Enuf

22 Apr

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A two-week build up in the office, just dun popped it’s lid today.  I thought it was all just about last week’s blood moon weirdness, but this week proves that, no…people are just giant dicks.

…As if I need reminding. I work with them every day.

Silly me, I just assumed the build up was a bubble of assholeism hailing from the full-moon crazies that I’ve come to expect when one happens. Never mind happening across several days’ time.  But this week (and it’s only Tuesday) is trying to “win” last week in outbursts, inarticulate screamings, threats, order errors, miscodings, useless communication attempts, and physically impossible requirements being thrown at us…and that is only from Corporate.  Lets not even begin on how many pissy, high-maintenance, self-entitled, elitist asshole customers (insisting they are our only customer and the exception to every rule) also added to the already overwhelming mix.

…Which would be considerably less intense if say other people were in the damn office helping.  But The WHS Pimp is on site visits and product runs, and The Gnome is out at least once per day at prenatal appointments already racked into the dozens this month for inexplicable amounts of time at any given part of the day.

…So it’s just me.

Dealing with all this rainstorm of shit, while the orders are flooding in…reallocating schedules, correcting customer service fuck ups, talking down asshole screamers for a myriad of apparent reasons, booking jobs, running reports, getting payroll in, babysitting the grown men who work for us, conducting road show reminders and Canadian product shipments, prepping for our Alaska project, placing ads, and trying to hire more builders.

…This shit is INSANE. 

I am mentally exhausted and it isn’t even May yet. 

…Right now, I am NOT doing the slotted callbacks on my roster…just so I can just fucking breathe here…at my desk…for fifteen-consecutive-minutes, and blow this shit out on my tablet. 

Just get it out!

Out!

Out! 

…Before I work myself up so high, I bash my fist into the sidewall of that bank of filing cabinets over there.

I’m pretty sure my fist will survive just fine…but it took me three years to replace the hand-me-down bastards I inherited from the last Boss, with only two working drawers per piece…and frankly I just don’t want to have to deal with that again.

…It’d be “just another fucking thing.”

…And I’ve obviously got plenty to deal with as it is.

(giant intake of breath…knuckle crack, knuckle crack…neck swivel til it pops)

Okay.

Back to the pit.

“Fuck you, Tuesday…!!!!!! FUUUCK YOOOOOOU!!!”

…Right.  I’m going back in…

~D

So Meta

15 Apr

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So I’m watching film about actors in the  theatre…which is like my favorite thing.

…You know: “All About Eve,” “Bullet’s Over Broadway,” Being Julia, ” “Noises Off,” “A Midwinters Tale,” “Somewhere In Time,” “Mrs. Henderson Presents,” “Curtain Call, ” Stage Fright,” “Tootsie,” “Waiting For Guffman,” “Shakespeare In Love,” every Mickey & Judy movie…to name a few?

…I’m secretly addicted to this practice.  It’s like the best of both worlds.  You get your cinema effects and star power on instant never-aged replay for life, but your little foreign freak world of hysterical “will they make it work or not” deal, of the world I know best. Plus really good smarmy one-liners. Cuz it’s internationally known that “actors” are whip-smart diva-bitches. Like, as a race.

It’s always fun when actors get to make fun of actors. No one knows how fucking neurotic we are better than ourselves. We can slip-stream right to the guts of it and make the “ouch” of truth, fucking hysterical. Cuz we are crazy freaks in our own way…not always the media-enhanced one, but faintly strange non-the-less. And we know it. We know the normals know it. And they know we know we know it. So to see one of us, BE one of us in all our process-filled glory, is a secret delight.

…Maybe because in true fashion of how the world looks at us, everything in all of life seems to be about an Actor when an Actor is in the room. Which is not (I guarantee you) the fact as it stands. Almost nothing is about us. Ask my creditors, and customers I serve 40 hours a week…the reports I run, the laundry that needs doing, groceries that need to be bought, the sleep I don’t get.

Actors are just people. And while it might be weird to think that Meryl Streep buys toilet paper…so did your first grade teacher, and you got over that whole shock and awe moment in the grocery aisle once…so maybe you’ll survive this too.

Thanks to my taxes I just filed, I happen to know for a fact that in 2013 in five shows, I’ve gone to 107 rehearsals, did 63 performances and traveled 5,958.36 miles. So that’s 170 days out of 365…and on most of those I also pulled a full 8 hour shift at the office. So sure, it’s my “career” and my “other full time job,” but if you think my landlord, or the guy I sell a garage to at work gives a flying shit, you are sorely mistaken. Like “theatre,” the cinema about it is a heightened reality of the truth…it shows what we want to think of as the lifestyle in the best of circumstances. Which means it’s semi-autobiographical…but only in the “working like a sunofabitch” sense.

…For instance: I’ve never known anyone who shows up to the theatre in full makeup, hair, and designer threads, with an entourage of handler’s in their wake. Even the famous people. We all show up the same way: looking like junkyards…it’s what yoga pants and oversized sunglasses are for. This is also true of our dressing rooms. They are never the elegant well-lit mirror-fest of solitary joy, full of flowers and blue M&M’s. It’s 99% of the time, a tiny pit, in the back corner or bowls of the stage, populated by anywhere from 4 to 47 other people. Even the nice theatres upkeep this tradition. A face-lift in the lobby and front-of-house…state-of-the-art sound systems and light boards mean dick to the non air-conditioned backstage, sweat fest, badly lit, real-deal where we all live.

…But for some reason, film (for the most part) likes to glamorize us while simultaneously showing how socially fucked up we are. Basically this makes it 50% right. Films like “Bullets Over Broadway” and “Noises Off” capitalize on the sheer ridiculousness of our lifestyle…the stakes we play at, how bad the really bad can be…and how psychotic we must be to do it all voluntarily. This is mostly true. Which is the sad/hysterical truth. Films like “Being Julia” and anything by Noel Coward, like to give us “class” and grandeur, wit and elegance. This is true maybe 5% of the time, though we’d like to claim it as biographical truth…yet it is difficult to be those things while sweating like a motherfucker, through endless quick changes, and wig swaps, in period underwear that keeps riding up, with an audience full of coughers.

…Mickey and Judy “lets put on a show” films are basically like tech week with teenagers…and don’t even get me started on the faux reverence of “Shakespeare” and his haloed language, when it’s contemporary people trying to wrap their heads around an inside joke that’s hundreds of years old, and relate it to people in the seats more occupied with remembering to pay their gas bill than watch a show right now.

In my opinion, there is one perfect example of theatre as shown by film. and that is Mankowitz’s “All About Eve.”

…Prob’ly cuz it was written and directed by a theatre boy from way back. He should know. And he gets so much of it right…from the raw longing, to the near misses and near hits, to the dive dressing rooms, and bliss of Openings…the politics…the power plays…the self-conscious aches, euphoric highs and shitty, shitty lows…showmances, and sexual drive…to sense of family and loyalty…all rolled into one. As well as the smarmy, bitchy, luscious extravagance of quick wits and one-uppers. Basically, it’s creative sex on film for the theatre kid. It’s our story, told extremely well…by people who get it…by people who were there.

…By people who got us here.

…So it goes that sometimes, I open up the decedent little box of joy that is the story of our life in what we do, and I watch it. Not, I think, for nepotism. Mostly for sense of “togetherness.” Like Christmas dinner with the family.

…It’s a strange little freak of a gene pool…but it’s mine. And I love it.

~D

Rose-Colored Chickens

10 Apr

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First off, I’m on three and a half hours of sleep going into Preview.  It’s only Thursday and I’ve been awake since 4 am, for no reason whatsoever…now at work trying to focus on reports spewing a buttload of new orders.

…WHS Pimp just wraps up an interview for a new contractor in his office, and we compare notes on the applicant, and how we seem to attract all the leavings at the bottom-most of the barrel when it comes to interviews…which begins a conversation that immediately launches me into laughing so hard that I’m ugly-face sobbing all over myself.

***

Me: …It’s like somewhere we have a secret sign posted stating: “All parolees, ex-cons, possible child molesters and general unsavories of questionable intellect: apply here.”

WHS Pimp:  I know. It’s really aggravating.  I try to have hope, and see the possibilities, but by the end we all know it won’t work.  It’s like that one time someone said, I need to just stop looking at the world through rose colored glasses…accept the brutal truth.

Me: And be a surly bastard like me. Yes.  It’ll save you lots of time.

(Long pause.)

WHS Pimp: But you know what that means?

Me: Being a surly bastard?

WHS Pimp: No, the “rose colored glasses” bit. 

Me: Well, yeah.  “Looking on the bright side of things.”

WHS Pimp: I never knew that. 

Me: Seriously?!

WHS Pimp: No, yeah.  Never heard it before.  So I looked it up.  But you know what the actual “source” is…where it comes from?

Me: No idea.

WHS Pimp:  It’s like these tiny tinted glasses that fit on the beaks of chickens…

(I immediately stop what I’m doing and look at him.)

WHS Pimp: …It stops cannibalism or something…but its also cuz, apparently, it’s the sight of blood that freaks them all out when you go to, you know, cut their heads off…

(I start to get the tired giggles that comes so hard and fast that I double over in my chair from stomach contractions. He just blinks and watches.)

WHS Pimp: …Yeah, so they put these little sunglasses on them, while they wait their turn, and they just stand there without freaking out.

(I’m crying harder and can no longer breathe right.)

Me: There…is…no…way!!! There…is…no…way…that’s…a…real…thing…

WHS Pimp: No, yeah, it’s totally true. Look it up.

Me: (Gasping.) So…there’s just this yard full of decapitated chicken heads with sunglasses lying around, while all the other ones are standing around Stevie Wondering in ignorant bliss?

WHS Pimp: Well, no. Not now. That was back in like the 30′s and 40′s. Now, they prob’ly just lock ‘em all in a cement casing and gas ‘em to death.

Me: (Inappropriately crying harder.) So…we’ve gone from happy blind innocents to Holocaust??!

WHS Pimp: Basically, yes.

Me: Well fuck me if that ain’t irony.

WHS Pimp: Right? So anyway…now you know.

***

#Conversationsyoucantmakeupevenifyouwantedto.

~D

Back To The Book

7 Apr

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Neat thing about theatre, #586:

…It’s a living, breathing being of process.

Unlike film, there is never a day where the Director yells, “Cut! Print it!”, and that scene is set in stone for all of time.  Sure, you get the occasional “Post” work, but the concept and action and tone of the piece has already been set.  It’s in the can. 

…The only time that happens in the theatre is at bows on closing night.

…It’s one of the frustrating and delightful wonders that you can go 25 performances before you finally get that damn joke dead on and nail it, or find another link with something someone says about your character in Act One. 

Unless you totally close yourself off from being open and playing and connecting with the other actors and audience, you will find a million subtle differences from Opening night to Closing…in simple deliveries with a breath intake here instead of there, of covert covers for skipped lines, and new stresses on words which changes so many meanings, to silent expressions, differently infused energy, someone’s bad day which hasn’t fully been left off stage…to the average cold.  We take all these influences and run with them, which depending on what is thrown in, is what makes the “stone soup” of that specific performance, which will always be different from tomorrows and yesterdays…because live theatre is like that.

…But aside from this technically obvious difference from our film friends, we also get a full rehearsal process not always granted to the camera kids. 

Different Directors rally the cast and run the process as they desire…there is no “set” way, ‘long as the through-line point is to discover the characters as the playwright intended them to come to life, to be true to the text, and mine it for hints and foresight into themes, plot, intents, reasoning, and supporting the piece as a whole.  The Director’s job, is essentially to point towards the destination of intent, and guide you in your work to get to it by rehearsal’s end.  Not because that means, “it’s over,” but rather, “here’s where we congregate in the piece’s space.”  A Director has to be able to not only enlighten and inspire, but goal-keep and referee…encouraging you to take initiative, explore the possibilities and work at unpeeling the onion-like layers of character to be discovered,  while also kicking the ball back in bounds when things go all to hell, and making sure we play fair.  

…Which is where an “out of town” Opening comes in.

The big boys…like Broadway and some of the seminal Regionals do this.  In film terms, it’s the same as a “sneak preview.”  It’s means a soft, limited opening in a less prestigious town, or venue, across several weeks or months. A limited number of seats are sold, used as a tester audience to see where the laughs are, what scenes are too slow, which need a reworking or edit, and when all else fails, when it’s time to start looking at re-writes and more work-shopping.

…For the smaller houses around the country, we usually get one day to do this, which is the day directly before Opening (good, bad or otherwise.)  As you can imagine, this allows very limited alterations to the piece before it’s out there for the general public (and critics)…unless you want to risk freaking out your actors forcing them back into their heads less than 24 hours before there are paying butts in the seats…or a radical intervention is deemed necessary.

…Sometimes, however, this natural stream of events can change in drastic ways as early as Tech, the week leading into Opening. This is when all designers and Artistic Directors and general Top Brass, will be seeing the piece for the first time as a cohesive unit, and this frequently leads to what we call, “clusterfucks”…or “Hell Week.” It is so termed because everything seems to be thrown at you: last minute changes are swapped here and there without ceremony, props come and go and come again, costumes flip and flop are added to and taken away, last minute light adjustments mean blocking changes, re-spiking because of new set pieces, all while you’re breaking in the wobble in your new heels (last worn by a bow-legged cowboy?), rework hair and makeup, adjust to new props arriving nightly…remember lines, and the newest version of blocking…while being fucking hilarious, or tragically horrifying, as the case may require…while pages of changes to all of it, are passed onto you nightly.

…And sometimes those adjustments, three days before Opening, require such a significant hoist of alteration, that you have to go back to the script, take out a pencil, and relaunch into a slam-study session, like a last second finals exam.

It’s good. It’s tight, but the time is there. This isn’t Preview. The answers you are looking for will be there…and the new direction you’ve been pointed is usually not a panicked random adjustment…but often introducing a linchpin that will lock and load that final element that has been missing. If you’re “game,” this can be a final layer-building key, gaining access to that illusive something you’ve not been able to grasp up to this point.

…It can also, because of it’s drastic change in nature, scare the flipping hell outta you.

…But if you think of it like the roller coaster climbing the last clicks to the top before it just lets go out from under you, it helps. The more clicks, the higher you go, the further the free-fall, but the more awesome the overall ride…

…Provided you don’t piss your pants or barf all over the place…

Fortunately, I’m a whiskey-gut from way back. So, “bring on the work, bitches…am totally good for it.”

~D

This Is Your Ital-ian

3 Apr

On stage taking turns laying, pacing, picking at our shoes, punching text into our phones, checking baseball scores, and screaming lines like a machine gun, at extreme speed.

…For those of you new to the process, this is completely legal. In fact, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to do an Italian. The only qualifier is “speed.”

…Some throw in blocking to help trigger memory…some lay on their backs staring into the rafter abyss, reciting like animatronic robots. Some pace back and forth with the urgency of an expectant father outside a maternity ward. Whatever gets the lines out…it’s all open season.

I’m a pacer.

…Helps infuse energy.

…And while pacing, am stealing pictorals, at random. The things we see, before set and real props, painted floors, and all the magic dust they throw on stage during tech, begins to take place. Things like:

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Behind fake walls, with legs up.

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View from a ledge.

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Before hang and focus.

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Building trade-goods.

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Stand-ins.

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Hard-working professionals.

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Boss of The Book.

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An empty house.

…So now you know.

~D

Bipolar Weather & Causes For Affect

2 Apr

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Our spring here can’t seem to make up it’s mind what the hell is going on. 

…It’s confusing the hell out of the blooming plant life that I’ve been taking walks past, while either in bluster winds on a sunny day or in pissing down rain.  One doesn’t let rain stop you from doing things here, else you’d never get anything done…but the point is: it’s sunny for five seconds today and was yesterday too, and both are cock teases.

Yesterday was down for the count thanks to a particularly suicidal Joan Crawford visit beginning at 4 a.m., with alllllll her bag of upset tummy-curling-into-a-ball-while-crying awesomeness.  The only up side was doing month-end from my laptop in bed…at 5:30 in the morning…only cuz it meant that when I finally DID fall back asleep, I could tell the alarm to go fuck itself, take another fist full of pain meds, roll over, and drift back to sleep again. Fitfully.

…Today’s repercussion of paperwork, and the forest of trees waiting to slaughter, has kept me too busy to even look out the window until about five minutes ago.  Roughly about the time I realized I hadn’t so much as gone pee yet, I’d been so busy today.

…Anyway…a bank of clouds is ominously starting this way, blowing north-bound, and bringing shadows in it’s wake since my first look out the window for the day.  This means that by 4, It’ll be dark clouds and cold with zero vitamin D’s left for me to soak up.  And rain, rain, rain projected for days now to follow.

Of course.

In Other News: I did survive the detox-from-hell…celebrating at midnight on the 21st day, with some 16 year-old Redbreast whiskey…which was the most decedent thing from my bar.  A fitting “fuck you” to the odds and celebration of WINNING!

…So now onto the six days on, one day off, trend until the rest of the weight is dumped. And may I never so over-indulge as to have to go through that whole nonsense ever, ever again.

I’d ONLY wish it on my worst enemy.  Really.  Not even a Nagging Irritant deserves to go through something like that, on purpose.

Meanwhile…

…We are three days to tech week, in a show which the jury will prob’ly still be out on till the second we open, or possibly even after.

…The Gnome has reached 13 weeks, and 20 lbs of weight gain…so she no longer looks like a starving waif-child who could blow away in a stiff wind…she looks like a waif child who swallowed a softball, and might bounce along instead.

…WHS Pimp has fucked up his back so badly, the MRI techs are talking a fusing…which he’s taken fairly well considering he won’t be able to tie his own shoes anymore and he’s only 33…but apparently that’s what kids are for, anyway…he says.

…And…after a couple weeks of deliberation, I decided to join my first organized group since brownies and the theatre. Mama be kickin’ it now with the HRC…only not just passively. I’m actually volunteering to do things and stuff. Which’ll be weird. Cuz I’m socially awkward as fuck and super shy. But, this comes from reflections, via lots of sources, telling me if I want the world to be a better place for a lot of my favorite humans, (and the rest of us), I gotta put my actions where my mouth is. So I’m gonna. By and large, politics piss me the hell off, but equality ain’t a policy it’s a right, and that I can get behind. So, P.S. prob’ly expect to hear about those shenanigans here, too.

…And so goes life.

Hope you find your second of sun and play and joy on this spring day. Go chase it down if you have to. Cuz I’m gonna. Just as soon as I can hit the freeway :)

~D

Some Things

28 Mar

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One 

You can’t blog everything all of the time.  Sometimes FB lack of anonymity kills it for you.  Even though everywhere else on the interwebs, I could be the chick sitting next to you on the bus, for all you know. (I’m not, but what if I was???)

…Which is weird. 

…Cuz the line boundary of what you can and cannot share has nothing to do with politeness and decency, but usually everything to do with who you don’t wanna stir shit up with cuz you might be working/running into/hanging out with them, later.  This makes a strange gray area in the land of blogging.  It means, (cuz of my strange and random “ehh” to personal privacy),  I can tell you all about my periods and BMs, sexual escapades and mental deficiencies…but not about the dick move that whats-his-name did the other day, or how incompetent ya-de-ya-da is.  So long as whats-his-name and ya-de-ya-da are one of the 400 FB people in my stream or other people’s I know.

…This cuts out on considerable amounts of venting, I’ll have you know.  Which is one of the reasons this blog was created to begin with.  It means drafting up poser-posts that stay in draft form as I light up the keyboard with flames of fury and bitch-snap, then immediately delete upon completion, because…well…it has to be done.

…But the point I’m trying to make here is that, sometimes the best material is left lying there like an open-ended set-up to a joke.  You REALLY want to pick it up and finish it…you REALLY want the rim shot of tasteless joy one gets from completing a really good zing…but you can’t…because you’re in the internet equivalent of a church pew, and if you go there right now, you’ll be totally excommunicated. Dieing a social-death forever in a pit of hellfire and damnation of your own lighting.

…So instead, you try and think of something else to write about, to keep your mind else wise occupied.

…Which is how prob’ly 30% of these posts exist to begin with.

…Including this one.

The end.

Two

A Toy For When You’re Bored At Work Cuz It’s Raining Again And Sales Are For-Shit.

…It’s just a working title, but pretty much nails the idea. So go to here. Cuz I did. And it’s mesmerizing. Good for background or just to watch and zone out on. The real-time musical journey of sharing information from around the world. Right there. Broken down by specific sound registers on Listen Wikipedia, by topic. Bells are additions, string plucks are subtractions, pitch change according to size of edit, color circles by editors, new users by string swells. Click on any that pops up and it’ll take you to it’s update, so you can read as the page plays on. It’s a strange little symphony, in 32 languages…of people teaching other people about the world. And it’s hypnotically awesome.

Three

Apparently there’s an anti-Valentines day movement by dudes pissed about how for some reason it turns out to be all about their ladies, and they get nothing outta the deal. There’s a shit-ton of crotchless edible underwear and flavored lube sales that’ll tell yuh different, but whatthefuckever . Point is… They say there is (and should be) this whole other observance day of joy just for the dudes, and I just found out about it. I also immediately spouted, “Well fuck that! What about the single ladies with no significant other to get them shit on February 14th?!”

…Which is when I invented “Whiskalingus Day.”

…It should be celebrated closely adjacent to the dude-prescribed “Steak, Beer & Blowjob Day”…for general fairness purposes…but with a re-booking option freebee, in case Mrs. Johnson is in town.

…You may be happy to know, I’m already in talks with my development team, and we’ve decided to offer Jameson and Red Breast, first option as our sponsors (why fuck with lesser…we deserve the very best)…and International Chapter Chairwomen positions are open for nomination.

…I will, of course, be credited as originator and CEO. I will also be the deciding vote on who our Grand Marshall each year will be. This will depend largely on who I am currently obsessing over at the time, and thus, almost always some kind of acting celebrity. The Board of Directors will discuss advertising options, and inevitable underwear product lines (which will contain no lace or crotchless shit, yet still manage to be sexy and comfortable…with enough room on the butt for our slogan.)

…So stay tuned. Also, if interested to join our team: apply here.

Four

It is Friday. What more do you want from me.

~D

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