech Design teams and Directors.

So keep this in mind for a second:

For this season, if you’ve been nominated as an Actor in a play or musical, up against thousands and thousands of other performers…you got enough cold vote write-ins to place you in one (or more) of only 13 categories (50% each sex + one unisex “Person to Watch” slot.)

…If you’re a Director, you’ve made it into 1 or more of only 2 categories.

…In Costume, Choreography, Lighting, and Scenic Design…you get 1 category each.

…In Music/Sound…3.

…In Writing and Best Production…2.

…In Best Event and Theatre…1.

…So, I mean…whatever the tallys end up being…I just wanna say:

“Congra-tu-fucking-lations to all my friends and theatre compatriots in crime for making the lists this year! It IS a big deal…it IS an honor to be nominated.  With the talent-goods we’ve got in this region, every vote of confidence which put you on that list to begin with, is really something!”

…Thanks for sharing your scenes and stages with me, O talented ones :)

Happy voting, all!
~D
 
 

Weak Trees & Sneezes

12 Nov

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Am fighting a nose-cold.  

…It just showed up today and is affecting nothing else in my body but the nose.  Which is weird. Cuz every cold I get starts with a fever and goes straight for the chest.  But not this one.  This one aches not at all.  It doesn’t scratch, burn, or itch either.  In fact, if I could just remove my nose for the day and put it on that hanger over there, I wouldn’t even need this Sudafed at all.  And I wouldn’t be spending so much time worrying about what the nose-cold could morph into ‘tween now and all these auditions I’ve got lined up,  less than a week from now.

But none of those things are the case in fact.

…Know what is though? 

I have weak trees.  

…Like Tom Hanks in “The Money Pit.”  

…Granted, we had GIANT-FIERCE wind-gales last night.  But I mean…it wasn’t a hurricane for cripes sake. Or a frost.  Or a snowfall.  So it seems a little melodramatic to me that this tree, one door down from my walk-up, saw fit to uproot itself entirely over the whole thing.  

…At least it fell away from the cars instead of last winter’s snowstorm death-toll which felled like eight…just on our block alone…across multiple Jeeps, Subarus, Volvos, Mercedes, and Honda Civics at total random, without class distinction or insurance coverage. 

…Night, after night, after night. 

Our street is getting bald now.  And these weren’t new trees.  These were monster 80-year-plus bad-boys, with root balls bigger than the cars they fell on.

…In comparison, last night’s tree was a mere teenager. And yet, it made it through Snopocalypse 2013, so I don’t understand how some wind took it out so completely, overnight.

…That’s like my nose-cold making me go blind or something.

Great. 

Now I’ve something ELSE to freak out about…

Tea.  

I need more tea.  

…So I can pee my nose-cold out before it gets dark outside and turns me blind. Or I die by over-exposure to my root ball. 

Like that damn tree.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another…

~D

 
 

How To Cover Your Bases Like A Boss

10 Nov

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For the first time in…well…”awhile,” I’m showless.  Not only not tag-teaming ‘tween a performance for this one, while rehearsing another…but totally without a role at all. 

…No idea what “next” is, nor the “next, next” after that.  Which is not a norm for me, cuz I like to stack my plate. So, naturally, instead of taking time off to enjoy the break of not having lines to learn or blocking to run…I’m spending lunch the day after closing my last show, trying to find m’next three  jobs.

When you’ve no solid idea of which way things are leaning…no pre-casting already taking up some of the slack in that department…it means you’ve gotta go straight to the boards and start shopping.

…Which shows are being done where? With how long a rehearsal schedule… running which date to which?  It isn’t about just finding out what is “next,” it’s about making a combo of line-ups…one show which could allow a second to follow without conflict or too much mental/physical strain. 

…Cuz my working area is large…across three counties.  So it’s not just, “This show starts rehearsal and opens…then what?” It’s: “This show starts rehearsal here, and opens there, but that show begins rehearsal about three-quarters through the other one…can I do both considering they are in two different counties, and have enough recoup time from that super physical show and this super wordy one? Then, what’s the third follow-up option after the first closes and the second has begun its run?”

Scheduling even the hypotheticals can be tricky…not to mention the second and third-alternate options. And then, what do those alternate option shows do to the schedule following that?  This means basically three separate scenarios laying out in front of me right now: Option 1, which because of placement of performance dates means an only two-show set-up, ‘tween now and end of May.  Option 2, which gives three back-to-backs, booked solid. Option 3 which means no casting in first or second show preference,  leaving a third and fourth try open for others.

… Season set-up like this requires a lot of picking and choosing.  What are the roles you really want? Who do you want to work with? How do the shows fall on the calendar? Are you willing to chance it all on one, or all of them, to give up other show options? Or do you set up a fall-back alternate knowing how bad it would already suck not to get the roles you want, but even more so if you are also sitting at home with no job at all? 

…There is always a give and take in these instances. And even when you know where your heart lies, it means dick until you get the offer call.  It’s Lotto odds for an actor to get what we really want, to begin with. Even for the secondary and third choices, we’re damn lucky to be considered at all. Not to mention that sometimes the seasons are so banging, it’s like there’s nice, meaty fun just everywhere you look…and choosing at all becomes an agony.

…Which is all just an incidental to the fact that it is entirely possible you won’t book anything at all. Cuz there are like six zillion actors in this world.  And even Union odds are 1 job in 10.  So…good luck with that.

But you know what?  This is what an actor has to do.  To prepare every scenario of what-if and then book the audition slots, prep the pieces, and show up to fight it out.  And even if we nail it…it is entirely possible that hair color, height, weight, politics, size of any one piece of anatomy being too big or too small, or the casting agent or director being hungry, grumpy, or needing more caffeine, can still TOTALLY tank it.  Even if you don’t.

That’s show biz. Rejection option any time for any reason. At all.

…So, there’s always that to consider.

Which means, the ONLY POWER an actor really has, is to be “prepared.” For anything.  And everything.  Including winning the role. Or losing it.  And what comes after, is where the next adventure begins.

But it doesn’t start at all, if you don’t get out there and try.

…Which is why I’ve already booked 6 role option audition slots for just the month of November, alone.

Now, onto prep.

:)

~D 

 
 

The One Where She Actually Goes Somewhere

6 Nov

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Listen.

This is kind of a big deal.

I just booked a flight.

…With money I don’t necessarily “have.”

…In that it “exists” but only in the literal sense.  It is actually like spoken for on behalf of bills and Christmas gifts and things.  But  talking to The BFF last night…after way too long of not, on account of schedules and general “life-getting-in-the-way” crap… I decided that I no longer cared.

…So this morning, I booked a nonstop flight to NOLA for a week in December.

…Because, as an adult, judging the need for wrapping paper, other-people gifts, and happy creditors…I choose “me” instead.

I am a selfish bastard. This is not new.   

What IS new is that I just sunk a lot of bucks (to me) to travel to the other part of the US, to be with my sister.  And ABOUT FUCKING TIME! 

…To ride a bicycle in 70 degree weather through the French Quarter, instead of wade through the rain, here. To sneak in all the secret night spot eateries and meet some four-star chef friends…to drink openly in the streets…tour all the theaters, see The BFF’s show.  To uphold our Christmas traditions of cookie-baking, five-course-meal-at-midnight-making, and drunken “White Christmas” sing-alongs.  

It isn’t really real yet…’cept only sorta.  It’s still that “hope” and “wish” and “intent” feel I’ve had for like two years now to actually DO the thing, instead of just TALK about it.  Only now, it’s actually happening.  I’ve got a mo-fo flight itinerary in my mailbox, yo!

I’M GOING TO NEW ORLEANS ON VACATION TO VISIT MY BESTIE! 

HOLY CRAP!  

…AND HURRAH!!

Peace, y’all.

<3

~D
 
 

I Was Asked…

5 Nov

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Back by popular demand…I’ve been requested to do an office update. 

…What air-headed new upset has The Gnome gotten into? Has WHS Pimp followed through on his custom designer tampon line?  What shenanigans can two actors in one real-world job situation get into?  Exactly how much junk food can you consume in a single day without puking it back up again?  These answers and more, in our ongoing soap-like drama of Brothel-joy.

First: The Gnome has been on maternity leave for over a month now.  For which we are all glad. “Stupid” may be occasionally cute and funny when tempered across several week’s or months of time in a “greatest hits” kinda deal…but when you actually have to deal with it live and in person every work hour of every day, it is fucking exhausting.  What is nice is not having to temper screaming things like, “OH MY GOD, HOW DO YOU STILL NOT KNOW HOW TO FAX?!” or “YOU ALPHABETIZE BY LAST NAME NOT FIRST…HAVE YOU ANY IDEA HOW MANY FUCKING ‘FREDS’ ARE IN THESE CUSTOMER FILES?!” before I’ve even had my morning coffee. On a continual basis.  

…Basically, I can get through the day now without wanting to punch a pregnant woman in the face…and I count that as a win.  Especially as unless you try to interact with her in person, that just sounds really bad…like I’m a super terrible person.  And while I’m no Mother Theresa…I’m hardly a Mussolini.  But a person can only take so much active stupidity across an extended length of time, without mentally rebelling in some way.

…Which is how Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin impression REALLY got born.

True story.

…Anyway, she hadda boy.  The Gnome.  And we haven’t heard from her since. We hope, for the child’s sake, that she somehow birthed a savant who can feed and diaper himself…but other than that, she rarely comes up in conversation, unless first prefaced with something like:

WHS Pimp: Where the hell do you think she put the contract for that thing? 

Me: You mean as opposed to what a NORMAL person would do with it?

WHS Pimp: Yeah. Like…what was her “system” do you think?

Me: It’s cute how you think she had one.

WHS Pimp: No, but seriously though.

Me: It could, literally, be ANYWHERE.  Anywhere at all.  And I’m speaking actual not-shitting-you truth.

WHS Pimp: Fuck.

Me: Welcome to my world.

…Meanwhile…

Cecil of “Earnest” fame, has taken over The Gnome’s domain.  In the past month she’s ripped all the files out and alpha’d them like a normal person would, has digitally archived all record retention needs, learned how to do contracts the right way THE  FIRST TIME, and brought a plant in, called Ruth, who sits in the lobby being green and anti-depressive.

…A giant-fat-wealth of betterness has come in her wake.  Also an almost constant stream of theatre talk and commiseration zombie-eyed mornings on tech week.  It’s nice to have another in the room who gets it.  Since she’s joined staff, we’ve made it through two closings three rehearsal processes and are on our third opening weekend.  It’s manic, but it’s what theatre peeps do…so though we manage the ebb and flow accordingly, WHS Pimp’s head spins with conversations like:

WHS Pimp:  What the hell? Didn’t you just open a show last week? How are you closing already?

Me: No, that was my show.

WHS Pimp: Which one?! You’re doing two right now.

Me: No, I closed that last one, and am only doing one now.

Cecil: That was me.  I just opened.  But then I’m rehearsing now too.

WHS Pimp: Like she just did, with the two-at-once thing?

Cecil: Right.

Me: But then I closed the one, and am almost to tech week for the second.

Cecil: But I had to close my last one first because they are at the same theatre.

WHS Pimp: What?

Me: My second show and her first show are in the same season at the same theatre, back-to-back.  So her show has to close first, while I’m in rehearsal, meanwhile, she’s in rehearsal for her second show at a different theatre.  Her first one is closing soon, which means my second one will open soon, which means shes about two weeks from opening her second one.  Somewhere else.

WHS Pimp: For fucks sake!  How the hell are you even awake right now?

Me: Well, she’s twenty.  And I drink coffee. A lot.

…Meanwhile…

In Other, Other News:  WHS Pimp’s GF got him to sign up for a race. Like for running.  With his legs and everything. Apparently, “for fun.” It has been a journey to watch him combat morning stiffness in every joint, with afternoon pizza devouring, and after-work gin gulps…which he sends in IM’d pictorial proof together with titles like, “I made it to the end of the block without stopping.  CHEERS!!!”  I told him that though I’m not the best dietary nutritionist on the planet, I doubted that after-run hydration recommendations include alcoholic beverages…even if mixed with nothing.  To which he said things like, “Nonsense! Gin is mostly herbs, berry extract, and rubbing alcohol! If nothing else, I’m a homeopathic genius!” 

…Weeks of this ensued.  Together with talks about special anti-chafing underware, iso-socks that can cripple you if you put the wrong one on the the incorrect foot, and debating on whether udder cream, Vaseline, or chapstick is the best to combat this raw-nipple problem that apparently runners get who don’t have to wear three kinds of bras just to keep their boobs from knocking them out on the up-jump. 

…Across two month’s time he’s dropped about $350 on crap just to do this race…which blows my fucking mind, not least of which because it isn’t even a proper sport and requires not a single tool in order to actually do it.  When the hell did running turn into a multi-million dollar industry of whole shoe stores where people squat to watch your stride and make sure your $180 trainers are supporting your heavier in-step fall than your rolling out-step?

I dunno.  But whatever the craziness, it ended this last weekend.  In one single run.  The pictures of which show him purple-faced to the point where anyone would assume he might drop dead of cardiac arrest at any moment.  The look of pained concentration, with his 11 layers of light-weight, stream-lined, state-of-the-art gear blearing in florescent reflector glory, was a sight to behold. 

So was his walk, on Monday.

Me: Lookin’ good buddy.

WHS Pimp: Ffffffuuuuuuuuuuuck.

Me: –So full of healthy awesome!

WHS Pimp: …Oh god….

Me: –So energized…

WHS Pimp: …Sweet Jesus…

Me: — Just the picture of rock-hard-badassness.

WHS Pimp: She signed me up for another one.

(Total silence)

WHS Pimp: …I might have to break up with her.

(I nod, and offer a cookie.)


(He takes it. And starts to cry. Ever so softly.)

~D

 

Netflix Whore

4 Nov

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Books.

Back to paper and words again. I’m getting office fever as every day our sells drop and the hours slow to the point of almost going backwards.  So am back to treadmill-stepping in between phone calls, and feeding my brains with other people’s lives and words.

…Just finished this for instance:

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…Purchased as part of my usual actor-stalkiness.  Because, yes, it is in fact THAT Lauren Graham who wrote it.  Cuz guess what?  She’s an author too. And she ain’t bad.

…If you’re an actor, you’ll totally get it in a “call-out-during-baptist-sunday-service-amen” kinda way.  If you are not an actor, but like Lauren Graham…you can totally hear her quirky line delivery with every sentence. If you are a little (or lot) frustrated with how your life-plans are behind where they are supposed to be, you can treat it like a drinking game every time she nails what you feel like right now…(then drunkenly commiserate that at least you aren’t totally alone in feeling like this.) 

…And if you aren’t any of those things…sorta screw you a little bit.  You’re a giant big fat Gilmore-hating, money-making success.

Congratulations, asshole.

…Now I’m on this one:

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“…That’s one hell of a segue,” you may be thinking right now.  And it is, but then, I realized like yesterday how two giant show auditions are just around the corner.  I was caught off guard, understandably, on account that both are like 4 and 6 months away from opening…but the powers that be, wisely looked at three major holidays ‘tween now and then and thought (I imagine, anyway), “Well, damn…plop all that together and it’s like a month of conflicts, we best get on this shit!”

…I specifically like the powers-that-be for “Miracle Worker” thinking that…just because shocking contrast makes me smile. (As if you haven’t guessed.) Almost as much as incomplete sentences, ellipses, and sinking smarmy parentheticals into everything.  I’m like a grammatical hooligan all up in here.  Not as blatant about it as the Twitter/texting aficionados, but then they are just secret freaks with their special number-acronym-mystery-language.  My stuff mostly makes sense at least. And rarely contains hashtags…which, BTW* are called POUNDS.

…Try telling that to a 20-year old sometime.

Go ahead. Try.

…Anyway…the book.  It’s about study time.  It’s time to hit the books again for this and other shows that will be popping up.  To get my jones on.  I feel it, already.  Plus, it’s got a two-for-one bonus of keeping my brain occupied until the next OITNB* season starts.  

(* yes, I note the irony. It’s part of the joke.  “Oh, there was a joke,” you ask?  Yes.  But it’s not funny now that I have to explain it. So thanks for that.)

So maybe I’m a little grumpy right now.  But only a little. It’s the “I’m busy reading don’t bug me” grumpy…not the real mean kind.  It is partly mixed with depression though…the depression of exhausting all my streaming joy sectors on Netflix. I’ve Gilmore-Girled, Parenthooded and Orange-Blacked myself through a wildfire of epic consumption.  All seasons…ALL…since just October 1st.

…I realize there is a wealth of “more” out there still to be had, but frankly, I don’t think I can get this close to another cast of characters again in such quick succession.  I sorta feel like a giant  streaming whore right now…just voracious appetite and flying through them faster than a bag of Costco Halloween candy on the day-after sale.  It’s a lot to hold onto. Like, in my head and heart.  I get too close to fake people.  And obsessive.

…Just ask my google history.

…Anyway…there is where we are. 

I’m on books now.

It somehow feels more personally productive. 

…Though as Lauren states in her book, it’s not like binging on quality TV isn’t an educational and worthwhile tool.  For instance, what if Netflix calls me up from that audition I never took and says, “Hey, we really need you to be in season 3 as Vee’s secret drug-mule daughter she left in Mexico that one time, but gets caught crossing the border, is put in the clink, and decides Red is gonna be her oedipal mom substitute. Do you need a character/family chart for that?”

…Now, (thanks to my diligent hours and hours of study), I can be like: “Dudes, I’m already on it.”

…And I’ll totally own that part.

…And win the Emmy.

The end.

~D

 
 

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