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,When: She Writes A Little

22 Jan

One of my favorite  humans has just left. 

…I hermit myself,  quite often,  because as an anxiety-fueled person,  it is a requirement.  But I imagine it must be somewhat akin to a person with onslaught senility…in that a part of me very much wants to participate  and understands the joys and loss,  while the other part of me is just incapable  of dealing with that information. 

…Anyway, I’ve missed her. 

And,  as we do,  we had a good walk, and talk. About all the things. As Aaron Sorkin  would want us to.  And she was honest and brave. And she was real.  Which is always such a privileged thing to be on the receiving end of.  

…And this comes just after a fantastical hang time with my “Dark’s,” –the surviving drinkable age range of the show that drove me to my last break down, (they didn’t,  but–you get it) leaving  me (ironically)  with a buddy-crew of mates,  I would not trade for fucking gold.  

…And I am writing again.  For real. 

I’ve a stage read this Thursday,  and last week was the first time in over half a year that I enjoyed going to rehearsal. Or acting. Or any of it, frankly. Followed then by seeing a well played show this weekend, hang time with my mates, an Act and two scenes into a new script since Tuesday, and an artistic retreat  with a group of women, to be met with none other,  in two weeks. 

…Just us,  a cabin, and infinite artistic abilities. 

Outside of my artistic  cocoon: it is shit.  But inside…inside I am protected by heart-family,  energy,  wit, and a shit ton of very stiffly-poured drinks.

…And characters,  that fill my mind and tell me secrets, and appear,  all of a sudden (from out of nowhere), in print. 

I’ll take it. 

~D

Um, ?

12 Dec

‘Member when I was a Fitbit guru and pushed like 40,000 steps a day? ‘Member when I had that fresh-air kick for like two years? And, ‘member how I was still super depressed a lot of time because of life stuff, but you know — thinner?
…I think I miss that.

Dude, it’s been like eight weeks since I closed my last show and I’ve still yet to pull myself into gear, physically. Have been working my ass off on the good brain joojoo (or juju or, Hey…I did that DNA test thingy, so now I know I could even JewJew it)…anyway, I got the mental health crap all revved up to full gear and am trying my best (even on shitty days)  to focus on goodliness, and am sleeping like the dead most nights. So, its not like I’m totally slacking. It takes a hell of a lot of work, actually, to keep up with that book and all its many explorations. 

…Meantime, it’s cold out, and my pants from last season feel like I’m stuffing an elephant into pantyhose, and it’s not comfortable or cute.

I’ve got to get in gear back with the walking and dear God, pull back at least 50% on my volume of consumption. It’s like I’m panic-eating every time I sit down…what savage war is my body preparing for that it thinks could have been worse than what I’ve just gone through?

–Know what? Don’t answer that. Pretend I never brought it up. 

And if you love me, next time we meet you’ll bring veg and hummus instead of chips and those pillow crack-cookies slathered in iceing.

Enough!

The misery beyond even a weight scale, is that of your engorged now-gut, hula-hooped round it’s middle with a choke-hold attempting to breathe, while sitting at a desk 9 hours a day.

…And to that end. This is my absolute last eggnog anything.

…So help me god!

(slurp-slurp-gurgle)

…oh. I want to puke…

~D

Wendy, Darling

29 Nov

I’ve tentatively started work on my next show…only a read, but requires much research. 

…Autobiographical, journalist, can’t pronounce half the shit in it, power-play of ladydom.

(aka: Pfeni in “Sisters Rosensweig.”)

…Didn’t touch any of the bookwork during the last circus of events, barely cracked the spine of her bio on the trip home and back, but had started last night, for a bit, with Mdm Director binging the sisters and niece to see about our first family meet up since the first read, months ago, just tonight.

This was always on the books, before my brain started curdling, and it’s stayed for many a purpose. I knew I’d have at least one month off the boards, knew it would be a gentler ride for only a staged reading (albeit a damn good one), and, MOST essentially, I knew I could trust the person in power to protect us all.

…I’m very very big on that, now.

This time away has sucked because it was absolutely necessary, but has been wonderful, because I chose to work and use it. I’ve learned a lot (and still will be), and have drawn new boundaries and requirements. 

Quality over quantity. Forever. 

…I will only work with the best of the best, the people who teach and support and grow others (and themselves.) I will only work with a team who is all in, all ready, all on the same page, of wanting to support one another. This will limit my options, I will say, rather drastically. And it probably needs to. 

No. It does. It needs to.

I am not in a place, artistically or otherwise, to allow myself any other version of requirement. Because it is my dedication level, and I cannot survive without receiving a like amount of emotional energy back from those I am investing mine in. I feel it too much. I wear it on my freakin soul. It is who I am, and my love of this beast, requires it of me.  

…And I’m glad to love my life–what I do, what I identify as–and am proud that it has become so deeply threaded in me…but damn…do I need to take better care of the instrument!

So, hey…now it is: reading Wasserstein bios, circling tons of references I need to look up, and embracing my NY Jewish theatre-girlness, in tandem with Artists Way blurb-spewing, Morning Page dumps, and every once in a while, still staring at an empty page…wondering when the hell I’ll come up with something to put on it.

…Also, retreat-groups, and synchronic networking, and looking up old friends, and writing amends, and taking walks (short, but there, again.) I’ve made more chums, tried new things, admitted stuff, been designer-dressed and gifted whole wardrobes, pinned world’s of thoughts to my Wall, tried to break down other ones that probably don’t need to stand in my way anymore.

…I’ve gone home again (literally, and in several ways), despite what they say about never really being able to. I’ve spent this time really connecting. And learning. And remembering. At my youngest, earliest levels.

…And it is different. Like: ignorning the audience for years, and suddenly breaking that fourth wall for the first time, in earnest, to deliver a truth–eyeball-to-eyeball.

It is unsettling, but maybe: I like it. Inviting others in on the ride, not just to read about it, but be there in the moments. It’s…”full.” It’s therapeutic. It feels so incredibly supported. And empowering. 

…And kinda…

…Brilliant.

~D

Well, Fuck.

10 Nov

 I have succeeded in taking care of myself zero much this week. I’ve only 7 things on my Wonder Wall “Do Me” list, and I’ve only even touched 2. Things like “going to bed earlier” and “getting my walks in” didn’t even *make* the fucking list. Not even, “maybe detox a bit,” after Monday’s post-closing hangover — where I invented almost a mathematical equation of the amount of times you can dehydrate and rehydrate yourself in a given space of one nine-hour work day. (I stopped counting after 8.)
…And that was only on wine…

…Which will tell you how much was probably involved.

You guys, I over extended myself in Every capacity, socially, mentally, lack-of-physically, I’ve had no more than 3 waking hours to myself all week. And I’ve two more things still to do. And I’m going to do them. Because putting anything off at this point is fucking pointless. Damage is already done. 

…So despite every day, walking past my damn living room bar with an almost audible, “Oh, Fuck off,” tonight, I B-lined to it.

I started with the money bar and a sipping shot. Getting wasted might help tonight, but not so much tomorrow. So, I’ll sip on my Buckingham Palace, gold-rimmed shot of Suntory Whisky Toki, and plan my next spoiling. I will taste my way through a night of good stuff and not kill the new elephant-walking neighbor upstairs. 

…I will unload on all of you, then go attempt to read that damn book I keep picking up and can’t focus on. Or maybe I’ll say fuck that, and just lay here waiting for Bud to arrive, listening to the Glenn Miller Pandora channel that I would be getting ready to right now, had the show not wrapped on Sunday.

This is my first week in many, where that wasn’t a thing. Where I wouldn’t be setting my hair right now, and running my lines for the 10,000th time. 

…And in about ten minutes, I’d be in the dressing room, greeting the ladies, popping the music on again, getting into the flow, and trying to pretend I wasn’t nervous as fuck about how very many ways I could (and probably would), screw up tonight. 

…In a few minutes, I’d be laughing despite all that (because: theatre), shoving some awesome Mdm Arcadi baked good in my face, (in lieu of dinner,) sipping on my 6th black coffee for the day, wishing to God it was this whiskey.

 …And despite the fact: it never would be, and despite how terrified I was, I’d still rather be in that room than not in that room.

…Even without the whiskey.

I’m not even well enough to function “generally” and I want back in the the place that freaks me out ten ways to Sunday.

Figures.

Why wouldn’t it be that way?

Why would anything make sense, except my inability to get my damn shit together?

I’m bone-tired. And heart-sad. And super thankful for the team I’m not with tonight, who I would be, if we hadn’t demolished it all to fuck, 5 days ago.

…Also: I need to pick another sipping whiskey.

Except: no, I won’t. The next one is for my Blithe’s.

One Bombay Sapphire, in memory of the yous.

…Love you nerds. Miss yuh like my mental acuity. 

XO and all that,

~D

Breaking The Damn Rules

4 Nov

This is my Morning Pages dump. 
You aren’t supposed to let anyone read them. I’m not even supposed to read them. They are there purely for dumping purposes, like taking your morning poo — which you flush down the metaphorical toilet of — “Welp, got that out. What’s next?”

…It’s supposed to be freeing. And it is. And it’s supposed to be private. 

But I decided: fuck that. For today anyhow.

…I’m exhausted and irritated and sad and embarrassed and my coffee is brewing. These things are not all related. But some are. So in the style of stream-of-consciousness, I will drink my coffee and fuck-all the rules today. Because I want to.

***

Woke up this morning with death in my mouth — left over Cajun tots coming back to haunt me. Washed my face twice but told my teeth to piss off. They will to me one-day, so: fuck ’em. God last night was horrible. Extra horrible. Will try to not focus on that right now–good fucking luck–but: whatever. Woke up thinking of a friend, and laughed. Friends are the best animals for help. During mini breakdown at intermission, when I couldn’t pull my shit together, going ghostly-motorboating actually made me laugh out loud, and prevent the torrent of black liner from streaming down my face, even further. I love that woman so much. I love all those women do damn much. This morning, it got me thinking of other funny things, which is how I segued to “Elvira’s” Stitch Box pants, and how she accidentally got her white body paint all over them, then, without thinking, automatically started brushing at them with with her hands to get it off…which only made it worse, so her ass looked like it had been mauled by a clown. And then I thought: Stitch Box, I should look that up. That’s a pretty cool gig. Because I hate clothes shopping second only to washing dishes…and she was telling me all about it…so  laying here in bed I look it up, and do the profile and ya-de-ya-da, until it asks me for a pintress page to help teach them my style. Which is hilarious, because if I had style I wouldn’t be needing someone to put me together so I wouldn’t have to be bothered. So then, I started to pintress, which is also hilarious, cuz I haven’t done that shit since first signing up, and now I’m punching in things like: “fashion,” and saying stuff like “WTF?!”, so then I punch in “Classic Style” and I’m all like: “Oh. Yeah. I like that. And that. And that…” and then Audrey Hepburn shows up — like she does– and I’m like, “fuck yes!” and that gets me thinking on what I enjoy wearing when other people dress me in shows, and so I punch in “1940s style,” and I’m gold-mining like a mutherfucker…for like a whole damn hour! And then I’m like: “there, that ought to be good enough,” and then I’m like, “Well, fuck, why do I need to pay someone to do that. I just did it. Why not just go shop WITH my pintress app??” …Like this is some totally unheard of concept, and I’d basically reinvented the wheel or something– but then I remembered that still meant putting on pants, and going out, and being around people, and children, and taking my clothes off in weird smelling rooms, and putting on things that probably won’t fit me and I’ll hate. And also: I want coffee, and last night was horrible, and why does embarrassment stay with you like a shame-hangover? And I need an oil change.

Sadness.

Great, welling awful. 

I’m so tired of fucking up. I’m so tired of fighting every day. Being positive is hard and horrible. Almost as bad as clothes shopping. I need to find a way to get through these final two performances. Like the pintress version of “doing” the task, but without all of the outside shitty part of being out there really doing the task. It would be super awesome if there was a performance version of shopping in your underwear. So much less intense. So many less voyeurs. And like a 100% success rate.

God. 

…I just want to enjoy these last two. I just want to work hard but have it mean something and work with me, instead of against. I just want a full-run do-over, with the same people. I just want even a single performance, where I’m not shaking on stage, and constantly worried about what is coming next. I want to be at “home” again, in my home.

Broken brains are just the mutherfucking worst.

I need more coffee.

…And a breakfast truck. Why the fuck does no one have one of those?? Would make a goddamn killing…!

…Why does my auto-correct STILL say “duck?” You’d think, by ducking now, my ducking phone would duck-well know what I’m really ducking saying. 

…And also: “ypu,” is not a word. It never was. So cut that shit out.

More coffee…

~D

Dear My Blithe Spirits

3 Nov

I will have far too much fun participating in our final weekend of shenanigans, and late night post-show “Wakes,” to do this individually, so please accept this blog as my closing card, to the lot of you:

I showed up on your doorstep, as a broken mess, still very much contributing to my ongoing ill-health for the remainder of our rehearsal period. There were many nights and days (or whatever you call 3 am, time, after time, after time) when I just knew there was no mental way for me to pull this show off. I was empty. I was sick. 

…At one point, it was a serious discussion that I should leave.

…And while I was fighting all these many ghosts of shit, haunting me: you were there. Our team. From the highest leadership…who assured me that if I needed to leave, truly, there would be no less affection or support for me…that my  value as a human and their friend was higher than being a commodity, more than ticket sales, or recasting nightmares…to the front-of-house staff, and best damn bartender in town.

…Supported every single second by a beautifully talented SM, who was a calming voice of reason, and constant source of hugs and joy. Her team, which have been so incredibly dialed in at every moment. 

…Our designers and incredible painters, who built us a world of details and our stately home which they successfully destroy at every performance-end. 

…This team.

…And then: the ones on stage with me, who have covered god knows how many line fuck-ups, who are so generous with their smiles and naughtiness…who have pulled sweaty costumes off me in every quick change, and fed me freshly baked yum-goods, and given me so very much play-space on stage, and supported me when I failed, (so phenomenally), time and time again…helping me fool everyone who has seen this show–that there is nothing in the least amiss.

I am endlessly thankful for you all. And super Emo, heading into this final weekend of performances. It was a show I had no business taking on, let alone staying in, for probably everyone’s better interest. But you were (and are) always, always, always there. You never gave up on me. 

…So: I couldn’t. 

…So: I didn’t.

…So: I still haven’t.

“Thank you,” seems so very little in return. What you gave me was why the theatre has always been so essential to so many of us.

We are bigger, stronger, fiercer together. As a team. As artists. And despite my injuries, you brilliant bastards got me to the World Series, so when I was ready, and able: I could play.

I am so incredibly thankful for all of you fantastically talented freaks. And I promise to pay this all forward. Just as soon as I am able.

Thank you,

~D

I’ll Have What She’s Having

1 Nov

You know how sometimes you are so conflicted, or so hungry, or so PMSey that you think you want a big ol’ plate of this thing over here, but when your buddy’s plate comes to the table, you feel like that was what you should have chosen instead…but then they see that look in your eyes and are all, “Split-share?” (…cuz all your friends are equal foodies), and your taste buds and guts go, “Yeeeesss! Best of both worlds!” and everything is all-the-flavors-of-awesome?

…That is what going to a friend’s show is like. 

…Kinda always super wish you were working with them, but sometimes you just had to try for that other thing over there, instead…cuz of the stuff…and you did, and lots of times its good, but if you somehow have a skewed performance schedule, (or can sneak into a rehearsal of a limited run, like I am tonight), it’s like all the salty, sweet, buttery and garlicy goodness, wrapped up in both life-plates.

So, I’ll be art-eating super good tonight, at one of the final rehearsals, for an already sold-out run, of a dear friend, whose passion and empathy knows no bounds.

Damn, I’m so proud of her, and the team she has collected to create this amazing piece of historical theatre!

Let’s eat!

~D

Crazy Lady On The Beach

30 Oct

First week of bookwork is done, made all the boxes so could check all the things off…cuz that is the best part. 

…One of the things: my weekly “Artist’s Date,” I paired with my “Imaginary Lives” list, and went to be an Archaeologist for the afternoon, on Saturday. Not for real, of course, mostly as a gesture of representation. But when you’re hunched over with a plastic tub, and a gardening spade, sitting on your haunches at the seaside…picking at (and through) insignificant shit while curious dog walkers pass by, and kids stop to stare at you, cuz, “what the hell, lady?” It kinda steals a little of your thunder.

…Until you eventually start getting into it, and make a staging of your findings on some leaves for picture-taking purposes, and feel terribly importantly artistic as you try to flick those tiny crab claws open –because that’s just more aesthetically pleasing, and also: “Oh Fuck off! I’m trying to ART here, dude! You just picked your dog’s shit up in a hand baggie, and put it in your pocket. I totally saw you! Who’s the REAL wierdo here, really?!?”

(…I’m also dealing with anger issues. And being more positive…)

I am a work in progress.

Anyway…I picked at things buried under rocks and twigs, I took some arty pics, I sat on an “Alice” log, contemplating its navel. I breathed. I watched pokey sticks gouge at the shore. I wrote a little thing. 

…I Be’d.

…And then I went home, popped my findings in a baggy, and clipped em to my Wall of Wonder…to look back on. 

…Whenever. 

…To that one time I was a marine archaeologist. 

…Which is way better than being a poop-scooping, pocket warmer. So there.

“Only Alice Knows”“Breathe.”“Messy Bow”“Those metaphorical shards of life shit that just keep coming at you, wave after wave.”“Things Found”“The Random Details”

…I also managed my morning pages after a full night’s sleep, every night…found about four or five really good brain-dig findings, and that I am still PTSDing from that last show so hard, that just being on stage is upending me. 

I’m fighting the battle onward, in front of a live audience, nightly…which is my only option. An interestingly (when it’s not you, probably) terrifying, and often very hopeless feeling, which I get to share intimately, not only with my castmates…but the several hundred other people at a time who are (unbeknownst to them) paying to see it.

I can only do what I can.

A break after this show, (for quite a bit of time)…while I try and figure this shit all out, and learn to trust the stage again…is necessary. 

…Meanwhile, not unlike that dude with the dog: when shit happens, I palm it best as I can and pretend, as I fight on, that this is a totally normal part of life. 

…While super wishing I had a trashbin somewhere, to throw it the fuck away.

~D

12 Oct

…I have to think of something else.

My brain has been full of horrible thoughts for far, far too long. It has consumed me entirely. It has stripped me of everything from joy, to my health, to my dignity. And with nothing else to lose, (except, of course there is,  and when you’re me and my brain, we can even itemize them out for you…alphabetically, if you so choose) I sit here in between hour two of what will be a lot more, running lines tubed into my left ear, via my phone headset…during work, with the still dark thoughts absorbing me where they should be concentrating on lines I’ve had to relearn so many times now, that I can’t remember the count.
I’ve failed at a lot of things in life, but this was always the one thing I could count on to be solid. 

Art. 

Theatre.

I’ve always worked my damn ass of to assure that no matter what, I am prepared. I am professional. I am solid. Because I have no other self-identity other then being an actor. It’s what I am. It’s what I do. It’s my purpose. And now it’s failing me too. Or rather, I’m failing it. 

A lot terrifies me. But my “purpose” leaving me, is now officially taking the damn cake. I couldn’t try grasping frantically for some shred of recognition or safety more, if my life depended on it. And it feels very much like it does. Couldn’t pray harder. Couldn’t lose more sleep, push more, plead more, cry more, melt down more. I couldn’t lose more dignity if  every bodily fluid expelled at once, on stage vs the humiliation I put myself through, at last night’s rehearsal.

…Absolutely zero control.

Despite an extremely understanding and totally supportive team, I can’t help but see the inevitable trajectory this shit-fest is taking, and my total inability to stop it…despite all major efforts I am attempting to negate it.

I just closed “Dark” on Sunday, and “Blithe” opens in 8 days. I have never struggled like this for the most basic requirements of doing the job I need to do, on that stage. Never mind the character, I can’t even get grasp on the fucking text. What should be a light and airy word-play of epically brilliant double-entendres, and bitch-bitey exuberance, is a nightmare of impossible-to-recall word specifics that no one uses outside of a Mensa meeting, and broken record of Agatha Christie repetition-hell, of saying the same thing, slightly different and more catty, 13 times, in 15 different monologues, without rest.

Am still very broken from the last show, all but shattered before we’ve even opened this one. And for the first time I am really and truly actually questioning my ability to do this anymore. 

…And if I can’t. What in the flying fuck has it even all been about?

I’m trying to open a show in the middle of my biggest fucking mental breakdown since I’d been diagnosed, in 2009.

… I have to think of something else.

~D

Awake!

17 Sep

It’s 7:02. My body does one of those jolting awake things, like when you’ve forgotten something. I look at my wrist to check the time. The Fitbit is off. I didn’t put it back on again after my post-show shower last night. What an idiot! Check the time. Oh good! Good body-clock! Thank God! 

I get up and put the Fitbit on again, checking the battery, which is severely low. Wow, even with it on, I’d have prob’ly missed the alarm. I’ll charge it at work, I tell myself.

…I lay there checking my Entertainment news, as is my morning practice, and contemplate my tummy’s readiness for its first cup of (what will be many) black coffees today. While streaming news I remind self of rehearsal tonight, lines I’ll need to learn at lunch somehow, and being thankful I made it without a major injury through another week of shows.

…Coffee is made, and consumed, look down at my Fitbit, and sure enough, the alarm didn’t buzz. But I’m up and getting ready for work, none-the-less.

…Then it’s car, commute, so many damn detours from out of nowhere! I text Boss at second one…looks like I’ll be late because of them. I’m circling, I’m on and off-ramping, I’m getting ticked, cuz I’m too damn tired for this, and its a hell of a way to start a Monday.

…I get to work, and am first in. Unlock the crap, prep the stuff…I’m sitting at my desk, jotting to-dos on my idiot pad, when Boss texts me back:

“Um, why you there? It’s Sunday.”

…I open my computer screen.

“Sunday,” it says.

…Sunday. It’s Sunday. 

I’m sitting at my desk, and it’s Sunday.

…It does actually take me that long to understand what is wrong with this and all the things that led to this moment and how I have never ever ever, in my life, so totally lost the sense of time and day before. Not just “a little,” not just for a “moment.” I’m almost two hours into the loss, at this point.

…I pack up. I lock up. I go through the Starbucks for a giant latte and some food to settle my now flip-flopping tummy. 

…Not “suddenly” but even more than a moment ago, I feel like total shit. I was exhausted: now I’m emotionally almost crippled by it. I was cold: now I’m blasting the heat like its winter in Michigan, and still freezing. I was bruised but relieved that I made it through this last weekend of shows: now I’m horrified that I have a matinee still yet to face.

…I try my best not to freak out my Barista with this total overload of emotion, collect my goods, and drive home.

I get into bed, without even bothering to unmake it first. The pillows are taking up all the room, I’m already two cups of black coffee in, even without the latte, so sleep is impossible. It would be anyway. It already has often been, of late.

There is a misnomer that Art is or should be all fun and games. It’s probably great for some people if it is. I prefer it as the icing on a good amount of work. But sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it sucks the absolute life out of you. And there is some strange unspoken rule that despite what it takes from you, you should be greatful to be a working artist and not mention the toll, or the truth of its impact. I say: that is shit. 

…Art is like anything else. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it is disappointing as fuck, and frustrating, and insulting, and debilitating. Like anything you love: art has shit days. It *can* have shit months. 

…For me, of late: it has. I have been fully aware of it. I knew it was bad. I didn’t know it was this bad. It’s a new low on the scale. 

I feel…empty. 

I am laying here in bed, too exhausted to cry, I need to save whatever energy I have for a house full of ticket payers. I need to somehow adjust my mood so I won’t infect my fellow cast, who is probably sleeping away right now, blissfully oblivious of the day I’ve already had before they’ve so much as got up for their morning pee. I need to rally presence of mind and focus…of a brain which didn’t know what day it was through two hours of time…so that I don’t do more physical damage to myself than is absolutely necessary out there, in stocking feet, in the dark.

I need to trust.

I don’t have any of that right now.

…And I am very, very, very, very tired.

Obviously.

In every way that I can be.

And that, is my Sunday morning truth.

~D

Open

9 Sep

Awake at 3am. I think asleep again by 5-something. Then again at 6. Then 8. 

…Haven’t slept well in ages. Several reasons, primary of last night being total body and mental exhaustion. 

…You know when you see a toddler, waaay past their nap time, have a total and complete meltdown in the grocery aisle, giving zero shits who the present audience is, or that this is unacceptable behavior–their limbs go limp, they’re sobbing like a family member died right in front of them, and it’s all because they don’t like the “orange kind”? I’m right there. I have no ability to appropriately designate my feelings and trauma. 

…And, my body hurts. Their are muscles that feel shredded, so many ever-changing colors of bruises, that I have no count. I keep stressing my formerly broken finger every night in the fight sequence, so what usually is a dull ache when weather changes, is shooting pains up to my elbow…(last night’s particular pain of choice to wake me.) My back is so tight across the shoulders: you could use it for a helipad.

If one person in the next five weeks, says they think its cute that I have an acting hobby, I’m going to punch them in the face. And in my current mental place: I can’t guarantee it would stop there. 

Of course, I DID sign up for this. And so: it is what it is. Boxers wear *their* sport badges with pride: split lips, broken noses, et al. So, in moments and shows like this, I do too. I do it to remind myself of the gallons of sweat and tears that have hours ago dissipated and been showered off. I do it because each one was earned in commitment to something I love, like the birth pains of a labor. I do it because not every role or show is a frivolous exercise, or a beauty contest…certainly not the ones *I* participate in. I do it because I carry that role with me at least as long as those bruises will show…and sometimes, well after. In an ephemeral artform, it’s the reminder I can look back on, and instantly trigger back to this time and place.

…And in the meantime, before starting rehearsals for “Blithe Spirit,” on Monday, I will use today to nest on the couch. I will stay in pajamas until prep for call. I will watch other people gaining *their* bruises and show-badges on TV. 

…I will self-care, and order delivery. I will cry when I need to, and not if I don’t, and leave my severely overworked contacts, soaking in their case.

I will take a day.

…And then, tonight, I will stretch and fight-call, and suit up again, adding to my growing badge collection.

Cuz, Theatre ain’t for fucking sissies.

~D

First Day On Set

27 Aug

Today we meet our set. Always an exciting time, but I’ve been freaking out about it for days.

…Because not only is it angles and staircases and platforms and sofas and multiple tables…kitchen and laundry appliances…with things like live flame and giant death fights, and practical light sources, which eventually will go down to 2% blues and black…

…I’m doing it all blind. Because my character is.

…So, take you out of the rehearsal room, where touch as marker, how many steps, at what angle, and what texture and size has been accruing in your mind across nearly two months, on a single surface…and put in totally different measure in depth and width, with added levels and stairs, ever revolving new props as they are subbed in from rehearsal to show versions…and keep in mind, you cannot visually mark a damn thing to help you, and know you have nine days on this set to pull it all off by Preview.

Soft-focus is the landed perspective I’m working in. (Like if you spaced out and tried to focus closer while doing it…a kind of duplicate out-of-focusing.) It removes all sharpness to your visuals, and heavily handicaps your peripheral. On top of which you don’t look toward the action or person…your ears are the primary focus, so they can pick up echoes, bounce-back off surfaces that can relate information like a bat uses sonar…explaining room layout, depth, where people are standing, how close another object is, the configuration of a hallways width, a doorway versus as wall, and general movement…etc. 

…Doing all this means that the usual safety standards for actors on set, in blackout, or partial light, aren’t going to help me. Glowtape on the lip of the stairs means fuck-all. Spike tape is meaningless, unless it is in an area I can physically feel with my fingertips. If I place a prop in the scene and it falls, I have to take the time to search it out on hands and knees and restore it, even if mid-fight, mid task of something else, and not depend on someone nearest to cover, or there is no way the character would know where it is for later. It means bruises I’ve already accrued will magnify greatly, as I have to relearn every new angle and movement pattern, forwards and backwards, all over again. The configuration of her movement, in subtly using the furniture in her home to get her from “A” to “B” to “C,” now changes in angle and needs to be relearned and adjusted. It used to take five steps in the rehearsal room to get from here to there, and eight to that place, but now will it take seven, eight, and ten? How do I redistribute my line delivery time to cover that, or do we need to start two lines earlier because now I have an entire staircase to climb?

…How can I be safe? And when they add stage lights to my already halo-like, duplicate-vision, what the hell is that gonna do to impare me even further?

The role has always been on the bucket list…and it’s great work because of how many challenges it throws at you. But this is the moment I have always been most scared of. There is very little anyone can do to help me, and I have a very short learning curve to get a whole hell of a lot dialed in. And it all completely affects the pacing, tension, and presentation of the entire show if I can’t figure it out. 

…So: no pressure or anything.

It’s 10am. I already need a drink.

~D

…Meanwhile: On Stage

23 Jul

“One should always start a bucket-list role, and new job, within one day of each other on the same week,” said no one, ever.

…And yet: due to crazy scheduling for the summer, this is somehow my fourth week of work and end of my first week of rehearsal, with only the initial read going on a head-to-header.

“Wait Until Dark.”

…A classic thriller, period piece, with severe study prep requirement.

I love it.

Much psychological work, even more– physical. A sighted person gone blind, with zero percent light sensitivity, and only within the single year of her rehabilitation, six-months a newlywed, terrorized by three professional thieves and murderers.

Acting: gold. With a lot of room for error.

…Bring it.

This is my favorite. The more specific the limitations, the more specific the work. I’ve a plethora of materials I’m diving into, a list of props I’m constantly working with at home to develop specifics with, a working mental map of the set layout, for movement and point of reference,  many revisits to my severely sight-handicapped Annie Sullivan days, rehabilitation specific of the 60’s offered treatments, and constant focus work…to find the best levels for safety and movement.

…Seventh-freakin-heaven.

…And tonight, finally got to see “Maudie,” bio pic, which I had been salivating over since first seeing the trailer…to study the beautiful, beautiful performance, by Sally Hawkins.

 …Which one might think has absolutely nothing to do with this: yet absolutely does. Tonight I watched it for the art, but I WILL be seeing this piece several times for technique… and revisiting another favorite performance of Marion Cotillard in  “La Vie En Rose,” along with (strangely, “Miracle Worker,” on Helen specifics), “Patch of Blue,” “Ray,” and the Koren crime thriller, “Blind.”

…Of course there are the specifics of the disability to adhere to, but it is the truth and quality of life beyond the disability, which is my focus. “Maudie” nailed that beautifully. People who happen to be in this particular circumstance, who fight not to let it define them, or limit them.

Yes.

Again, a soul much braver than mine, with a much sunnier outlook of possibility. It will do me good to fight for her. And I’m thankful for the team I get to do it with.

…And I need to go and work on it, now. Especially with that beautiful, delicately, specific example just having been before me.

…Only wanted to state that: all is not lost in office-hell feelings of incompetence and newness. Some is very safe and happy in art-joy and yayness.

…Which should prob’ly have been the lead story, there. Trust me to bury the good shit.

~D

Almost One Month

20 Jul

I have two very good friends who recently came back from a month living abroad in Paris.

…They are multiple-discipline artists, who went, not as tourists, but to live and work amongst the natives. They are writers and painters and chefs and builders of bookshelves and boxes of homemade goods you can send all over the world, to administer creature comforts and small tokens of love to people you know…far and near. They had saved up their pennies and dollars and coffee allowances for god only knows how long, in order to secure that tiniest of flats with only a hot plate and toaster oven, in that magical city…because that experience was a requirement for their art and soul. So they made it happen.

…And so, (naturally) the leading question of nearly every person who sees them since they’ve come back, is more of a demanded statement: “Didn’t you just have the most amazing time ever?!?”

…And the answer: it isn’t quite exactly what one might expect. 

It is something like this:

“It was incredibly difficult. And we’re really glad we went.”

This does not mean it went poorly. This does not mean they didn’t enjoy it. It means: sometimes, even getting what you want is hard work. Sometimes you might feel overwhelmed no matter how prepared you think you are. Sometimes the language barrier, the tiny living conditions, the just not being where you know everything and where it is and should be, is stressful and exhausting and…a lot.

One month can be a long time.

…And I feel like all of that, is exactly where I am with this new job. 

Somewhere inside, I have to believe I am at the place I am supposed to be, but my fourth week in: my struggles are not rosey and beautiful. They are hard. Still. Like stress headaches and tear-bursting-while-on-the-toilet, kind of bad.

…I miss the stupid fact of just “knowing” things. I miss auto-piloting my day-to-day masses of crap. I miss being overwhelmed, yet still feeling fully capable. I miss that when shit came down– I knew how to fix it.

I have been, and always will be, my toughest critic. I expect a lot of myself. And yet I feel like a grace-period of a month is more than sufficient to not feel like this anymore.

…I’m in mutherfucking Paris!

…I should just be blissfully contented beyond relief!!

…Isn’t this what I wanted?! Isn’t this what I left for?! More money and some damn self respect? 

I’m the holder of a Company Credit Card. Head of all accounts. Unlimited spending on whatever the hell I need to make this place bop and beep to whatever the hell tune I want it to.

 …And yet…

One month in– I somehow miss that abuseful bastard job, like it was my own pillow.

What-the-actual-fuck, you guys.

I’m exhausted. Still. Only kinda more so. And feel too full to add any more in. I *think* I’m still glad I left, but that totally depends on the day. 

I saved up all my “hope” pennies, and dollars to get here…and it isn’t heaven at all. I don’t super understand the language. The numbers are kinda douchey, but they treat me like a person and buy me lots of really good coffee.

…Yet, I am still incredibly overwhelmed.

This is all to say: New job – still processing.

~D

Last Day

23 Jun

Today: I end a ten-year shitty relationship with my job.

…In this day and age, that is epic stay-power, but I’d have to state truthfully this was more from fear of change and the “devil I don’t know,” than anything else. As is often the case with toxic relationships, this one seduced with constancy, and the thought that “this is better than nothing.” As if it was my responsibility to take the years of bull shit, because isn’t that what you have to do when you’re an adult and have bills to pay?

 … Doesn’t everyone who doesn’t make their primary wage via their passion, hate their job?

My theory was always: more or less, yes. None of us want to do the “thing we have to,” so we are all more or less in our own little “Office Space” versions of Hell.

…But what if it doesn’t have to be that way? What if you don’t have to hate the place you spend 8 hours a day at, five days a week? I’m not saying it will take the place of your passion, I’m just saying: maybe it doesn’t have to suck the absolute life and soul out of you.

…What if?

I waited too damn long to gamble that option. And today, I walk away from what I know, and freefall into that which I do not. On the lists of terrors, that’s epic height for Anxiety-fueled people. 

…But I’m doing it. With faith. With hope. With a whole hell of a lot of cheerleaders in my friends and family who have done nothing but back me 3000% of the way.

…It takes a lot of guts to stay by your post no matter how bad the weather gets. It takes more to realize that the storm isn’t your problem, not of your making, and aside from standing beside a friend in need…nothing is worth living like this. For years and years.

It’s only money.

I am not for sale.

I am worthy of a relationship demanding respect in all aspects of my life. Even the place where I earn my bread and butter.

Even my non-dream job.

Dignity.

This is the day, I get me some.

~D

Random

6 Jun

Often, I don’t know how I have survived this far. 

…I am sound enough in mind to hold down a job and function, and do all the adulting of paying bills (etc.) I’ve pulled a giant week already. It’s only Tuesday, and have already done payroll for 14 builders, balanced $900,000 in Open Orders, assigned 40 jobs, built nearly 80 contracts, did rehearsal for a Planned Parenthood benefit read, and tonight had another phone interview so intense, my butt started sweating.

…I hung up from that call with yet another interview (on Thursday) set, and two more hoops to jump through after that. So I immediately drove to the the site (in order to find it with ease, later), came back home again for a walk (in what I like to call “Money Hill,”) through sunset, while listening to my absolute favorite West Wing Weekly podcast episode to date (“Bartlet for America”), and now: I’m home.

Home, and cooking my dinner of tots, with a side of Mai Tai, listening to Caitlyn Moran’s ” How To Be A Woman.”

It is 10:47.

A part of me worries that as an adult human, this is just part of life. One can’t really say, “right now,” as I’m not exactly 20, with room to grow out of it. Ate a goat cheese arugula and cranberry salad for dinner last night. And now: I’m popping too-hot potato-coals into my mouth, laughing at both the pronunciation and content of the book, while simultaneously thought-posting and drinking juice-spiked alcohol.

I got my walk in. I did my work. I performed one hell of an interview. I have plans (after this) to turn in my 40th application, before bed.

(Literally, my 40th. I am not playing at random number drops.)

This is my life.

I’ve just got to accept it.

…Caitlyn is now on a stint talking about the labia, pronouncing it, “lab-ia,” and I am (not for the first time) charmed by our tomatoes/toe-ma-toes cultural differences. It is a rare moment ‘tween a myriad of “minge” and “front-bottom” when she calls out the actual anatomy. My favorite thing about this book is that The Brits have more ways to talk about private parts, without ever actually saying the name of the private part, than probably any other people in all of time. And also: Moran is pretty fierce. I’m not 100% on her team…but like 90% is a damn good sell these days.

…Meanwhile: am out of tots and I’ve got more job boards to scour. 

It is 11:10.

…Lets do this thing…

~D

33, And Counting…

25 May

 I have 33 job applications out there. 

…Have taken 5 Interviews so far, and every day at work is like trying to survive a crawfish boil…as a fucking crawfish.

Once you get really serious about it, applying for a new job is actually taking on a second full-time job, unto itself. You really can’t half-ass it if you want to win your release from this other job-Hell.

…Course, adding to that problem, is the fact that you already have that full-time job which is stressing you out this badly to begin with.

…So: you get monster headaches and migraines and stress-cry-release in your car at lunch, while sitting in the Amtrak parking lot under a tree…(the closest, safest place just off campus)…where you hit the job boards some more, do your call-backs, conduct your first-round phone interviews…then go back to work and dive into that shit-hole for another four hours, before you come home, take a walk to at least *try* and uphold some form of mental health release, then hit the job boards again…with Buffy figuratively slaying all your life-shit in the background. 

Until you pass out.

My strategy is simple: get out. Whatever it takes.

…Except not really “whatever”…which is why I still don’t have a new job.

I won’t give up nights or weekends. Thems theater holy times, and I am unwavering in my faith. 

…If this whole thing has taught me nothing else, it is that middle management is the butt-boy of already shitty Corporate U.S.A. No life, or outside interests, and willingness to do absolutely anything for money has become a minimum qualification. Fuck your degree.

…Guys: it’s only money.

I’ve skipped paying a bill before. Ain’t never skipped a performance. That’s my quantifier of “life balance.”

…And so: I search on.

…And on, and on, and on…

…So many job boards: I wanna puke. So many applications, I have to log the fuckers just to keep track from email to voicemail to first and second interview notes. The back of my car is a damn mobile office, less a fax machine. I’ve got my Interview Suit on permanent stand-by, front of my closet. And the risk of losing my shit in a stress blow-out at any moment of day or night, is, (I feel), imminent. 

(Someone should be selling tickets.)

…Yet, I plaster that crap on, for every single phone call I get, offering me hope. I’m the most charming mutherfucker you’ve ever met! You only wish you could hire me! If only I’d sell my soul and give up every Saturday and Sunday, and take the second shift after hours, Friday…

But: I won’t.

I’m bruised as hell, but I’m still standing. After TEN YEARS in this damn place. 

…I can make is a few weeks more, to stand by the few morals I have left.

So few…

…Sooo few…

…I mean: where’s a damn casting couch when you need one…?!

~D

This Time, In NA…

5 May

Studied up and ready to open “Water By The Spoonful” tonight, with an energized and eager company. Fantastic post-preview talks, last night, with some of the production-family, reinvigorated my brains within Odessa’s headspace. 

…I love nothing better than spinning those connecting webs of collaboration…from the AD to the Costume Designer to the Actor, and how each take and builds from the others’ contribution, making this art-from-art kind of Celtic knot of seamless (we hope) common goal-reaching.
Am proud of this team, and honored to be a part of it.

…And honored to portray those who struggle with substance abuse issues…to tell their story as truthfully as we can, as raw and naked and serving the fact of that moment to moment struggle. Am very thankful at how much research I needed to do on the NA side of things…in that I have been fortunate to not have the first-hand knowledge of its world. The devastation it leaves in its wake is such an astonishing payment with ripple effect. After living in that headspace even only as an actor, the empathy for its victims is another study on the frailty in our humanity…but also the stubborness of our strength, the frustration in our circumstance, the fate of our birth, the pomposity and arrogance of our gambles with death, and the fight and fight and fight we can put up, when life throws fists in our faces, time and time again.

It’s a hell of a piece of theatre.

…And a pretty damn good production. (If I do say so myself.)

And: I do.

Happy Opening, team!

~D

My Brain Soliloquy

5 Apr

People talk a lot about Depression. They talk about Anxiety.This excites the hell outta me, because these things SHOULD be talked about. They are major issues for a major part of our society, and are absolutely not to be taken lightly.

…And we’ve seen the unfortunate affects of trying to ignore them.

…Something I additionally deal with (because my brain is just this uber sauce of awesome) is not as frequently discussed, and as a sister-cousin of Anxiety, can live and procreate and feed and feed and feed for days, weeks, months…sometimes even years…with no formal medical go-to coping mechanism.

There is no pill you can throw at it to reset the chemistry of your mind.

…So far, the only help you can offer to ease it is therapy to try and coach the brain alternatively. Which, for me, has worked exactly as effectively as tell me to calm down during an Anxiety attack–in that it helps zero-much.

Zero-much.

Hyperchondria kinda gets the bumb-wrap of Schizophrenia in how the world relates to its victims. What I mean by that is: they fold it into comedies on film to make a character more “interesting” or “dark” or “off” or “quirky” or just “disturbed” in general.

What I can tell you about actually HAVING it, is: there is not a single, solitary thing that is funny about it.

…I can make fun of my Anxiety (eventually) in nearly every circumstance, after it is over. That is how I regain my power back from what it has taken. It is how I “win.”

…I had been diagnosed since early childhood with Hyperchondria…and what I can tell you about it, is that never once have I “won” even a slight piece of ground, from it. The way that it has manifested in me is so deep, and from so young, for reasons which even the shrink couldn’t conjur up…and it is (and apparently always has been, and WILL be) a constant.

…And when I say “constant,” I mean: I am deathly afraid of at least one thing, if not also another, at all times. I can have fleeting moments without…sometimes even a few days…but I’ve never made it a week. I’ve never seen an illness of another and not mentally had to go to war with myself about it. To the worst case scenario. Every single time.

… I never have an itch or ache or bump that I don’t lose sleep over. 

…Literally: lose sleep over.

…And it is always a blooming congregation of thoughts, which bloom horribly. Death is not the “fear” here…it’s the prolonged torture of horrendously, slowly, long-term eventually dieing.

This disease (often coupled with Anxiety for obvious reasons) makes this horrible little forever nesting environment in my brain, where it can feed and fester…and does. And because it has been so constant, I have been able across the years to build up a bit of a functioning tolerance to it. 

…The brain will fight. It will fight hard for you. Which is pretty cool. When it isn’t tearing you apart.

…But sometimes I get into pockets where it begins to overtake me wholly. Much like hitting the ceiling in Anxiety, when I need to ultimately fold and take the damn Xanax.

…Only, as I said before…there IS no “Xanax,” or other chemical brother, that exists, which can help.

Which means…when I hit this supremely arresting level of legitimate terror –say, I’ve been in for a good while now, directly after I finished my last bout with Anxiety…it’s like no-sleep, sweaty-shakes, zombie-esc central.

…And that is always fun while performing a show, rehearsing another, and holding down a full time work week.

So: I battle. I keep losing. I’m terrified damn near every minute about at least three things that currently come to mind, and am even physically manifesting my terrors bodily as the ultimate thing that takes a Hypercondriac out of commission in any joy or normal life department.

And though talking about it, has never helped me. And laughing about it, is never a possibility. I guess I’m putting it here in print for those who suffer from it too.

The terror is real. I get it. I understand you. I know it doesn’t help you even a little bit to know that. But: now you do.

I know.

And: I’m really fucking tired of knowing it.

~D

We All Look Like A Tim Burton

21 Mar

How you know someone is mid Tech Week # 10:
They show up in public looking like a damn disaster, and give zero shits.

…At night, this might not be so very glaring…in the day time, in line at the grocery story, or under office lighting…it’s straight-up horrifying. I just caught sight of myself in the office bathroom mirror, and I’d cast me right now in any zombie movie ever. As-is. Or as someone with horrible (multiple) substance abuse issues.

…Or, anything by Tim Burton.

Last night’s remenants of water proof mascara…which truly apparently IS…is still clinging and bleeding down my lower lid, onto the exhausted bags under my eyes. My 50’s hair of curls from last night, are a wild, crunchy, fro of untamed fury. And while I was too tired to shower this morning, or more than slap some face base on, I am kept from total cadaver status, only due to the (I’m sure) toxic lip stuffs I use to stain my mouth that insanely red-red that no one but whores and Drag Queens now use. And whereas I would mind zero-much being compared to a Drag Queen, I unfortunately rather suggest a lower-end former in appearance.

…I LOOK, like I’m in the middle of Hell Week. Every classic symptom. From shitty exhausted lack of hygiene, to the overwhelming desire to fall asleep into my fifth cup of black coffee.

…And, I dunno if its the ongoing weather trend or not, but people have been just enormously shitty for two days solid on call after call after call.

 …And, Mrs. Johnson showed up last night.

I just took my first (and only) break of the day at 1:45. We have our first early call tonight. I haven’t walked out doors or had a whiff of clean air in two days. They’ve added a command performance on Tuesday. The pills aren’t helping the general warzone of my lady regions.

…I want to go home.

And sleep.

But strangely enough, even more than that…I want a clean run of this show. And I want it: tonight.

~D

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