Freaking Out

26 Sep

..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. 

~D

All The Whys

6 Sep


Omg, who is in charge of Retrogrades, and why are they acting like such an asshole!?! 

… 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 :

NOTHING!! 
WHY?!?! 

~D

Stuck Inside, Walking Yosemite 

2 Sep

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… 

~D

This One Time (When It Was So Hot) 

19 Aug

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. 

A sundress. 

… 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. 

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?!”) 

~D

I Wrote A Little… 

8 Aug

So… ‘member that time I bought that blank journal under the pretext of filling it with writing exercises to get me actually creating real wordsmithery again,  versus whatever the hell you wanna call this blog thing? 
… And,’ member how I have like 15 of those journals just sitting in my house, because of serial journal-purchase-syndrom, still waiting for words to be put in them,  and still totally empty, or long since converted to “show-research-journals?” 

… Cuz, ‘member how, (like dusting my house), I totally operate on a best-intention basis, but then often fail in my goals because I don’t wanna dust, potato chips are delicious, and facing a blank piece of paper with proper punctuation, plot, and sentence structure is really hard work? 

Well, chalk one up for me, bitches!  Cuz, I dun wrote me a story. 

It was Sunday. The place: my bed. I had just finished coughing myself awake,  and lay there re-exhausted from my efforts. Thinking to myself, “Well, I don’t even care what time it is…I’m so not getting out of bed after all that,” I decided to hide my apparent misplaced weekend-lay-about-in-bed-all-day guilt, by grabbing one of previously described blank journals and popping up my autoprompt app. 

…Hating the first two offers on demand, I took the third, and started scribbling long-hand, for what I assumed would be about fifteen minutes. 3.5 hours,  eleven pages, and a giant caffeine headache later, I realized that I’d just completed the mutherfucker, and really needed a damn cup of coffee (or 12.)

…Because,  that’s the way time works when I’m actively “Arting.” Sketching, researching, line-learning, blogging, or writing…once the juices get goin’,  I seriously cease to notice the present reality surrounding me. I’m told that I come by this honestly as an inherited trait. Apparently my great grandmother would start painting in the morning, and still be at it late into the night,  with only a depleted sleeve of saltines and empty glass by the canvas as proof of any pause for even sustenance. Which I completely understand, and could “see”  with multiple empty stomaches and/or late night writing sessions on whiskey turning into early morning hour alcoholic tendency accompanied by dry Cheerios by the handful,  direct from the box…which doesn’t really count as morning alcoholism because technically, I  hadn’t gone to bed yet, so it was still just really-late-yesterday o’clock, and anyway stop with that judgy-look,  just because you like to hide your morning alcoholism in disgusting tomato juice…!

…Anyway…where was I going with all this? Oh yeah: I wrote a little, this weekend. On like, a real thing. And it’s all pencil-scratchy, with horrendous spelling, and some of the words I can’t even really make out entirely because even stone cold sober, my creative writing comes out looking like a ten year old,  arthritic physician wrote it, but still. It’s mine. I haven’t reread it since…so,  it’s prob’ly terrible. But, I did it. I said I was going to,  and: there it is. 

… Only,  don’t get too excited though. I have no real intention of dusting, or giving up my post rehearsal junk food. It’s about “baby steps,”  people. And at 3.5 hours, I’ve already clocked overtime in good intentions this week. 

… The rest is just gonna have to hold its damn water for a while. 

~D

On A Break, From Learning Lines

6 Aug

I feel so incredibly lavishly spoiled to say that phrase, so I’m just gonna say it again… 
“… On a break, from learning lines… ”

…Isn’t that divine? Isn’t it a lusciously brain-gasmically delightful collection of words forming this ultimate pampered-spoiling sense of artistic security,  dipped in a tantalizing chocolate coating of savoring yet-to-comeness?

… It has been so long since I’ve viewed this part of the theatre process as “fun”  or even a part of the artistic process…because it was always about getting the hell out of the book,  so I could “start to really get to work.” Like,  all of these years of working back-to-back-to-back on projects, I  was just totally taking advantage of the fact that there was this one distasteful part to BE “gotten out of the way,”  so I could do the other “real”  stuff. But,  after theatrically being unseasonably  dry since basically February…it’s like your first taste of wine after two weeks of antibiotics for a terrible cold you just can’t fucking kick, (going on round three. Not that I’m bitter.) 

… THIS SHIT IS MAGNIFICENT! Learning lines is suddenly like the best damn aperitif* EVER! 

(*Note: due to my total inability to spell in English,  never mind French,  my phone autocorrect  just suggested that line-learning is like the best damn “apartheid”  ever…which I’m pretty sure it isn’t even remotely, so: I win this round, autocorrect. You’re drunk.  Go home.) 

… Anyway, the point is: I have a job  again,  thus a sense of purpose reinstilled*. (not “reinstalled,” autocorrect. I said: Go. Home.)  I’ve got a character I am responsible for. Which exists in a literary context whom I am charged to bring to life in corporeal form. On a stage. And speak words. Which I am now learning in her specific sentence structure. So I can pretend it is my own. Which is a real grown-up job that people can get paid to do on this planet. And I am one of them, again. So: “hellz,  yeah,  and hallelujah!” 

(Sigh. Cough-cough-cough. Sigh.) 

… I just got worked up on fake theoretical paper while type-yelling, and it still made me cough. 

… I am so damn tired of this fucking cold. 

It’s the third version of it that I’ve had this summer, forcing me to everything from sleeping sitting up for days on end (which my neck-kink-from-hell is totally still yelling about), to not tasting food for weeks at a time (pretty sure I’ve pulled an “Ab-Fab” and have eaten potpourri “chips” a few times while streaming “Reign”  at 2 am while not sleeping,  and never even noticed),  as well as totally admittingly wearing Always pads for at least a week before my actual period, so when I coughed so hard that both ends leaked a little, no horrified small child in the cereal aisle would point at me and loudly tattle, “Mommy, that diseased lady just peed her pants!” requiring a messy human biohazard clean-up, in aisle four. 

… In short: this ongoing cluster-cold has totally humiliated me into a diaper-wearing, bronchial-honking,  codeine-addicted, hunchbacked,  snot-monster. 

.. And yeah,  I just totally wrote about it, to take my own power back. So,  suck it, viral-infection-from-hell! I’ll own all the shit* (*autocorrect :”you mean shot? “) you throw at me, and still get a job where they trust me to inhabit*(*autocorrect:” you mean habitat? “)  a fake person when I can’t even bodily take care of the real one I’ve been entrusted with! So fuck* (*autocorrect:” You mean duck? “) you! 

… And also: autocorrect?  It’s like…you don’t even know me. 

~D 

Line-Dom, Character Actor: For Hire

13 Jul

I’m paid in wine and tacos, am only available post-walk and laundry-washing, and will task-master your ass, tight as a Drill Sergeant. 

… Or (perhaps more appropriately), a Dom. 

… Have taken up a temporary second existence as a line-driller, for all those assholes (whom I love),  who have off-book deadlines, unlike some people we know. It’s a bittersweet existence. Line-learning is the only part of the job I don’t enjoy, so I envy none of that sadistic frustration in cramming two hours or more of text into my brains. 

… But, the rest… 

… Dear God, I do miss the rest of it. 

… Character analysis, relationship discoveries in rehearsal, trying to get to the the bottom of a difficult moment, playing with the comedy to find its every button without breaking it… wresting out a shitty day in a good growl of anger or heaving sob, turning all of it to your supreme benefit and cleansing. 

Being an out-of-work Actor is as shitty as it gets in my world…(and it can get pretty damn shitty, so that’s really saying a thing.)  I miss my “out”  and coping partner like as if a part of my anatomy dropped off back there, and is just laying on the ground, useless,  depressing, and frankly,  not super functional. 

… Am trying to plug along best as I can, but instead of passing time making it easier, it gets more unsettling, my walks more intense and kinda anger-fueled (with nowhere else to filter daily frustrations),  and I’ve gone back to watching so much BBC programming, I have to actually think about not speaking in an accent,  as a natural default. 

This is my only way to cope. 

… And now, I’ve added other people’s scripts to the mix…drilling my poor theatre-family bastards harder than an oil rig in Texas. 

It is rough to be mid-30s, as a woman: period. 

… As an “actor,”   even more-so. 

… Even as a “character actor” … (which frankly has surprised the hell outta me.)  I thought NOT being an ingenue would have guaranteed me “roles for life.”  But, aside from Agatha Christie…no one wants you,  except as the very occasional spinster aunt, or  nosey neighbor. Hollywood states you’re too old to be a mistress anymore at this age…but, I’d even get those if they popped up anywhere on the boards around here…though, they seem to be “out of season,”  just now. 

… And though I am old enough to play early mothers and wives,  “maternal” and “submissive but supportive”  aren’t my specialties…I’ve done ’em, but only rarely with joy. And all the good “fucked up” delineations of these are in that 40s to 50s range. 

… What I’m built to kill at right now are shrinks, or lawyers, or P.Is ….hell, even a person in the throws of a nervous breakdown, or a junkie on  the street…where are those roles in the theatre cannon for women?

(…Outside of Miss Marple, and the cast of “Rent” types.) 

… Anyway… here I sit. Watching the boards and waiting. A perfectly good “that one chick” who can play just about anything needed,  provided someone wrote it down on paper at some point. And then theatres put it into their damn seasons. 

… It’s really about trekking the mountain, waiting for all the 40-something roles you get to at the summit, but meanwhile thinking, “How the fuck am I gonna stay limber on script reads and ‘town gossips’  when I’ve got Martha in Virgina Woolf waiting for me up there?!” 

… I dunno. Any other lady-actors out there feelin’ m’pain?  

Meanwhile: I’m on a severe FB diet, as I have long come to the conclusion that death and politics are stressing me out almost as much as my day job. Which means that almost any existence I have on it,  is me posting something I read from the Guardian on a theatre thing, an occasional blog about general nothingness, and/or how excited I am about this one show I’ve seen on Netflix. 

… In fact,  if I had money to put into stock or properties…(like for instance, had I won that last Lotto Mega Million) , I’d have invested heavily in Fitbit and Netflix, as they are my consistent saving graces. (Together with the revolving Repertory Theatre that is “English Actors In General”  c/o iTv and the BBC. ) 

… I just want to BE them. How is that wrong…? 

… Is it October yet? God, this” wait for vacation” thing is fucking arduous.

~D

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