Tag Archives: learning

Studification

24 Nov

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I’m studying a lot.

…Like over 100 pages into a notebook absolutely crammed, notated and highlighted within an inch of its life.

And I’m having a total wigging-out blast.

…Cuz “learning” is the all-the-time “sexy.” Just ask Einstein. Dude was a stone cold theory-flinging fox.

…Graham Bell gave some good brain too…

…But the best part about learning stuff is when you realize that the active process of doing it, is like the original version of the internet. In your head.

…Cuz “learning” is such a fucking black-hole process. You start out with a book on Picasso, and come up with a Google history, end-of-night, including everything from “cows of Peru,” “stained glass windows,” “famous nun affairs,” “African art influences,” “french prositution laws,” “Einstein theories,” “plastic arts,” “Francisco Franco,” “French Rivera,” “communist vs socialist,” “famous maquettes,” and “neo-expressionism” to…”Harlequin rose period,” and “Spanish civil war.”

The brain, when fed a suggestion of curiosity, goes on a total drunken bender for insta-knowledge as addendum to this other thing you’re actually trying to retain and process… until your Chrome has like 68 tabs open for cross referencing, your hand is getting writers cramp, you’ve reloaded the printer paper twice, and have totally run out of tape.

…It’s a good problem to have. When you like learning. Which I do. Only when you do it at this level of focus, it’s pretty fucking exhausting…making the eyes burn from bouncing back and forth, paper to screen…and forgetting to eat and drink things, cuz you were busy for like ten hours trying to find this one thing.

…But I digress.

…Not as much as the “alternate use for pickle juice” search (you’re welcome), or “scary Steven hawking quotes” (hey’ if I have to freak out, you have to freak out)…but still…

…It’s a thing.

And it’s been super fun.

…But I’m really tired now. and my contacts feel like sandpaper.

…So I guess that leaves this other stack of clippings for tomorrow.

…Except now I sorta wanna go Google Picasso. As he was totally not my actual topic of study at all…

~D

All Animals: On Deck

12 Dec

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Tomorrow is Opening.

…And in Children’s Theatre, I am now prepared to state that this means exactly the same thing as for “adult theatre.”

…Only with less cussing on final dress.

The melt-downs are a through-line, however. 

End-of-tech week, it’s something to be expected of Actors and Crew…SM’s and Directors, to have at least one or two rage/yells/freak-out/bitch-snap and/or good crys by the point we have reached today: which is the final rehearsal before Opening.

…I would just like to state right now, however, that though I’ve seen and/or participated in my own fair share of such freak-out traditions in my time, I  was only yesterday fully informed of how I’ve been doing it all wrong this whole time.

I have been SCHOOLED.

It has been NOTED.

The thing is: no one is as expert at throwing a tantrum as a preschooler.  No one is as fussy with their makeup as a teenager, even with an animal nose.  No one will complain more about what they are wearing than a grown man in a fake beard and/or knee socks. No one has known pain until they’ve played a hunched-over animal for 20 hours (so far) this week. No one understands a mother’s level of zen, until wrangling 3,000 (or so it seems) middle-schoolers, across two months of time.

This is the truth, my friends.

…And I have SEEN it.

…A three-year old Peacock having a total melt-down backstage, while Aslan is dieing and an audience looks on?  Been there.

…Frequently late Beavers, missing entrances cuz of flirting with evil wolves? Seen that.

…Unauthorised spur of the moment dance-offs during blocking, by grade-schoolers of all animalia ranges? Yep.

…The total and COMPLETE inability to stand still and listen when placing two middle-school girls together (in any variety)? Check.

…A final threat to confiscate ALL cell phones if the SM so much as catches a GLINT of glow, or thumb mid-text, on any of them, from any person in the cast, ever again? You know it.

…The come-to-Jesus final last-straw frustration of still dropped lines, fucking up whole scenes at a time, three days before opening? Uh huh.

…The look on the lead makeup artist’s face (of 24 animals), when told her earliest actor calls are only an hour and fifteen minutes before curtain? Witnessed.

…The realization that we have three days off and ten shows between now and the end of the run next Sunday? Registered.

Final conclusion?

Children’s Theatre ain’t for sissies!

You gotta MAN UP to ride this ride, people!

…There’s no “glamor.” There’s no “pacifying.”

…There’s 47 too many people in the dressing room.

…There’s 111 too many in the lobby during cross-overs.

…The lamp post is NEVER going to be where it once-upon-a-time was supposed to…so just fucking get OVER it!

You WILL run into the wardrobe on accident, during black outs.

…And several small people.

You WILL hear when the 5-year-old Stag misses her entrance.

…And mostly cuz 15 people behind the curtain will be sotto-voce-ing it to her from afar.

…Also, there WILL be laughter when you are trying to lay down whole plot monologues, which no one seems interested in…cuz holy fuck, aren’t you that one chick who was in that show that time, with the stuff and the thing…??!! And now you’ve got ears made of felt and an animal nose!?!??!

The suspension of disbelief and/or improv at this level is a thin, thin line, my friends. Some are better at playing both sides, than others. I am not one of the better ones.

…I am going out there (stupid as it may seem to some) as a fucking BEAVER.

It’s my job.

So: I’m doing it. And I take it seriously.

It’s studied, and justified, and articulate, and specific as all my stage work always is. I don’t know how to do it any other way. I never have.

…So: from day one, I’ve been Mrs. Beaver. And this weekend, I was Mrs. Beaver. And tomorrow, and the next week…I will show up for every performance and bust JUST as much ass, being a non-hibernating mammal, as I have in anything else I’ve ever done.

…Because, (though I have tried) I don’t quite understand the way to differentiate it out.

A role is a role.

A scene partner is a scene partner.

Age ten or not.

…And though it may come with plenty of “good” sides to it: this mindset is a dangerous one to have (I’ve found) in the world of little people theatre.

…The expectations: for myself, are the very same I expect from them. From everyone. I always have.

I’m a hardass about “show up and work.”

I admit it.

…And while I am TOTALLY glad I’ve come to play with my friends and theatre family in Narnia over the holiday…lets just say: I’m comfortable in acknowledging that I’ve not missed my “calling,” all these years, after all.

Three things I know to be true, from the experience of where I stand now (in retrospect):

1) I am not “mother” material

2) I will always be frustrated by wasted/unfocused rehearsal time (child-related or not)

3) I can play a decent Beaver

Let it be noted.

~D

Plowed

14 May

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Rehearsal kicked my ass tonight…or rather, I kicked my own ass AT rehearsal tonight.  Every moment not consumed in my first fitting or on stage was spent pacing at furious speeds outside, while running my lines, hoping it would somehow help them stick with the sheer force of energy.

…This went on for 3 hours.

…And for all of that, I kept screwing them up when I really actually needed them, anyway.

I don’t know what the fucking mental block on this is, but I’ve easily dedicated twice the amount of time to these lines than my last two shows put together, and the cocking things just won’t fucking stick.

…All my usual bag of tricks have been applied. The retention is massively slow, and occasionally word-spotty.  I might get three of the four direct adjectives in a row, but always forget that one middle one…the one that begins with an “R”…and ALWAYS screws up the flow of my recitation by going AWOL whenever possibly able.

I really just can’t do any more tonight. 

…Off book for Act 1 and half of Act 2, which would be great at one-week in…if that didn’t take me about 18 hours to accomplish, and still in a lot of cases, only “tentatively.”

…Things at work weren’t really the greatest, either, actually.

It all adds up.

I’m tired.

I’m gonna go to bed now and think of “not-lines” and forget about Corporate Reports on PURPOSE.

…Possibly contemplate how I’m going to clean my entire house in like 15 minutes tomorrow, after work, before some road tripping California Cousins arrive.

…And also: pay bills.

Gawd. I could really go for a glass of wine right about now…

And a thing of chocolate, with a side of grease.

And potatoes.

Instead, I’ll gargle mouthwash and go to bed.

Not a cool trade-off, friends.

~D

Yarn Juggling

16 Mar

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I’m one ball down.

…The edges aren’t great, but the simple pattern is coming along. 

…It’s a learning curve.

Bug-eyed and cramped-handed…I’m sorta glad I finally ran out of yarn.  Being obsessive about this could have ruined sleep for the entire weekend if let.

So it goes.  M’first crocheting effort:

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…Soon to be a lap blanket. 

War-style.

Courtesy of Crochet-Goddess Marty 🙂

~D

Exercising Demons

18 Nov

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Sometimes Actors like to go a little suicidal and play really close to the edge of the cliff. 

…In other words, they will take something that has huge personal relevancy, connotation and emotional cost, and exploit it for artistic means…which is a brave, twisted, painful….and some would say, “sick” thing to do.  But it is how people connect with truth. 

Being naked means a lot more than just taking your clothes off. 

…The most naked I’ve even been in my life, had me in three layers of 1940’s clothes, sporting a Dutch accent.  Clearly that wasn’t “me” up on that stage.  Clearly I had plenty of things to “hide behind” in the voice and look and age that I was portraying. But, because the story content was so very personal to me…because the character I was playing was a real person, whom I had studied and knew from my childhood…because the themes and History of it had helped to form me so much as a reader and artist, and human…the role had wormed its way to my innermost guts, weaving a special new fiber of marriage with not just my mind’s creative sector, but key emotional centers, and physical expressions. 

It quite frankly took me over. 

…Not all at once.  But at some point, every night, I would lose myself it it fully, without even being conscious of it…and the only point that realization would kick in would be at the shows end, when I’d sorta wake with a start, to the audience beginning to applaud our work.

…It’s the furthest I’ve ever been, the most raw I’ve ever felt, the most emotionally draining thing I’ve ever experienced, by far…on any stage.  And though you learn so much as a person, as an Artist, when roles like that (few and far between) come along…it is still a terrifying aspect of what we do, for everyone who is willing to travel that journey. 

…Fighting your personal demons in public is as naked as you will ever get, my friends.  And agreeing to it, embracing it, and not holding back, is riding that suicidal cliff edge, where some people can’t handle the mind-games it pulls on you, the nightmares it brings, the depressions that it can usher in, the sleepless nights, and obsessive pushing to places you have purposely left behind closed doors, to grow thick with dust and cobwebs and never be seen or heard from again.

Yesterday, I walked down the corridors and unlocked one of those doors, letting out not just vacant dustballs and “remember whens,” but a whole fucking Pandora’s box of shit. 

I knew it would happen. 

And I did it willingly. 

…And it actually mentally, emotionally and physically altered me for the remainder of the day, and well into performance last night.  An inconvenience when you have another show to do, and another character with other traits placed entirely where your head isn’t, and won’t be, due to the cost of being naked on a stage several hours earlier.

Callbacks were yesterday, just before our performance.

…With one hour and fifteen minutes buffer, a group of us, talked and ate and joked and tried to redirect our brains to better places in order to prep for this other thing we were soon needing to do. But on the inside, several of us who had vomited all to-real emotions out on the stage less than two hours earlier, were play-acting our way now through “life” because we were actually in no way prepared to merely dust off the age and disgust of the long locked rooms we had opened in our private-most inner sanctums. 

…In fact the room was so overwhelming before even barely crossing the threshold that it took two scene reads before I could calm myself down enough emotionally to USE the feelings instead of letting them completely overwhelm me.  I felt swarmed.  My body actually physically shook beyond my own control.  I had to concentrate so hard on the words to get them out with the proper amount of emotion and not the sea of it that I was feeling, that the poor bastards I read with had little help in their own work, from my direction. 

…But in time, I was able to wrangle my grasp onto it.  Could get on the back of it, as it thrashed around, and manage to stay on, and stay focused and stay with my scene partners.  And though it was only several passes at four scenes…neither of them the big emotional reveal and peak that the script eventually rises to…just knowing it was there…that the words I was speaking were in defence of this unspoken thing…that every line had a double meaning, later to ruin and/or alter people’s lives forever…and knowing that I once knew and fought that battle too…was a palpable thing. 

Exercising a personal demon.  Being brave enough after all these years to walk up to it, getting grip of it’s mane, and swing onto it’s back with determination that this time…this time, I am the boss of it, and I will use it to my own devices and needs…

…Because I have EARNED this moment. 

I’m done living in a house with another door I’m too scared to open.  Of course there are other attics and basements filled with personal fears and painful memories, too.  But yesterday, I decided this one won’t be among them anymore. 

…I may or may not be given the opportunity to air it for an entire audience.  Casting calls are still yet to be made.  But even if I don’t…for a day, in front of more strangers than friends…I faced that certain beast.  Which is more than I’ve done since the day I first locked it away.  And the sizable personal victory…followed by slightly sickening after-shock once coming down from the adrenaline rush, was worth it.

If not on stage, then in some other way…I’m ready to get this shit taken care of.

…And it feels horrible, gut-wrenching, good.

…And if you’re an Artist of anything…you totally know exactly what that means.

~D

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