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And, Curtain.

14 Jul

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“Earnest” has been stripped, unscrewed from the floors, dislocated from the window bracings…our clothes (still on hangers) were loaded up into the back of a car trunk with all the finality of a coffin lid closing. No more props tables, or muffins and cucumber sandwiches…no more pictures and well-wishing notes on the dressing room walls.

…No more dressing room walls, period. 

They don’t belong to us anymore. 

…They’ve now been bequeathed to the next guys, along with that “every theatre in the world” smell…that aroma mix of sawdust, mothballs, sweat, hot lamps, old masking blacks, paint, Ben Nye face base, and hairspray.

The sense of a full life lived, kept us at peace with it all, though…as all the deconstructing began, directly after bows.  We HAD actually won the first bet and sold out the house, the audience was riled and ready to laugh, and our Director was back in the house…coming full circle to how this whole adventure had begun ages and ages ago, once upon a time, in a rehearsal room. With all that in mind, all the last reserve of anything we had left, was pumped into the performance with that extra zing that only Openings and Closings, have.

Bittersweet.

…But before we could get lost in a thick quicksand of regrets, we were off to the stage to work and play, followed by a delight of a cast party hosted by our Lane (and the Mrs.), where much food and drink was consumed, (garden party style) and Croquet and Cards Against Humanity was played.

Sick amounts of laughter can make you forget almost anything.

…Like the fact that next Friday, we’ve no “home” to go to, no costumes to put on, no lines to say.

…It’ll be just an average, ordinary day.

Actor’s don’t really know what to do with those kind of things.

…So it’s good I have a “next” to focus on, at that point.  Not that it will be easy to redirect towards.

For now: my theatre FB header and profile pic will stay the same.  I’ve no interest in making an alteration any time soon.  Where before, these things were a press and advertising nod, now it has become a look back on good collaborative work, during an excellent summer run, with a happy company of Anglophiles.

Thanks, friends, for taking the creative blog journey with me while we did it.

Also, “Huzzah!” for bets won.

Goodbye, dearest Gwendolen Fairfax and all the rest…

…And thanks to Oscar, for the Wilde ride.

~D

Things That Go “BANG!,” And Mournful Bunting

4 Jul

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Home early from The Fella’s, and In-Laws. Stone. Cold. Sober.

…I’m sure this in not how the Founding Fathers intended America’s biggest party day of the year to end, for me.

But here I sit. 

…Because work is tomorrow, (after a Holiday sales blitz), with the beginning of a weekend full of shows riding it’s ass, like white-on-rice.

I feel I planned well, in-all, as plenty of drinking happened earlier in the day to offset the not-having-any-later, deal. Plus, having eaten half a cow and a lot of pig (with incidental greenery on the side), I think absorbed all the residual alcohol, and/or coerced it into helping break down all the stuff in m’guts, soon after.

…Which is basically a “workout,” if you look at it in some ways. (Like the world where ice cream doubles as your dairy qualification for the day.)

The amount of food I’ve had across these past two days, does worry me a bit.  Not so much in the fact that I won’t fit into my costumes…(that’s what a corset is for)…but that it will be exponentially more uncomfortable to be squeezed into them.

…But I haven’t totally ignored my responsibilities in that realm. I did manage to run lines today with The BFF, (as in days of old), to  keep verbally fit and ready for tomorrow. And as part of my coming-home-early-to prep-for-tomorrow bit, finally fished out my tights from the show-bag, where they have lazily resided all crumpled and stinky, since last Sunday. 

…And now, as I listen to endless pop-rockets, snap-dragons, and gunpowder bangs outside my window, clean black tights hang in their place along the shower rod…drooping like mournful, wet, bunting.

There is something strangely satisfying in my bathroom being taken over by show laundry, hanging to dry. 

Tradition. 

…Harking back to centuries of other show people, from Vaudeville to the legit stage, who have done it before me, and will long, long after I am gone. 

Some things never change:

…The late-night excessive banging of illegal fireworks outside your bedroom window on the fourth of July…and prep, the evening before your next performance, being two of them.

Happy Independence Day, friends!

~D

Miss Fairfax Writes A Little

5 May

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How could I not take the obvious screaming lead to explore this character through her diaries?  The prized possession never leaves her side, (or at least a small notebook version, from which she will later translate and flesh out fully, given the time.)  So onto my first building of a little backstory, as I dive into Gwendolen.

…Followed by our first read at noonish.

And, I’m off!

***

“The Sumptuous Divesting of a Woman, Au Courant”

Volume IV

***

Dearest Diary,

A new book.

“His Nibs” had you fashioned, bound especially, and sent directly whilst on tour in Paris mid-Holiday.

…I do think it mean of him to “off” with the ink of his final exams still yet damp, to other people and other places, in lieu of returning home again, as he should. Papa intimated it is just so, for young men to tour the continent whilst mid term, (“seeing a mite of the world, what?”), though Mamma quite overturned him…siding with me upon receipt of the news, and was entirely off her tea when Gerald’s letter first arrived.

…Now, he is off again. Italy to follow, we are told (with the note tucked into our gift boxes, just arrived today.) Papa: a new cigar case…though he never smokes, despite Mamma’s attempts to encourage him, (“A man should always have an occupation of some kind.”) Mamma: a very smart broach in gold setting, (“I have the simplest taste. I am always satisfied with the best.”); and for “Dolly”: a new diary, fashioned precisely to my specification of all previous volumes. The dear remembered every detail, which makes me homesick for him all the more.

In the end, he presumes a present of you will ease my displeasure of missing him…and although I must admit, his taste is very fine in choice of paper weight, and cover, and detail, (down to the small affixed lock with corresponding key, tied just so, in scarlet ribbon), it is in no sufficient manner of replacement for ones own dear brother.

…He has been ages at Oxford, and when next I will see him, heaven only knows.

Since my having returned home from abroad, quite “finished,” and mid-season, Mamma has become tiresome with my refusals to pay compliment toward any of the bores at court, which I am forever being forced to endure. Mamma says I should be well content with a good title, firmly set, a country seat or foreign villa for Holiday and an amusing address in Towne, but I am not. I cannot be, and will not! Which has brought upon frightful disagreements, filling quite a quarter of my last volume, with raging and tears.

I do miss Gerald.

I don’t care if it is childish to say it.

…He and I were always such devoted allies, against “The Honorables” (as we used to call them.) Just we two against the world, it now seems. “Nibs & Dolly.” (He: for seducing all to his will, without question. Me: for his mistaking me upon first sight, in infancy, as his plaything.)

I feel, suddenly, fairly blue.

Extraordinary, how one can feel vastly more onliest at home than even the furthest distance abroad at Academy. When home…with the one you love most of all still far from reach… every nook and cranny and memory, of all your old haunts and delights, are ten times the more miserable-making.

I suspect Mamma has deduced the cause of my recurrent melancholy, at last.

…She has requested cousin Algy to stay for a fortnight. Algy, “Nibs” and I were very much “the clutch” once…in our youth…quite, quite long ago.

Amusing to look back on now: being fully twenty-three, and a great deal more experienced.

…They were fine times we had, once. A great many laughs.

Dearest Algy.

…Not “His Nibs,” but a jolly good friend, none-the-less.

He's to ride up, come Saturday. (Providing his invalid-friend Mister Bunbury, has not fallen ill again)…arriving directly from a stay with a new acquaintance, he has often of late been speaking of.

…A Mister Earnest Worthing.

Mamma consulted the Burke’s, but he’s naught to be found. Which causes Mamma now quite to doubt his suitability of “making free” with Algernon’s time.

…And yet, whether of “Peerage” title or no, I must admit…his name did ignite a flame of interest.

…Such a capable name.

I shall inquire Algy on more particulars of him.

…En cachette, of course.

How very fortunate, that he should meet a man…and that I should come to know of him… and that he should not be in the book of Peerage…yet I cannot seem to arrest the sudden fascination, to know more of his nature.

….Particularly as you well know, dear diary, that my ideal has always been to love someone of the name of “Earnest.”

~ H.G.F.

***

~D

Vino, Theatre, Jane Austen &The English Nutter

5 Oct

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Tonight is girl’s-night!!

…To sip on some hoity-toity grape juice, pop in “Sense and Sensibility” and push play on the audio commentary wherein Emma Thompson will commence to teach us everything she knows, about everything she knows…in a totally charming and hilarious manner.

As my favorite English Nutter, she has been doing this command performance for several years now, but it never gets old, or less funny.

…This entire night, btw, is under the pretense of Ma n’ “M” actually meeting. Like freaks of fate. Because then they can geek out all they want to about Hobbit feet and trolls vs. fairies kinda crap, and leave me the hell outta it. 

(As if we really need an excuse to show up in PJ’s and pseudo-sob over romantical period things.  But that’s my story, so I’m sticking to it.)

***

In Other News: I’m leaving work at 2:30 today.  I hit the office door this morning, straight out-the-gate with a solid declaration that this week was shit and I was leaving early today to help make up for it.  I got a blink and shrug from the Boss in response:

Boss: Ok.

Me: You know…it’s not fun rebelling when no one cares.

Boss: (Pretend melodrama, but not really selling it) Don’t go…! Don’t go…!

Me: You suck.

Boss: Want a coffee?

Me: I do.

Boss:  Be right back…

***

In Other Other News: After-rehearsal hang time is golden.  It’s not that I “forget” this, but it is constantly being reinforced how much I miss my peoples when I am not doing shows.  Not that I don’t see them anyway, but not in as large groups, and not with the night’s work to ruminate over and tease one another about. 

…I’m used to a big family, and it’s nice to be back around one again…flinging insults and sex jokes and drinking each other’s drinks when people get up to pee or have a smoke.  Family is important.  All the people in it…the “new” ones finding where they fit within the order of things, the “old” ones shifting here and there to accommodate, and everyone genuinely enjoying and respecting the work of one another so much, that we can afford to play at one another’s expense…take a hit on the chin that is made with a wink. Sometimes, a cast can be all-round magical…and this one is a hell of a team already…even with a month yet to go in rehearsals before the run begins.

…Its times like this that make me feel bad for the “normals” in the world…the ones who work their 9-5’s and get to bed at decent hours, don’t obsess about creative shit all the time, and still have their dignity. Poor bastards. They have NO IDEA the kind of life they are missing.

…But then, I’m preachin’ to the choir here. Obviously.

It must just suck to be them. Am I right?

~D

Advanced Retreat Into A Sunny Day

23 Sep

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Like zero sleep last night. 

…Started off with a ridiculous cat in heat who decided to yowl right outside my bedroom window.  I kept telling her to shut the hell up and have some dignity, but she refused to listen to me.  Around two or so she must have stopped, cuz the next time I opened my eyes to look at the clock, it was five.  This time, it was Mrs. Johnson’s fault.  She wanted her pill-cocktail, so I had to get up, shove some food down m’throat and toss back the meds, then go back to bed clutching my guts and moaning.

…I put on Netflix to keep me company.  Ancient Egypt.  Mostly stuff on King Tut.

…I’m a little obsessed with mummies and tombs.

…And also serial killers and the Holocaust.

…If my theory is correct, (that whatever you are obsessed with in life, is because you have some sort of formal connection to it in the past…not necessarily in a “past life” per se, but possibly, and at the very least you were somehow present in a spirit or energy form around a person who was having that experience  at the time…kinda like a cling-on to a host), then I’ve witnessed me some SERIOUSLY disturbing shit in my time.  And yet where I can watch endless documentaries on it without residual affect (besides weeping), I CANNOT watch any of those things in a Hollywood film with viscera and guts just flying all over the place.

I don’t know why.

The REAL things are so much more disturbing.  You’d think THOSE would be the ones to haunt me. But no.

…I got this idea for a book a couple years ago, based on the Jack the Ripper case and spent the better part of NINE MONTHS with my nose in German Victorian dissecting books, and pouring over the snapshots of every attributed victim’s remains.  It was completely disgusting (and necessary…and gory…and disturbing as hell), yet it needed to be done in order to get the thing done correctly.  I’m talking some TRULY gorrific stuff, here.  And yet, I can’t even watch Hospital dramas or detective junk on T.V. without nightmares.

…I went through most of my childhood COMPLETELY surrounded in Holocaust literature and history books, because the empathy (yes, “empathy,” not “sympathy”) for these people was totally unexplainable. 

…The Romanov family massacre, and possible survival of one of the children, completely fascinates me.

…The tombs of the ancient Pharaohs, are crazy interesting, and I will watch anything regarding Egyptology, at any time.

…The era of WWII in general, (from it’s music to social customs) feels like a natural default that I could easily slip right into, were I to magically teleport into it one day.

…England is clearly my main base “home”…it just calls to the roots of me.

…And I relate to Bronte & Austen era books, character feelings, and frustrations far too much to NOT have (in some way) participated in them, historically.

So, when I can’t sleep…these are strangely, the places I retreat to…either in book form or film…to ease me back to an even keel and drift me off to sleep again.

Weird, I know.  But what are yuh gonna do?

…So through five, six, seven o’clock this morning…I soaked up History Channel explorations and tried not to think about how badly my stomach hurt, and how The BFF was gonna be leaving today. 

It was a good sidetrack for a while. 

Until it wasn’t, anymore. 

She and The Fella buzzed the door at nine, with coffees in hand.  A last “hurrah,” before they started their week-long road trip enroute to L.A..  First stop: the ocean for the night, then onto Ashland for a couple of plays at the Oregon Shakes…then two days in Vegas with The Fella’s aunt, and next to visit her brother in S.F..  Then: L.A. 

…I’ll be pickin’ The Fella up from the airport next Saturday.

Our coffee was had.  Ridiculous teasing and riffing, took place.  I gave her a monster hug. And she was on her way.

…I’m really excited for her.  And really bummed for me.  And the thing I wanna do most right now is just hermit away this sunny day by watching incredibly depressing history lessons of my possible past lives on Netflix, until rehearsal rips me out of my moroseness at four P.M.

That’s all I wanna do right now.

…But in my head, I can hear her say something like, “Fuck that shit!  It’s sunny!  Get out in that and play!”

I’m negotiating with Mrs. Johnson right now to see if she’s either with me on this, or I need to beat her into submission. Cuz moping is NOT the answer.  And I know it.

…SEE how good The BFF has trained me?!

FUCK it’s really gonna suck to be without her.

~D

Hauntings & Old Stuff

12 Aug

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I like old stuff.

…If we’re talking books or booze, photos or furniture, film or fashion …jewelry, appliances, houses or people…I like ’em most of all. I always have.

I was the kid who’d rather love on a hand-me-down doll with one eye and lopsided stuffing than a “new” anything out of a box. The more beat up and “used” a book: the better…and if “nature” had started to take the object back at all to reclaim it, I totally understood the feeling.

When I went to England and Ireland several years ago, I nearly exploded with too much old-stuff-awesome.  Because even the rocks, buildings, and air you breathe there, comes recycled from like a gillion years ago, B.C.  It crosses the “old” and “antique” mark into just plain “ancient.” 

It was ancient. 

It felt ancient. 

It smelled ancient. 

It looked ancient.

…I’d be standing on a heath (for instance) in the middle of nowhere, a once bogged peat land where the Celts had raised a stone circle for their protections and holy workings.  Center of this thing, it was still electrifying with the network of whatever had been infused into it centuries ago.  You could honestly feel the energy of it zapping you like those electric touch-globes they had back in the 80’s, connecting through your fingertips and skin and hair…to something elemental, base…a root network of being.

We’d take a turn in old manor houses…get lost in their hallways…or stay behind on purpose to be the only one left in a room just to feel it out a little.  Like hiccups in time, you could almost swear you could see the Lady of the house sitting at her vanity, applying scent to the  back of each ear and nape of neck.  The nursery was almost spooky with children’s giggles, nurse’s admonitions, and squeek of wood coming from the direction of the old rocking horse. 

…Sometimes (for maybe only a split second), whole dinner parties were sitting at table within the formal dining rooms…candles bouncing their light off the polished silver, under-butlers in black jackets and white cotton gloves attending in silence.  The studies still smelled of cigar smoke and gentlemen’s cologne.  The library’s books, (occupied floor to ceiling with volumes whose bindings you could never touch), once rested within the palms of hands while sunning themselves, or secluded somewhere in the network of impossibly manicured gardens.

…Paintings of previous owners would watch you from the walls, enroute exiting the main floors, retreating to the bowels of the homes where their empty kitchens were still a phantom bustle of activity, heat, food smells and ever-attending duties.  Ghost horses still live within their stalls…trees that had shaded picnics, games of cricket, and formal teas: shading you right now.

Sometimes the feelings were almost overwhelming.

…But then, I’ve always been sensitive to things like that. One part imagination (no doubt), but two parts what Gram and the Great Aunts used to call, “the gift.”  Apparently all the Kelly women have it.  Some more so than others. 

I remember stories from childhood, of experiences they had had…things they had seen, or felt, words they had heard spoken, in laundry lists of eery evokings that frankly scared the hell outta me.  It didn’t, them…they seemed perfectly at peace with it.  Basically because they had to be.  Stretching back into our line as far as we can source it, strange shit has been happening “to” or “around” our family for generations. 

…Sometimes, in the form of hauntings. 
(Any number of us like to come back and visit…which is a “comfort” I never quite understood and frankly wish they’d all cut the hell out. Also, we’re susceptible to seeing and feeling the non-familial varieties.  This doesn’t mean always in a visual form.  Sometimes it’s a voice, a touch, a breath…a general acknowledgment of “not-rightness,” followed instantly by cold sweats and the desire to get the hell outta wherever it is that we are.)

…Sometimes visions.
(Countless phone calls from my Nana would stream in at all hours, day or night, directly after some family emergency had just taken place.   She would know who was the injured party, just how life threatening it was, exactly when it had happened…and upon occasion, even what had taken place. And at least once she saved a life by it. The first words upon the answer of “Hello?” having been, “Get him to the hospital now.  Don’t wait.  It’s worse than you think.”)

…Or, prophetic dreams. 
(A car and motorcycle accident, one leg breaking from falling off a roof, a death in WWII, and one of the creepiest actual preventative stories of Gram as a little girl getting a yellow dress for her birthday, twirling too near a fire, catching light and getting burnt to death. The identical dress was in fact gifted, and destroyed, directly upon opening.)

Some were flat out spoken to.
(In most cases as a sort of “conscience-driven” inner-voice stipulating things needing to be done, or not, or fixed or rendered.  Sometimes: a literal voice, a whisper, a declarative warning. Often mixed in what I suppose you could categorize as “hauntings.”)

…And some just had the uncanny ability to read a person or a room, instantly.
(Bad things “were” or “are” done here. Something about him just isn’t “right.”  She’s hurting a lot, it’s all around her but no one is noticing. There’s something big about to happen…a lot of energy…its “full” right now.)

…Apparently, I deal mostly with the past-tense.  So I suppose it isn’t’ surprising at all that me and old things are attracted to one another.  We are lovers from the past, connecting again.

I’ll forget to actually “read” a book, I become so consumed in touching and smelling it…tracing my fingers over the signatures of it’s previous owners, trying to get a grasp on them. I can’t just “look” in antique stores, I have to skim and make contact…hold the things in my hand and get the weight and history of them in my grasp.  As a kid, I collected buckets full of rocks, and trinkets…not like other kids collect them…but because they had been hand selected, and adopted from places I had been (a camp site, a lake, a hike, a cave) and “felt” things at.  One of my favorite places to visit are old cemeteries…not for the morbidity, but the life and history still wandering around them.  I’ve been the only person in a room full of “others” I can’t see but fully know are there.  I’ve stepped into houses where bad things have happened and know it, with the kind of instant terror they can’t breed into you with the most horrifying Hollywood thriller. I get deja vus like crazy, will stop cold in a doorway or while standing on a piece of land to “listen”…because I could swear that something just told me to.

…For the parts of this that I am “comfortable” with, it’s been a strange life of feeling like I was born out of order and don’t actually belong to this time.  People don’t always understand my consuming fascination of history and “the past,” that I am completely delighted that I have.  For the parts that freak me the hell out,  I fought it (believe me) and tried to pretend it was all a load of fantastical nonsense.  Until I couldn’t anymore.  I certainly do not “encourage” it.

…But what was amazing…what blew my mind those years back on that trip abroad, (and still does when revisiting my thoughts and dreams now and then, as it does from time to time), is that being there in those places…particularly in the oldest outer-reaching ancient parts of Ireland, it was probably the first time I was “at peace” with whatever gifts had been handed down in the bloodlines. 

It was intense, and full and populated with air and energy and presence.  It was jerking in time from then to now.  It was peaceful, then bloody, then peaceful again.  I could almost hear the people’s words in a language I couldn’t understand, and smell the fires that had cooked their suppers.  Tiny cottages and ramble roads seemed like old friends. A rock wall and I could have a whole conversation almost, just sitting side-by-side and though I’ve never in my life smelled such a thing as burning peat…the fireplaces stoked with it brought the kind of memories back that only things like lifelong Christmas traditions do.

I can’t explain the connection with things that I had there. But I “belonged” to it.  I knew that.

…Which goes back to the old man in the pub, in Avoca: a tiny village, where we sat one afternoon over a Guinness, ‘tween ongoing rambles across the countryside.

Old Man On A Stool: “Americans, is it?  And how do you like us?”

Ma: “We love it.  I’ve had this aching pain to come here, as far back as I can remember.”

Old Man On A Stool: “You’re Irish then.  What name?”

Ma: “Kelly.  How’d you know?”

Old Man On A Stool: “Because that’s the way of it.  You can take the Irish out of Ireland but not the other way ’round.  We always find our way home again, else never feel ‘right’ about it.”

Me:  “What do yuh mean?”

Old Man On A Stool: “The roots, girl.  It’s in the roots, in here. (grasping his upper gut)  Can’t escape it.  And you feel it too…don’t you?”

…Only every second I spent on the land, is all.

Being in the “old country” just re-energized everything.  Like coming back to the absolute roots of me and plugging into the network that my blood first came from…fighting battles and building this intense bond with the land, the type of nature, the rocks that built their houses, the people that lived inside of them.  I remember extreme specifics of the places we visited…far out-of-way roads we travelled.  I can remember accidental monuments and churches and villages and homes we stumbled upon.  Conversations with people we met.  Comparing separate experiences we’d had at day’s-end.  I can remember this one turn in a garden path, and that bush over there…the feel of the mossy stone with tiny wildflowers growing out of a ruin.

…When I dream of it, they are always really intense dreams…where I can actually feel the texture of things when I touch them and smell the smells.  I get totally lost in it and wake up a little sad to see I’m not actually there.  It’s very like the opening of “Rebecca,” launching into this singsong, haunting rhythm…

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…”

And last night, I did.

I miss it.

~D

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