Archive | October, 2012

Real Talk Blog, In Bar

31 Oct

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A Halloween drink with some of the casties, post rehearsal. We are the youngest people in the place by at least  four decades…because younger people are at real parties right now.

…You may have a slutty pumpkin, or whorish wench giving you a blowjob right now, but we are makin time with septugenarians in lederhosen singin’ standards. Snap!

…None of us (of course) are wearing costumes…’cept Marty. She’s got 8-year-old boy Captain America underwear on the outside of her leggings. She’s been a big hit. With me in my corset, we decided we were a theme couple called, “Tits & Ass.”

…I feel compelled to let you know that the comic book underwear, never previously belonged to an 8-year-old boy. They were bought new…and sorta cut off her circulation a bit…cuz did you know…she’s a grown woman? I try to keep that on the downlow. It’s more fun.

(Sips my bad burgundy wine as a tone deaf woman of a certain age sings “When You’re Good To Mama,” from Chicago…with all the bump and grinds)

… I can’t even believe I’m ignoring everyone right now to blog with two-finger thumb punches on my phone app. Always remember, I love you this much. My dedication is pure.

Hope your holiday was hot as hell, kids 😉

~D

Marty Starts A Blog

30 Oct

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Shut up, you guys…Marty started a blog today.  I was so excited I almost spit. 

…Not only for her, but for the us’s…so I can share her mind-parts with you directly. For reasons I never understand, people tend to think I exaggerate things all the time, so this will be my way to PROVE TRUE in all that is in the department of the artist formally known as “M.”

Subscribe to it, and show the new kid some love, why don’t yuh?  I did! You’re life will only be richer for it.  I promise.

Also: Happy Halloween Eve. This is the day I would be doing my “dress rehearsal” round (with all makeup and effects)…to make sure I would look bonafide badass, on the big day. Like this:
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…Since infancy, Ma’s gone all out on the building of these things. Because it is HER art, and because I respect it so much, I contract her from time to time to keep it up. My Cruella De Ville year was particularly magnificent…you only WISH you knew me then. But such it not to be for tonight and tomorrow. Instead, we rehearse like mad, dressed in rehearsal skirts, lace-up boots and corsets over our t-shirts, as we recklessly wave swords through the air, and make merry with love and revenge.

…It is really hard to complain when we basically get to play at dress-up every single day. So I won’t. I will just enjoy our strange little world for what it is and keep in mind that everyone ELSE gets but ONE night a year…and I get 365 of them, to dress up in shit!

…I don’t get candy for my efforts, but bucks and the people I hang with are better anyway…so I win, in the end.

I. Win.

Me.

…Write that down, cuz I don’t want you to go forgetting it and things.

…Meanwhile: as you all begin your Hallows Eve festivities…be careful, have fun, and stay wherever the hell you plan on drinking. Don’t make me go all slap-a-bitch on yuh!

~D

Eleventh Hour Postings

29 Oct

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I need to get out of this current schedule so I have enough time to actually post a full blog before the midnight deadline…not just “start” one.

“Marty” offered some of her future ink quotes as writing prompts…but then the more I looked at them trying to pick, the more I realized they deserved their own full topic write-up, not just a quick flash in print.

…So I will be keeping them for tomorrow, and tonight, focus on late night city life.

…The highway is pock-marked with drivers, while I launch homeward bound from rehearsal and pub-hang. At the downtown exits, a few trickle off onto side ramps, and again on detours, so I am the only one (at quarter to midnight) sitting at a non-populated stoplight intersection, ill timed so the ghosts are given greens while I sit on a hill, just off Broadway. 

The Rialto sign lights flash in that 60’s Vegas reminiscence…with actual bulbs popping on in a wave of succession, as the Pantages (it’s classier more austere brother) looks on from across the street with it’s meticulous readerboard, just newly updated.  There on the corner, the only “front” open this time of night: the Bail Bonds building, is empty, as its single minder smokes a cigarette in the chrisp, fall air.  A flash from the signboards bouncing off the windows where the “Open 24 Hours” sign hangs…as if one NEEDS to advertise for bailing-out services, instead of them being a necessary part of proceedings, just down the street from the court and social services buildings.

…I yawn so widely, that my face nearly splits in two from the effort, as the light finally turns green.

…Should I go home and prep for bed first, or write the blog…becomes my question. Too much comfort, ‘tween the sheets, and I’d be out like a light.  I know this.  So I opt to write first, kicking off my sandals and peeling the wet tights from my feet…I toss them on the floor where I will find them in the morning and give ’em a good soak, then hang to dry in time for tomorrow’s run.

…We are still in soft-soled shoes…these sandals my only of such, as most opt for socks running about the stage.  I need more grip for my lifts and constant shenanigans, so have been living in these “shoes” all week.  A well aired pair, meant for dead of summer appropriateness and coverage…not rainy, leaf-slicked, puddle-filled parking lots and roadways.  Every night, I go home with soaking feet, which I either bathe in hot water, or beat back with an Airborn tab in water, just before brushing my teeth.

…Am glad the floor will be sealed and we return to shoes tomorrow. 

Work-and-review rehearsal, together with Act II tonight…back to runs tomorrow.  We open in 10 days, and are well prepared for it…not that we have nowhere to grow, only that we are solid and finessing…which is an excellent place to be, and often out of the ordinary at this point in juncture.

…Some new ideas for energy tomorrow. 

…It needs to be in constant supply (at different levels, naturally) and it’s a difficult feat end-of-a-workday to sustain.  Did good work at it last night and this, but I feel I need a back-up “just in case of emergency, break glass here” plan.  It mostly involves caffeine in coffee variety instead of my usual tea.  It’ll prob’ly help my bladder lots too…cuz my current worry is forgetting to go to the bathroom ‘tween scenes, and then get whirrled around on stage and accidentally pee all over everything.  This is just how my brain works.  And if you worry…that makes you have to pee too…so right now, I’m drinking mass amounts of black leaf and peeing or dancing around because I have to, pretty much all the time.  Which is not great once they add my dress and corset this weekend.  So I should prob’ly fix that.

…Maybe.

…Three till One. 

I’m exhausted. 

…Time for face-washing and teeth brushing and falling onto the sheets.  Tomorrow: will add fresh laundered ones to the bed…was gonna tonight but then “life” happened and it was 6 hours later all of a sudden.

Time is always doing that when you least expect it.

…For now: it’s to sleep and drool till I wake up yelling at the alarm clock.

(aka: your average Tuesday.)

~D

I Want To Eat You

28 Oct

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It’s something I say to a book, sometimes…so get your mind out of the gutter there, friend.

When I was a kid, I couldn’t consume a book fast enough to please me.  I’d spend ten hours straight, totally uninterrupted on a Summer’s day, and rip through “Gone with the Wind,” or “War & Peace.”  I’d plow through Bronte and Austen and Dickens every Holiday Season. I’d devour L.M. Montgomery and Twain in special closeted room seclusion.  On every car ride, on every vacation and trip…even at the breakfast table over Cheerios: there would be a book.

…For me, it wasn’t only the stories, it was the language that fascinated me. I would eventually begin introducing their speaking patterns and word choices into my own lexicon…which is weird to hear comin’ out of a little eight-year-old Latina kid.  I’d speak in accents for whole days…just because I could, and it seemed totally natural to me.  And these worlds and words became obsessions…I would always hunger for more, the more I read…wanted to consume them…to read them out loud and chew them. 

…To actually eat the words, and have them somehow make me a better, more clever, talented, funny, bold, and dramatic. To MAKE me into those specific characters…even if only for a little while.

…Which is a large contributing reason of why I love theatre.

It is your opportunity to consume and digest words on a page, and use the power that they give you via their interpretations, meanings and thoughts, to bring this character to life from a book’s pages, a script…with more choices involved being as you are now responsible for even their walk, stance, physical interactions, plot projections, and vocal choices.

Sometimes, just like when reading aloud from a Novel, these things come easily to you, free of thought really…the character seems to just “be” this way, in it’s most basic form, and you build from there. Sometimes you have to dig and dig to get the information needed at every stage of the character’s building…like an Archaeologist slowly resurfacing information, one tiny sweep of sand at a time, on who this person was, buried in this paper tomb and waiting to be reintroduced to the world again. Sometimes it volunteers you information, from places you are totally unaware of, and can’t quite explain…yet because of it’s insistence of “being” there, I always work doubly hard to justify the “choice” made in that moment. Because it was (for whatever reason) a gut instinct that just happened. And gut instincts are usually the correct line to follow, simply because it was a natural inclination. Not forced.

…Because of this long-time fascination with language and words, it happens most often that the “gut instinct” choices will first form with the words. If I read a script out loud (the only way they are meant to be), in time a natural voice for the character will emerge. And because I’ve done character acting for so many years, it tends to be often of some accented requirement. So this, then, becomes their voice…with changes here and there in pitch or cadence to fit them closer. What is really difficult for me, is when the voice is asked to change, halfway through the process.

…By now, it is so much a part of the character, that the lines just naturally cling to it…as much as the posture on stage, naturally falls into place. I am passed now, the point of thinking about those things…they were built and settled several weeks ago, and my head is now onto other specifics. It is a note, however, of wanted change, so I am now trying to retrace my step back to the root to retrain my brain, who is stubbornly wanting to be focused on other things. It shouldn’t be a difficult alteration…it isn’t a true accented issue (which was confusing me, until a specific clarification was made)…it’s a softening of the “r’s” mostly…sometime a softer “t” here a there…a more cultured and genteel sound, for the fact she is more educated, a Lady in Waiting, a certain status, not just a kitchen serving wench. And it also is placed to put more likeness to the stiffness of Malvolio’s regime over the house and his specific speaking style, to help bridge the gap between the two worlds of servant and master, that she pops in and out of…and what happens as she allows that mask to slip when in the company of Sir Toby. It is part of showing her struggle between doing the thing that is right and proper, and the moments when we see the total unabashed relief and joy, in saying, “Fuck it! I’m just gonna have a good time!”

…But if I am not explaining that enough with the action of it, or if it is getting in the way of the bigger picture, it has to change.

…Now, you can certainly pick and choose your battles with notes given, and though it is a major character choice for a reason to me, I also understand that it is hitting the Director’s ear and saying, “No.” So “no” is the answer. And my job: a new alteration, and justification. It’s what notes are for: to bring each character into the pack, as a whole, and to make one joint vision of this thing. When your instinct to fight a note pops up (and I’m stubborn, so I have to work extra hard on this point), you need to step back and trust that this thing is for a greater good aspect. At this point, we are all so tunnel visioned with our own work and characters, it is impossible to see outside of that.

It’s our job to focus, so we do…it’s our job to define and interpret…so we do. It’s our job to make specific choices, and put them out there on that stage. And it’s the job of the Director to keep all the plates spinning, the show as a whole, with all these individuals attacking words in print and flinging them about the stage with a thousand intents and purposes.

Now that certain concessions have been made on the Monologue From Hell, this is my new task to tackle. To change her language…how she eats her words, difficult because it was there in her first beginning of learning to walk and talk…like a child, learning that “this” word sounds “this” way, so “this” is how I will always say it…contributed hugely by the influences of those about them.

…Which is how, in even a non-accented situation, you get choices that delineate and are specific. The difference between “Ont” and “Aunt.” “To-ma-to” and “tomato.” “War-shing” and “washing.” “Caribbean” and “Car-i-bbea-n.” Vocal choices…we make them all day long in every conversation we have, not even knowing it, because it is so much a part of who we are at this point.

…Guys, acting ain’t for sissies. When you break things down to these kind of elements, and need to re-educate yourself, its almost like learning another language, on the fly, and justifying it, letting it alter the heart of your character as little as possible at a stage where we are soon launching into tech.

Homework is good…it makes you push to an end, to have a specific focus. Where this note is specifically difficult, is that it is sourced from literally my childhood. The way a person sounds, is just how they sound…and always have, to my ear. Like a musician ear caters to specific notes in succession, making music. I only really realized WHY she talked the way she did, when I had to study it in order to find the code to break it. Then once understanding why the natural choice was made, and realizing what that brings to the table, I learned so much from that discovery, that I want to keep it alive in some way, because it’s pretty straight-up legit.

…So between now and today’s run through at 3:30, my homework is to give Maria a new voice, with the old reasons still intact.

…This is just a long way to say: “I have a lot of work ahead. And what we do on a stage isn’t easy. Just so we’re clear on that.”

~D

A Buddy Date

27 Oct

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It’s buddy night.

The Fella, “Marty” and I grab beer, Cheetos, and pizza, and put on the Michigan game.

…”Marty” loses her mind as her Alma Mater’s Quarterback is outed on an injury, and all hell breaks loose. She’s jumping up and down, screaming at the TV, baiting the other team’s players with mean commentaries, bitching the umpires out on their calls, and yelling her ass off when any yardage is gained at all. She also yells when yardage is lost, but it sounds totally different from the other scream.

…The Fella might get evicted for this, but seems to be taking it quite well. In fact, I think it’s kinda catching. Cuz half way in, he’s hollering at the TV as well.

…In between plays, they go through all the intricacies of the game for me…using diagrams and dots, with swishing and articulate angles, in a host of examples of plays. I watch, blinking on, as I am not now, nor have ever been the slightest bit interested in Football, and prob’ly never will be. But for some reason, with the level of excitement they wield, and the intensity of their miming and explanations, I start to actually get a little into it all. Surprising, how much they get me to retain before “Marty” commands the game be shut off, end of the last quarter…so she doesn’t have to watch her beloved team “not win.”

…Notice how I didn’t say “lose.” It’s cuz I understand her grief, and I care about her too much for that.

…To try and ease the pain, we then pop on “Halo,” and commence blowing the absolute shit outta things, as therapy. For something like four hours. Then it turns to theatre talks, and chip eatings and tech stuffs and playwrights, and classical vs. contemporary works and how they sell, and why, and which ones we wanna do. It’s nearly two now as I complete this blog, (began earlier in the evening), and we have just finally left The Fella’s and The BFF’s house…nine hours later.

So we had a good day of it.

…Was nice to be back in the apartment again. I hadn’t been since The BFF moved to L.A.. And though I thought it might be kinda sad to go hang out there all night without her…there was no need to think so. She’s all over the place, in the million little ways that people you love always are. I miss her, sure, but it turned into the good kind…because we were thinkin’ about her, she was checkin’ in from time to time, and I know she was stoked that we had hang time together, so The Fella’s inclination to just work non-stop all the time, would get a much needed rest.

At least for tonight.

…If you call us “rest.” Which I really doubt you could. But at least beer was involved.

And now: to bed.

Full run again tomorrow. Early scene workings before the “go.” Need to get some good sleep.

It’s gonna be a long one.

~D

“A Case Of The Fridays”

26 Oct

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I am having, “A Case of the Fridays.”

…This is when paychecks have already shown up, everyone from Corporate has already left for the weekend, Boss is out having cocktails, and I am sitting here basically waiting for phones to ring.  “A Case of the Fridays,” is actually oddly exhausting…all this nothingness after a week of everythingness, where you sit there and look at the volume of emails and contracts and reports you’ve sent out, sitting in the sorting file, and become reminded of just how much paperwork and record keeping you do all day long, everyday, and how it is never going to change, and how “retirement” is still like 30-something years away.

…”A Case of the Fridays” can be oddly depressing, at times, for an end-of-the-week “period” to five days of collected crap.

…And that’s when I remember that I have this whole OTHER job that defines me, and of which I am proud, and eager to work in, and learn from. Then, “A Case of the Fridays,” sorta starts to melt away into a muddy little puddle, that I will accidentally step in, first thing on Monday morning.

…But that’s another problem, two whole days from now, so lets not think about it at the moment.

…At the moment, all I need to think about is what to blog today. 

Not a whole lot to throw out there for you guys.  Just sitting here at my desk, and looking around for inspiration, doesn’t help much. 

The ancient Kennedy Administration furnace just conked back on, with a couple jiggles and a bang. Every time it begins it’s new cycle, it’s like raising the dead. But at least it is consistent, and though all is gross and wetness outside my wall of windows, inside we are holding to the low 70’s (because I can.) 

The phone rings.  I answer it.  The call is complete. 

…I sigh, and look around again.

Out in the lobby, on the carpet, is a spent cigarette butt. Tracked in (no doubt) from the tooth-grip of a Contractor’s boot. It’s all shriveled up and twisted…and cuz of the filter, looks a lot like a pretzel.

…I’m hungry.

…See how almost everything can turn into something about “food” with me?

Another phone ring.  You guys, I know…the suspense and adventure I’m giving you right now is just unbelievable.  And you’re welcome for that.

…”Marty” is dinging me with IM’s every so often, as we chat about yesterday’s blog, and what she’s eating that I wish I was eating (answer: a blueberry bagel), and how we are going to see a show tonight, and about what we are gonna eat before it, and who we are gonna see once we are there, and if I can slip out early…since it IS only Friday…and beat the traffic, maybe.)

…But then, it’s already a quarter after 3 anyway…at this point, how much of a jump on the commute can I really get?

…Plus I need to go home and maybe change or something first.  Or maybe not.

I have to pee.

Listen, I know this isn’t your usual post of topical theme and stuff, but I feel like we know each other well enough by now, for me to be like, “Guys, it’s one of those days, can I just do this stream of pointless narrative instead?”

…And you’ll be like, “Dude, whatever you need.  It’s been a WEEK, and we totally get that.”

…And I’ll be like, “See, this is why we hang out.  Because you ‘get it’ and stuff.”

…And you’ll be like, “Fuck YEAH we do.  Cuz I’ve got ‘A Case of the Fridays’ too!”

…And I’ll be like, (clap of hand on your back) “I feel yuh bro.  Let’s you n’ me leave early, and get to the more important things is life.  Like what’s for dinner.”

…And you’ll be like, “…Whatever it is: it’s gonna have beef in it!”

…And that’s the first time I’ll take your hands in mine, look you in the eye, and with all my soul tell you:

“I love you.”

~D

Dear SWAL…

25 Oct

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“M” happens to have a fantastic job as a sort of expert relationship rejuvenation texting therapist, for a specific brand of products.  It’s a legit gig, for which she gets paid, and is the source of many wonders in conversations we have, day-to-day.

…The fact that this is a “thing” in today’s day and age, is mind-blowing to me. The fact she gets to sit at home in PJ’s and talk about sex, while eating a whole tube of Pringles in one sitting, and get paid for it, seems not quite fair.  And I told her this.  Often. When we first started hanging out.

…Which is when she started posting me actual questions that she fields day-to-day, via text, FB and private IM. 

And that’s when I stopped being covetous of her. 

…Because her “people” are actually much worse than my “people”…and the fact that she has to get them with others of their kind to procreate…as like “her job,” and things…made me feel less envious and hateful toward her.

…If nothing else, it always offers a laugh to my day…and makes me feel less of a personal disaster area than I thought previously.  And because she is a good egg and all, she thought it might be an amusing anecdote to carry around with you from time to time, as well.  Which is how this: the FIRST of a series we will be calling “Dear SWAL,” came to be.

…The questions will be plucked directly from her inbox, and the answers: from my brain.  The final product should be a terrifying look at why you should never ask me relationship advice.  And also (hopefully) spin some of her headache days into a new field of appreciation in idiocy.  No changes will be made to spelling or content.  This is particularly important, as you will soon see.

This one’s for the “Marty” to my “Roz.”

Dearest “Marty”: Here is why I could never do your job…

***

Question: “I fil lyk m tryin so hard in mi afair thou i no dat he ain’t a talker.”

Answer: ” Lt mi giv 2 u str8: eye donut tink are progrm will hlp u much. we bass r produck on txt skilz and the anglish lingo. if u aint of the haven it, we aint able 2 hlp. sorry 4 realz.”

~

Question: “I sent my first ‘crossing the bridge’ text to my ex girlfriend and her response was ‘Fuck off’. What does that mean?”

Answer: “She just blew up the bridge. Put the phone down. Attached is your refund code.”

~

Question: “A man who’s very capable of clipping his own fingernails and toenails but still asks you to do it for him. Is that any indication that he’s into me?”

Answer: “This is only indicative of him having a certain grooming/mothering fetish, or just being a lazy bastard. My advice in both instances: run.”

~

Question: “Can you tell me why a man would be so wrapped up in hobbies and cats and have 400 cat pics and be too stubborn to take pics of me or want to have any pics of me on his computer or Facebook?”

Answer: “The Greeks called it ‘Zoophilia,’ a sheep calls it ‘the back 40,’ I call it: ‘prob’ly not what you’re looking for.’ Trust me. Move on.”

~

Question: “I am 16 years old and she is 17 we had a relationship for almost 3 years and she claimed she fell out of love with me or just was not feeling it. She said i was just immature. I want her to fall in love with me again because we had promise rings and everything to spend the rest of our lives together and i loved the thought of that. i\’ve tried other girls but she is the only girl for me. I am meant for her, wha do i do?”

Answer: “Dear ’16’: I remember you. So I’m not gonna tell you all the things everyone else is going to…about how ‘you’re young,’ and ‘things will change,’ and ‘time will pass,’ and ‘you’ll move on,’ and ‘there will be others,’ and ‘you can’t make people love you.’ Instead I’m just gonna state: ‘Yeah. What they said.'”

~

Question: “why is my account auaoened?”

Answer: “Because gerfuoded.”

~

Question: “what are the first 3 methods to getting her back into my life”

Answer: “Have you tried asking her yet.”

~

Question: “Plz help I won\’t something to say to my ex to win her back plzzz with u help me”

Answer: “I need you to put the bottle down, calmly turn around, and walk away from the car. I have her on the other line, she’s locked herself in, and you’re really freaking her out right now…”

~

Question: “Am a virgin, and we both agreed that i keep the virginity. But recently, he started cheating on me. I confronted him and he denied it. And since then, he has been acting so mean to me. Am so confused do not know what to do, because i still love him”

Answer: “Yes. You keep your virginity. He’s obviously already got several others’ and there’s no reason to let him be a pig about it. Meanwhile, the local chapters of Catholic and Jewish Mothers With Of-Age Sons, would like to field your interest in dating registrations…”

~

Question: “i hate my ex i think i should kill him….i hate this feeling”

Answer: “I’m afraid I don’t know what you are asking. Please clarify in a ‘question’ format. Or for all ‘general statements,’ please press ‘4’ to re-send text to appropriate mailbox.”

~

Question: “you mention ’emotional intimacy’. What is that exactly?”

Answer: “Funny, that’s what my date said last night…”

~

Question: “When a man says to you ‘lets get together soon…’ what does he mean by ‘soon’? days ? weeks ? months ?”

Answer: “On the twelfth. Of never.”

~

Question: “How forward is too forward for a woman to be?”

Answer: “Are you the only one naked, and is he calling the Police…?”

~

Question: “When a guy is ignorant I get attracted to him , as soon as he gets attracted to me n show he is interested I lose interest !? why is it so? am I normal?”

Answer: “Sadly, normal. But we have ten or twelve products that can fix that!”

~

Question: “What can you reply when someone tell you this: ‘I’ll never be happy unless I cheat from time to time’.”

Answer: “Goodbye.”

~

…That’s all for now, Cuties. Happy texting!

~D

I Totally Know That Guy

24 Oct

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A year before Christopher Guest’s, Waiting for Guffman, Kenneth Branagh got a bunch of his peeps together and created, A Midwinter’s Tale.  It is a black and white mockumentary of a group of theatre offcasts, mounting an entire production of “Hamlet,” location: the buttcrack of nowhere…in two week’s time.

…It may sound slightly familiar, yes?

…And It is also fucking ridiculous

Freakishly true in it’s characterizations of theatre people in general, you really can’t watch it without laughing your ass off and saying, “I totally know that guy!  I worked with someone just like that in (fill in the blank.)!!”

…The melt downs are beautiful, and totally realistic in both their timing, inappropriateness and largess.  Everyone becomes a shameless flirt, surrounded by sexual enticements at every corner, merely because someone with a pulse is standing right there. Bitchy comments are flung about at will, name-dropping is a favorite past-time, people become so tunnel visioned in their own characters and selves that nobody listens to what anyone else is saying until people start blowing up at one another.  Stakes are insanely high, specific, important and necessary as if life and death were constantly on the line.  Weird habits and traditions are catered to, fits and passions are excused on account of “artistic temperament,” and it is so full of buried and thrown away one-liners and Improv moments that you could watch it twelve times in a row and still not get all the jokes on account of laughing at the other new ones you just, for the first time, finally heard.

In short: it is perfect.

…And it was my “homework” last night, in study aides.

What I was reminded of, while watching it again, is that this entire process of “theatre” is almost nothing but a “constant” of manic urgencies and self-doubts, hysterics, excitements, depressions, anticipations, exclamations, fashions, foibles, habits, traditions and high-maintenance filled melodrama. Even the “mellow” shows are that way, at some point. What we do is a frustrating business of self-challenge, which is a major contributing part of why we do it to BEGIN with. So my little “shit-fuck-damn!” of yesterday, is mere water under the bridge compared to things like “First Dress,” “Tech Week” and “Opening Night.” In truth, I am actually a perfect example of every fucking character in that movie, and it’s only a matter of time before I hit every one of those points of biographic archetyping (if I haven’t already), and the same goes for every other person in the show.

The truth is: we are ALL “that guy.”

At SOME point.

…Even if only in the privacy of a bathroom freak-out, or tears in the shower, or arguments with ourselves in the car, or frustrations over that one fucking line that just won’t stick. Some will be more obvious with their “process”…with anger diva implosions on stage, or bitchy head-bites, or line blanks, or costume emergencies or any of the other zillion-million things that can and do go all to hell at some point during a run.

…Yesterday I was just mid-archetype, is all. In the: “for fuck sake, figure it out you damn idiot, it ain’t like it’s rocket science!” phase. And because I was forced to look at it square in the face, (via the mirror of a very lucky homework idea), today I’m much more calm and realistic about things.

Currently I’m residing in: “New idea, in a different direction entirely” phase…wherein I decide to stop forcing what doesn’t feel right and isn’t working, and just go with the gut instinct instead. Thanks to varied discussions with cast mates at the pub, after rehearsal.

…It’s a decidedly calmer world to live in, during this phase. I appreciate that. And I realize it will only last so long before some new “hell” begins to dog me in some other way. But that is part of the the FUN of it, for shit’s sake. SO HAVE FUN WITH IT. And get over your damn self!

So, thanks “KB.”

And the cast and crew of cuties I’m currently working with, who totally have my back 🙂

It’s like the OTHER part of the film that holds just as true as the rest, and keeps the “theatre family” (in all its myriads of dysfunction) afloat. We genuinely do respect and enjoy one another’s work and friendship. S’pecially when the going gets tough. There’s no one better to “go to the mattresses” with, in the world, than the people who stand beside you, on a stage.

For reals.

~D

Cracking The Code

23 Oct

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This one fucking monologue…

…I gotta figure it out. 

So far have tried 11 different ways, and so far have found 11 ways how NOT to do it.  It’s killin’ me. It starts my second Act, and is all high hysterics and ridiculousness, but not quite farce…which is really fucking difficult to gauge, not least of which because everyone on stage just looks at me with egg on their face watching it like a freak show, and it is the total opposite to my natural style of humor. 

…I am dry and bitchy, by nature. (hello, have we met?)  If you exaggerate that, you get dryer and bitchier.  “Hysteria,” is this whole other deal.

We do things to challenge us as performers, so I’ve done my fair share of farce and comedy, and though I’m not horrible at it, it ain’t exactly my forte.  So, the information I get outta rehearsals like last night’s, is that: “It didn’t work. Again.” 

…Now, I don’t always know WHY it didn’t work, in fact, most times I don’t at all…but I know when it does, and it has nothing to do with the reaction from the house right now…because this many weeks in, people never laugh at anything anymore, anyway. Cuz shit is only funny the first 20 or 30 times you try it.  After that, you’re kinda “over it.”  You just have to sorta trust it’s still funny, and go with it, until previews and things.

…Only I know it isn’t working.  I can feel it.  But I don’t know “why,” or what the answer is to MAKE it.

Here is how I look at comedy: Comedy is to timing, as Fosse is to a choreography. 

…That dude was fucking intricate.  One half millimeter of a finger arch and you were out of sync.  It’s like “this,” not “This.”  Specificity is the KEY. 

Comedy is like that

…One hair of a beat is the difference between HILARIOUS, and absolute crickets.  I don’t know why, but it is a fact.  Which is why Comedians don’t get NEARLY the credit they should, for an artform where one breath in the wrong place screws the entire joke up…but some chick blubbering in a corner, with snot running all down her face, will win the Oscar.  Every. Single. Time. 

…The snot isn’t “timed.”  I can almost guarantee you that anyone playing a rape victim, or watching a loved one die, would be able to work themselves up to that level of disturbed ugliness, with very little imagination and timing involved.  Drama is all on your own clock, at the viewer’s expense.  Comedy is all on the VIEWER’S time, with phantom rule books of how long to hold, turn, smile, nod, grin, hiccup, slip, fall, smack, pop, bash, wink, slobber, flash, burp, squash, run, jump, or shriek, at any given time with constantly changing table-ratios of balance, depending on which order they fall in, at what point in the scene, which characters are involved, and if the audience is sleepy, bored, restless, horny, infectious, or has indigestion. 

…It’s like the most intricate math formula ever.

It’s ALL of that, (aka: reading the room) PLUS, just knowing what works and what doesn’t…when to “play” it big and when to play it “straight,” (which is also funny, but a different kind.)

…I KNOW funny when I see it.  And I can figure out most the time, when I DO it…both while throwing it away, and doing it on purpose.  But so far, top of my second act, all I know is:  It isn’t working. 

We open in 18 days. 

So that is really starting to bother me.

…And I’m not goaling for a milk-sop fest of feedback, here.  I don’t need hysterics from them.  All I need is to complete the take without feeling like a giant scene-deflating asshole, or freak other-worldly alien, directly ending into a set change. 

So far, I have not once accomplished this. 

…And I’ve totally done it in legit, no-holds-barred, hysterics at least twice…so it isn’t that I ain’t willing to “commit.”

I need another way to look at it.

…But I don’t know what.

…Time to hit the books (aka: the DVD collection) and fish out some instances that someone used, at some point, sometime, to help me figure this out.  There IS a way to make it work.  People have only managed it for several hundred freakin’ years is all.  And if THEY can do it, I can do it!  And I can do it MY way!  I just need some quiet time, in an open space not shared amongst apartment dwellings, where I can beat the shit out of it, at full vocal level, until it knows it’s place. 

And I need to not panic that I WON’T find it in time, cuz that just is NOT fucking helping me right now.

~D

Some Quality Stalking Time

22 Oct

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Went on another stalking bender this weekend, during my down time on the couch with a heating pad plopped on my guts.

…It’s one of my all-time favorite things to do, and is usually accomplished in short blips as needed, unless I’m laid out for a significant amount of time and happen to be watching something that reminds me that Actors are fucking amazing human talent-Gods of mad skillz.  (Least, the ones I follow are.)  So while their super, amazing, talents played in serial episodes of yay on my TV, I got out the tablet and followed some of my current craze-crushes to see what they’ve been up to of late.  And because I feel you should be aware of these people (who are not necessarily really well-known “A-listers — though they SHOULD be), I will be including them in today’s blog as a special appreciation day to “That One Dude.”

…”That One Dude” is the known face, but often nameless actor (and by “Actor” I mean “Actress” too…I just prefer it as a general term.)

…So here are my peeps, (in no particular order), currently being stalked. (All English, of course, cuz they’re who I haunt the most.)  Some names better known than others:

Julia Sawalha – You’d know her best from Ab-Fab. I love her best from her period works. After a ten year acting hiatus she popped back onto the screen in literary-plums Cranford, and Lark Rise to Candleford, and after the the 20th Anniversary Ab-Fab specials is now sitting on two new series’ from which she has yet to pick. Being kinda the shit at the moment, she is well-open to be choosy, and cuz she’s got killer taste and obviously a good sense of self-humor, am totally chomping at the bit right now to see what she does next.

Imelda Staunton – RADA Grad, and one the best Harry Potter villains, ever. She’s of the original company much used in Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson works like Peter’s Friends, Much Ado, and Sense and Sensibility. Her acting chops are enormous (Vera Drake) no matter how diminutive the package it comes in (she’s only 5′ tall.) And she’s a major fav for her overt Character Actor-ness, sucking your eyes into her direction absolutely every time she pops onto the screen. Next up on her docket: a dark retelling of Sleeping Beauty from Maleficent’s POV.

Brendan Coyle – Right now, you know him as “Mr. Bates,” hailing from Downton Abbey fame, but I know him first from Gaskell’s North and South (also sporting Richard Armitage, in his break-through role.) A solid Actor who often shoulders characters in the working man’s fight, with political morals, (which is a thing I could always take a little more of, coming from a TV screen, thank you very much.) Next up, more Mr. Bates-ness, and cop drama Sunshine.

Lisa Dillon – RADA alum, and primarily a Theatre baby. She was part of the “who the fuck wasn’t in this series,” Cranford, but spends the bulk of her time on The Boards, with a whole slew of Acting Awards already pocketed. (She also wow’d the tabloids with her 43-year-difference romance with Patrick Stewart — hello, Captain!) She’s an acting heavy of her own accord though, with huge range and some awesome reviews for Ibsen’s “Master Builder” (with Stewart), Noel Coward’s “Present Laughter” and “Private Lives,” Fedeau’s “Flea in Her Ear,” Eldridge’s “Knot of the Heart,” Tennessee Williams’ “Period of Adjustment,” and Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew”…to name a few. The woman is only a year older than me, and has such freak credits, that if she stopped acting tomorrow, she would STILL have had a better career than anyone outside of maybe Meryl Streep. True story. With the works she tackles, she’s definitely on my list of people to see on stage, next time I travel London way.

Derek Jacobi – On my trip to London, I missed seeing his Malvolio in “Twelfth Night,” by one week, and it totally tore me up to realize it. He’s a fav from back when I first started following the Branagh ensemble works like Dead Again, Henry V, and Hamlet et al. You’ll prob’ly remember him from Altman’s Gosford Park, or I, Claudius. As one of the co-founders of The National Theatre (with Laurence Olivier), and one of the RSC’s most elite, he’s shared stages with everyone from Ian McKellen, Peter O’Tool, and Richard Burton, to John Gielgud and Wendy Hiller. A major contributor to Branagh’s education when he first began, he works on with the equal force of Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, as war horses of eternal awesomeness. It is always good class time, well spent, to watch him at work…so I’m always on board whenever his name hits a cast list. Just closed in Bernard Shaw’s “Heartbreak House,” at the Chinchester Fest Theatre. Next up, some screen time with Emma Thompson, David Suchet, Robbie Coltrane and Julie Walters in bio pic, Effie…followed by period piece Of Corset’s Mine, and a Shakespeare Uncovered PBS special, as he performs and coaches a session at the Globe on “Richard II.”

Emma Fielding – Another Theatre mainstay, you’d prob’ly only recognize from the Cranford series. She does audio book work on the classics, and had also taken a turn winning Theatre awards for Noel Coward’s “Private Lives” (on Broadway), as well as Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia”, Moliere’s “School for Wives,” and John Ford’s “Broken Heart.” Among her other works: Viola in “Twelfth Night,” Lady Mackers in “Macbeth,” and title role in “Jane Eyre.” She just finished the UK Theatre tour of “The King’s Speech,” (as Queen Elizabeth), and Hesione in “Heartbreak House” with Derek Jacobi…so it’s too bad she has no range or anything…which is good to be mindful of and learn from when archetype boxes start hemming you in. For the life of me, I can’t find what’s next on her docket, but I’m sure as hell gonna see that woman on stage at some point, so need to figure it out within the next year…when hopefully I’ll be back overseas again.

Hugh Bonneville – Lord Grantham to most, this Downton Abbey alum goes back to Notting Hill, and Mansfield Park, for me. Read theology at Cambridge, and a graduate of Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, he is primarily a character actor on screen, always a comfortable, solid edition to any scene he’s in, without needing to trapes out a bunch of bells and whistles to achieve it. On stage, he gets to strut more in the spotlight…his first gig as Ralph Fiennes’ understudy in “Midsummer,” got him picked up immediatly with seasons spent at The National, and RSC, and has a huge reel of credits including “June and the Paycock,” “School for Scandal,” “The Alchemist,” “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” and played Laertes to Branagh’s “Hamlet” at the RSC. Also a Patron of children’s charities, he’s just an all-round awesome fella, which comes through in every print interview he gives. Totally on my list of favs, and people to watch at work live, oneday. Next up: More Downton, and Sci-Fi/History mix Return of Captain Nemo, with Captain America’s Haley Atwell.

Claudie Blakley – First fell hard for Claudie in Gosford Park, with her tiny details of awkwardness and heartbreak making a totally stand-out performance to me as an (at the time) totally unknown, on a screen full of giants. She won me over further with her ensemble work in Cranford and Lark Rise as well, never hogging a scene, always eager to play with her partners and match them and challenge them with continual, solid choices. She’s the kinda person I’d wanna share a stage with every day. A grad of Judi Dench’s Alma Mater, London Central School of Speech and Drama, I will follow her anywhere, on any future project she chooses, because one can never learn enough ways to share a scene, own a character, and exude consistent excellence as a specialist in ensemble working. Most recently in National Theatre Live productions of “Cherry Orchard” and “Comedy of Errors,” and “Macbeth,” at the Sheffield Crucible.

Victoria Hamilton – I did a whole freakin’ blog on her once, cuz the woman is fierce, and we fill the same esthetic theatre shoes including height and general look and build, so she’s an ideal role model to watch and learn from in dynamics, role choice and general chutzpah. A LAMDA grad, she’s swept awards for nearly every theatre role she’s done, from “A Day in the Death of Joe Egg” (which you can watch it here, in total. And yes, that’s Eddie Izzard as her co-star.), to “As You Like It,” and “The Master Builder.” She was Viola in the Derek Jacobi “Twelfth Night,” and closed in June with glowing reviews for Mike Bartlett’s “Love, Love, Love.” You might know her on film from the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice, or Lark Rise, or Mansfield Park. I know her as my more awesome Doppelganger. Either way, she’s always on my list of look-ups, and will always play a part in ticket purchasing, whenever I’m abroad.

…The list went on from there, going on until the wee smalls of the morning. Because I could.

…It’s a fetish that always makes me eager to get to work and learn things, and do them better than the last time. They’re my teachers, these people…as much as the ones I currently (and in the past) have shared the stage with. And at some point, I’m gonna see ’em all live, from a theatre seat, like I did with Dench.

One of my many goals.

…You should cue up and watch some of their work, if you haven’t already, and see what all the fuss is about.

~D

Post On The Move

21 Oct

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I’m taking you with me today. Out into the streets and rehearsal and friend meets and pub hang time.

…Its a sunny fall day in the Metropolis. I’m currently sitting in the UW district, drinking hot vanilla bubble tea (minus the bubbles), waiting for “K” and “A” to meet up. They just finished a 5k for Charity. I just finished brushing my teeth and putting a hat over my gross unshowered hair. Clearly, they are better people than me. This has never been disputed.

…Also, they are more hip and adventurous.

…For instance, I would never suggest consuming Bubble Tea on purpose. Usually, when shit gets gelatinous and gooey at the bottom of a fucking glass, you don’t drink whatever’s in there, cuz its obviously gone bad. But “K” and “A” are like, “Fuck that noise, ya’ll! This shit is delicious! I love chewing what I drink!” (They don’t really talk that way, P.S…but in my head, when I “write” them, they do.)

…Ooo! Bonus! “J” and Mr. Cuteness are enroute as well, I hear!

***Later***

We sit, (they chewing, me drinking), our teas as Mr. Cuteness is passed hand-to-hand. We, all commenting on how big he’s getting, and how red, the red hair has become, now the peach fuzzes have disappeared. He gnaws on me with his sharp new baby teeth, and I keep interrupting the line of conversation to stop and smell him constantly.

…His smell is like nothing else more delicious on earth.

Every time we all get together, it gobsmacks me that for months across this time last year, we were all working on a show together, and he was merely a robust belly bump we all petted and talked to and admired daily. We know this boy more intimately than legit blood family babies. We are his Aunties, and dote and pinch and play and love on him (and Mama), by turn, to ridiculous levels of necessity. Because we cannot help ourselves.

…It’s good to know that kind of pure, total, instinctual love and devotion can exist, in old maidenish, never-want-to-have-children-of-my-own-in-a-million-years, people like me.

…I missed these guys. We gotta figure out our rehearsal schedules to fit in meets between. I only live one block from their theatre, so we should figure something out, I hope. Life gets so busy and complicated, and suddenly it’s two or three months since you’ve seen people that pass your door every day. We need to fix that somehow, I think.

***Later***

A walk. Too good out there to pass it up. I’m already dressed, (and prob’ly smell), so to hell with it! Grab the phone, cue up Pandora and get out it in. Breathe deep. Snuggle into the fleece, zip-up, launch out, crunch leaves and those strange pokey nut thing seeds that go three layers deep and roll all over the pavement, screwing with the joggers who try to step between them. Read the new poem post at that one house. Then back home to shower and motor to rehearsal for final Act 5 review (in which I do not figure largely, so will be all the more able to observe and report back to the yous.)

***Later***

Sun has gone way suddenly, and a spit shower starts. I turn around and speed up back towards home. Two fellas building a trellis stop their band saws and “Hullo” me with matchin’ grins. Brothers, very obviously. I nod back, marching and thumb typing on, wiping the screen by turn, as the smell of wet sawdust follows me on the wind’s breeze.

…Raining harder now. Away goes the phone, as I tug my knit hat down further and push on.

***Later***

Change of rehearsal schedule due to flu-deaths already peppering the cast. We are all in socks and slippers (because the stage floor is being diagrammed for an intricate painting process that we keep fucking up with our shoes.) “M” is in Snookie slippers, marching around being indignant in great swarthes of Shakespearean language, with cartoon feet. My god, I love her so much right now.

…In the lobby, eating cake and BSing on-call, perpetually. Plans have been made for La Palma eats after. And I’m totally ignoring them all in the corner to write this, but they keep wandering over, by turn, to see what I’m doing. Talkin’ shit, you guys. Talkin’ shit. About YOU. Oh the power I wield.

…Off to go play…

***Later***

Line runs to infinity. We are absolutely puking meter in brilliance right now…changing accents by turn, cuz we can. Midwestern, Bronx, Boston, variety of English, and cartoon voices. If theatre shows had outtake reels, they would be twelve times longer than the legit show. And funnier. And grosser. And sexually explicit. And politically incorrect. Which is why we do this shit to begin with. We are encouraged to do things at our job that other people get sued and fired for, at theirs. We may live off condiments and stale popcorn left over in concessions from last weekend’s show, but we have a good time, damn it!

***Later***

Pub time with cast-ies, after fittings. We all order different shit and eat off each other’s plates. The Fella (a particular Ninja check-paying master) grabs my dinner and drinks off the list before I even have time to take my card out. We set a gamer/pizza/movie night together with “M” for next Saturday, (post optional add-on rehearsal), and talk shop the rest of the night.

…By 10:30, I am home, contemplating PJ’s and face-washing. Maybe some book reading. Or I’ll just catch up on my subscription posts. Either way, it’s time for me to get outta these pants, and free-bird from m’bra…so, “Goodnight, say I to the yous.”

…Tomorrow is only a couple hours away, and it’s gonna take all I got, to pretend it ain’t.

Gawd, how I hate Mondays…

~D

One Hundred

20 Oct

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SWAL is now 100 posts strong, well past our 3000th view and has 75 followers in a little over 4 months since we opened shop here on WordPress.

…We aren’t one of the Big Boys with gillions of traffic hits, but we have great affection and appreciation for each and every one of you, our readers. We enjoy making new friends (which in real-life we happen to suck at.) We enjoy stopping by your pages and catching up on your days and weeks and projects…we enjoy little blurbs left now and then on our posts, and we enjoy the fact that our “likes” aren’t a popularity contest…each one of them mean that you totally know what we’re talking about and are kindred spirits in these things, day to day. Or maybe, we just made you smile, or feel glad you don’t have the 9-5 job we do. Either way, today’s post is for YOU.

Thanks, for daily giving me a forum to vent and wonder and create in. Thanks for keeping me honest, and on task with each days post…even when I’m too busy or tired and don’t feel like writing. You have saved me thousands of dollars in additional shrink fees, and help rise my spirits when they land in the shitter.

I’ve learned a lot, since writing m’first post here.

…To be honest, I would really appreciate the million-viewer blog as well, but for different reasons…reasons monetary, that could help fund bill paying and other such incidentals. And I tried. But seems that SWAL had other plans in mind. She’s decided her own fate I think, and chooses to keep it closer to home. After a couple of months, I finally got that, and let her follow her own path.

…Letting go of your children (albeit even artistic ones) isn’t always easy. You might plan out this entire bright future for them that they are not designed to fit into. You can write a play that gets at fest levels and runs the gambit, but never goes mainstream. You can write a book that took everything you had in creative resources and never sees a pressing. You can have a 40 year career in Hollywood playing “second guy on the right,” never quite getting the big break you were hoping for. But if you are doing what you love and need to do, at some point you will accept the cost of it, without expecting a big payout in dollars and cents, end-of-the-day.

Just doing it will be enough.

SWAL’s blogging voice is a different character, almost completely, from last incarnations on blogs I have built in the past. She has become this other being: a slightly more butch, openly biting, yet ultimately more forgiving version of me. But she is a “character”…and with realizing that, I’ve come to realize I’ve built this person who lets me be more balls-out than I usually am in real life, and helps me build up a little more urgency to my life force as a whole.

I like her.

…She’s ain’t elegant or necessarily subtle, is much more effusive and daring, but she’s who I needed when I needed to create something new. As I’ve learned more about her, by writing her, I’ve come to respect her own voice, and will even go back and edit out (or in) certain formats of language because they either do or do not fit her “character.”

…Essentially, (from the writing perspective), I am a dramatist, a “playwright.” It’s the medium I am most comfortable with, yet haven’t created anything new in nearly two years. It seems to me, that SWAL has winked her way into my life as a reminder of what I do best: create characters. Filter life through their perspectives, yet do it in such a way as others can relate to them. Write a person you understand…parts and pieces borrowed from dozens of others you have met, that when put together build specifications and realism’s to what is in fact only a name on a piece of paper, until you make something more of it.

After three months and 100 posts, SWAL is very much her own person, and steadily pressing on. Her daily script of Improv may change, but in the end, by reading our posts, you’ve encouraged our strange little serial Telemudo to continue to grow and further it’s grasp in the world.

…And the royal “we” just wanted to say, “Thanks, guys.”

🙂

~D

From Our Foreign Correspondent: The BFF

19 Oct

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And now, a word from our Foreign Correspondent.

…She is back folks!

And, in more thinky terms of life changing philosophy, is here to share with you, (via our satellite offices) what it’s like to cry into your baking in abandoned woe, and roast a chicken in 90 degree heat (because goddamn it, it’s OCTOBER!)…what it’s like to haunt Kraft Service tables as an Extra on sets all day, and her burgeoning possible 8th career into Circus Performance Art, et al. Hold onto your hats, a lot of fun is coming at yuh! But first: we must begin at the beginning…and not give everything away right off the bat.

I give you: The BFF.

***

I am writing this from somewhere inside Elysian Park.

My lack of knowledge about my current whereabouts and my decision not to worry about being eaten by some large bush-dwelling park creature reflects the uncanny sense of calm I now feel in the face of the big, scary, directionless life change I made three weeks ago.

I am calm now. Make no mistake, I was not calm nine days ago.

WHO AM I

WHAT AM I DOING

WHERE AM I

WHAT HAVE I DONE?!?!?!?

These questions and more had a good week-long free-for-all over my entire conscious being, often paralyzing me creatively and socially, negating the very reason I ventured south in the first place: meet people, do things, make art.

You make some chocolate mousse at 11:30 in an empty apartment on a Saturday night, you cry, you read about the execution of Socrates, and then you realize, suddenly and violently, that every terrifying thought stopping you up to this point, exists solely

INSIDE YOUR HEAD.

A breath, a cough, you put away the mousse, you pry your self out of the pillow fort, and you begin, once again, to live life.

In almost 3 weeks of living in Los Angeles, I have:

Been an extra on 2 television shows (it’s really much much easier than it sounds)

Met and learned from many fellow artists.

Danced the night away.

Followed leads (some fruitful, others not.)

Conversed with many strangers.

Propositioned some clowns.

Sharpened the vision of my future theatre company.

And as of this afternoon, I may very well have landed myself both a job and some serious training at LA’s premier circus school.

PEOPLE OF THE WORLD: LISTEN.

All you have to do is something, it’s very easy although we most often make it very hard.

Sometimes, things will be shit. But everything changes, always, so dwelling is utterly futile.

Move, with life, and you will be fine.

Inspiration, though keen to strike us over the head when we least expect it, most often will only come out and play after much coaxing and many compromises. As an artist, you must place yourself in an environment where inspiration is apt to dwell, even if it does not instantly adjust, even if it requires hours of sweet-talk and ass-kissing, there are places where inspiration is more easily found than others.

We must find it, and we must know that just because we have found it, does not mean we will automatically be inspired.

This is my challenge, alone, in the belly of the beast, consistently adjusting the lighting, fluffing the pillows, and playing some Marvin Gaye in the recesses of my mind on the off chance that inspiration happens to drop by.

I left [home] because it was no longer a place that invited my inspiration. Los Angeles is terrifying and large and harsh, but for me, a jungle is always better than a desert.

Much love,

The BFF

***

…And equal love,

~D

Why Yes, And Thank You

18 Oct

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I always feel such a sense of accomplishment when a friend from Russia reads these posts.  Just to see that massive landmass all shaded, indicating readership coverage.  It sorta makes me feel like a mini Dictator to watch SWAL’s words take over the globe.  Either that or the History Channel’s maps they put up charting how plagues have spread across the world, and the total devastation they leave behind.

…Which is basically the same thing, when you think about it.

I am nothing more than a word dictating disease.

Wow.

…I need to work on some more metaphors and similes, I think.

In Other News: I am on day 4 of a self-inflicted booze abstinence. I think I pulled something last time I made trips out to the recycling bins, and decided that there is really no need for me to consume more than one can carry, in one trip, over the course of two week’s time. Sure, I’m not the only one swilling at my house, but even if you cut those arm loads in half, there is still a whole lotta rotting grape going on in the “me,” on a consistent basis. I thought it was time to scale it back a bit. And by a bit, I mean cold turkey for now…firstly to make sure I can (and haven’t catered to my family habit of turning accidental drunkard), second: to drop some weight off, and third: because I am perpetually broke right now, and something had to go.

…So far, so good.

…Of course I haven’t really fed the beast by enticing myself either…with things like pasta and steak and pub hang time, which are the usual catalysts for gross amounts of boozing intake. But I’m pretty confident that I still could withhold even then. After all, I do have a full bar set-up in my living room, (with all the fixins.) And I do pass by it multiple times per day. And there are two bottles of red still corked and flirting with me from the corner pocket there. And I haven’t considered even tasting them, right now.

…Don’t feel any different physically, haven’t begun to lose any weight as yet (which could totally be Mrs. Johnson’s fault, as she waits just there in the wings.) All I know is: I know it ain’t “essential” to me, which is good. And I’m sure I’ll miss it at one point, which is fine. And eventually I’ll pour me out a glass and enjoy the hell out of it, like always. So be it.

And Also: My Horoscope (which I don’t really believe in, only this one app I use is like freakishly accurate 95% of the time) yesterday said that I have some really cool things coming my way, and that if I just accept the gift of them instead of balking it, almost everything in my world will be coming up roses. I can only assume that this means one of you will be splitting your Lotto winnings with me, or gift me a house, or car, or a much needed vacation in the Bahamas. For which I am stating, right now and for the record:”Why yes, I will take this boat/car/house/vacation/million dollars that you are willing to give me. And thank you.”

~D

Friends Of Great Feet & The Little Redheaded Girl

17 Oct

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When you’ve done enough shows, and at the same theatres for years and years, after a spit of time you will notice the wardrobe re-uses, no matter how crafty they get with new pairings and re-workings. 

…You’ll see something you’ve worn in say an Agatha Christie, pop up again on someone else in a Noel Coward.  You’ll see a pair of pants you wore in a cross-dressing scene on a pre-teen boy a year later.  “That” was the vest my “lover” wore when he tried to kill me in that one show, “those” are the pair of heels I strapped on every night for the “dinner” scene in that OTHER one.  In one act there could be ten or eleven pieces screaming out at me from their live mannequins on stage saying, ” Remember me?!  Remember me?!”  It becomes like a totally unintended version of “Where’s Waldo” every time I go see something period at all, because it is only a matter of time before half my previous costumes (and/or parts and pieces of them), come back to haunt me in some way.

…Good God, the stories those things could tell.

…And now I will be bringing back a very special pair of friends with me into “Twelfth Night.”  Two rather lived-in, scuffed up, re-soled beauties in which I sang, jumped, climbed, kicked, danced and died throughout the entire last Holiday season.  Just digging them out of the closet made me grin.  And with a split-second segue into cockney, I greeted them as old friends should:

“…’Ello me beau’ies.  It’s been a might now, ain’t it.  Up for a’nover ‘go’?”

It’s been a whole year since “Oliver!,” and I can’t even believe it.

…Yes. I am terribly and ridiculously sentimental. But these shoes have earned it.  We went to War together, and in some instances they quite literally felt like they were all I had.  Hours and hours working choreography, and blocking, and hoisting and jumping, and climbing…on and off the stage.  And they never once let me down.  So why should it be any different for these leather lace-up Victorian boots, than for a Pitcher’s favorite mitt, or a Golfer’s club, a Cyclist’s bike or a Painter’s brush? 

You have favorite pieces of music that remind you of people, some trinkets you refuse to get rid of because of memories they contain.  This is no different.  For some, they consider it “good luck,” for others a “tradition.”  For me, these memories don’t require a prop like this to always be present, but when they are…it seems all the more “activated.”

…These shoes are like that.

But, this isn’t where the story ends

These beauties are actually only “borrowed” friends, on their third journey with me, not the second.  The first was around a decade ago, where they were given me for the first time, on loan. The show then was is the same theatre…only took place on a small Canadian Island, called Prince Edward…and a beautifully gifted, naturally red-headed, fourteen-year-old little girl was leading the pack as “Anne of Green Gables.”

…And that same young woman, (now home from University and studies abroad), is back again, for the first time, since. The same house…the same unspoiled, fierce talent…the same shock of red hair…now playing our “Olivia,” with beautiful abandon.

…Sure.  It kinda makes me feel old.  But then, it has such a feeling of “belonging” in it, don’t you think?  And I’ve relocated from her Mrs. Barry, to her lady-in-waiting, Maria. 

A decade since last we played together.

…And I’ll be reminded of it, every night, when I get into costume, (and all the rehearsals now in between)…lacing up me boots…(double knots, as “Nancy” once taught me to.)  Two very special shows to bring with me, into a new third, as a kind of blessing over the whole.

Meanings within meanings. 

Actors use all of that shit, you guys. 

…And nothing will help me to be the mothering, doting, fiercely protecting lady-in-waiting more, than to remember the time I spent with that Anne girl all those years ago, seeing her now grown and in full bloom, kicking ass all over that stage, ever nightly.

I love the theatre, so…

~D

The PMS Monster

16 Oct

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Being the only girl around a lotta guys at work, hurts and helps in many ways…but the one time it totally wins out, is when I’m on a major PMS binge.

…When they see me getting completely illogical with my stress temperature gauge of cuss poetry, they don’t worry really…that only means it’s “Monday.”  But when I’m totally silent for hours at a time, and twitch with every phone ring, they know the next person to piss me off, is really gonna be in for it. 

This is the first incarnation of the The PMS Monster, which rapidly grows and will verily take over the entire office if not soothed immediately or sooner.  Not that I have a very high tolerance just now for the idiocy that runs rampant in my work place anyway, but I have like ZERO, once my hormones start pulsing and my outer shell starts to crack and split, and the skin falls away in a gooey mess of pulp, birthing something very closely resembling the lead villain in “Alien.”

…You do NOT want to be in the room at that point.  I promise you.  There have been stories amongst the manly stud-bunnies, who have seen it.  Stories hearkening  back to the kind of sick, twisted, sci-fi gore they won’t even play on cable until after 10 pm. 

Once The PMS Monster has been brought to life, there IS no going back. 

…There is only carnage and mayhem and screaming women in streets that run red with the blood of mankind.

In short: it’s pretty gruesome.

…But the stud-bunnies have figured out over time, (and trial and error), that BRIBING the great beast, can often usurp the change from fully taking place.  “Peace offerings,” if you will.  Things like drip coffee from an actual coffee place (not a generic container.)  Or a donut.  Or McDonald’s french fries.  Or a post-it with a stick figure killing himself in nine different ways. Or a funny dance with a screw gun that ends badly.  Or a competition on who can string more cuss words together most efficiently.  Or news that the whole place has burned down, and I’m only dreaming right now.

…In essence, if you FEED The PMS Monster something, she has been known to tame.  Not for “always,” mind you…but for “a while,” at least.

…And today, without any training in this field at all, a buddy somehow caught the silent shaking reserve via text, and informed that he was bringing Tai for dinner, after work, and pending rehearsal call.  When I said I hadn’t any rehearsal, he threw in two pints of Tillamook ice cream to sweeten the deal further, and busted through the door with more food than seven people could eat…popping open every tray, introducing it’s contents and star-value, then stepping away from the alter of almighty PMS Monster, to ravage at her will.

A smart man. 

…Then, as The PMS Monster, heaped her plate with plenty, and fed ravenously from the noodle and peanut sauce-covered carcases of dude-friend’s offering, she slowly came to calm a bit from the day’s shit-fest of rage and utter frustration.  And a couple laughs between chews, helped a little too.

…Hours later…with the last taste of mint chip ice cream licked from her lip, The PMS Monster was finally able to sit down and write a blog.  Not the kind full of screaming bitchings and oath-sworn hatreds, as she had originally intended.  Instead: now the hormonal animal of already well-induced-stress, is ready to make way for bed, with a full tummy, and a good book, and a day won in the 11th hour (literally), from the jaws of total irredeemable “shit.”

And this is why friends are important. (P.S.)

~D

A Special Breed Of Masochists

15 Oct

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You guys, I’m being super side-tracked right now by writing my blog. 

…On the way home from rehearsal tonight, I got this bitchin’ hair design idea for the show, and was just standing in the bathroom makin’ hair topiaries when I realized what time it was and that I hadn’t written my post yet today. So I’m stopped mid-point, and look like a frizzy cross ‘tween Hagrid, Pippi Longstocking, and a Fraggle.

…If I were a more farcical character it would be fucking perfect.  But I’m not, and it isn’t.

…I stopped anyway, so that I could do my duty by my pledge to you: the readers, and me: the scribbler.

Let it be noted.

…Tonight’s rehearsal was more “selective” in it’s scene work (which I like), and required me to be a maniacal energy boost of ridiculous hysterics both coming and going.  Short boosts of fuel, as I provide throughout most of the show.  And (continuing on my current streak) I have had yet another “lift” added, mid a grand performance of hoisting in hurrahs…making my new goal (as per Mdm. Director): “to somehow finagle out of ever having to walk at all, throughout the entirety of the show.”

If hard work, dedication, and my co-actor’s backs can do it: IT SHALL BE DONE!

…Poor bastards.

Our Sir Toby is endlessly bench pressing me, at this point.  But then, he gets to grope me lots too, so I figure: that’s free second-basing at the very least, which is (I feel) pretty fair trade in the scheme of things. 

My boob kinda hurts from this one scene.

…Just the one boob, which is totally my fault, cuz I’m the one grabbin’ Sir Andrew’s hand and slapping myself with it for an extended grip of time.  Won’t be so bad once I have corset boning to help stave off the brunt of the abuse.  Apparently, Maria likes it rough.

(Totally innocent shrug.)

…Meanwhile: Hooray for rehearsal skirts, so I can begin playing again with the flow and mass of all that material below me.  Less Nancy-ish* (“Oliver” referencing), with my wenching this time. I don’t have the luxury of just hoisting it up to flash me knickers whenever I need to get it out of m’damn way. 

Being a girl on stage is so much work, you guys…you don’t even know.

…Sure, dudes have coats and things that run hot in the lights, and if anything “period” is being attempted, layers begin to incorporate about two out from that in certain specific instances playing “outside” or “per season.”  But I promise you that women win in this battle, and always will. Even if they play “whores.” I know, because I’ve played tons of ’em.  You’d be surprised how many clothes can be worn when you are “technically” naked.  Especially in period pieces.  Just layers and layers and layers of shit on top of other shit, on top of more

There’s a reason that women did almost nothing gregarious or sportish for centuries of time.  It wasn’t so much the “society rules.”  They physically just couldn’t. You try wrapping your head around wale boning poking into your boobs and crotch and hips, while sucking you in so tight you can’t breathe, then putting twelve layers of underwear between that and your top skirts and waistcoats, and boots…and all that hair…and hats, every day from age eleven or twelve until (merciful) death.  Then go out, hoisted sidesaddle, “riding to hounds” on weekends.  Or play a stationary game of lawn tennis.  Or consider “a turn about the room” equivalent exercise to thirty minutes on the cross trainer at the gym.

…No wonder they fucking fainted all the time.

It’s GREAT discipline, and helps build the hell out of a character though, so the suffering and sweating is totally worth it.

…Bruised boobs, aching backs, suffocating organs, stinging knap-hands, pinched shoes, gallons of sweat, et al. 

It takes a special kind of person to do this all willingly, for almost no pay at all. 

…We’re sorta masochistic freaks, really.

And you totally wanna be us, when you grow up.

Admit it.

~D

The Butt Bio

14 Oct

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If I loved you less, I would pretend I didn’t have time to write tonight’s blog. Truth be told: I’m just not feelin’ it.

…I’m a pretty decent actor, and a hell of a liar (some would say, its the same thing), so I would totally pull it off right now, if I said, “Yeah…I can’t write my blog tonight, cuz I’m too busy writing multiple program bios for my anatomy pieces. I’d do one for my face, but no one would give a shit…they won’t be looking there anyway.”

…Seriously.

Instead, I’m going to be only slightly more responsible by not lying. And writing a super short post.

Tonight was first run of the show, top-to-bottom, even with like fifteen days or whatever till Opening. Get to work some stuff tomorrow, which is awesome, (cuz working is the good part.)

…Broke in the new Crockpot today. Four hours on a roast and veggies, served directly after a soaking walk in the rain down on the waterfront.

…Which brings up (again)…WHY make a hooded coat that isn’t waterproof, and forget to tell people that when they buy it. One ASSUMES that “hood” = “a purpose for a hood.” It’s just this idea that MOST people have.

…Yesterday, “M” and I spent a part of the day shopping for girl clothes with no luck at all. But we didn’t care, because we were too busy eating fat amounts of cheese and salami, while guzzling red wine and watching tag-team stand up from the Nexflix stream, doing in-depth “Iliad” Collegiate paper theory Q &A sessions, and watching a “LOTR” documentary on historical sourcing, so I have something to focus on during the next movie, when the plot lines get so stretched out that my eyeballs start rolling back into their sockets, and I pass out. (Mercifully.)

We chicks know how to mix it up, friends.

…Right now, I’m bundled on the couch, it’s raining outside, my contacts are all blurry from too many hours on the clock, and “How I Met You Mother,” is playing on the T.V..

I’m tired, and don’t want to face tomorrow.

I’m wondering if now is a good time to mention this one new thing.

I’m deciding it isn’t.

I would like to hope this will be a productive week…less fires in the workplace, more scenes worked and nailed in rehearsal, general confidence building all-round, and less frequency in freaking out about things that I freak out about for a variety of reasons…each and every day.

It could totally happen.

~D

Default Underwear & A Day Off

13 Oct

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Here is a sweeping blanket statement of truth: I am not a procrastinator, unless it scares me, or has something to do with laundry.

I only go to Doctor offices when I feel like I am actually dieing. And I only do laundry once I’m down to nothing but hair dying towels and my default underwear.

…I’m just gonna let that  last sentence sit there for a bit, wide open, so you can have plenty of time to fill in the pause with every one-liner that I know you want to slap in there.  Because I care about you, is why I give you these opportunities of joy.  Remember that later, people…at Christmas and on my Birthday (for instance.)

***Later***

…So the deal is: for the past…I dunno…seven or eight years, I haven’t lived in an apartment with its own washer and dryer.  Even though EVERY TIME I moved out of one place that didn’t provide those things, I swore up, down, and sideways…with booming voice and grand hand gestures, that I would: “…NEVER LIVE IN ANOTHER APARTMENT WITHOUT A DISHWASHER OR LAUNDRY CLOSET OF ITS OWN, SO HELP ME GOD!”

…And about a week later I’d be signing a lease without one or the other…except for my current place, where I’ve lived for five years now, which provides neither

Basically I was wooed by facial esthetics, like a giant whore, and didn’t give a shit about what was on the “inside.”  And this is what materialistic sunsabitches get, my friends…they get beauty with limited actual “functionality.”

…Anyway, this is all to show that the procrastination in the “laundry” instance, is not entirely my fault.  Not having my own facility makes it more difficult, because I keep odd hours with two jobs and don’t actually feel like standing in the toxic orange, badly lit, storefront laundrymat at 2 A.M. with some creepy toothless dude sitting one chair over from me, waiting til I’m done pairing up all my socks, before he rapes and kills me,  then stuffs my body into the turbo spinner where people clean all their sleeping bags and comforters.

…So I opt out of that.

…But then, I can’t exactly use the basement laundry room connected to our building either, cuz there are apartments just next door and we have cleaning curfew rules. And only three washers for the entire complex to share. Also, I never have quarters. And (I find) in a world where people depend on mass amounts of them for things like parking, and video games at pizza restaurants, and laundry…that people who HAVE all the quarters never want to SHARE them with you, and it becomes like a scavenger hunt, just to get enough out of the gas station, the grocery store, and the mini mart on the way home…to do one and a half fucking loads. And when I finally actually get around to doing laundry, I’m lookin’ at five loads minimum. How the hell does that even help me at all?

…So that’s out.

…Which leaves my Mom’s house.

….Yes. At 32 years of age, I am still doing laundry at my Mother’s.

I spend half an hour separating all my colors out across my entire front hallway, then pack them up in several giant IKEA bags, grab the soap and a book, and motor over to Ma’s, where I will spend (I kid you not) my ENTIRE day, just doing laundry. (And scavenging her food cupboards, like a High School babysitter.)

….Which means that I have to pick a total day off (from work AND theatre) in order to accomplish all this. And those days come roughly once per month, on average. And when they do, the last thing I wanna do is my fucking LAUNDRY.

…The long-story anecdote of which, I’ll now end by stating: Today is a day off. Entirely.

And I am not doing laundry.

…I’m going to play with “M” and “K.L.,” instead.

…So my default, uncomfortable-but-still-technically-functional-once-upon-a-time-bad-idea-buy-mostly-on-a-joke underwear are just gonna have to deal with it.

The end.

~D

Hello, Fall

12 Oct

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Closed the last of the windows in the house today, and turned on the heater for the first time in about 90 days…roughly 50 of which have been solidly without rain…a major feat for the Seattle metro area.  The last couple walks this week were chilly with thick fog in the air, with the kinda chill that soaks into your bones, and this morning, the rain (albeit only a little of it) finally began to fall.

…This weekend will begin the chimney smoke smells, and make limp all the crunchy tree leaves along the sidewalk, and push people into their coat closets, looking for the one lost glove, and begin digging out all the sweaters from the bottom drawers again.

We had a hell of a summer, so I don’t really mind that it is time to start snuggling up.  The weather has been kind to us.

…Tonight (payday) was for food stocking again, and this time I grabbed some stew meat, a roast and veg,  to break in the new Crockpot.  Some chili and soup mixes in the pantry…and some hot cocoa…I am so ready for fall now, and I can’t wait to eat it.

Bath night for Daphne and Niles. 

They hate it so much…don’t like change any more than I do, really…even for the better.  Daphne particularly, will sit and pout in the corner of her Grecian pillar cave and not come out even for dinner, afterward.  Niles isn’t fond of baths either, but is a total whore when it comes to food, so will magically forgive me, soon as he hears the top of the food can unscrew.  He’ll eat it all like he’s starving, then sit at the top of his bowl and look over into Daph’s, watching her food just float, totally ignored.  And it drives him fucking nuts.

Niles: “…Are you gunna eat that?  Hey?!  Hey?!  Hey, you girl!  Are you gunna eat that, or what?”

Daphne: (From her cave.) “Don’t be ridiculous.  Can’t you see I’m in the middle of my big dramatic scene here?  One doesn’t just ‘eat’ mid-performance.”

Niles: “Yeah, but…it’s gonna get all soggy and stuff.  Then fall apart.  Then cloud everything up with fish-gut-parts.”

Daphne: “Please.  I am trying to concentrate.  Is she looking?”

Nile: “What?  Who?”

Daphne: “The person.  Is she looking?”

Nile: “A little bit, I guess.  Why?”

Daphne: “Does it look like she’s troubled about something?”

Niles: “How can you tell?”

Daphne:  “A wrinkle between her eyebrows.”

Nile: “Nope.  Nothing.”

Daphne: “Damn. I did an extra swish-flip of haughty disdain this time, when she put me back in the bowl.  I was sure she’d notice.”

Niles: “I don’t see anything.”

Daphne: “…Maybe I’ll just sit in my cave a little longer.”

Niles:  “I mean…I hate it too, but it IS just a bath.  She’s only means well, I’m sure.”

Daphne: “That’s not the point.”

Niles: “Isn’t it?”

Daphne: “Of course not.”

Niles: “Then, what is?”

Daphne: “One doesn’t just co-ed bathe in public, while their waste is excreted from the rocks and wiped off the bowl.  It’s undignified.”

Niles: “Well…it’s better than swimming in poop, I guess.”

Daphne: “I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that last bit.”

Niles: “…Anyway.  At least we have fresh water now!  And she’s so good about making sure it’s heat-adjusted and everything.”

Daphne: (Poking her head out, and working herself up so far that she eventually is full out of the cave, her fins all abristle.) “Oh.  How kind of her not to accidentally ‘poach’ us after plopping us in plastic cups for thirty minutes and complaining about the ammonia smell as she grimaces and scrubs everything down, wearing those ridiculous ‘over-the-elbow’ double-strength plastic gloves, like we’re something TOXICCoughing and wheezing and ‘making faces.’ As if her own poop doesn’t stink…is how SHE acts.  Which is a lie, thank you very much!  I live here too you know!  Am I right, or am I right?”

(Niles just floats there. Staring.)

Daphne: “Right?!”

Niles: “Huh? Sorry, what?”

Daphne: “Were you not listening?!”

Niles: “Sorry, I got distracted. You know…I mean…don’t take this the wrong way, but you’ve got a reeeeeally nice tail, you know that?”

Daphne: (Rolling her eyes.) “…Totally useless.”

Niles: “–Cuz I’m…seriously…I’m a ‘tail’ man you know, and uh, you have got GAME in that department, lady.  If you know what I mean.”

Daphne: (Turning around.) “…Fucking idiot.”

Niles: “Huh?  What?  Did you…? Did you say something…?”

Daphne: “Goodnight, Niles.”

Niles: “YOU KNOW MY NAME?!”

(She retreats all the way into the cave and is not seen again for the rest of the night.)

Niles: “…She. Knows. My. Name. Heh heh heh. High Five!

(He pops up a fin.)

Niles: “Oh. Yeah. …Damn.”

~D

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