Archive | August, 2014

14 Costume Changes & Some Acting

29 Aug


Bit of a clothes horse, me.

…An option of fitting a first dress in before tech was jumped on, so we could focus on one horrifying onslaught before a tidal wave of others come in to cream us this Saturday. And so, a first dress was had. Last night. And it wasn’t particularly brutal on anything except my feet (dear three and four inch heals…you’re assholes. It’s a good thing you’re cute.)

….Anyway…we charged ahead, I broke some things, we managed line-call-free, fit in all my 14 costume changes, and called it a late night for the first time since we began rehearsals…but we DID it, which I think is the important thing to focus on at this point.

…At this point.

The last time I did a two-hander show was “Oleanna”…again: a professor and a student, having at one another for two hours of stage time. Just me: just him. That’s it, folks.

…The amount of focus, LISTENING, line retention, blocking and prop movement is insane. It REQUIRES nothing less than 100% lock-and-load on the other actor…so that no matter what choices/accidents/line-flubs/enlightenments/emotions are flying around through the air between you…you are a one-entity receptor.

…It’s like ballroom dancing, in a two-hour-long competition, where we both take turns taking the lead, changing styles from fox trot to samba to waltzing seamlessly, at any given moment, and attempting to do it all without one single misstep. Your anchor is in the eyes of the other guy…you make the audience phase out into the wallpaper and bookcases of your world, and together you begin on step one…and it never ends or eases up until the curtain goes down.

…And we know this from experience. As even before costumes and props were added, every break has been filled with line running and blocking, since day one. We don’t pop out of focus, we still can laugh, take a slog of water, and a quick slash…but damn if we’re not still running a monologue while in the loo, walking blocking while feeding from a water bottle on set, or futzing with props ad nauseum. Because we have to. And that’s okay. Because we happen to really fucking love it, you know?

…Like really. A lot.

Difficult is good. Frustration can be tempered and recycled into something better next time, thanks to the lessons you’ve learned. And when you click with a character who you know in your guts…who you can access without interruption in mind or manner…it’s a fantastic ride to be on. Even more so when you trust…really TRUST the team behind you, and that guy right there opposite you, on stage, every night.

…Even on the days of frustration and energy-sap…even when I know there’s more we can find in a moment (and we will, next time)…there is nothing lacking in the team work…in the connections we’ve made, in the amount of fight it takes for two people to command the stage alone… lifting words from a page, into something exciting and wistful, amusing and dangerous, hysterical and poignant, witty and humble. It’s an honor, a challenge, a fucking hell of a ride.

…And every night, when it’s over, the realization comes crashing in, on the ride home…as the adrenaline drains from every pore: and complete mental and physical exhaustion smacks us stupid with inevitable result. We are totally…right now…this second…living an actors dream.

Hells. Freakin.’ Yes.

Bring it, tech week.


Russian Sex Pirates

19 Aug


So, the woman who keeps my tongue placed properly, with good “O’s,” is also a Russian Sex Pirate, and I mean…there’s a resume if I’ve ever seen one…

Our wizard of dialects, whom I’ve worked with several-many times (I’ve lost count now) across the years, is also a published author of sex-niche literature aimed mostly at same gender/sci fi markets. As she calls it, “Lots of naughty men”…and sometimes, in space. Course she gives the lesbians some lovin’ too…but the point is: it’s a very specific market. Which could easily (I would think) make her a zillionaire one day, if she ever decided to take it to the big-screen. Instead, she seems totally content to work with Shakespeare and history, teach people the ins and outs of a specific location dialect, and be a covert sex pirate in places like Russia, where her illegally translated works have found their way into the hearts of people whom she has taken a map out to find are located in the middle of fucking nowhere.

…How do they find her?

…How does the porn translate (and who is doing it?)

…How is there a market for it there, when they don’t even have a market for fruit and veg?

…All questions I certainly know that I am curious about, but we prob’ly won’t ever get to the bottom of. Because it’s in a nowhere place, and the woman who wrote to her for an autograph wasn’t really up on the English thing. But that’s okay, because apparently she intends to use these books to teach her better English…which means that even with the pirate Russian copy, she’s now somehow obtained a pirate English copy as well, and will be compare-contrasting line for line…like Tom Hanks with the guide books, in that “Terminal” movie. Only sexier.

(Least that’s how it all happens in my head.)

…Which just makes me wonder. What kind of conversational English is this woman going to be absorbing, exactly? Cuz, this is a whole different thing than watching TV soap operas to learn Spanish. This sort of immersion could become quite the sticky wicket, when you get down to it. Not that anyone in her village would know really, as I’m fairly sure there is no one there to Police her on the topics she chooses to rattle on about in some foreign language. But if gay space porn can inspire her to learn a new language…what ELSE might it inspire in her? Perhaps “travel” is in her future. And how awkward might that be (little-known to herself) …standing in line at the passport counter in immigration, answering questions like:

Officer: “What is the purpose of your visit?”
Russian Porn Fan: “I wish to have inter-galactic sex-experience with many mens, and womens, not of my people.”
Officer: “How long do you intend on staying?”
Russian Porn Fan: “Across millennia. For a week, last year…or maybe two.”
Officer: “Do you know anyone in the U.S.?”
Russian Porn Fan: “Yes. Writer. Many good-time books of space. And mens. With mens. And womens. With womens.”
Officer: “Do you have any fruit or vegetables?”
Russian Porn Fan: “Veg-e-ta-bles, no good. Spoil. Use non-latex, only. Like this.”
Officer: “Have you anything to declare?”
Russian Porn Fan: “Lube. Many flavor. I pick up, France, on way. Yes, okay?”

…I mean…think about the world that could open up for this woman, using porn as her first gateway into a language. Our language. Would it saturate her to the point of simple acceptance…making statements without even thinking twice, which we would turn twelve kinds of red in embarrassment over?

Gassing up in Oregon: “Stick it in, fill me up all ways…mmm, good.”

In the Bible Belt: “What you use for flag-ell-a-tion? Leather crop, or whip?”

In Texas: “You lasso first, then wrist and feet to tie up like cow?”

In Vegas: “So this: America-Amsterdam?”

In LA: “Village of many plastic robot womens! Is true! This place of science experiment for alien peoples lifeforms?!”

In SF: “This Castro street fair, is ‘pay-to-play’?”

In Florida: “The old-time-mens all eat pill like candy, and sit by pool to watch, like TV sex-movie. For why, please?”

Anywhere, watching Fox News: “These people, need: ‘hello orgasm nice to meet you,’ then no more face-talk angry all-time.”

…On and on.

…And, ohmygod, what if she were to discover Comic Con?! Would her mind just fucking EXPLODE with fantasy-come-to-life, over-stimulation?! Suddenly to openly begin weeping from pure joy…surrounded by Trekkies, and aliens, space blasters and furries screwing each other in hallways…Cosplayers totally in character who wouldn’t break it if they were lit on fire (therefore in much the same mindset of believability as her.) To have traveled thousands of miles away from her tiny home village, and have stumbled upon Mecca…her tribe…could you imagine the effect that would have on you???

…And all because she somehow, once upon a time, picked up a pirated copy of specifically themed literature, written by the woman who is a Shakespearean linguist by trade, and a sex-nerd, by fate.


Mind. Blown.

…Study on, you slavic fan-girl! And may the force be with (and in) you!


The Importance Of Being Busy

14 Aug


The office is dead, the show is in work-runs, The Gnome has swollen up to three times her size, I’m on my 12th cup of Keurig, and Cecil just dropped off her application.

…This is what makes “news” for the week, aside from the depressing stuff.

…Depressing stuff that is slamming every news outlet and social media page, for good reason, yet there is only so much a person can take, becoming so saturated and consumed by it all.

I understand it.  I take it in.  I choose to process it privately. 

Two of my teachers passed this week, and it doesn’t matter if one had an active part in the decision and the other had lived a full and rich life…it sucks either way, when it is the creative-force of a mentor leaving the world-stage.


…So, I join in with others in celebrating their work through festing their films, and get on with mine…which is what they would want me to do. But with a little, “O Captain, my captain”…and “You know how to whistle, don’t yuh Steve?” playing in my mental background.

…A background consumed in constant line runs, ad-nauseam, in “Red Dwarf”-a-thons, to get Lister’s scouser cadence permanently tattooed into my brain…in reading Whitman and Ferlinghetti…in revisiting director’s notes, and blocking…and trying to decide which of the 36 monologues I’ll pluck out and work on today.  I’ve plenty to keep me busy…which is good as the office is supplying almost nothing to that end, for freak reasons during our peak season, that I can’t for the life of me figure out.

Meanwhile, the sweltering and suffocating heat in this Kennedy Administration building has been kicking our one little wall-unit-air-conditioner’s ass…even when turned on at 5am…which has us sweating by 8:30, despite all efforts, while in the lobby The Gnome melts puddles all over her desk and floor.

…Being this pregnant makes absolutely nothing look comfortable, and it makes heat and humidity look like fucking torture. This once tiny, tiny human, has even moved on from her basketball-bump phase, and started to swell up in the arms and legs to the point of near bursting, across this past week or so. 

…Worse timing ever, one could say.  And she does.  Frequently.  Not that I fucking blame her.  I’d be the worst complainer EVER, in this situation. Which is why: Don’t ever forget Mother’s Day, like EVER.  These people lived in a nine-month-long solitary-bodily-confinement, at torturous levels, for us.  One should at least score a phone call and card for that, yeah?

…And speaking of Gnomes, (or at least this one), we’ve gotten our clever back-up for her confinement and leave-time, which will put Cecily and Gwendolen together again…only this time in office adventures.  Which I’m super stoked about because not only is she an actually competent person who I won’t have to continually train and re-train to do the job she was hired for (as I frequently do now), but it’ll make for amusing FB status updates. 

…Things like:

“Cecil and Gwen + tacos, at tea.”

…Training sessions like:

“The good ended happily, and the bad: unhappily. That is what Customer Service means. In matters of prepping importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.” 

…Not to mention endless chatting opportunities like:

Gwen: I am known for the gentleness of my disposition…
Cecil: –And the extraordinary sweetness of your nature–
Gwen: …But if I hear that woman bitch one more time, so help me god, it may necessitate murder.


Cecil: …Cute UPS guy!
Gwen: Mmmm. Has nothing, but looks everything…
Cecil: …What more could you desire…?

…The cheese whiz of possibility is endless…ENDLESS I TELL YOU!

And hells yes, I will be banking on it.


Notes, By Rita

11 Aug


Massive reading lists, and as am off-book now, that’ll only grow, as I continue to chart Rita’s education from beginning to end.

…And because of that, I have laundry lists, and a notebook crammed with paintings and poetry, essays and quotes, every bit as dog-eared as hers would be by mid-term.  Taking it all in from her perspective brings an entirely new twist to even the good-ol-boys I’d already been familiar with…not to mention the things I’d never ventured into even myself.  Her brain and mine is on a constant simmer these days…taking it in, analyzing  it, and trying to put it all into terms as Rita interprets them.  It’s become a game…to watch her try and put the literal to “theory.”  And it’s made me closer to her and love her even more.


Rita on “Peer Gynt” by Ibsen

“S’posed to be a ‘hero’s journey,’ though dunno what the hell’s so heroic ’bout him. Peer’s a right wanker most from beginning to end, takin’ the piss, beddin’ all the virgins in town, (an’ some troll princess while he’s at it), then goes on to get excommunicated, leavin’ his mum all alone to just charity for the rest of her life. Only thing he doesn’t see to fuck up is with what’s-her-name, who’s all gone on him. He does right by her by leavin’ before he mucks all her life to hell too, only the daft girl ends up waitin’, shut up in some forest cabin for him, all her life, anyway. Eventually after he’s gone all over the globe and all, he ends up mostly back where he started, with regret and things, but what the hell can you do at that point, eh? I suppose there’s some mystical bits and spiritual things, but mostly it’s just about choices and fate. In the end, all boils down to one thing really: shite happens, and then you die.”

Rita on “The Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by Eliot

On First Read: ” What. The. Bleedin’. Hell???”
On Second Read: “Like a letter to someone he loves but has really low self-esteem and things, so never even tells her, cuz of the thousand-and-one ‘what-ifs?’ He’s so hysterical and all in his head about it, bringin’ up all these images of drowning in seas, and snickering servants and things that keep him held back, and wishin’, and spendin’ all this time puttin’ it onto paper in great detail, which she’ll never see, when if he’d just shut his buggering brain down for once and tell her, he might live happily ever after.”

Rita on “Rubyfruit Jungle” by Brown

“It’s fuckin’ fantastic, full of like themes on not puttin’ people in boxes, judging, and all holier-than-thou-ing against one another. This down-and-out orphan from the south decides she’s gonna go out and make somethin’ of herself, against all odds. And as she travels ’round from here to there, you see that she’s good for it, and does…no matter what or who comes up against her to push her back down again. She ends up, like star of her class at University film school, and prob’ly becomes a millionaire in Hollywood an’ the like one day, just cuz she listened to the voice in her like soul that said, ‘You can do and be anything you want, long as you work hard for it, and bugger them as say you can’t!’ Which I think, is like the ULTIMATE hero-story, and why I love it.”

Rita on “Howard’s End” by Forester

“A really crap book, from beginning to end. It’s all about them as has the money in life, muckin’ with them as don’t. (Per usual.) This poor bastard, Bast, just wants to educate himself about lit’rature and some of the finer things in life, but is constantly mucked with by these twat Shlegel sisters, who like make it their mission in life to treat him like their own social-science project. What if we give him money? What if we don’t? What if we invite him to tea and stimulating conversation this day, then drop him for years in between, like nothing? They lose him his job, mixin’ with these right toffs the Wilcoxes…thinkin’ they’re all high an mighty, meanwhile the poor bastard and his wife go starving-hungry, and the younger Miss S, decides it’s a good idea to haul ’em hundred-miles ‘way from home with nothin’ to eat, just so she can shove ’em in her sister’s and fiance’s face, like dog shite. And they only get sent away anyhow, and stay at some hotel, where the younger Miss S, keeps fuckin’ with him (literally) and his head, then outs, middle of the night, with no word or nothin’, stickin’ Bast and his wife with the bill and no way home. She tries to pay him off, eventually, to ease her conscience, but he’ll have none of it, as he doesn’t WANT hand outs, only the job he had at the beginning, so he can make his own way in life. He gets topped, (a’course) in the end, and sure the Wilcox’s have to pay a bit but not enough, and never with a drop of regret it seems, beyond the first momentary inconvenience of it. Which is why, (I said it once, and I’ll say it again), it’s a crap book, and I’ll stick with Dickens who give a poor down-n-out bastard a break, once in a while.”

Rita on “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Wilde

“Right, this fella who wrote it is so dead clever at makin’ fun of his own mates in society an’ all, it ’bout busts a gut sometimes. Problem is, it’s all so civilized in talk and all, you gotta really look into what they’re sayin’, else it goes right past yuh, like a speedin’ bullet before you know what’s what. It’s supposed to be ridiculous an’ all, and it is, but posh-like as well. Never thought cucumber san’wiches could be grin-makin’ but they are, and were, and I suppose if you had to pin it all down to somethin’ with meanin’…it’s how silly the topps can be, when they try so hard to be terribly civilized, you know?”

Rita on “Macbeth” by Shakespeare

“A Dead. Fuckin’. Good. Play! Right?! All full of blood an’ guts, true…but like a thriller it keeps yuh on the edge of your seat with like wonderin’ how in the hell he’s gonna finally meet his doom. Cuz you KNOW he will. Right? I mean, it’s inevitable. Cuz like the poor bastard brings it on himself, right? It’s not enough to like be the apple of the kings eye, and a dead good soldier, no…you gotta want more, and more…and tempt fate at like every turn, don’t yuh? And with that shrieking harpy of a cow wife, pushin’ yuh all the while, never satisfied herself, well…he’s just doomed then, isn’t he? But they keep yuh guessin’ how, what with the witches riddles and all that, ’til in the end he’s facing Macduff and it comes out what the prophecy means, and you’re all like, ‘Ooooohhhhhhh! Buggard YOU, didn’t it?!’ When all he had to do, to lead a life of contentment and honor, was just not be a greedy-guts. So there’s your lesson.”

Rita on “Songs of Innocents and Experience” by Blake

“It’s all about deeper meanings, and that. Cuz like, at first…seems he’s just writing ’bout nature and childhood and God and the like…but it goes deeper than that. Like an onion, you know…it’s got all these layers you can peel away, gettin’ stronger all the time you peel one off for the next. Cuz of that, I like it…cuz it’s like open to interpretation that way, isn’t it? Like I can see this, an’ you can see that, but both-ways we can be right, cuz it’s like our ‘take’ on the experience he’s goin’ off about. Takes longer to read that way, a’course, but worth it in the end, for some of the gold you find after pannin’ around a bit.”

Rita on “Amours” by Lawrence

“Well, Lawrence bein’ like the king of porn in his day, is dead fun to read on account of his attention to detail and things. Know how you sometimes get lost in the videos on like the plot and things? Never happens with Lawrence, he’ll tell yuh ’bout it down to the last blade of grass in detail…which just makes it like, a much more rewarding experience to take in and write on. This book was mostly full of the frustrations of sexual desire…and how like sex mucks everything up, whether you’re havin’ it or not havin’ it. And also, how relationships shift and change as time does too…with family, with lovers, with yourself, even.”

Rita on “The Seagull” by Chekhov

“Right, this one is confusin’ as everyone keeps goin’ off ’bout how funny it is, in write-ups an’ all, only I don’t see it. What I read is tragedy after tragedy. Everyone loves the wrong people, until their so in a misery about it they do things like marry other people just in hopes to get over it, and commit suicide and things. This one famous writer, like takes advantage of this one young girl wants to be an actress, buggers with her a bit til she has a kid and is all reputation-ruined, and leaves her flat. Meanwhile, this Constantine fella keeps trying to write a masterpiece but everyone just makes fun of him, and all the while he’s already in a misery about losin’ the love of his life to that wanker writer (whose boffing his mum, already as well.) Seems just missed opportunity one after the other, on like constant wave, people wasting away and miserable for it…and every bleeding thing I read on the topic seems to think this is somehow amusing. Maybe for sadists, but I dunno.”

Rita on “Responsibilities and Other Poems” by Yeats

“All full of classical legends of the Irish…but dreamy and kinda sing-song. Then there’s this poetic play at the end, ‘The Hour Glass,’ which was the best part as it like brought all the rest together. Its belief and tradition and the new world and intellectualism infringin’ on the past. It’s like this warning, about being responsible and accountable for and to the future, to find a balance of old and new, to not forsake ourselves…whatever that means individually, no matter how mucky-muck we become in a world of science and letters.”


…A taste of what it’s like to play in her head.

Dead fun, right?

Am so lovin’ this ride!


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