Um, I dunno if you know it (International Friends), but there’s this whole thing where Americans wishing to look less ridiculous (or wanting to more easily blend in) will often pretend to be Canadians , whilst visiting abroad. It’s not exactly like we’re ashamed of being “American,” it’s that we are embarrassed by the general casting-type.
…Look, I have to say that by and large, we earn it. Having been abroad before, I was never more aware of our loud, braying, overly-enthusiastic, self- entitlement than quietly sitting in corners of tubes and restaurants and buses…watching us being giant low-class dicks, en mass. We dress horribly. We push to run every room and tourist guiding, we chew gum in ancient cathedrals, scream at one another across silent museum lobbies, we complain about food portions, bitch about the size of the showers, and how everyone doesn’t bathe twice a day, and strangely like to infringe on , (and advertise), our private business to any and everyone who doesn’t (and won’t ever care)…cuz that shit is embarrassing.
…But then Brexit happened, and I was all, “Woa, for once we aren’t the biggest idiots”
…But then this election happened and now I’m all, ” Well, fuck. I gotta pretend to be British-Columbian from Vancouver, again.”
The deal is: I don’t talk political shit on my Facebook, I’m sure as hell not gonna want to “live,” on a tube platform with a random Italian. (Let’s be real, the English don’t talk in tubes.)
…Though, to be off the International Shit-List, they might just break precedent.And the French always have hated us (and always will), because of our hard-“R’s,” designer-knock-offs, and wearing T-shirts with vacation locations on them.
Americans are like the class clowns of the world. Right now: we are specializing in scaring the shit out of everyone–even ourselves. And frankly, I am not comfortable being a “representative abroad. ”
I’m not super proud of us right now. And I don’t wanna talk about it. Cuz the world I come back to, (the week of the election), scares the living shit out of me. If I could, I’d fucking just stay there.
…And I would always have said that. (But would have literally never meant it, more.) Than right now.
…And you know what? That kinda sucks.
…Because, though I unreasonably love Britain like it is in my blood (cuz it is)… I have great grandfathers who fled from those bitches, (on the Irish and Pilgrim side.) Like:legit. I’ve an ancestor who signed the Mayflower Compact, and we’ve fought in every single American war.INCLUDING against the Brits.
I *want* to be proud.
…As I prepare to cross the pond for a place I adore and identify with (prob’ly because it is in my blood) …and even though I really, really, REALLY, don’t want to get political…I just don’t know how I’ll be able to prevent it.
I don’t know what to say.
I don’t know how to excuse us.
…Because, I know a LOT of very, very very smart people.
…And they don’t seem to either.
And on an International level: on planes, busses, trains and week-long workshops… I dunno how the hell I’m gonna duck or explain it.
…And with ALL the weird shit on my brain right now…ten days before I leave to study abroad…why is THAT the main thing on my freak-out list?
Sometimes… I don’t write much while working on a show. Often that is code for other things…like the kind of experience I’d rather have disappear into the ether for all of time. Sometimes it’s just because I’m too damn busy and can’t be bothered. And sometimes it’s because I’m living the moment fully and will set time aside later to reflect on it.
This show was halfway parts two and three.
Am very thankful to have done a thoroughly joyful, silly show with a lot of my dearest friends. We opened a season, slaughtered the season ticket sell projections, and while it was never meant to be Shakespeare, we played hard, enjoyed the fuck out of one another, and learned lots.
…Having worked with the director before in “Narnia,” I’d no idea what to expect of the process, sans 30,000 children in creature makeup… But knowing the “woman,” I figured we were in solid hands. Finding a new favorite Director out of the gig was bonus-town…because she knows her comedic beats like a mutherfucking pro (not that I doubted her, it’s just not my own particular field and difficult to judge when in beaver makeup.) And “why” she quickly became a favorite is due one part on her persona and equal on her run-of-the-room.
My favorite directors trust their cast to do the job they were hired to do. We have different job titles because we have different jobs. Having worked under every variety of Director from vice-grip Dictators, to absent cluelessness… I’ve come to the conclusion that my preference neither ignore you nor manhandle you. They trust you. They give you guidence, then let you take the leash. They allow you to explore, create, make mistakes…learn. And then, they modulate. They study your choices and adjust. They understand what your intent is and marry it to the theme. They allow freedom of expression, but are so studious on the work that they can give you a note like, “lift her on this line instead of that.”and the next night, that beat is magically solved, beautiful, and perfect.
Collaboration is king in theatre. It is the solvent to awkward “real life” relationships I seem to suck at. Finding a fellow artist who speaks my same language, I am always as surprised and delighted as if I heard my mother-tongue in deepest Africa. Finding one in a friend I’ve known for some time in a variety of ways, makes me feel both a little dickish and also winning. It isn’t that there is doubt. It is that people need their moment and roles to shine. And I’m a distrustful bastard by nature. So: even more fight.
…Long and short of it being: “Hey, J.Y… You’re a good fucking teacher, can’t wait for the next time.”
Next: You know when you have a real talk with a person you only “casually” know…like through another friend? And you know how that can be awkward as hell, because “people” and you go together in none of the ways? But then you end up having this super long artistic joygasm conversation that kinda creatively blows your mind? Had one of this weekend. Which then launched me into closing and strike and presenting at an awards ceremony… On zero sleep-juice, but all the artistic-yay…which is my main purpose on earth to obtain…meaning: I gained a legitimate real life, serious new theatre family-friend, and am exhausted today.
Totally worth it.
…These past two months of “crazy”: totally worth it.
…Sharing a dressingroom exclusively with Cecil for an entire run: bliss.
…Learning the subtle command of a friend’s artsistic influence over yours: educationally rewarding.
…Being paid to play and work with the family you’ve hand-picked: fucking priceless.
Hot damn, I’m lucky.
(And I know it.)
..But in a good way.
Today, I received m’student pkt, and picked through my first class syllabus in 18 years.
…As an International Student and Guest Artist at The Actors Centre in London, (Omg. Seriously, this shit just got real), I’ve 43 hours of five workshops with award winning directors, actors, and writers from the BBC, RSC, National, Globe, LAMDA, London Film School, (and a whole hell of a lot more), picked out, for our two-week stay…which I’ve decided to call my, “If Its Pissing Rain Every Second We Are Here There’s Still Plenty Of Shit To Do” list. This center is a fucking phenomenal resource with a 72 page course option list, just within our three month attendance period…and those I’ve chosen to focus on, primarily work on character development and playwriting.
…Am particularly freaking out over the Glen Walford workshop, “Confidence Tricks,” as not only will that class be aired, but this woman’s sick International resumè is secretly topped for me by being the person who commissioned and directed “Shirley Valentine,” (my “Educating Rita”sister show) and being a frequent collaborator with Willy Russell.
The schedule I’ve chosen would have me in London proper for both weeks, so traveling to see buds in Warrington and Scotland would mean a secondary cut to a “VIP Must List.” Which is damn hard to weed down from the opportunities just laying here in front of me. But four days’ intensive work with Walford and Jason Riddington are my essential “gotta hit thats, ” on top of (hopefully) making some new acting buds abroad, and bringing home about 47 new dialects to play with on stage sometime.
…It’s surreal, and kinda freaky, but completely what I’m supposed to be doing and I’m just about to trust that enough not to have an anxiety attack when I think that in 25 days, we’ll be in London… eating crumpets and ramen nearly exclusively, so we can throw all the money we haven’t got at theatre!
…And with that much appreciated student discount card in our pockets, yo!
Let’s do this thing.
… This day has been predictably dickish (coming back from a 3-day sales weekend), but even more than necessary. To be gross and inappropriate (because it’s my fucking blog and I can), today has been a hung-like-a-Clydesdale-mid-f***, kind of day.
… Everyone (including myself) has been an asshole to deal with, rail was late, trucks and builders were no-show, everyone is screaming at and about someone else, on multiple lines, and the urgency of getting a goddamn shed constructed this absolute second, is on par with a heart or kidney transplant …and that is without exaggeration in the least.
What the fuck is wrong with people?!
The only break from insanity I received, was when Cecil stopped by at 1:30 to deliver a coffee and take me outside to breathe and not answer a phone for 20 minutes. Which helped for the 20 minutes, but not enough to really recharge to a necessary level required for Asshole #47 who wanted to go into his independent financials on how he could buy and sell our company ten times over if he wanted, and if I knew what was good for me, I’d find a way to magic the rail delivery to before Thursday, “or else.”
… It wasn’t enough to help with Bitchface #52 who needed me to know that I personally was totally ruining her daughter’s wedding because I couldn’t move our build lead-time to this Saturday. Or Asshat #29 that it doesn’t matter how much “extra cash” you tell me you can throw at the deal, I can’t manufacture a builder from a stack of Jacksons, when they are already booked two months in advance.
I already don’t like people. Days like this launch me into festering-turd-hatred of them.
… And tonight,I need to spend hours making dick jokes at rehearsal…trying to make them funny… when really, it’s just an autobiography of my retail working life, minus the sex. And also, nothing is funny right now!
Not even my go-to “This is fine” Flaming cartoon:
… Or the fact that my sidewalk is growing tomatoes :
I started that new Fitbit explore badge thingy today. Their version of Pokémon Go, minus location requirements, means that I can indeed be sequestered in the office as a managerial-bitch, yet still wrack up achievement points based on steps, alone… as I treadmill during booking calls.
This should make being a caged animal less awful, one would think.
… Jury is still out on that.
… It is strange, this fake trek through this famous National Park, for a couple of reasons. One is that I have always loathed Yosemite for the unfortunate stigma it bought itself in my childhood, in that every single time I had visited it, I spent most or all of the trip horribly ill.
… I don’t know why, but clearly my body just didn’t want me to be there. And it would vomit and fever and curl up in a ball to remind me of that fact, every time I dared to travel there. Despising the out-of-doors as much as I already did as a kid, I assumed Yosemite’s grandeur was like the epicenter of natural evil, and I was literally rebelling against it, beyond all doubt.
… But those days of hatred are gone now. A trip to Ireland cured all that, and a part of me thinks this Fitbit fake version of a visit to the park can finally help me slay this biggest monster of nature, in my past.
… But it is also strange because Yosemite was my home. Well, closest thing I’d use to pinpoint where “home” was to people who didn’t know where my tiny town was…because there is no reason whatsoever that anyone ever should.
… Because everyone knows “Yosemite.” Well, everyone knows OF “Yosemite.” Even if they call it “Yos-eh-mite” (which, unbelievably, people actually do.) And if you’re from a tiny old gold-rush town, where getting a new Safeway makes the front page for a solid week, Yosemite is the only way you could relate to the area I come from.
…But even that is a lie. Because you have to go an hour away from “home” to get there. To this place where Mother Nature just puked all over everything in kinda the best hangover scenario ever.
… My home town is more scrub brush, and foothill. But it does have lakes. And trees. Gets snowfall. Has nature in variety of aspect, just not juiced up on all the beauty steroids.
… So, this whole fake trek thing is weird to me because it reminds me of home in a lot of ways, both good and bad…and my kiddom, and the summers we’d spend by the lakes for endless hours, and the horrible camping trips I despised, and all the times I chose to sit inside reading a book (all damn day) instead of exploring things outside my room, (or the tent.) And how ironic that I am now “stuck” inside all day, looking out, taking fake nature walks on a handheld computer.
… I’m saying: life is strange. I wouldn’t give up the books. (And I still loath camping.) But, much like the forced naps in childhood that I despised, (which I would often give.. I dunno… back teeth, for the extravagance of having today) , I kinda wish I’d have known some of this shit ahead of time.
… But then, don’t we all…
There are two air conditioners on full blast, and at 10 am it is 76 degrees in my office.
… The heat in here has officially broken me. Two days ago, (because I couldn’t stand it anymore) I went clothes shopping. For shorts. Which was horrible in and of itself, minus the hit to my bank account…because clothes shopping is from Satan anyway…never mind when you’re being forced into purchasing an article you despise, on top of it.
I haven’t purchased shorts in over 16 years. I have never worn the one pj pair I had in public, even to take trash out or get the mail, because of all the body image things I can grouse about, my legs are number one.
I have Fitbitted my damn ass off, and still have yet to achieve any forward momentum in achieving leg-awesomeness. (Which, yes, I am extremely bitter about…cuz I’ve got a damn badge announcing I just hit 5,000 lifetime miles this week, since clicking the fucker on my wrist, and you’d think that would be enough to counteract and retro fix a few bags of potato chips here and there.)
… But I digress: shorts.
They are evil.
… As are overhead dressing room halogen lights. And tiny, helpful teenagers wearing a size 0 who want to help “get you another size” because all that weight you lost a year ago didn’t stay lost, and virtually everything you try on, stops at half-mast, just under your ass.
… So desperate was I, two hours into the enterprise, that at some point… when I’d gone delirious from clothing OD, having broken out in a sweat which made everything even harder to get on, and look worse if I ever managed to achieve it… I reached out to a sundress and threw it on the stack.
… An item I have never purchased in the entirety of my life. Ever.
Because I don’t really “do” girl clothes, and by that I mean: I’ll wear them if a costumer throws them at me, or I’m going to an Opening, but not on a voluntary basis.
… Yet once on… besides the super-naked-underneath feeling of having nothing squishing my ass and hips like a butt girdle that is a pair of jeans…I hated the visual affect about 10% less than the shorts, so ended up buying them.
Three “summer dresses. ”
One of which I am wearing, for the first time, today.
… Which feels odd. And bottom-naked. And you have to move and sit differently. And I’m overly-terrified I’ll accidentally walk around with some part of it all caught up in my underwear…like all of a sudden I can’t be trusted to pee like a grown-up or conduct myself with correct dress-wearing acumen.
… Because I only do this girl-clothes thing, kitted up in spanks and nylons, in a theatre environment, two hours at a time. An 8-hour day of willy-nilly pant-commandoism, in the real world, where breezes happen at whim, and chairs have cold or sizzling seats, and you can’t bend over into a filing cabinet without underwear-mooning the room, are things I now have to worry about. After I’ve learned I have to. Because something embarrassing has just happened, regarding those things, bringing them to my attention.
… Which is all to say: I kinda feel like an alien wearing a suit of people-skin… all foreign and pretend blend-inny. But at the same time…it is, at times, a welcome breeze in the nether-world. *
(*Shout-out to my “Underpants” crew.**)
(**Which sounds way worse than I was intending it to. So, naturally I’ve left on purpose. But also wanted to make sure I pointed it out. Cuz “funny” is only funny if you slam it over the head ten or twelve times, then point at it and say, “Get it?! Do you get it?!”)