Tag Archives: Art

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

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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

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

I Wrote A Little… 

8 Aug

So… ‘member that time I bought that blank journal under the pretext of filling it with writing exercises to get me actually creating real wordsmithery again,  versus whatever the hell you wanna call this blog thing? 
… And,’ member how I have like 15 of those journals just sitting in my house, because of serial journal-purchase-syndrom, still waiting for words to be put in them,  and still totally empty, or long since converted to “show-research-journals?” 

… Cuz, ‘member how, (like dusting my house), I totally operate on a best-intention basis, but then often fail in my goals because I don’t wanna dust, potato chips are delicious, and facing a blank piece of paper with proper punctuation, plot, and sentence structure is really hard work? 

Well, chalk one up for me, bitches!  Cuz, I dun wrote me a story. 

It was Sunday. The place: my bed. I had just finished coughing myself awake,  and lay there re-exhausted from my efforts. Thinking to myself, “Well, I don’t even care what time it is…I’m so not getting out of bed after all that,” I decided to hide my apparent misplaced weekend-lay-about-in-bed-all-day guilt, by grabbing one of previously described blank journals and popping up my autoprompt app. 

…Hating the first two offers on demand, I took the third, and started scribbling long-hand, for what I assumed would be about fifteen minutes. 3.5 hours,  eleven pages, and a giant caffeine headache later, I realized that I’d just completed the mutherfucker, and really needed a damn cup of coffee (or 12.)

…Because,  that’s the way time works when I’m actively “Arting.” Sketching, researching, line-learning, blogging, or writing…once the juices get goin’,  I seriously cease to notice the present reality surrounding me. I’m told that I come by this honestly as an inherited trait. Apparently my great grandmother would start painting in the morning, and still be at it late into the night,  with only a depleted sleeve of saltines and empty glass by the canvas as proof of any pause for even sustenance. Which I completely understand, and could “see”  with multiple empty stomaches and/or late night writing sessions on whiskey turning into early morning hour alcoholic tendency accompanied by dry Cheerios by the handful,  direct from the box…which doesn’t really count as morning alcoholism because technically, I  hadn’t gone to bed yet, so it was still just really-late-yesterday o’clock, and anyway stop with that judgy-look,  just because you like to hide your morning alcoholism in disgusting tomato juice…!

…Anyway…where was I going with all this? Oh yeah: I wrote a little, this weekend. On like, a real thing. And it’s all pencil-scratchy, with horrendous spelling, and some of the words I can’t even really make out entirely because even stone cold sober, my creative writing comes out looking like a ten year old,  arthritic physician wrote it, but still. It’s mine. I haven’t reread it since…so,  it’s prob’ly terrible. But, I did it. I said I was going to,  and: there it is. 

… Only,  don’t get too excited though. I have no real intention of dusting, or giving up my post rehearsal junk food. It’s about “baby steps,”  people. And at 3.5 hours, I’ve already clocked overtime in good intentions this week. 

… The rest is just gonna have to hold its damn water for a while. 

~D

Art Orgasms

20 Nov

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Straight up: it is one a.m., as I start this.

…I waited until midnight for the Adele album to drop, like sci-fi nerds are waiting for Star Wars. Same experience. Same geek-factor. Same obsession.

…The digital download popped early, so I’m well of two-times into listening to one of our generation’s greatest storyteller’s “junior album.” And it plays like a fucking doctoral thesis.

…Cuz sometimes…a freak of talent is born unto us…who speaks an international language of art, so well…that even sounds before the words, punch you in the gut with real-talk. My instinct pulls heavily towards “All I Ask,” and “Million Years Ago.”

…The album as a whole is story-telling rich, has surprisingly eclectic genre-play, and (together with her vocal texture), is frankly balls-out magnificent. Totally worth the wait. But art speaks differently to different people, and for me (at the moment), these two songs are the repeat mini-set as I write this. Small, totally significant details that tickle, punch, and thrust. Together with the power of her instrument to tell the story…it’s like a master-class in being human and vulnerable.

…Which, after even a pretty fucking great rehearsal tonight, on a pretty fucking good play, with a pretty fucking stellar set of co-stars, makes me hungry to do more, and better…be braver, more naked, more “real.”

…Which is the drop-down gorgeous thing about “art.” The inspiration of one, on another…the combining of these words to the effect of chills or delight. The gut punch, of action or inarticulate sound, when words aren’t enough.

My god, how lucky…to have that damn desk job, so I can afford to go to a rehearsal, I’m not being paid for (this particular time), so I can speak words of art, debate and discuss interpretation with other artists, go home after a good night of hard work, wait til midnight for an album drop I’ve waited YEARS for, and have the leisure to stay up, with a couple fingers of expensive top drawer whiskey, reflecting about it until (let’s face it) two a.m. or better, before bed n’ work tomorrow.

Exhaustion is worth it. It always is. I would trade nothing past 4:30 p.m., for anything. Which means, I’ve got a pretty supremely blessed life, frankly.

…And sitting here, with this musical goddess of storytelling piped at full volume in my earbuds, it presses me forward…to work harder, do better, and hope that at least once in my career, I can slaughter a human heart with empathy, at least a tenth as well…as Miss Adele.

~D

Vote-Whoring

10 Nov

image

I have a weird thing about “achievements.”

…The thing is: I know I work my ass off to obtain them, and it is really important to me that I personally reach forward and more than just retain my own self-standards. This does not always succeed artistically to my own satisfaction…but one can never point at my work and say, “Yeah, she’s totally just phoning that shit in.”

…Even on my worst day, in the worst play, with all the crap falling down around our ears, no matter how much I may bitch about it in blog forum or privately, when it comes time to hit that stage: that fucker belongs to me and I’m gonna beat it into the most obedient submission I am able to, with as much power, emotion, and intent as I can muster. Not doing so, is the number one mortal sin in my theatrical spiritual belief sector, which I absofuckinglutely refuse to commit.

(…Well, that and “showmancing”…)

…So obviously, while I am my own worst critic in many ways, I will also acknowledge my service to the art, and the storytellers who came before us. I will even acknowledge that upon occasion, (because I work so fucking hard from prep to performance), that I can even kick some ass. Every once in a while, so happens the stars and cast and role and director align, allowing me to maybe even “slay” it.

…A “slaying” requires a sweet-mix of magic show-alchemy, and is always due to the collective team, which helps in both personal achievements, and the appropriateness of saying, “Ah, WE killed it!” Which is more fun anyway…because who doesn’t want to party with their team after a legit smash hit?

…But here is where it gets weird…

Awards.

Awards make me uncomfortable because of lot of reasons, all scrambled in a stone-soup just plopped on the table. Everyone wants to be polite and politically correct when it comes time to eat it, but everyone also really wants to fucking win first taste of the pot. I mean: let’s just be real.

…Its not that you DO it for the awards, but its not like getting one is some kind of slap in the face. To throw everything you’ve got (and some stuff you don’t) onto a stage, and then get nominated for it, is kind of a really huge booster-shot in the ass…as an acknowledgement of your craftsmanship and dedication.

…And I will even go so far as to say, in a lot of cases, “Fuck yes, I earned it!” Being a nominee is a giant honor, given by peers and audiences alike, and while sometimes you get the popular vote cuz of say a “body of work” vs “this actual role,” I think I can personally tell the difference of the “gimme” vs the “truly earned.”

…Case in point: Broadway.com.

Every year they release their regional nominations, of which I’ve crazily made the list up to four times in three catagories, in one year. For three years I split my own vote odds by warring with myself is the same catagory (as I have this year), which I’m not stating as like, “Ooo, ahh…lookit her all over the listings,” I’m saying: there are like over 3,000 working stage actors in the greater Seattle area. Me up there that many times means others aren’t. Other also super hard working artists, who consistently deliver the goods on the boards, and for whatever reason…lack of audience, politics, yet-to-build name-recognition…AREN’T on the list. I mean, I work my ass off, but so do they. I’ve built a career here across 15 years so far, so why should they get the shaft cuz they’re just starting? I did one role this season that I know in my guts, was one of those times an actor merges with heart and soul and therefore can just bleed it out of every pore. But what if they did too?

This is why awards suck. Its acknowledgement of achievement, but it never means you were the absolute best at something. Art doesn’t work that way. Actually, nothing does. Even a fucking Olympic medal is determined by 1/18th of a second, or a stuck landing vs a wobble on a piece that’s been “perfected” across two decades of time. It’s fate and odds and all kinds of other things, but it doesn’t mean you are really any finer an athlete than the other guy. Four nominations doesn’t make me the better artist.

…Which is all to say: Award season makes me both excited and really uncomfortable. I am always hugely ecstatic for my super talented friends when they are recognized…and super hugely appreciative and grateful to see my name beside theirs. And where I will tout them til the cows come home, I always feel incredibly strange at how to react to my own name.

…I’m not comfortable whoring it to the masses for votes, because of all the reasons I’ve just specified. But secretly, of course, to win would be superfuckingamazeballs.

…And, where one of the nominations, I do not agree with this year…the other: I absofuckinglutely do.

…So what I’m saying is…I have a question:

Can one admit a job well done, and openly hope to win what we already know is a “right time, right place, right cast” award, and still hold balance with the fact that it’s a momentary acknowledgement…WITHOUT just sounding like a balls-out hypocritical nomination-whore?

…Or do you just smile and nod in appreciation to the fact that you even made the list to begin with? At what point do you just look like a greedy asshole?

…Or: at what point is it worth turning into one?

Discuss:

~D

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