Tag Archives: Art

The Deal

23 Oct

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…So the deal is, two days before I went on vacation for a week in order to open this show, Corporate arrived on a surprise visit, fired The WHS Pimp, and brought in another guy.

…With no time to process any of this, I had to call a cab to take The Pimp home, and meet and start training my new Boss, within two hours. Hadda total meltdown at lunch in the car, then finished the day, ran music and lines with a recorder, and that night, went to see our Sister show Open…only to wake up and do it all over again the following day.

….Friday night, I left my desk with no fucking idea if I’d have a job or an office by the time I got back, a week later…but there was certainly no way I was gonna cancel the vacation, as I was also (as previously discussed) freaking the fuck out about opening this show.

For a week, I sought a buffer and tried to land some kind of solid footing on emotional ground. I didn’t succeed. But I did survive.

….And I came back from my non-vacation, to the same job and desk. And I didn’t die, or have a meltdown that Monday. Even when Corporate came back again. And I didn’t on Tuesday. And I didn’t on Wednesday.

…And I say this more as a form of wonderment than achievement, because I still don’t know why.

These past months of awful, just seemed to get so much worse, even when I thought it couldn’t possibly. That bitch peaked at like a Mount Everest height…so it makes sense that it was hard to breathe and terrifying at every step.

…And then, because, I guess there’s nowhere higher to go in the vicinity: it stopped climbing to worseness.

…Which doesn’t mean the world and my problems in it are magically fixed somehow…it just means that at some point, the fates were like: “Yep, she’s totally teetering on her last straw. What comes next is what they make Lifetime original movies about…guess we should back off her ass a bit and see if she can keep floating or drowns. No use beating a dead horse…”

Despite the fates’ combo-metaphor usage, they knew enough to stop when they did. I’m not gonna say I’m grateful about it…they’ve been making dick-moves for ages. But I will say: “It took me two weeks to process all this, and I think both theatre and office worlds are slowing achieving a better place.”

…Leaving me with an actual weekend, were I can actually relax a bit, with only laundry…a performance, and a choice of whether to audition for that one show, or just wait and work on Seattle Fringe.

This is a more reasonable speed, fates. (In case you were wondering.) This, I can do.

~D

Great Actingness

13 Mar

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I dunno if this happens with every profession, but “acting” I think gets a shittier rap than it should.

…Almost all you see about it are the glories and pitfalls…not the grunt work. Celebrity is great and all…awards are fantastic…excess, alcoholism, bitch-fights, and drug abuse are our biggest downfall…but the media has pushed these things so heavy to the forefront, as to soil the reputation of what we actually do out there in the world with our work, by and large.

This is an honored profession. It is an esteemed collective. It is a group of individuals, striving to show and share the human experience, broaden the brotherhood, celebrate our uniqueness, crossing age, race, sex, politics, religion…it provides another point of view, educates, enlightens, and broadens our horizons. It is a window looking into the best and worst of us, to study in hopes of understanding and relating to one another better tomorrow than we did yesterday, and last year, and 500 before that.

What we do (if we are intent to do it with serious ethic and art, not just for the bucks and golden statues), is an honor of trust. We are the mirror of the world and all it’s dark, bright, horrible, beautiful, terrifying, delightful places. And that, I think, is why we are so hungry to watch and seek and find new mentors from other people’s work. It is why we hold viciously intense emotional relationships with people we’ve known for two months time and might not even see again for fifteen years.

…It is why you can have an enormous amount of pride in another person’s drop-dead-gorgeous performance, whether you’ve met them or not…like it is a personal achievement of your own.

…Because it sort of is.

Great acting makes the world of “other” fall away. When you get sucked into a performance, it becomes a personal experience between you and the actors involved. They are peeling back and showing something naked and vulnerable to you…no half way…no safety net…without knowing how you will react to it, if you will honor it, spit on it, roll your eyes at it, get angry about it, hate them, or want to ravish them for it. It’s a hell of a trust exercise, I gotta tell yuh…and the success rate, even on an Award-winning-everything performance, will never be 100%.

…Because art is in the eye of the beholder, and what speaks to some might not to others.

…But when a performer sees another performer being brave…being honest, and naked and real. When it makes you feel embarrassed for watching, as if you’ve crossed a line that courtesy tells you is too far…when you are shown something that heaves your guts in empathy, or pity, or disgust…when it isn’t pretty, but somehow beautiful with the perfection of reflection on our imperfections, as “people”…it becomes almost a personal triumph of your own as WELL as whoever the hell just did that scene in front of you.

Because you KNOW what that kind of thing takes.

You’ve had to go there too.

…It isn’t about comparing your talents, it’s about embracing the fact that this is “family”…that person is your acting-brother-or-sister. This is OUR TEAM. And holy shit, did you just see what they did??!?!?!

I think this “pride”…or whatever you wanna call it…is in some part based on that familial sense of “we” and “us” that the acting community shares. It’s ties go deeper and get stronger if it is in regards to someone you have literally sweat and toiled with before, or have mentored personally, or have considered a mentor to yourself. But, these people do not need to even be aware of their personal link with you…they may have never met you…it doesn’t matter. If you have become invested in their art personally, then you take their hits and misses like a silent partner in crime…and you are one, because as everyone knows, the audience is the final cast member to everything we do. Whether they become invested and come along on the journey or not, has a huge baring in what our work will achieve.

When I see a performance that really, really arrests me…it becomes more than just an “entertainment.” If it has totally side-swiped my emotions, it becomes a literal part of me. A study piece. I will hold onto it. I will own it. I will make use of it, in some way, at some point, in my own work…it will live with me…in my tool kit of experience I’m constantly adding to.

…Someday, I will be faced with a moment, a line, a scene and in my brain I will think, “This is too much, I don’t know how to achieve all this. How can anybody go this far into the black hole of this character, and still retain a sense of self at the end of the day?”

…And I will open my toolkit, and take out a performance I have seen and say, “That’s how. Right there. You just become brave as fuck…like them…and do it.”

Last night I was up till 2:30 am watching a performance just like that.

Twice in fact.

…And it’s mine now. I own it: the lessons that come with it, and the pride in a sister-performer-teacher, who was balls-out beautifully brave enough to create it.

…Makes me feel “our team” just won a hell of a prize-fight.

…Makes me just itch to put it to use in my own right.

…Makes me proud to be a part of the family.

All good things ūüôā

~D

Too Soon

28 Jan

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Came up for air too soon tonight, and got the theatrical version of the bends.

…See…because artists like to filter shit.

When the world gets too real, or horrid…or just really horrid, we feel the need to escape and throw it up immediately to get it out of our systems.

Like cheap therapy.

…So we will often think, (in total error, with sometimes devastating circumstances), that instead of actually facing a thing as it stands, we should chew on it a couple times and spew it out of some artistic orifice…frequently having nothing at all to do with the initial problem, and think we can just call it a day.

…Lose your job? Knit everyone you know a Christmas sweater.

…Bad break up? Volunteer to throw a wedding shower for a friend.

…Someone you love dies? Audition three days later, for a comedy.

…You know…things like that.

Now, sometimes this actually works in your favor. And on a freakish percentage of time, it goes big. Which is when you get things like Salvador Dali, Stephen Hawking, and Adele. But by and large…this is mostly art which should be practiced privately. Somewhere where it is totally excusable to look like a junkyard, with reactivated adolescent acne, unable to focus whatsoever, or bathe yourself.

….Mostly to avoid total and complete humiliation, when rejoining the functioning world once again.

Self preservation.

…But then, sometimes…for obvious reasons…our reasoning really blows in these times of emotional artistic horror…and we bite off more than we can chew. We think things like:

“I’m going to keep my callback appointment to that comedy after what happened three days ago…cuz I need to get out of my head where I’ve been wallowing without sleep or correct motor function, for days. It’ll be like a four hour break from being me. I’ll just filter the crap into that.”

(P.S. Artists can be woefully blind to their limits from time to time, with disastrous consequences.)

Needless to say, it didn’t go well.

…My worst attempt at filtering emotion or life-crap, EVER.

…Worse than the time I egregiously took up writing poetry for an afternoon, to prove to myself I could go legit instead of just blog.

…Or when I thought I’d get over my writer’s block by trying a serious portrait, after sketching nothing at all, for over ten years.

…Worse, even, than the time I thought I’d beat the, “thirty curse” nonsense, by getting totally wasted on five kinds of alcohol like a pro, the day before tech, ending up with my first (and to date) worst hangover ever.

…A new, embarrassing total low.

Bad reading. Bad choices. Bad showing.

…100% effort, severely handicapped, to about 12% performance capability. My own fault. Entirely. Nothing whatever to blame on any other field.

…I’d learned the lesson already, forty times last year. Why the hell didn’t I retain it?

Comedy is really fucking hard.

…It’s hard when you are running on all cylinders, at full power. More so, when perturbed, stressed or anxious.

…Impossible, when making stupid choices, and all you can think in your head when you sit down afterward is:

“He would have nailed that monologue. It was just the kind of story he told best…”

…And then you realize, you just put him in the past-tense.

…And you sort of want to vomit.

~D

Dear 2013,

31 Dec

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It’s been a year, friend. 

… A good one.

I’ve not much to complain of, as it ticks it’s last hours away. And when I do think of something, I remind myself that I’ve my family, friends, health, way to pay the bills, and theatre.

…What the HELL do I even have to bitch about, ey?

Tonight, (the busiest party one of the year), I’m spending at home in my pj pants, with five “children” (three, adopted), a bottle of wine, reminders of the past year, and an entire movie library before me.

…It is, in a word: delicious.

Nothing wrong with dressing up and doing the town red, but…nothing wrong with staying home with a too expensive bottle of wine, candles lit, comfy…warm…writing notes to friends which I think might be witty (three-quarters of a bottle in) but might prob’ly be not.  Never mind.  They will love them and me anyway.

(…Ain’t I lucky?)

The answer is: I am.

Whatta year.  Hell of a stretch creatively.  Friendships born and grown.  Adopted foster children, (in the form of fish and two frogs) as Cecil departs for studies abroad.  The BFF visit, short but of weight and importance and life-blood resuscitation that it always is.  Dates with The Fella, to talk of all things. Marty Christmas blitzes still to follow.

…Still trying to relinquish the last vestiges of what playing an animal in children’s theatre, over the Holidays can do to an adult frame. 

…Satisfyingly counting up the vast array of roles I got to tackle n’ play this year.

New friends.  Family times.  Even (yes) blogging days, when you all reminded me, after a drought of not posting, how important this relationship…OURS…here, is.

It’s been a good year.  But then, I had reason to believe (at the beginning) that it would be.

2014 will be different.  Artistically: much more improv-based.  In that I don’t know much of what is to come…or even of what is out there waiting for me.

…And we all know how awesome I deal with that…

…But even so: I have faith.

Faith.

…And I don’t believe in “accidents.”

So there is that.

And here am I.

…Finishing a tiny slip of a post, watching foster frogs dance in a water ballet, between sentence typing. 

…Before swapping out bluerays, and tackling another favorite film, paired with these cheeses and an excellent vino.

Happy New Year, friends and creative family!

May yours bring all things of wonder and joy!

~D

Contemplation Of Boredom And Stuff

15 Jul

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It’s the Monday night after a Sunday closing, and I already don’t know what to do with myself.

…Tonight I’ve experienced three alternate “post-work-day” scenarios to try and fill the time.

First home, I went for a walk.  Seemed like a good idea at the time. And it was.

…I took a different route, into a different neighborhood, attacked some hills, contemplated joining some kids on a swingset in the park, but then thought better of it, as that is exactly how you end up in jail on random kid-attack charges for something you never did while real sickos walk the streets, scoping out their next victims, while drooling.

…I am a bit of a hypochondriac about these kind of things, but current court cases have not risen my sense of confidence to the contrary in any way.

…So…instead of playing, I walked home.¬† Where I then delved into Empire Magazine while shoving as many rice krispy treats as humanly possible, into my face. You know, to counteract anything possibly healthy or invigorating about all the sweating I had just done.

…Then Mrs. Johnson showed up and it was all, “So, whatchu been up to?” and “How was the show?” and “Here, lemme sock you in the guts a little more…”

…Followed by a trip to help Ma with another load, moving into the new Town House.

…And now, after having a picnic on the futon (that I was too lazy to build back up into a couch, since Cecily last slept on it…Saturday night), I am laying on my tummy, listening to my landing neighbor toot about on their clarinet…actually, it’s not a “toot” so much as a “loldel.”¬† (A “loldel” is like a “yodel” minus the “yo”) It’s never a real song…but clearly played by a pro, as no squeaks or whines or honks ever jump out. To me, it sounds like they are forever composing a film underscore. Unlike in jazz free-form, it doesn’t seamlessly link, but alters randomly…with variations but no through-rhythm, going along for a bit before breaking up into a new slower, or higher, or lower piece, changing tempo, with frequent pauses in between.¬†

I like it. 

…Though it’s nothing you could do a chore or dance to.¬† It is meant just for their exercise, not as an interlude.¬† But it always makes me wonder what they are practicing for, the kind of music that they really play, and where.¬† And whether it is the same person, or another, who as the pianist in the flat, takes exercise in the same exact kind of way.¬†

…Either way, I like sharing the landing with musicians.¬† Good ones.¬† Classes up the building a bit.¬† And I like that I can justly refer to ours as the Arts Floor of the building.¬† It makes me feel more Bohemian.¬†

…Though my practices tend to more resemble schizophrenia, to the outside observer or listener, than any kind of art.¬† And based on the conversation content, prob’ly of a severely disturbed nature.¬†

In the past seven months of lines and character work alone, I’ve gone on Shakespearean rants, sobbed myself into a total breakdown-fueled suicide, gotten hauled off to a concentration camp, flirted in ridiculously rampant run-on sentence structure in period English, without end, and of late have hacked in nonstop German about spies and undergrounds, in between yodeling a ton of Scottish rolling “R’s” while blathering on about my “hoosband,” and running away from the London police, while accidentally handcuffed to a suspected murderer…with all the kind of once-sided conversations that naturally go with that.

…In fact…now that I think on it, that could be a small contributing reason to the fact that my landing neighbors seem to move quite frequently.¬† In fact, all of them do.¬† By far, I am the oldest tenant in the building…not in “age,” but in longevity.¬† Even now, there is a moving van across the way, and the “vacancy” sign has gone back up on the hanger bolts under our main title post.

…But I honestly think it can’t all be just me.¬† And anyway, the musicians in C1 have been around for at least nine months now.¬† And that says something.

…Even if only that, being musicans, they are too fucking poor to afford to move out and away from the psychotic freak schizo they are currently sharing the landing with.

…Who may, or may not be, alternately suplimenting her income by part-time prostitution, based on the vast numbers of people (of either sex) randomly spending the night, and/or leaving or arriving at three o’clock in the morning.

Such is life.

~D

Then, Onto Serious Matters…

24 May

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Beethoven in the background.

…I’ve just finished beating the hell outta my giant pink-bubble-gum Pilates ball, (with some added Yoga), and am celebrating my efforts with a heavy-handed homemade margarita that tastes about 200 proof.

…I am not a greener, you guys.¬† If I’m expected to work out, there must be some give and take, here.¬†

Besides…I already did like a five mile beach walk today at Point Defiance.¬† Plus rehearsal.¬† Plus walked the mall.¬† So it’s not like I haven’t earned this five-stiff-drinks-in-one.

An excellent day off.

Slept until 10:30 (which is totally unheard of, especially where cramping is concerned.)

…Lazed about a bit, regrouped over coffee, motored to mall to get nails done while watching Streep be magnificent in “Devil Wears Prada” in the background.¬† Then: did some summer shirt-shopping, off to beach-walk, had a sandwich, did lines and scene work at rehearsal, and beat it over to Barnes and Noble, till they kicked me out.

Home to working out with the giant pink-bubble-gum ball…to the tunes of Glenn Miller.¬† (It totally works, and makes it all a lot less horrible.)

…Debated more De Profundis.¬† Decided to blog first.¬†

…Beethoven selected.¬†

After all that lightness and air and incidental flippancy, I want a little more  grounded heft. 

I like heft.

I love Beethoven.

I blame him (almost exclusively) for my total closet devotion to doomed unrequited love stories.

…Well, him and the Brontes.

…But, still.

Sometimes you just need some background yearning.

…He also makes me want to “make” something.¬† Mostly, write. He makes me want to push aside these trivial little blog posts I’ve been devoted to for nigh onto a year now, and make something really legitimate.¬† Something dark or irksome or¬† full of complications.¬† Not even in content, even just in sentence structure, and thought process.¬† Haven’t done that in so long, I’ve forgotten how.

…But then I’ll hear the beginning of a movement…and I’ll see the picture of thought he paints instantly in my brain.¬† And how immediate the feelings follow it, and how personal and intimate it becomes.¬† And I start to remember how much I loved writing like that.¬† As if it mattered.¬† Not just for a lark.

…Back when it was about “content” not just daily requirement.

Art comes in so many varieties.  And the influence of one on another, is like a waterfall affect with me. 

De Profundis…such a serious text and consideration on the responsibilities of what it means to be an “artist” and the accountability that comes with it, is obviously pushing me in that mindset as well.¬† Delving into Oscar by day, in all his ridiculous and delicious glory, then investing in his darker side at night, is this whole new combining experience that makes me want to explore the same in my own little creationary world.

…There is obviously room for both.¬†

So, tonight is Beethoven, and some prose maybe.

Supremely rusty on that bent, but it’ll come back to me.

One hopes.

Off for a try at least…

~D

Hello, From Vacation

23 May

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I have traveled to “Vacation” since last we met, and it is very fine here.¬†

…They serve post-rehearsal margaritas (and laughs) for free.

It’s this whole package deal they have.

I’m on a 4-day hiatus from the day-job, as stipulated by the Boss. He has never (in six years) stipulated that I take time off on purpose.¬† And this is only because the clouds of impending doom are just there on the horizon…we can all smell the sales storm coming…so he figured he’d force both me and the WHS Pimp to take time off while we can, in view of the fact that we may not survive the summer to the next winter death knoll.

Makes sense, I suppose.

Either way: here I sit. 

…Much like I would on ANY night (come to think on it)…just as late, just as behind on the blogging, brain just as full of lines and blocking as ever.¬† Only difference is that tomorrow I get to make it my “profession” to be a person of leisure.¬† And I get to say “profession” as I will be getting paid to do it.¬† Whatever the “it” might contain.¬†

…Possibly a Grand movie (for I miss it…not that I even know what the hell is playing.)¬† Possibly a bookstore visit (because I haven’t got enough things to read as it is, or anything.)¬† Possibly an out-of-town field trip (location: unknown.)

…As long as my sober body is at the rehearsal by 7PM tomorrow, I am my own mistress of mischief.

…I only wish I was privately funded as well.

In Other News: Back when I was supposed to be sleeping across last night and early morning, but couldn’t (thanks to Mrs. Johnson), I indulged in a little downloaded “Wilde,” the bio film with everyone and their mother in it.¬† I had forgotten how many of my absolute favs were a part of it.¬† And often in cameos, at that. I can’t say it was exactly “delightful,” but the frequent one-liner Wildeisms gave many a snickering relief to the drama…and if there is a more perfect person to portray the great Irish wit than Stephen Fry, I call “Bollocks” on it!

…Plus, everyone was so damn young!¬†

…Jude Law is at his absolute MOST beautiful, no one even knows who Ioan Gruffudd is as yet, Michael Sheen is still baby-faced (even with the moustache), Judy Parfitt is decades from becoming a St. Raymond’s mainstay in “Midwives,” Jennifer Ehle looks about 18 years old (though she is 2 years past her famously delicious Lizzy Bennet phase), and Redgrave, Jones, Wanamaker and Wilkinson round out the parents and intimates, in a casting wet-dream of ridiculous pedigree.

A hard “watch” for content, but a classic in natural flow of the Wildean ways.

…Also started reading “De Profundis” the other night.¬† Tough stuff.¬† Very raw.¬† Very intimate.¬† Keep taking breaks only because I feel such an overwhelming sense of reading someone’s diary when I shouldn’t be.¬† Quite a statement, and self-account, and accusatory testament. The harshness of his self critique, and what he felt as a disloyalty to art and work and the finer aspirations in life, for a love affair…(or obsession, however you might choose to see it)…all in retrospect.¬† Makes some of his most famous of lines, so poignant, behind the scenes of their actual creation.

“There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”

…Indeed.

~D

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