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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

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

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

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

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

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

Carrie Nailed That Shit

1 Mar

“If my life wasn’t funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable.”
-Fisher

According to Ms. Fisher: my life has been piss-your-pants hi-fucking-larious, for the whole of February. A lot of things were terrible, a lot of things maybe not-so-much, but still super uncomfortable. And a shit ton of changes from all of it, has whooped my ass so hard that by Sunday — still very much not yet done with my ass-kicking– I woke up and puked my guts out for no apparent reason, save emotional overload. 

…I know this, as I had no rhyme or reason for said puking. And for the first time in my life, I actually felt better after doing it.  Enough directly after, to undergo a four-hour callback, in fact.

Just this month alone there have been three family illness (two of which were hospitalized, one a beginning cancer treatment), Mom got downsized (along with 40 other people in the administration) at work, Harriet started making even stranger noises and neglecting to work above 40mph, I found an over $8,000 fraud charge on my credit report, and this weekend took the absolute cake with over four hours in new car haggling, insurance shopping and fighting, dead cell phone repurchase needs, and last night…the last of this fucked-up past 28 days: a rent raise notice spiking me $60 more per month.

What-the-actual-fuck you guys?!

New car payments. New insurance payments. New phone payments. New house payments. And what’s even happening with my credit?

…I need to win the goddamn lotto just to financially survive at this point. 

…I literally haven’t had time to even look at my taxes yet, so who the hell even knows what might come from that mess…as I am swimming in place the hardest I can, hoping to stay solvent afloat until…I dunno when.

When will it be safe?! I can’t even freaking tell!!

My little blips of oxygen come in the form of:

*Little-Man Cuz, is back home again

* Aunt L is killin’ it at Chemo

* Ma’s severance and unemployment somehow actually cover her bills for a few months, as she looks for what’s next

* I have a dependable car to get to work and rehearsal 

* I have a cellphone that can accept a charge.

* I said “No,” and held my ground, for hours and hours without a damn twitch, in that dealership and with my insurance

* I’m in a show with the capacity to throw all my angst channeling

* I might just get into that other one, so I could continue doing likewise, double-time, come April

* I’ve got the kind of family/friends you can bottom-out bitch to, who say things like, ” Here’s some bucks, I’ve got a weird feeling you’ll need it,” “Yeaaah. That’s fucked up. Lemme buy you a drink and we’ll go on a walk-and-talk…,” “I’m praying stuff stops sucking!” “Let’s art tonight, until 4 am!” and “No one won the Mega Millions yet. I got us a ticket. Start planning now…”

…Cuz, really? I still don’t know how I’m even cognizant right now. 

Thanks for being my team. Wish I was more worthy of my Badass Conspiracy Co.
I’m working on it. But the dues might kill me.

-D

While We’re Cheating, Know: I Miss You

8 Feb

Cecil and The Theatre Husband, are rehearsing “Gypsy, ” just down the street. They open two weeks before I do (45 minutes, just South.) 

…Together: they are teamed up as Louise and Herbie…in the strange only-theatre-way that one can, directly after playing man and wife, (with me, as their  oversexed –or under, depending on how you look at it– neighbor),  in “The Underpants. ”

It kills me, that I’m not there, partaking of their awesomeness and swimming in the absolute ease and delight that it is to work with them.

…But I’m also kind of super exhausted from our first first act work/run-thru, on my only third day of blocking into “Bountiful,” with like an 80% new-people-to-me team. 

…And: we kick total ass.

For custody battles, we’re splitting other former loves-of-the-past. I get my “Arcadian” arch nemisis, and fellow-actor-turned-Director…they get my “Black Coffee,” Ingenu. 

…It’s like an acting key-party of people swapping, and we’re all getting really good sex, but it’s still kinda like: “…But, I like how you just know to do that one thing. ” and,  “I’m jealous of this,” and,  “I sincerely cannot wait for you all to kick ass but: I’m a little pissed I can’t be part of it too.”

…So it goes…with greedy, creative, bastards, like us.

It’s not about “greener pastures.” It’s about “having any fun at all without me.” 

…And it’s also the pride in one another. And the fact that our shows are staggered so we will all get the chance (ultimately) to bask in the creative, ridiculously talented glow of one another.*

(*We’re super humble, too…) 

 …But meanwhile: it makes, “How was rehearsal tonight? ” a kind of super-loaded question. 

…The kind where you’re like, “Good sex. Different. Learned a lot. Miss that ‘thing’ you do. ”

…And the other guy goes:

 “Yeah. Me too. ”

~D

Win-Losses & Trannies

4 Feb

I am pacing every room I inhabit with a bright yellow script -highlighted all to hell- as my companion. 

The script is fast becoming mutilated. They always do.

…I fuck up a line, cuz I forget which tense she’s in now, or which version of name-dropping she’s on, or where the hell that one line even comes from -which is why I keep forgetting it. So: I let a string of expletives burst out from self-frustration, and start again. 

…I’ve been doing this for hours, every day. Since Monday. 

…And I am very, very happy. 

This is the kind of thing that makes theatre people look like freaks. I know that. As much as I know that fighting with that yellow script over words, is an awesomely frustrating and gratifying kind of brain-foreplay right now. And my escape. 

I used to hate this part: getting off-book. I’ve decided that I don’t now…and maybe never really did. I wanted the words right away so I could get to work. Only, that was part of the work. The agonizing over every word choice and its place,  just as much as the playwright once did…this is where the relationship work starts

…Why can’t she stick to a goddamn topic even within any three sentences in any one monologue?!  She’s like a bee,  flitting from flower to flower without any structure whatsoever. And then all of a sudden: she’ll bounce back to that one flower over there again, or that one over there, with no transition of thought, and no complete communication on any story she starts, at any time. 

…My God, she is frustrating to track. 

…And that’s gotta be exhausting as hell to live like,  you would think. Always amped up about something, always chattering away about another, always splitting focus as many ways as possible, so she ultimately doesn’t say much of anything, until all at once: she explodes for what seems like a totally superficial reason. 

…Trying to track and learn her words, I feel more empathy for her fellow characters than herself. 

…Sitting down to book-work of WHY she is like this –in between line sessions — I’ve become her insider-champion. 

…In between: I’ve got a lot of damn work to do. Which is fucking amazingly lucky. And so this weekend, I will continue to pace and recite and yell at myself and her and Horton Foote, as the bastards we all are for putting me in this situation. 

…But in all the good ways. 

…Which is the only solace I’ve got at the moment with a fucked-up car transmission and no money to pay for it. 

I work ten minutes from home. I can borrow a car for rehearsal commutes. Mine hasn’t totally blown up. As yet. But it will. There’s nothing I can do about that. Which helps me mentally: not at all. 

…My brain this past week has been pulled from here to there, with worries,  frustrations, anger, hyperventilations and total fears …absolutely just as erratically as Jessie Mae in this script has. 

So: from where I sit now, here’s two things I know–

1. If I keep myself busy enough to not think about it as much as I can, maybe I can delay the inevitable from sucking the absolute life out of me, in the mean time. 

2. Horton Foote might be a fucking genius. 

~D

McWinkerson

9 Jan

So here’s a first: think I put the wrong contact in my right eye…cuz everything’s been blurry and off all day. And it’s more than just a little annoying. At this point in my paper working day,  it’s given me a headache and made me nauseous. 

…So now I’m taking my “lunch, ” pacing the office while winking through one eye so I can type this without vomiting. 

(…she said, with hope.) 

It hasn’t been a great Monday. 

…But I’ve had worse. 

(…this is me: being positive .)

Oh,  hey,  and while we’re on that subject: didn’t get the show,  but did book a paid stage read in Feb. So…that’s like getting the vaccination shot and feeling only nominally like shit, versus not getting the shot at all and wasting away without aide. 

… I still feel diseased, but with the “good drugs,” so I don’t notice it as much at the moment. 

…Which is helpful. 

…What isn’t so helpful is the pacing and writing with only one eye. Things are getting squidgy. 

Shut it down, dude. 

But first: if you haven’t yet — see Bright Lights, and find whole sadness of joys. And also: add to your life-list for someone to creative-crush on you as eloquently as Viola Davis does on Meryl Streep. And also: try to be more like Meryl Streep…just like you know: in general. 

Over-and-out. 

~D

Markers

4 Jan

I bet that waiting for a casting call is a lot like waiting for the Jury to come outta that deliberation room. 

…Your fate in this, is now totally out of your hands, and it is at other people’s graces to determine your future for whatever space of time is at stake…which will almost entirely wage how you will be conducting your life,  and where, and with whom…often cases in total intimacy with complete strangers, who will know more random closely guarded secrets about you than sometimes even your significant other…but there is no telling how fucking long it will take them to make this highly anticipatory decision, until they finally make it. 

…And until then: you just have to wait. 

…Just sit here. 

One of my favorite UK classes reminded and pushed the mantra that the audition is my work,  and the rest belongs to “them. ” It is not my job to fret or deliberate anything. My job is done. 

…Unless they pick me up to do the show itself. 

…In which case, my new job begins. 

…But until or unless that happens… I’m not supposed to waste energy or worry about the outcome… 

…Which,  again with the “Jury” scenario,  is kinda the most difficult thing I’m supposed to do. 

How the hell do you actively “not care? ”

…And this gets even rougher when they draw the process out. And when you don’t know them at all,  or the way they might usually do things. 

…And when you are wanting to make plans and build schedules and stipend gas money and other finances. 

…And you could also use a haircut. 

…Many,  many things,  from basic personal care to several months of financial, social, and life choices are just sitting here in the box,  waiting for someone else’s decision to tell me what I can and cannot do. 

…Just keep counting the markers as they pass by. 

We are in day 8.

…It’s already been a long 2017.

Next: As resolutions I decided to chart things. (Cuz I pretty much do that shit anyway, so am destined to win at at least that.) 

…This time it’s one financial goal, one fitness specific, and some accountability for alcohol unit consumption…keeping in mind, I am no longer 20 with unlimited bounce-back before me. 

…At the moment I am at stellar achievement level with my Habitbull app. Course,  we’re only 4 days in,  but I bet you so much money that new gym memberships are already starting to feel neglected and whole cartons of cookies have already made their first binge round of “fuckit, ” with a lot of people we know. 

(…well,  the cookie one for sure. That was me. But then cookies were never on my list. That’s just a fucking stupid way to start hating the year before it’s even begun.)

…Meanwhile, I’m nailing my rules shit. (Even the addendums) 

…AND the cookie -eating. (You’re welcome.) 

Now: onto some more freezing cold walks and movie-watching…as I pretend not to wait for that damn Jury verdict. 

..This is me: not caring so hard right now. 

…So. Hard…

~D

Last Brothel Shift Of 2016

30 Dec

After prepping for an uber Month/Year-End hell, (which will be my first day back to work on the 3rd), I ordered a hot dog: delivered, and spent money I don’t have right now to repurchase Debbie Reynolds films I hadn’t updgraded yet to DVD. 

…It is a necessity. 

…So has been the (thus far)  6-film fest-binge. Which will continue. She was one of the closest of the family who raised me to do the things I do with the work ethic that I do ’em. 

She’ll always be a necessity for me. 

(..Am still kind of perplexed about the hot dog bit, though. I think maybe it’s some kind of strange kiddom regression…)

Anyway. It was a damn good hot dog. 

…In other news: the office is ready to purge out 2016, like a bad hangover…which is a lot like these past few weeks have felt for me. I truly want nothing more than to see this last chunk of time disappear in a loud gulping flush of awful, to the sewer where it belongs. And if people I love could stop dieing for five fucking seconds,  I might even fit in a thought towards non-shitty aspirations for the New Year. 

…I expect it to at least start well,  standing under an explosion of fireworks from the Space Needle with m’bud, and still holding out hope that one of these last two callbacks will lead to a new show and positive focus,  directly after. 

…It won’t be from lack of trying. 

And maybe THAT will be the new mantra of 2017.

…I’ve had worse. 

Meanwhile, there are those summer shorts I need to fit into 6 months from now, so these long freezing-ass,  rainey walks will continue. (Which I’ve grown to despise, even though I know they are really good for me right now.)  And I’ve a lot of film therapy coming my way. 

…So,  there’s that. 

…And only two more hours to the work day. 

Even you could do that. 

…So let’s count it down together…

~D

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