Tag Archives: auditions

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

Arcadia With Chekhov: The Musical

27 Oct

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It’s one of those super crazy theatre weeks where you play three different people across three days, then see if it pans out thru the weekend.

…I mean, who am I joking, of course I was gonna audition for Arcadia after all…who the hell wouldn’t if they could?

…So after a weekend of bouncing back and forth on the fence, I gave in, did some character brush-up and review, launching me into auds last night. Tonight, I travel north for our first table read n’ formal chat on the devised Chekhov piece for this year’s Seattle Fringe, and tomorrow: I launch back into [title of show]…unless it comes up cancelled due to lack of audience…in which case I double back south for Arcadia callbacks…leading hopefully (one must always be hopeful) to casting.

…If that’s a go, I’ll prob’ly be tag-teaming ‘tween it and [tos] come Saturday.

In or out, Wednesday performance or not, that’s still a three-atre full week…which is pretty super cool, and prob’ly the funnest thing to happen to me since downloading customer Bee Cha’s contract on Monday and saying it out loud for the first time.

(…Which, no doubt, isn’t intended to be funny…it’s prob’y even a family name…leading to a totally respected lineage of former Bee Chas…with Bee Chas to come…but I get precious few happy moments in this job, so gimme a damn break.)

…Anyway…what was I talking about?

Oh yeah: Cecil is super sick, so I did a drive-n-drop of supplies on her doorstep last night, full of all the things you use for colds, but minus the alcohol. She’s sitting at home now, after going to the Doc, and is itching to be doing all the things She’s “supposed” to be doing, and would be, had She not the plague. Being one of those people who hates to get beat (even by tiny bugs floating in her spit), I’ll bet She’s reading this right now…while pouting, with total lack of else to do.

…So I’ll write her a tiny terrible poem, in lieu of a “get well soon” card.

…And here it is:

O Cecil of sickness, so full of goo,
Wisht you felt less awful and sadishly blue.

The sun, it is shining, and wants you to play,
But you’d shrivel up in it, and blow all away.

Cuz your head-parts and face-parts and parts you can’t see,
Are cloaked by invisible bugs and gross things.

So you’re too busy hacking and snorting out goop
To even think twice,’bout that paper that’s due.

Which is good, cuz your eyes are all bloodshot and ouchy,
It’s best to just “jammy,” all snug on your couchy.

So this time next week, you’ll feel gooder than good,
And go back to the super “Cecil” you should.


Gwen

~D

If It Doesn’t Scare The Crap Outta You…

3 Jun

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I don’t like new things. 

You know this about me. 

…However, my post-BD, Super-Awesome-Life-Reboot requires new goals and new challenges in order to move forward and thrive, so I am actually surrounded by “new,” researching “new,” and actively hoping to bust my ass so hard, that my entire life will change within like one year.

…None of that is normal for me.

…In fact, frankly, it is downright terrifying. 

…If all goes well, the best-case scenario has me leaving my job, my apartment, my friends, my family…in fact the entire state, and relocating to a place where I know no one at all, but with freedom to apply 1000% of my being to art.

…And the worst case scenario is: I do all the same amount of work-prep, don’t get the gig, but still continue to slam my head against the “opportunity” wall, until I do.

…Which could be… I dunno…years?

I’m in a section of my life where basically, I’m just gonna be scared shitless no matter what I do, because it all comes with gigantic odds and gigantic repercussions.  And if I DON’T take the chances …right now…well, that comes with gigantic repercussions too.

…Mostly involving life-long depression, blatant alcoholism, and prob’ly a weight gain of like 500 lbs.  I’m sorta not too stoked about that life-version…which means I gotta do the other thing, and I gotta do it now, and I’m basically twitching with “oh-shit-ness” at the thought of whatever outcome pops up, either way.

Do you know what I mean?

Presently, we are in “prep,” the early Phase 1 of the plan…which is the only thing I excel in. Research. I am BANGIN’ at research.  Currently reading the world-over of scripted works…anything people will throw at me, pulling massive chunks of monologues, compiling, categorizing, and editing like a machine.  Phase 2 begins next week with piece-prep for Phase 3, which are initial Season Generals for Theatre #1.  Which is only really a grand-gesture-prep for Season Generals at Theatre #2: my actual ending goal, several months from now.

…All of which could be side-swiped at any time based on slot availability, willingness to see me based on resume and head shot alone, and…well…being up against a whole HELL of a lot of people for not a whole hell of a lot of casting slots.

…And in my head, I am all the while trying to balance the cheerleader, the reasoning practical entity, and the fall-out voice in my head…so as to be prepared for whatever occurs at whatever time…which for me, feels like saying goodbye forever to loved ones, before undergoing the knife in a basic surgery…just in case I die.

…Because that is how my brain works, friends.  It’s always all or nothing.  Which makes this new current Reboot downright fucking terrifying.

…Meanwhile, (in the real world)…today is  just a Wednesday in June.

It’s a lot of work, being me.

~D

How To Cover Your Bases Like A Boss

10 Nov

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For the first time in…well…”awhile,” I’m showless.  Not only not tag-teaming ‘tween a performance for this one, while rehearsing another…but totally without a role at all. 

…No idea what “next” is, nor the “next, next” after that.  Which is not a norm for me, cuz I like to stack my plate. So, naturally, instead of taking time off to enjoy the break of not having lines to learn or blocking to run…I’m spending lunch the day after closing my last show, trying to find m’next three  jobs.

When you’ve no solid idea of which way things are leaning…no pre-casting already taking up some of the slack in that department…it means you’ve gotta go straight to the boards and start shopping.

…Which shows are being done where? With how long a rehearsal schedule… running which date to which?  It isn’t about just finding out what is “next,” it’s about making a combo of line-ups…one show which could allow a second to follow without conflict or too much mental/physical strain. 

…Cuz my working area is large…across three counties.  So it’s not just, “This show starts rehearsal and opens…then what?” It’s: “This show starts rehearsal here, and opens there, but that show begins rehearsal about three-quarters through the other one…can I do both considering they are in two different counties, and have enough recoup time from that super physical show and this super wordy one? Then, what’s the third follow-up option after the first closes and the second has begun its run?”

Scheduling even the hypotheticals can be tricky…not to mention the second and third-alternate options. And then, what do those alternate option shows do to the schedule following that?  This means basically three separate scenarios laying out in front of me right now: Option 1, which because of placement of performance dates means an only two-show set-up, ‘tween now and end of May.  Option 2, which gives three back-to-backs, booked solid. Option 3 which means no casting in first or second show preference,  leaving a third and fourth try open for others.

… Season set-up like this requires a lot of picking and choosing.  What are the roles you really want? Who do you want to work with? How do the shows fall on the calendar? Are you willing to chance it all on one, or all of them, to give up other show options? Or do you set up a fall-back alternate knowing how bad it would already suck not to get the roles you want, but even more so if you are also sitting at home with no job at all? 

…There is always a give and take in these instances. And even when you know where your heart lies, it means dick until you get the offer call.  It’s Lotto odds for an actor to get what we really want, to begin with. Even for the secondary and third choices, we’re damn lucky to be considered at all. Not to mention that sometimes the seasons are so banging, it’s like there’s nice, meaty fun just everywhere you look…and choosing at all becomes an agony.

…Which is all just an incidental to the fact that it is entirely possible you won’t book anything at all. Cuz there are like six zillion actors in this world.  And even Union odds are 1 job in 10.  So…good luck with that.

But you know what?  This is what an actor has to do.  To prepare every scenario of what-if and then book the audition slots, prep the pieces, and show up to fight it out.  And even if we nail it…it is entirely possible that hair color, height, weight, politics, size of any one piece of anatomy being too big or too small, or the casting agent or director being hungry, grumpy, or needing more caffeine, can still TOTALLY tank it.  Even if you don’t.

That’s show biz. Rejection option any time for any reason. At all.

…So, there’s always that to consider.

Which means, the ONLY POWER an actor really has, is to be “prepared.” For anything.  And everything.  Including winning the role. Or losing it.  And what comes after, is where the next adventure begins.

But it doesn’t start at all, if you don’t get out there and try.

…Which is why I’ve already booked 6 role option audition slots for just the month of November, alone.

Now, onto prep.

🙂

~D 

 
 

The Infinity Waiting Game

12 Jun

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Powerlessness blows bum.

…Next to the work-up about an audition for a specific role that you really really want…the next worst feeling, is when the audition is over, and for whatever specified number of days, you are told that you have to await the decision for final casting.

…Wait for hours that seem like months, days that feel like years…with zero control or information.

This is like living in your own little fate and anxiety-filled episode of Burn Notice…where any good or bad decisions you made in the past, have equal power to haunt or help you, but you don’t get to know which it’ll be…until after the longest FUCKING commercial break, known to man.

…Least, that’s how I see it.

…That’s how it looks from here.

…On day four.

…Since first walking in the theatre door with my audition piece.

…The day after the final callback.

…With possibly two more to follow, before final announcement.

Being an actor ain’t for sissies.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

…Now: Back to more line-learning…

~D

Death Of Blob

4 Feb

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I’m one of those humans who needs to have a purpose…an end point, a goal…because if not, I turn into a lard-person-jelly-lump.  Both physically and mentally.

…I don’t do well just free-floating whichever way the breeze (if any) happens to be blowing this day/week/month/year.

So, I go for goals.

…I like  to plan and prep the next three things I wanna audition for…which informs what color and length of hair I’ll be sporting for the next six to nine months…how fat I’m allowed to let myself get, or how much I need to lose…what kind of movies and books I’ll be watching and reading for study aids…which actors will be my obsession teachers this go-round…and (eventually, based on casting)…what I will be doing with my night’s and weekends, and “where.”

…Which is why booking a show for me, is not just a big deal as “an actor,” but even just “as a person.” 

Twenty years doing a thing, builds some serious habits.

It reflects the kind of year I’ll have emotionally, physically, psychologically. It reflects the people I will be socializing with…which friends I’ll be seeing more regularly, and the kinds of places I go on the down-times…based on which city and county those “down-times” occur in.

…So, when I DON’T have anything to plan, at all…not even on the what-to-audition-for-next pipeline…I literally don’t know what to do with myself. I’m not a person who can just “be” to “be.” I can’t not think and study and plan. It’s against the religion of me. Even my Psych Doc couldn’t break me of it.

…Hence, for the last month, post-last-show, I have turned into a blob with total lack of enthusiasm.

Family tragedies certainly don’t help that.

…All you can do is just sit there, being “the blob,” turning into MORE of a blob, and thinking you are prob’ly doomed to get even blobbier before anything changes for the better. If ever again, at all.

So you do.

…Till an actual goal pops up.

…And you see it float there above your head, juuuuust outta reach, so you have to actually shift your weight, and stand up in order to touch it.

…And you do.

…And the fucker wiggles free n’ flies away, right in front of you…

…And you think, “Goddamn it, if I were FIT I’d have just jumped higher, and gotten a better hold of the thing to begin with!”

…Only sometimes, I guess the goal doesn’t totally float away for good.

…Sometimes, for reasons even YOU don’t understand, it gets caught up in the corner over there. But since you told yourself to forget about it, you don’t even know it’s there. How could it be? You totally lost it. You were there!

…Only looks like, maybe you didn’t.

…And two days later, you get a call on the phone. And it goes a little something like this:

AD: Hi. This is (Artistic Director you know.) I’m calling about the show.

Me: Oh. Yeah. That. Listen, I’m really sorry about lousing up that callback…

AD: I’m calling…

Me: –The “thanks, but no thanks call,” no, yeah. I get it.

AD: Not really. What? No. He wants to offer you a role.

Me: (Beat.) What?

AD: In the show.

Me: Who?

AD: The Director.

Me: Oh.

AD: Yeah.

Me: Why?

AD: Why??

Me: Yeah.

AD: Um. Because he liked you?

Me: (Beat.) No. But really. Why?

AD: That’s really why.

Me: But, I sucked.

AD:…Or: not.

Me: Really.

AD: Yep.

Me: Huh.

AD: So…

Me: Yeah?

AD: You like…wanna do the show?

Me: Oh! Sorry. YES.

AD: Okay then.

Me: Yeah.

AD: Good.

Me: I really needed this. I mean: comedy and purpose and stuff.

AD: Well, good.

(Long silence.)

Me:…But, seriously?

AD: Seriously.

…And so now, all of a sudden…the blob regains purpose.

…Which is a very good thing.

Very good.

I feel like I can breathe again.

Eventually, it’ll even sink in.

Huzzah and stuff — !

~D

No Bug Zone

10 Oct

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Taking a break…

Am fortressed  in my office, away from all the peoples, as all the peoples I know are currently carrying some version or other of the plague.

Gnome-Idiot cheerfully informed me yesterday morning, (while hovering over my desk and mouth breathing) that she had spent the night hurling into the toilet , and would it be alright if she went home after this stack of paperwork?

…I mentally told her to get the fuck away from me, while verbally assuring her that I totally supported her choice in going home to get better, and that she should feel free to leave as soon as possible.

…This was roughly two days after the WHS Pimp started hacking up lungs n’ things in his office, returning from his day off.  The same day that Ma called and said she had abton of crockpot food she couldn’t eat by herself, and wouldn’t I like to come over while wearing a surgical mask and rubber contamination gloves, to pick it up…as she TOO was dying of some kind of stuffy head-cold.

Three totally different strains of plague, now surround me.  The battle has been fierce.  I’ve forced vitamins and liquids until my bladder is near to exploding. 

…So far, so good.

…Of course, now that I’m claiming that, I am prob’ly doomed to get one or all three in the next few hours.

Problem is, I don’t have time for that yet.

…I know the show is closed and all, but along with the final visit of Corp next week, at the office, I have two shows to see, a script to peruse, an Ab-Fab sleepover with Marty to attend, a Wedding, and The BFF’s way-belated BD-AWESOME-GIFT-OF-AWESOME to shop for, bills to pay, laundry to do, and TP to buy.

I’m booked.

…Also, I don’t WANT to get a cold.  Not any three of the current varieties seem very appealing.  So, I sit here, treating my appendages as germ-fields-of war, every paper pass back-and-forth with the rest of the office staff.  My hands are now chapped, cracked and dry from antiseptic overuse, I just shot my last Emergen-C this morning, and in a panic last night, I started chugging that awful Gollum juice toddy, in hopes to add it as another form of preventative.

…Surely, nothing could survive this onslaught of prevention, right?

(she hopes, heartily.)

…Providing all stands germ-free, my week of self-imposed quarantine will end tomorrow…as I watch Marty kick some ass in “Henry V,” and move directly into swilling “medicinal” alcohol…in the form of a lot of wine…until I pass out.  Waking up (at whatever o’clock that turns out to be), I then begin my quest of shopping and bill paying…and somewhere in there: some laundry.

…Which will bring me to the half-way mark of my weekend.  I’m pulling focus on one step at a time, at this point.  So as to not tempt the bugs too much.  If they think you have it all signed, sealed and delivered, they hit you even harder (I find.)

…So shhhh.  Don’t tell.

…Meanwhile, I’m off to face the “inbox” once more…and consider the options of Children’s Theatre, around the holiday. And, the calculated percentage of odds riding against mounting an entire show without grumbling curse words when I fuck up a line…or being a surly bastard to small people seeking hugs and smiles during tech week.

~D

General FYI

28 Sep

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I try not to “chug” Jameson.

…First of all, it’s “crass” and rude.  One should only “chug” bottom-shelf. But it’s been a week.  Plus, WHS Pimp has YouTube’d video’d me to a duel.  He was doing Jagger shots, with Red Bull chasers. I figure, I already pull ahead by doing a legit booze challenge with a “medium shelf.”

…At home (alone) after a particularly well received Friday performance, (after a particularly shitty week at work), I am two full glasses of Jameson, down.  Two swigs, like they were water.  I recorded the last to turn in (as WHS pimp did) his own.  I feel that I “win.”

…No “chaser.”

…Mine was two full tumblers. Straight. After a week we have shared. From hell.

….So, maybe, I’ll give him some lee-way.

…Anyway.  I am writing this now: toasted. As I deserve to be.

…The show tonight was well received.  We made people “gasp” and “laugh” and “yearn,” and I am home, directly after, reviewing my week.

It was the day in the life of an actor.  In that it was repleate with shit having nothing and everything to do with it,  And it was real,

My whole life has suddenly become, “real.”

This means something like: ” there are consequences.”

Decisions were made this week, which equal “that.”  And  decisions were NOT made, and equaled “that.”  This is what it is to be a human, in today’s era.  I kinda suck at it (is what I’ve learned from this week,)  But never-the-less, here we are.

…From all the “shit” accumulated…the fact that WHS Pimp still exists (however short his voluntary term is), I consider, the ONE  “blessing” in disguise.

…For now, else, we wait.

…As I do my final show in however many months it turns out to be.

Consequences.

…They are a bitch.

…But, perhaps, a necessary lesson.

~D

Welcome To Purgatory, This Is Your Captain Speaking…

24 Sep

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…In the event of an emergency, please hang out unobtrusively where you are, and someone might (or might not) be with your shortly.

In the meantime, please enjoy your free packet of peanuts. Unless you are allergic. In which case:

…Welcome to Hell, this is your Captain speaking…

***

I’ve gone dormant and underground.  For a couple of days.  I have found out that in this day and age of constant status and text updating, it really freaks people out.

…So this is to the freaking out people: don’t freak out. That’s my job.  I’m basically on retirement pension.  I’ve covered the whole field so well, they decided just to give it to me as a whole package deal. With stock options.  Like when a sports player leaves and they retire the jersey number.  That’s me.  I’m just that good.

Anyway, this is where I’ve been for these past days.  In purgatory.  Which is a lot like free-floating space, really.  No general direction or force to be pushed in, so you just “be.” Floating there.  Waiting.

Waiting.

…Which we all know that actors are totally awesome at, right?

…So…where (at the moment) I can recognize that I am in “purgatory”… in reality, it’s felt a lot like the other place, with hellfire damnation and anxiety episodes riding one right after the other.  Prob’ly because they have, and it is, and has been.

…And that was just to do with shit at the office.

Other decisions needed to be made, that really sucked, as well.

And none of this is really “finished,” per se.  I’m still floating here. Still waiting.

Every day at the office, this week, is a possible “last.” I’ve pulled myself from casting possiblities in a show I’ve been wanting to do for like…oh, a decade… and I had a MOTHER of an anxiety attack Sunday night, to show for it all.

Because I’m a human.

That’s all.

And I know that.

But, still.

It sucks.

And now, we have reached the halfway mark. 

…The cusp of Wednesday. 

…I’ve thrown my hat into a new casting ring, last minute, which will offer more role challenge bang-for-my-buck…I’ve got two MORE top-brass Corporate big-wigs arriving at the office tomorrow…I’m on day two, of minion training.  They tell me the warehouse inventory numbers are off by around $118,000…I’ve spent two days now, trying to divorce my mind from performance-based Scottish, to re-invigorated Irish dialect by tomorrow’s callback at 7:30, and no matter WHAT, I HAVE to get my shit together by Thursday, so I can…you know…go on stage and be “funny” for two hours each, across the next four days.

And I will.

Cuz I’m an “actor.”

…We are pretty fucking amazing when it comes to resilience and crap.

In “real” life, not so much, but on stage? Move over Baby Jane.

So for now, I’ll just keep my head low, hug the turf, position my pads accordingly, and get ready for the inevitable whistle blow, when they finally pop the ball and this shit starts getting real.  Until then…

…Until then, I’ll just wait here.

…Floating in the nothingness.

…Waiting for whatever the hell comes next, to just show up and finally fucking happen.

~D

Liberal Seasoning

23 Jul

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Walk n’ monologue work with Cecily tonight. 

…She: prepping for next audition, brought the script to review, plucking out the key focus monologue…both of us character Q & A-ing before beginning the attack.

I love monologues.

…I love that inner sanctum of information they dispel, the challenge of beats and variety of layers that can be added…like seasoning a good piece of meat. To break down the thought process, negotiate the change of emotions, the gestures indicating words you have to look to find, the maybe stammer or lingering on a juicy adjective…the seduction and savoring…the confusion and frustration…the arriving at metaphors as if such a suggestion has just this moment occurred to you, opening an entirely new perspective…in this instant: now. Immediate. With no filters. 

A good monologue is a showpiece of thought process, motivation,  desire, fear, eagerness, earnestness, hope, despair, and every other form of emotion coinciding with humanity.  When breaths are taken, pauses are earned, and words are searched for: there the homework begins.

…To deliver a “speech” as NOT a rehearsed word-for-word recitation, but as a word-to-word invented inspiration, takes time…takes hours scouring the script for alternate clues…takes breaking down the text into main ideas and beats…word stresses, setting of seamless shifts in emotion and intent, playing with the energy and tempo, manipulating the affections and emotions…

A good monologue is a story unto itself…an intimately shared experience of what it is to be in the mind and/or circumstance of a character. 

A good monologue is a living, breathing entity, ripe for the picking, ready to explore, and infuse with interpretation. 

…It’s the first step on the road to our final destination as an audition piece…our calling card we leave at the door and in the mind, slating who we are as performers and artists. 

…It’s the well-rehearsed solo in the orchestral piece of a show’s actual culminated performance.

…And with all that, it has the power-potential to make or break you…in two minutes or less.

Whoever says theatre isn’t a brutal sport, has clearly never played. It’s like our own little Hunger Games, out here…amidst a giant casting cornucopia.

…May the odds be ever in your favor.

~D

 

Ice-Pick Eyeball

1 May

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Just got home from a lovely planned and run three-hour callback, wherein I battled a massive growing headache for roughly 2.5 hours.

…Alright, maybe only 2.

…I dunno. It was after the dancing.  I know that much.

Many a good friend and dear former cast-mate surrounded me in that room, and I did so want to give them my best, (along with the auditors, of course.)

…Alas, it was not to be. 

I did try. 

I did find moments. 

I did enjoy sitting by a buddy-friend I haven’t seen in ages, and playing on a stage with him again.

…What I didn’t like is how nauseated I was becoming…and how I had to keep reminding myself not to wink while reading the sides, just to keep some of the excess light out.

…And speaking of, this glowing screen is KILLING me.

I’m gonna eat these crackers now, shut out every light source and try to let those 4 Excedrin Migraine pills, (a lifeboat from a friend in a shipwreck of need) do their work.

…And wait for my fate to come in via email.

…By “sometime tomorrow.”

…Maybe I’ll feel better if I puke.

(she posts and waits her fates.)

~D

Study & Prep

6 Feb

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Just finished reading the script for study time, after all last night flipping through the Diary and other materials. 

My heart hurts.

…It’s also really clamped onto Mama Frank.  I know I wanted the break with Mrs. V.D., and that’s what the Director is primarily calling me back for, but there is a much more visceral connection to Edith while reading it.

Age is the biggest opponent I have to fight at the moment.

…Have already been told the numbers at callbacks will be higher than usual because the Director is wisely insistent on getting the best chemistry and talent for the job.  That means the turn-out was solid and appropriate, and he doesn’t need to reach out to achieve or “make do” with anything…he can just pluck specifics straight from the casting tree.

This is the hard part about auditions. 

…The part where you have nothing you can do to accommodate your own worst mark against you.  I can study my ass off…prep the hell out of the sides, eat up the emotion, spit out the angst, and be filled with horrifying fear…I can work and act to the best of my ability…and in the end this will very prob’ly come down to none of  that.  The lack of age is just enough to push me off the scale, if I should at any point come up neck-and-neck with another woman for either of these roles.

…But…

If I can gain a solid connection with the children…

If I can really put my focus there tonight…for both of the women…to concentrate first and foremost on being a mother whose given birth to these people (whom I’m only just going to be meeting for the first time, with about three minute scenes in order to achieve it)…I might be able to hold onto this thing to the end.  Gain the trust of the younger actors I work with…relate to them with as much ease as I can muster…add that calming element into the room and focus on them. 

It’s what Edith did. 

…It’s not necessarily always what Mrs. V.D. was able to…but that difference could be worked out later in book work.  The point is: I have to be a believable mother of young people who will (no doubt) tower over me in height…and read opposite men as husbands who will (no doubt) out-age me by about a decade and a-half (in keeping with the trends.)  For about four hours tonight, I gotta kill off tragic lesbian spinster Martha for good, and embrace “wife” and “mother” to the extent that people will actually buy it…and all, while first and foremost servicing the script.

I gotta lot of work to do.

…But I have friends in the room once I get there.

And there’s an awful lot to be said about that.

I won’t be doin’ it alone.

And I’m excited to get to work on it.  Even if just for tonight.

~D

Middle Age & Jewish

4 Feb

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Because I didn’t just deal with enough drama (apparently)…I’m going from closing the show where I committed suicide every performance, straight to tonight’s audition where (if I get in), I’d end up getting hauled off to (and dieing in) a Nazi extermination camp.

…Cuz I’m sick that way.

Look: I’m at least a decade too young for the roles I’m going for: Mama Frank or Mrs. Van Daan…but the story of Anne Frank is too good not to grab onto when it comes by…I’ve aged up successfully before, and it’s too far a drive for me to want to commit to it for anything less than one of these two roles.  Which brings risk…but that’s always hanging around at audition calls anyway. 

…Would love the chance to go with Mrs. V.D…if only to lighten up a bit on my moroseness factor across the past role with this possible next one.  But so much hangs on the age of the kids auditioning, and the family resemblance possibility factors…and the crap shoot of chemistry.

…Also, lets not forget, I haven’t done a legit audition in forever…and just managed to cram a couple new monologues in m’brain, and pick one that I thought would work best as a “win” for either role. 

I’m going for dignity in the face of loss. 

…Which means, clear-cut character strength, none of that weeping and wailing nonsense, and the ability to fill a silent moment with intent.

…It’s also a Hellman. 

…Chosen in part for good luck, and because her words already having been living in my mouth for the past two months, brings her easier to the tongue and emotional sense-memory.  We’ve been a good team for awhile. No reason at all to fuck with that now. 

…The piece won’t be a permanent addition to the audition arsenal, though…it’s too period-specific…but it should do exactly the job for this one…providing I don’t cock it up…and at least get me to call backs, where I’m back home with play-timing the script and bouncing it off others.  Also our Mrs. Tilford and Aunt Lily will be there…and it’ll be nothing but a delight to have the chance to bound up on stage with them again and get a good workout in 🙂

…And should, by some strange awesomeness, I get into this one…that would have me up and working immediately through the end of April, after which, I bring out the solid guns of yay and put everything on the table for “The Importance of Being Earnest”…which Marty n’ I have already decided we’re prepared to pull out everything we’ve got collectively, and go to all-out War for!

How delicious would THAT be?  To go from “Children’s” to “Earnest,” together…in the breath of one season???

…heeheeheeheehehee…

😉

~D

Two Minutes, & A Title Card

30 Jan

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So I’ve an audition next Monday, the day after closing…and its the first time I’ve had to do the full process with a monologue et al, in about forever.

(Working with the same people over and over again, does have more than just one perk, you know.)

…Anyway, I’m having to start from absolute scratch on this, as my go-to dramatic piece has now been disqualified for use, by the happy circumstance that I am currently performing it on a stage at the moment.  And once you’ve done a role, it is faux pas to ever air it in an audition setting again.

Back when I started working at my first Union House and home theatre, I began primarily in Tech. The thing was: I loved theatre…LOVED it…and though I always knew I wanted to be an Actor…I didn’t want to be one of those hopeless ones who couldn’t so much as change a light bulb. I had this crazy idea that to train in all aspects of it, was to pay honor to it…to gain respect and understanding of all the jobs and respect and understanding from my peers. But what I DIDN’T know (at the time) was how much about my end-game craft, I would be learning along the way.

…I have very distinct memories, like a reel of home movies, with moments all strung together on one loooooong piece of celluloid, that I still play in my brain, to this day, which are the lessons I learned while being granted a behind-the-scenes peek at the world of what it is to be an actor.

For instance…when else would a 14 year-old be granted access to watch professional actors from all over the country (and sometimes world), undertake their process from first table read to final performance? How many hours of rehearsal, to be on book with just you, the SM, the Director and Actors as they work out bit-by-bit what this moment and meaning is really all about…and the fact that it is important to justify and work your actions and reactions and talk about “feelings” and fearlessly throw your emotions out there for just everyone to see?

…By 16, I was joining them on stage…only in bit parts and cross-overs, as I was still very much Teching my way through the jungle…but with notice in my level of dedication…and so was given even more responsibilities…with smaller casts…and more dramatic shows.

It was then, I was contracted to work with the biggest theatrical idol I’d ever had…a woman I’d seen work there years before, who as a child, I’d remembered as the person I wanted most to be when I grew up.

She was (and is) a devastating performer, whose work was so palpable it would make your hair stand on-end. A woman whose command of her vocal instrument could manipulate any characterization, her body movements meeting it with precise measure. A woman who would end a monologue to a pin drop, and a play in such silence…you’d forget to breathe, or clap. She was the kind of performer who would disappear five seconds after touching the stage, and not return back again until curtain call…so real was she in this other being that she was now living in front of you. And all I wanted my whole life (up to that point and for the rest of it beyond now) was to be like her. To hold THAT kind of power on a stage, to practice the art of Acting at THAT level.

…And I was going to be her crew now. It was almost too much goodness to be true.

It was a one-woman show, written expressly for her, and I was to work all of backstage…from cues, calls, light patches and any other incidentals. And with that, I was also given leave to sit in on evening and weekend rehearsals…(being in classes during her day-calls.) This, though not the norm for my crew station — until further into the rehearsal process — was granted me, I suppose, as by now the powers-that-be knew me, and how serious about all this I was…and what a hugely educational thing it would be.

…So of course I did…

…In the back. In the shadows. So as not to disturb, or accidentally fall in her sight line during expressly difficult moments.

And like with other rehearsals I sat in on, I would listen to the invaluable give and take between the Director and his Actor…their conversations and debates…the working and isolation of each specific moment…the dialing in on the emotions…the endless, endless futzing at this one line interpretation, or that movement there, or the emotional stakes at hand. She would beat herself up mercilessly…aggravated at what she considered a sub-par interpretation or presentation that only looked like perfection to my eyes (and I’d swear, anyone elses.) And she was often difficult because of it…because she WANTED to find it…and NEEDED to realize the moment, and other people’s assurances were not enough…not to fight the precise gauge of truth that she held herself up against to the point of sometime absolute, roaring, frustration.

…I learned a lot about “process” from that show, and even more about how much of an athlete a good Actor must be. You must stretch, and prep, and lift, and lift, and lift, and lift, and run, and jump, and dive, and lift and lift again. Emotions. Body. Mind. That woman did no less work than an Olympian, a Therapist, and a Theorist all rolled into one, in order to give an Opening Night performance, that shut everyone down and up…just before nearly tearing the entire fucking theatre to the ground with ovation-appreciation.

…And I had been given the opportunity to watch it all happen.

…Which (fast forward), graduated and grew with my roles on the stage, as I moved from Tech to one of the Chorus, to Supporting Characters.

By the time I left my home state (and my home theatre as well), I was 20 years old, and aside from Talent Shows and School Productions, had never done anything but Professional Theatre for seven years. I’d Stage Managed, been offered (and turned down) a Union Card, and won the respect of the the people I respected most…in prob’ly the whole damn world.

…And in that time I learned prob’ly a zillion-million little tricks of the trade. Sitting in on auditions from SF, LA and NY…the “trends” that Actors adopt that makes for mind-melting sameness in audition, after audition, after audition…the “shock value” every woman assumes will make them memorable by dropping the F-bomb as frequently as possible, or sobbing endlessly about being raped or having an abortion. The men that will come in and just scream at you, thinking that this somehow shows a visceral-animal rage. Ill chosen pieces based on age, or body type, or sex (believe it or not)…and a whole collection of other incidentals that one never really might think of as important but in the end, turns out to be all but essential.

I may have never attended University for this Acting thing…but I didn’t emerge into the world totally without training. It wasn’t until later…moving here, seeing how big the world was, how lucky a steady paycheck is, how snobby (on accident) I’d become to the other types of theatre, that I was slapped with a few stings and had to learn this whole other lesson about what REALLY makes you a professional and serious artist…then try to marry all these worlds together to figure out how to use what I’d been given and worked for, to work for me.

…And the fun (or not-so…depending on how you see it) thing is that Acting is an evolution-art. It never stays still, you can never “win” it or “conquer” it…even the greatest people who do it…ESPECIALLY the greatest people who do it…are forever learning how to evolve and push themselves into new directions with it…through the only way you can: good, hard, work. And no matter how many years you’ve been at it, this doesn’t change. Not if you want to move forward.

…And I do.

…So here I am: flipping through plays like a maniac…trying to remember all the little unspoken “dos” and “don’ts” I learned about a million years ago…to choose a new companion…a new friend…to join me in study and on a stage for a two-minute audition, while my old one joins me on stage in that one part in Act three for three more performances…before I say goodbye to her forever.

…’Cept in my heart…where she’ll always have a special place.

…Which is the longest way to go about saying: “I need a new monologue…and I’m having a hell of a time finding it. Cuz I know it’s not good enough to be ‘good’ for what I’m going for…it needs to be ‘The One.’ And that ain’t as easy to find as you’d think.”

That’s all.

~D

Next!

11 Nov

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First weekend in the can, and our audiences mercifully gained in participation presence more and more with each performance. 

…Today’s matinee (a usually notoriously quiet crowd) was all in on the hijinks and drama…our best house yet.  And with the closing of our opening week, also finish the reviewers…hopefully good write-ups in all, and put in ink by Friday at the latest, in order to help boost ticket sales through what is now projected to be a cold and wet stretch into Thanksgiving.

…Meanwhile, the next show on my audition docket began today with open calls, and should be cast before next Monday, a week from tomorrow.  A hell of a drama, with lots of meat to chew…and a good balance, after a comedy like this one.

Could be a busy winter, with some interesting theme-play. 

…Need time ‘tween now and Thursday’s show to review the other script again and study up a bit.  Switching gears, switching time periods, switching head-space.  It’s a good exercise.  But will mean I’ll have to do some line-runs of “Twelfth” before show time, just to keep m’brain clear on where we are in the current game.

Meanwhile: to rest from last night…a cast gathering into the wee smalls, where we eventually dropped like rag dolls to the floor until the smell of Starbuck’s coffee and bacon grease revived us to the land of the living, in time for our first matinee.  Our Fabian graciously hosted, we graciously ate, drank, played and laughed until our bodies gave out.  Five cups of coffee later, I can feel me coming down off the high now, post show, and hitting those four hours of sleep like a brick wall with little buffer.

…Which reminds me that sometimes it’s not the greatest idea to sleep on a floor the night before you wedge yourself back into a steel-ribbed corset for the ninth day in a row. 

Good to know.

Tonight: I’m back home. The heater blaring on high, the fish fed, the Shakespeare infusion of DVDs…having done their job…now being put back into their places on the bookshelves. I’m done feeding the beast of royal obsession on all things Bard, and am now free to move onto other things…like “Once,” (as Marty seems very insistent about.)

And tomorrow?  A free day off in the name of Veteran’s everywhere.  As if what they’ve already done for us wasn’t wonderful enough.  Think I’ll clean house, and fest some War flicks in dedication.  Maybe read that book I keep meaning to start.

…For now, some hot cocoa, I think. Snuggle up in m’blankets, and play with some Netflix streaming, until I zonk out.

Good plan.  Wonder how far I’ll get before I…

— Zzzzzzzz…

~D

Holy Orders & More

6 Aug

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Callbacks this weekend. The theatre was booked, so we moved to the alternative space. 

Let not the irony escape you, that for at least two of the theatre’s in the area, the “alternative space” is a Church. 

…Historically speaking, whores and actors have been categorized together as equal opportunity offenders to these conservative numbers…(only possibly outdone by actors playing whores), since the beginning of time. Together, (or apart) they may say they accept you as one or both such members of humanity walking through their doors…but you better believe they’re gonna do their damndest to make sure when you walk out again, all that “nonsense” has been wiped clean, and you will be a fully functioning contributor to society once again.

…Unless you’re Lutheran or Unitarian I guess.  Cuz they sorta specialize in the, “whatever works for you,” category. Which is super rare. I know.  I’ve grown up in a whole lotta churches.  This one time?  I even wanted to make it a semi-calling.

…I was like five, and my Dad asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.

“A Nun and Actress!”

This tiny alteration to my otherwise lifelong goal, was a bi-product of having just discovered “The Sound of Music,” (of course.) It, never-the-less,  freaked him the fuck out.  As a student of Catholic Parochial Schools, I think he actually preferred the route I went. Which is only barely the lesser of two evils. At least this way, my “sins against humanity” would only involve making an ass of myself, with a possible last-minute repeal for my soul when the time has come. After all, I wouldn’t REALLY spend my life killing people, stealing their husbands and generally whoreing around…only “pretending” to.  This was better than a career of morbid servitude, beating children with rulers due to strict patriarchal demands and personal sexual frustrations.

…It’s “something,” and one should take what one can get.  Meanwhile, Mom found it hilarious and still likes to tell it as an anecdote at parties.

It was a short lived dream.

Despite the teachings of Julie Andrews (and Rogers and Hammerstein), a person cannot be both these things, sadly. (I’m sorry, it had to be said.)  At some point, this dawned on me. About the time I realized that raising seven step-children would prob’ly suck,  and I’d never actually “fly”, like Sally Field. This all directly coincided, by the way, with my first viewing of Audrey Hepburn’s “The Nun’s Story,”  wherein I was shown quite frankly that a life of almost total obedient silence, and floor scrubbing, in head-to-toe black polyester in the Congo, prob’ly wasn’t gonna allow for much stage time.  Clearly one of ’em would have to go…which is why I am not in Orders today. 

Also: I’m not Catholic.  And, they frown on cussing.

…Sadly, the “celibacy” bit, isn’t the issue…

…Anyway…where I was going with this was: Actors in a church are like one of the most outstanding “wrongs” you can imagine.  Especially when they are plying their trade.  Even if the offenders are “of faith” themselves…(obviously belonging to one of the less restrictive sects), and use their “powers” for good, not evil.  Since I belong to no sect, have my own “deal” with the powers that be, and play a revolving, reoccurring set of baddies, bimbos, bitches and ne’er-do-wells every time I pick up a script…it sorta freaks me out a bit to exercise it all in a place I was taught as far back as I can remember, is “Holy.” 

Also, it’s confusing.  Because I think of theatre almost exactly the same way…which some might call “heresy,” but I just call, “human truth.”

Either way you cook it…the entire experience can just get weird.

…Try doing Mamet in a Church foyer, for instance (been there.) Or play a lesbian putting the moves on someone’s wife, in the Sunday School room (done that.) Or murder a man in cold blood (yep), or ride a dude’s leg while he grapples your boob within three feet of the main sanctuary (achieved.)  Surround yourself with people screaming “Heil Hitler!” (on tour even.) Damn people to hell (check), ruin their marriages (several times), sell your body to the highest bidder (even for beer)…and swill booze in a pub while singing the raunchiest lyrics you can wink at (done, done, and yep.) These are things that might (to some) seem just a little disturbing…and not only to the people who aren’t participating in the events, believe me.  Which just means: when you walk into the building and know you have to do the things you’re gonna have to do in it…you sorta have to divorce yourself almost immediately from the restrictions of reality or you will never win, rehearse or conquer a role, pretty much ever again.

…I don’t know what that means in the mainframe of things…after all…it is only a “building” when you get right down to it. We don’t actually MEAN to “defile” it with our baser-humanity instincts and involvements (sometimes put to song.)  All I know is, this weekend I realized (for the first time) the double irony of it all.

…Think about it: Once upon a time (for about a week and a half), I wanted to be an Actor and a Nun.

And I am.

…Total, dedicated, penniless, servitude…as my calling requires…reaching out to humanity as a whole, without discrimination, in complete observance of all rulings sent down from my betters, as practiced within the walls of the Holy Church.

…Even the celibacy bit: still works.

…Which is all to say: “Look Ma! I made it!”

I’m sure she’s just proud as hell right now.

~D

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