Tag Archives: rehearsal

,When: She Writes A Little

22 Jan

One of my favorite  humans has just left. 

…I hermit myself,  quite often,  because as an anxiety-fueled person,  it is a requirement.  But I imagine it must be somewhat akin to a person with onslaught senility…in that a part of me very much wants to participate  and understands the joys and loss,  while the other part of me is just incapable  of dealing with that information. 

…Anyway, I’ve missed her. 

And,  as we do,  we had a good walk, and talk. About all the things. As Aaron Sorkin  would want us to.  And she was honest and brave. And she was real.  Which is always such a privileged thing to be on the receiving end of.  

…And this comes just after a fantastical hang time with my “Dark’s,” –the surviving drinkable age range of the show that drove me to my last break down, (they didn’t,  but–you get it) leaving  me (ironically)  with a buddy-crew of mates,  I would not trade for fucking gold.  

…And I am writing again.  For real. 

I’ve a stage read this Thursday,  and last week was the first time in over half a year that I enjoyed going to rehearsal. Or acting. Or any of it, frankly. Followed then by seeing a well played show this weekend, hang time with my mates, an Act and two scenes into a new script since Tuesday, and an artistic retreat  with a group of women, to be met with none other,  in two weeks. 

…Just us,  a cabin, and infinite artistic abilities. 

Outside of my artistic  cocoon: it is shit.  But inside…inside I am protected by heart-family,  energy,  wit, and a shit ton of very stiffly-poured drinks.

…And characters,  that fill my mind and tell me secrets, and appear,  all of a sudden (from out of nowhere), in print. 

I’ll take it. 

~D

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Wendy, Darling

29 Nov

I’ve tentatively started work on my next show…only a read, but requires much research. 

…Autobiographical, journalist, can’t pronounce half the shit in it, power-play of ladydom.

(aka: Pfeni in “Sisters Rosensweig.”)

…Didn’t touch any of the bookwork during the last circus of events, barely cracked the spine of her bio on the trip home and back, but had started last night, for a bit, with Mdm Director binging the sisters and niece to see about our first family meet up since the first read, months ago, just tonight.

This was always on the books, before my brain started curdling, and it’s stayed for many a purpose. I knew I’d have at least one month off the boards, knew it would be a gentler ride for only a staged reading (albeit a damn good one), and, MOST essentially, I knew I could trust the person in power to protect us all.

…I’m very very big on that, now.

This time away has sucked because it was absolutely necessary, but has been wonderful, because I chose to work and use it. I’ve learned a lot (and still will be), and have drawn new boundaries and requirements. 

Quality over quantity. Forever. 

…I will only work with the best of the best, the people who teach and support and grow others (and themselves.) I will only work with a team who is all in, all ready, all on the same page, of wanting to support one another. This will limit my options, I will say, rather drastically. And it probably needs to. 

No. It does. It needs to.

I am not in a place, artistically or otherwise, to allow myself any other version of requirement. Because it is my dedication level, and I cannot survive without receiving a like amount of emotional energy back from those I am investing mine in. I feel it too much. I wear it on my freakin soul. It is who I am, and my love of this beast, requires it of me.  

…And I’m glad to love my life–what I do, what I identify as–and am proud that it has become so deeply threaded in me…but damn…do I need to take better care of the instrument!

So, hey…now it is: reading Wasserstein bios, circling tons of references I need to look up, and embracing my NY Jewish theatre-girlness, in tandem with Artists Way blurb-spewing, Morning Page dumps, and every once in a while, still staring at an empty page…wondering when the hell I’ll come up with something to put on it.

…Also, retreat-groups, and synchronic networking, and looking up old friends, and writing amends, and taking walks (short, but there, again.) I’ve made more chums, tried new things, admitted stuff, been designer-dressed and gifted whole wardrobes, pinned world’s of thoughts to my Wall, tried to break down other ones that probably don’t need to stand in my way anymore.

…I’ve gone home again (literally, and in several ways), despite what they say about never really being able to. I’ve spent this time really connecting. And learning. And remembering. At my youngest, earliest levels.

…And it is different. Like: ignorning the audience for years, and suddenly breaking that fourth wall for the first time, in earnest, to deliver a truth–eyeball-to-eyeball.

It is unsettling, but maybe: I like it. Inviting others in on the ride, not just to read about it, but be there in the moments. It’s…”full.” It’s therapeutic. It feels so incredibly supported. And empowering. 

…And kinda…

…Brilliant.

~D

Dear My Blithe Spirits

3 Nov

I will have far too much fun participating in our final weekend of shenanigans, and late night post-show “Wakes,” to do this individually, so please accept this blog as my closing card, to the lot of you:

I showed up on your doorstep, as a broken mess, still very much contributing to my ongoing ill-health for the remainder of our rehearsal period. There were many nights and days (or whatever you call 3 am, time, after time, after time) when I just knew there was no mental way for me to pull this show off. I was empty. I was sick. 

…At one point, it was a serious discussion that I should leave.

…And while I was fighting all these many ghosts of shit, haunting me: you were there. Our team. From the highest leadership…who assured me that if I needed to leave, truly, there would be no less affection or support for me…that my  value as a human and their friend was higher than being a commodity, more than ticket sales, or recasting nightmares…to the front-of-house staff, and best damn bartender in town.

…Supported every single second by a beautifully talented SM, who was a calming voice of reason, and constant source of hugs and joy. Her team, which have been so incredibly dialed in at every moment. 

…Our designers and incredible painters, who built us a world of details and our stately home which they successfully destroy at every performance-end. 

…This team.

…And then: the ones on stage with me, who have covered god knows how many line fuck-ups, who are so generous with their smiles and naughtiness…who have pulled sweaty costumes off me in every quick change, and fed me freshly baked yum-goods, and given me so very much play-space on stage, and supported me when I failed, (so phenomenally), time and time again…helping me fool everyone who has seen this show–that there is nothing in the least amiss.

I am endlessly thankful for you all. And super Emo, heading into this final weekend of performances. It was a show I had no business taking on, let alone staying in, for probably everyone’s better interest. But you were (and are) always, always, always there. You never gave up on me. 

…So: I couldn’t. 

…So: I didn’t.

…So: I still haven’t.

“Thank you,” seems so very little in return. What you gave me was why the theatre has always been so essential to so many of us.

We are bigger, stronger, fiercer together. As a team. As artists. And despite my injuries, you brilliant bastards got me to the World Series, so when I was ready, and able: I could play.

I am so incredibly thankful for all of you fantastically talented freaks. And I promise to pay this all forward. Just as soon as I am able.

Thank you,

~D

I’ll Have What She’s Having

1 Nov

You know how sometimes you are so conflicted, or so hungry, or so PMSey that you think you want a big ol’ plate of this thing over here, but when your buddy’s plate comes to the table, you feel like that was what you should have chosen instead…but then they see that look in your eyes and are all, “Split-share?” (…cuz all your friends are equal foodies), and your taste buds and guts go, “Yeeeesss! Best of both worlds!” and everything is all-the-flavors-of-awesome?

…That is what going to a friend’s show is like. 

…Kinda always super wish you were working with them, but sometimes you just had to try for that other thing over there, instead…cuz of the stuff…and you did, and lots of times its good, but if you somehow have a skewed performance schedule, (or can sneak into a rehearsal of a limited run, like I am tonight), it’s like all the salty, sweet, buttery and garlicy goodness, wrapped up in both life-plates.

So, I’ll be art-eating super good tonight, at one of the final rehearsals, for an already sold-out run, of a dear friend, whose passion and empathy knows no bounds.

Damn, I’m so proud of her, and the team she has collected to create this amazing piece of historical theatre!

Let’s eat!

~D

…Meanwhile: On Stage

23 Jul

“One should always start a bucket-list role, and new job, within one day of each other on the same week,” said no one, ever.

…And yet: due to crazy scheduling for the summer, this is somehow my fourth week of work and end of my first week of rehearsal, with only the initial read going on a head-to-header.

“Wait Until Dark.”

…A classic thriller, period piece, with severe study prep requirement.

I love it.

Much psychological work, even more– physical. A sighted person gone blind, with zero percent light sensitivity, and only within the single year of her rehabilitation, six-months a newlywed, terrorized by three professional thieves and murderers.

Acting: gold. With a lot of room for error.

…Bring it.

This is my favorite. The more specific the limitations, the more specific the work. I’ve a plethora of materials I’m diving into, a list of props I’m constantly working with at home to develop specifics with, a working mental map of the set layout, for movement and point of reference,  many revisits to my severely sight-handicapped Annie Sullivan days, rehabilitation specific of the 60’s offered treatments, and constant focus work…to find the best levels for safety and movement.

…Seventh-freakin-heaven.

…And tonight, finally got to see “Maudie,” bio pic, which I had been salivating over since first seeing the trailer…to study the beautiful, beautiful performance, by Sally Hawkins.

 …Which one might think has absolutely nothing to do with this: yet absolutely does. Tonight I watched it for the art, but I WILL be seeing this piece several times for technique… and revisiting another favorite performance of Marion Cotillard in  “La Vie En Rose,” along with (strangely, “Miracle Worker,” on Helen specifics), “Patch of Blue,” “Ray,” and the Koren crime thriller, “Blind.”

…Of course there are the specifics of the disability to adhere to, but it is the truth and quality of life beyond the disability, which is my focus. “Maudie” nailed that beautifully. People who happen to be in this particular circumstance, who fight not to let it define them, or limit them.

Yes.

Again, a soul much braver than mine, with a much sunnier outlook of possibility. It will do me good to fight for her. And I’m thankful for the team I get to do it with.

…And I need to go and work on it, now. Especially with that beautiful, delicately, specific example just having been before me.

…Only wanted to state that: all is not lost in office-hell feelings of incompetence and newness. Some is very safe and happy in art-joy and yayness.

…Which should prob’ly have been the lead story, there. Trust me to bury the good shit.

~D

While We’re Cheating, Know: I Miss You

8 Feb

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

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

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

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

…And: we kick total ass.

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

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

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

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

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

(*We’re super humble, too…) 

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

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

…And the other guy goes:

 “Yeah. Me too. ”

~D

Win-Losses & Trannies

4 Feb

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

The script is fast becoming mutilated. They always do.

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

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

…And I am very, very happy. 

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

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

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

…My God, she is frustrating to track. 

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

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

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

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

…But in all the good ways. 

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

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

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

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

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

2. Horton Foote might be a fucking genius. 

~D

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