Tag Archives: shows

Open

9 Sep

Awake at 3am. I think asleep again by 5-something. Then again at 6. Then 8. 

…Haven’t slept well in ages. Several reasons, primary of last night being total body and mental exhaustion. 

…You know when you see a toddler, waaay past their nap time, have a total and complete meltdown in the grocery aisle, giving zero shits who the present audience is, or that this is unacceptable behavior–their limbs go limp, they’re sobbing like a family member died right in front of them, and it’s all because they don’t like the “orange kind”? I’m right there. I have no ability to appropriately designate my feelings and trauma. 

…And, my body hurts. Their are muscles that feel shredded, so many ever-changing colors of bruises, that I have no count. I keep stressing my formerly broken finger every night in the fight sequence, so what usually is a dull ache when weather changes, is shooting pains up to my elbow…(last night’s particular pain of choice to wake me.) My back is so tight across the shoulders: you could use it for a helipad.

If one person in the next five weeks, says they think its cute that I have an acting hobby, I’m going to punch them in the face. And in my current mental place: I can’t guarantee it would stop there. 

Of course, I DID sign up for this. And so: it is what it is. Boxers wear *their* sport badges with pride: split lips, broken noses, et al. So, in moments and shows like this, I do too. I do it to remind myself of the gallons of sweat and tears that have hours ago dissipated and been showered off. I do it because each one was earned in commitment to something I love, like the birth pains of a labor. I do it because not every role or show is a frivolous exercise, or a beauty contest…certainly not the ones *I* participate in. I do it because I carry that role with me at least as long as those bruises will show…and sometimes, well after. In an ephemeral artform, it’s the reminder I can look back on, and instantly trigger back to this time and place.

…And in the meantime, before starting rehearsals for “Blithe Spirit,” on Monday, I will use today to nest on the couch. I will stay in pajamas until prep for call. I will watch other people gaining *their* bruises and show-badges on TV. 

…I will self-care, and order delivery. I will cry when I need to, and not if I don’t, and leave my severely overworked contacts, soaking in their case.

I will take a day.

…And then, tonight, I will stretch and fight-call, and suit up again, adding to my growing badge collection.

Cuz, Theatre ain’t for fucking sissies.

~D

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

Rent Paychecks & Food Orphans

8 Jul

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Am watching this show that makes me want to cook all the time…an artform I am rubbish at, but like to pretend I can do anyway.

… My amended versions of fake recipes are entirely based on what seems like a good idea at the time, spun on its ear, with the hodge-podge of nonsensical foods and condiments I have to work with directly in my cupboard and fridge. This is because it was rent paycheck week, so I am poor again, but just as determined to invent something of culinary awesomeness with nothing at all but what I’ll refer to as the leftover Food Orphans in my kitchen.

… There is no lettuce, but I have zucchini and cucumbers. Lots of beans and rice…but no bread. Eggs without milk. Hot sauce in three varieties…and chicken broth…spaghetti with no sauce, and one can of albacore tuna.

… Every condiment in tiny takeout packet form, and every salad dressing…but no butter or sugar. I have a $12 Moroccan spice and a $3 Italien seasoning mix, but also a tiny packet of zillion-dollar-an-ounce Saffron, as well as a box of cornflakes, a thing of Shake-n-Bake, and cupcake decorations without ingredients to mix and make the cupcakes.

I dunno how half these things got in my house. Mostly, other people have bought them and left them, over time. Because everyone cooks there…not because the kitchen is posh and high-functioning…it is a galley with zero steel surfaces and a human dishwasher (me)…but mostly because I will ply free booze to anyone who will cook for me…so I can grate and cut things and pretend I know what I’m doing when I don’t.

Because I love food.

… And I love the process of making it.

… And so, when I go through friend-cooking-withdrawal… I click a food show on Netflix, get a burr up my ass, and go pretend I know how to go it alone with inventiveness.

I WILL FIND ART ANY WAY I CAN, AND PRACTICE IT, TO MY HEART’S DELIGHT… SO JUST SHUT UP ABOUT IT!

(The struggle is real.)

(… And not just for my palate.)

Next: Am starting to get frustrated with the ever evolving world of job hunting. You want this one who never calls, constant calls from all the ones you don’t want…the best jobs are too far away, the close ones are shitty, requiring your every night and weekend probable take-over. It has become a vicious cycle of the phone ringing and binging all day long, but always ending with anticlimactic fizzle.

My phone is quickly becoming sexually frustrated as hell, as I re-sweep the same damn ads over and over and over again, and Insurance companies haunt me like a mouth-breather on a crowded bus.

… Also, every accounting department known to man.

Trust me. You don’t want me in Finance. Or to sell things to people. You want to bury me in the back office where I can chew massive amounts of paperwork while speaking to no one…for hours and hours.

… Maybe I’ll start looking into the mortuary arts. It’s people-related, but only barely. It’s quiet, low stress, and there are no constant calls bitching about returns and repairs.

(No, but seriously. I should consider this.)

Meanwhile, why isn’t it 4:30 yet?

… Mrs. Johnson has arrived and gives zero fucks about the remainder of the work day. She just wants her forced 15k walk out of the damn way and a Pamprin cocktail with a whiskey chaser. And then: some pajama friend hang time.

… Which she’s damn-well gonna get. (I’ll have you know.)

The end.

~D

A Letter To Friends In The Audience

16 Oct

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You know how I have really high expectations of myself as a performer? And, you know how I am my worst critic and get really pissed off when I feel I have not been able to give the best performance I can for whatever random reason might have just occured?

…And you know how you mostly say, “I couldn’t even tell, what the hell are you even talking about?”

…And we sorta debate/argue a bit back and forth over it? And you roll your eyes at me, and I still feel I’ve failed, and then we all go out for a beer afterwards, under the stipulation we talk about anything at all but what you’ve just seen?

In good conscience, I can’t do that with this show.

…First of all, because it’s delightful and hilarious and populated by totally talented people…and second of all, because it’s a brand spanking new company, and we need all the word-of-mouth we can get.

This, however, doesn’t change the wall of anxiety I am facing every night to do this thing, I don’t have self confidence to be doing. You cannot reason with it, dismiss it, beef it up…I’ve tried…none of that seems to work. And though I am absolutely doing my job out there, to the best of my particular ability in this field, it is not a wheelhouse that any amount of exhausted rehearsals have managed to make me feel, “oh, hell yeah…I’ve got this.”

…In short, I will know most of the people in every audience of this show…because I’ve worked in this town for 15 years now, and have super supportive kick-ass friends. And I guess what it comes down to is:

1) Thanks for coming and being here for all of us, I know you’ll laugh lots and enjoy the hell out of this dork-fest of theatre love.

2) Please, dear God, can you spread the word on the streets to get some butts in the seats.

3) Fuck the beer, after…I’ll need a whiskey. Same table-rules apply.

Signed,

~ Perpetually-Freaked-Out-Susan

Dear Annie

11 Mar

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Well, my friend, as I’ve stacked two shows simultaneously after this one…I wanted to take a moment of reflection before an insanely busy weekend launches, inhibiting me completely.

…As it stands, we are three performances from where our road together ends.

…The time when both our bruised bodies and wrecked knees, ribcages stuffed in steel-lined corsets…the gallons of sweat and frustrated shared history with “that kid”…will have come to completion. I know how exhausted my body and brain is…I cannot even fathom how much yours was at final rest…but with Helen there beside you, I know it’s a peaceful, and well-loved place I leave you…until someone else picks up this script and begins the journey all over again.

I have truly treasured being a part of your world and history…learning the tiny details and intimacies of your life…the hard times and the sweet, and I’ve done my absolute best to provide the most truthful access to you that I could conceive of from months of study and communal brain space.

…I have to admit, it has been a more difficult task than I thought, to keep perspective in. Because honestly, you crack me the hell up with all your self-affacing humor in letters, your ferocious arguments in a heated moment, your stubborn refusals to back down, your imperfect people skills. But god, you were beautiful too…with your very honest, human struggles against doubt, and self confidence, and pain, and the loss that fueled the nightmares which haunted you all of your life.

I am astounded by so many things about you, but most of all, at the way you still managed to open (even if only to one person, truly) and trust enough…to “love” again. Despite all of it.

…I have loved being some far-reaching part of your existence. I did my best to do you proud, and though I could frequently hear you cussing at me and sighing from above, during manic rehearsals …I know you’ve nodded in my direction at least once or twice. Because I’ve felt it.

…A lot of actors I know, find performing actual people from history a daunting task. It’s a slippery slope that many feel caught and restricted in, which I never have. The homework only feeds me…the mindful conversations I have in my head which I have always invited the spirit or essence of such person to openly become a part of, makes me feel I’m participating in a secret interview with the past that not many people get the chance to undertake. I feel connected and energized and try to erase as much of my own judgment as I can, to keep an honest and open gateway to whatever enlightenment may come of it all. In essence, it may sound freaky-deeky, but in those moments, if I’m good and fair and trust…I am never alone…and I try to bring that with me as a host for the story being told. Frankly, I love the companionship of history and the people who make it worth remembering and talking about.

…Like you.

If you could look down right now and see what has come from the work you had started, all those years ago…I think I know you well enough to say that while not totally satisfied, you would still be proud. So many things changed for the better because of the work that you and Helen did.

So many lives.

…If you taught us nothing else, it is that every person has a worth of destiny and meaning…be they deaf, dumb, and blind, or an orphan girl with only six years of education under their belt.

…Whether you were of the inclination to believe it or not… I bet you all I’ve got, that a little boy named Jimmy…perfect in body and mind…is standing beside you right now, proud as hell, and grinning with all of his might, in agreement.

…And Helen too.

Three more shows, and I have to let you go. But before I do…wanna know my deep down secret?

In over 50 roles, you have been my most especial and absolute favorite.

Thanks for the hard, and wonderful work, Lady. In life, and on stage.

Your Big Fan,

~D

Earnest, My Lover

4 Mar

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Here we are…halfway through the run of “Miracle,” over the hump of that 16 shows in 17 days marathon, back at performances as usual tomorrow, while today I have first read to begin the next show.

It’s the first time I’ve ever remounted a role, which is going against the grain for me.

…Whatever character I take on, I put everything I’ve got into it…so good, bad, or otherwise, there is no need to revisit them to my mind.  Obviously I could have taken later lessons and instilled them into earlier characters in my career to make the work more solid, but performance art being what it is…one could always say that, then end up playing the same 5 roles your entire career on repeat.  No thank you.  I learn what I can from each, and move the fuck on.  It’s healthier that way.  Even for the ones I really, really love.

…But this re-visit comes from what I’d call “unfinished business.” And it is also allowing me to work with one of my favorite artists I’ve ever shared a stage with.  The fact we had both done the same show before, is anything but adding dust to an old already-written book, as his role has now swapped and we’ll be firing on all cylinders in a trilogy of romantic mayhems together.  Our last chance to touch upon that regime was in “Importance of Being Earnest,” where we first realized the mad-cow totally platonic chemistry we apparently swim in together…which amuses the fuck out of us both, I think…as I doubt two more totally NOT interested-in-one-another-at-all people could be found. 

…The joy of finding a performing  “yin” to your “yang,” the always “yes-man” to every idea…the person who you can literally go anywhere you can mentally and physically conceive of, on a total whim, which for some reason just always fucking works…THAT is a hell of a lot of fun to play and work with. Actual communication isn’t even a necessity of the beast…it’s like we’re artistically wired to the other’s guys idea-sector.

…Which, given that it’s period and farce, outrageous and scintillating, means I’ll have a lot to keep my mind busy and inventive, and  joyful as I wave goodbye to my favorite role to date.  The transition will be far less bumpy with a buddy at my side…several buddies in fact. 

…Sometimes being “The Woman,” ain’t all bad…

Hark, “39 Steps”…it’s me again.  Grab the wigs n’ handcuffs…eets time to plaaaay. 

~D

I Was Asked…

5 Nov

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Back by popular demand…I’ve been requested to do an office update. 

…What air-headed new upset has The Gnome gotten into? Has WHS Pimp followed through on his custom designer tampon line?  What shenanigans can two actors in one real-world job situation get into?  Exactly how much junk food can you consume in a single day without puking it back up again?  These answers and more, in our ongoing soap-like drama of Brothel-joy.

First: The Gnome has been on maternity leave for over a month now.  For which we are all glad. “Stupid” may be occasionally cute and funny when tempered across several week’s or months of time in a “greatest hits” kinda deal…but when you actually have to deal with it live and in person every work hour of every day, it is fucking exhausting.  What is nice is not having to temper screaming things like, “OH MY GOD, HOW DO YOU STILL NOT KNOW HOW TO FAX?!” or “YOU ALPHABETIZE BY LAST NAME NOT FIRST…HAVE YOU ANY IDEA HOW MANY FUCKING ‘FREDS’ ARE IN THESE CUSTOMER FILES?!” before I’ve even had my morning coffee. On a continual basis.  

…Basically, I can get through the day now without wanting to punch a pregnant woman in the face…and I count that as a win.  Especially as unless you try to interact with her in person, that just sounds really bad…like I’m a super terrible person.  And while I’m no Mother Theresa…I’m hardly a Mussolini.  But a person can only take so much active stupidity across an extended length of time, without mentally rebelling in some way.

…Which is how Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin impression REALLY got born.

True story.

…Anyway, she hadda boy.  The Gnome.  And we haven’t heard from her since. We hope, for the child’s sake, that she somehow birthed a savant who can feed and diaper himself…but other than that, she rarely comes up in conversation, unless first prefaced with something like:

WHS Pimp: Where the hell do you think she put the contract for that thing? 

Me: You mean as opposed to what a NORMAL person would do with it?

WHS Pimp: Yeah. Like…what was her “system” do you think?

Me: It’s cute how you think she had one.

WHS Pimp: No, but seriously though.

Me: It could, literally, be ANYWHERE.  Anywhere at all.  And I’m speaking actual not-shitting-you truth.

WHS Pimp: Fuck.

Me: Welcome to my world.

…Meanwhile…

Cecil of “Earnest” fame, has taken over The Gnome’s domain.  In the past month she’s ripped all the files out and alpha’d them like a normal person would, has digitally archived all record retention needs, learned how to do contracts the right way THE  FIRST TIME, and brought a plant in, called Ruth, who sits in the lobby being green and anti-depressive.

…A giant-fat-wealth of betterness has come in her wake.  Also an almost constant stream of theatre talk and commiseration zombie-eyed mornings on tech week.  It’s nice to have another in the room who gets it.  Since she’s joined staff, we’ve made it through two closings three rehearsal processes and are on our third opening weekend.  It’s manic, but it’s what theatre peeps do…so though we manage the ebb and flow accordingly, WHS Pimp’s head spins with conversations like:

WHS Pimp:  What the hell? Didn’t you just open a show last week? How are you closing already?

Me: No, that was my show.

WHS Pimp: Which one?! You’re doing two right now.

Me: No, I closed that last one, and am only doing one now.

Cecil: That was me.  I just opened.  But then I’m rehearsing now too.

WHS Pimp: Like she just did, with the two-at-once thing?

Cecil: Right.

Me: But then I closed the one, and am almost to tech week for the second.

Cecil: But I had to close my last one first because they are at the same theatre.

WHS Pimp: What?

Me: My second show and her first show are in the same season at the same theatre, back-to-back.  So her show has to close first, while I’m in rehearsal, meanwhile, she’s in rehearsal for her second show at a different theatre.  Her first one is closing soon, which means my second one will open soon, which means shes about two weeks from opening her second one.  Somewhere else.

WHS Pimp: For fucks sake!  How the hell are you even awake right now?

Me: Well, she’s twenty.  And I drink coffee. A lot.

…Meanwhile…

In Other, Other News:  WHS Pimp’s GF got him to sign up for a race. Like for running.  With his legs and everything. Apparently, “for fun.” It has been a journey to watch him combat morning stiffness in every joint, with afternoon pizza devouring, and after-work gin gulps…which he sends in IM’d pictorial proof together with titles like, “I made it to the end of the block without stopping.  CHEERS!!!”  I told him that though I’m not the best dietary nutritionist on the planet, I doubted that after-run hydration recommendations include alcoholic beverages…even if mixed with nothing.  To which he said things like, “Nonsense! Gin is mostly herbs, berry extract, and rubbing alcohol! If nothing else, I’m a homeopathic genius!” 

…Weeks of this ensued.  Together with talks about special anti-chafing underware, iso-socks that can cripple you if you put the wrong one on the the incorrect foot, and debating on whether udder cream, Vaseline, or chapstick is the best to combat this raw-nipple problem that apparently runners get who don’t have to wear three kinds of bras just to keep their boobs from knocking them out on the up-jump. 

…Across two month’s time he’s dropped about $350 on crap just to do this race…which blows my fucking mind, not least of which because it isn’t even a proper sport and requires not a single tool in order to actually do it.  When the hell did running turn into a multi-million dollar industry of whole shoe stores where people squat to watch your stride and make sure your $180 trainers are supporting your heavier in-step fall than your rolling out-step?

I dunno.  But whatever the craziness, it ended this last weekend.  In one single run.  The pictures of which show him purple-faced to the point where anyone would assume he might drop dead of cardiac arrest at any moment.  The look of pained concentration, with his 11 layers of light-weight, stream-lined, state-of-the-art gear blearing in florescent reflector glory, was a sight to behold. 

So was his walk, on Monday.

Me: Lookin’ good buddy.

WHS Pimp: Ffffffuuuuuuuuuuuck.

Me: –So full of healthy awesome!

WHS Pimp: …Oh god….

Me: –So energized…

WHS Pimp: …Sweet Jesus…

Me: — Just the picture of rock-hard-badassness.

WHS Pimp: She signed me up for another one.

(Total silence)

WHS Pimp: …I might have to break up with her.

(I nod, and offer a cookie.)


(He takes it. And starts to cry. Ever so softly.)

~D

 

Tag-Teaming Murder & Education

8 Sep

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Dearest “Rita” is alive and well, warbling her free-association wisdoms at-will (and speed), and having a great time playing with her Professor…which ends our first weekend of performances, and ushers in today’s first rehearsal of the next gig.

From Liverpool to London, back to Liverpool again…and London…I’ll be splitting time for the next two week’s ‘tween our enthusiastically educating Scouser and a London society-dame, fighting to survive murder, Hitchcock-style. While we are on the same island, there is a good sixty-year era-difference, not to mention sizable pocketbook increase…which’ll be fun to bounce around between…cuz who the hell doesn’t love Noir and 50’s fashions, mixed with sailor-mouthed, punk, fuck-me shoes?

Yes to it all!

…And so with today’s first table-read, we pack away the Chekhov, Ibsen, and Forster et al (Sunday nights thru Wednesday), and bring out some epic Noir film-festing to put some meat on these ingénue bones facing me in print. 

Famously portrayed by Grace Kelly, in her typical perfect-looking-yet-boring-as-hell-to-watch fashion, the plan is to make our Margot in Dial “M”, more than that.  Something with smarts, bite, and maybe even some (god-forbid) sex…seeing as she’s blackmailed for schtooping who she shouldn’t, and all.  Which means I’ll be forced (dammit) to dig out all my Stanwyck’s, Tierney’s, Astor’s, Bacall’s, Davis & Crawfords…Turner’s, Hayworth’s, and Gardner’s (woe is me) to settle in for some one-on-one refresher courses, (hee hee) on how to be bad-girl-awesome…in general.

…Working against iconic interpretation is always a “thing” when tackling something like a “Hitchcock”…which is 50% fixed in this case by not casting a blonde, really.  The moment lights rise in scene one, I’m automatically given more freedom to fight against the character-as-played in pre-conceived expectation, by physical presence alone.  The other 50% is taking dated text and infusing new life into it…figuring out how to leverage a more realistic, suspicious, sexual, “human” being from a white-toast sort of role, as usually played. 

…I’m going mining for more in there…and it’ll be fun panning to find it 😉

~D

Your Friday Randomness

7 Mar

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Listen, I have these two bananas left on my desk…so do you want one? 

…I’ve been pushing them on everyone since I came in today.  Apparently bananas have a shelf life of about a day-and-a-half in my house, cuz I swear they were mostly green when I got them Wednesday, and now they’re on the ass-end of being brown-freckled to death.

Stupid fruit.

…See, this is why I do vegetables, instead.  This always happens to me. The apples get soft brown spots, the berries grow fuzz and the oranges sound like slushies when you shake them…all within about 48 hours from date of purchase.  I need to just stop trying anymore and buy my fruit as nature intended I consume it: In Oikos yogurt.

Meanwhile…

I did this really stupid thing yesterday at “lunch.” I watched the finale of “Burn Notice.”

…I was naturally devastated and useless for about three hours after, and super pissed, but in the good way…cuz it HAD to end the way that it did…with the people and the things and the stuff, and it was a moment of total bad-assness on it’s own terms…but still. It wasn’t okay. And you need to know that.

…Lucky for me I still have “Cagney & Lacey” to consume as I lick my wounds. Which…I dunno if you’ve seen it in a while or not…but it ain’t like those cheesy 80’s shows with bad writing, and dated everything else. That show, is tops. I mean laughing out loud and getting pissed and emotional EVERY EPISODE kind of good.

…Plus it continues to feed my current “Celebricrush” fulfillment on Sharon Gless.

…Know what else feeds that? (Other than my Amazon wish list?) Google and the YouTubes.

…In fact, Google and the YouTubes are tops when it comes to “Celebristalking.” So many happy hits of joy to seek and mine. Of course I choose to refer to this action as “study time” more than “stalking”…in as much as I am gaining valuable information useful to my daily life and career, and not just general gossip about which brand she smokes (none, she’s quit), or how many per day (three packs, at her highest.)

…Lessons like, “Every Fucking Way To Use A Cigarette As A Prop.” This is an important update to the unwritten book Bette Davis first wrote back in the 30’s. And with the theme of characters on my resume, this can ONLY be considered invaluable information. So too, “How To Make Your Interviewer Blush.” “Wig & Hair Ornamentation Tips.” “How To Be The Darling Of The Gays.” “Out Dirty-Laughing The Dirty Laughers.” “How To Embrace & Love The ‘Fat Farm.'” “How To Be A GILF.” “Marriage Ain’t For Everyone.” And, “How To Tell A Critic To Fuck Off.”

…I think perhaps the last one is my particular favorite. Mostly for its context:

“The woman in San Jose slammed everything I did from the minute the curtain came up! She hated every moment of it and criticized my orgasm! …I wanted to write her and say, ‘Look lady, I don’t know what yours are like or if you’ve ever had one, but I did mine standing up and got applause every night.'”

…That was Gless at age sixty-something, P.S.

Just: “Winning.” The end.

In Other News: I am now eating my second banana of the day. Can you OD on them? I dunno. I only bought them for the vitamins and you CAN OD on those…though I still don’t understand how.

…As part of my “trying to embrace and love the ‘Fat Farm,'” lesson, I decided a natural food detox with vitamin bump would be a good idea. So looked up a bunch of all natural stuffs, together with recommendations of friends, and now am choking down weeds and powders in pill form, every morning, in lieu of breakfast.

…I tried to fix that too…which is where the bananas come in.

…Only turns out that raiding my pantry for pills from the last health kick I was on, showed toxic levels of too muchness in the daily intake. Like 2000 IUs of vitamin D instead of the Pac NW recommended 1000…the difference meaning I could accidentally die of like liver failure and twelve other things…OR if not consuming enough: keel over from weak bones, contract MS, have breast issues, or fade into a ghost jellyfish from general lack of sunlight.

…For a hypochondraic, this kind of research and study is enough to send you absolutely over the edge with anxiety…but I’ve managed rather well under the circumstances. I’ve set myself a nice and balanced little chart to follow, and am trying my best to wean myself off the crap-consumption so my body can actually take advantage of it. Soda and junk food is out. There isn’t a lick of salt in my house. A few cheats here and there from the evil Starbuck drive-thru and late night nibbles after rehearsal are still a battle, but that’s been set with a kill date of tomorrow.

…Other than that, the booze are really the last of the hump. Its a big one…I don’t wanna climb that hill…it sucks. Wine and whiskey are delicious! But its time, its good. I’ve done my Wakes and taken my break and puffed out like a float in the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Time to reel it in now.

…Detox. Whatta bitch.

~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

Q&A With ROUS’s

17 Dec

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After the performances of Narnia, all actors have been encouraged (contractually) to reappear on stage in costume and makeup (profuse sweating as a bonus), to mingle (scare the shit out of), take pics (squint funny faces), and chat (in accent mostly) with the little people in the audience (target patrons numero uno.)

…Which makes for some interesting interactions really.  And I’d be remiss not to give them a little entry all their own.  So here it is.  Some of the top Q&As of last week.  Keeping in mind that in our particular production, our costumes and makeup ride the wave of animal-people just this side of the scary valley in computer animation.  This means we are mostly people, with a few animal touches as suggestions. People clothes, but with furry accents. People faces, but for mostly nose and lip alterations.  This makes it both cute, and totally relatable on a stage, and yet (understandably) kinda super freaky to a two-year-old, when you’re squatting and talking to him about a foot from his face.

Top Ten Questions/Comments To A Rodent Of Unusual Size:

10. From a sister of a cast member: “How do they stick your tail on?”
Answer: “It jus’ grows there, silly! (Wif the ‘elp of two extra large safety pins in me bum.)”

9. From a Mom: “Can she touch your ears?”
Answer: “Of course yew can, deary!”
From Mom: “Can I?”
Answer: “They ain’t as grand as Mickey’s, but they’re sure feelin’ popular today!”

8. From Me: “Well, and wha’ was your favorite part?”
From a Big Brother: “I like the wolves. Cuz they’re mean. And that one lady. Cuz she’s mean.”
Me: “Ah…but yuh saw wha’ ‘appened to ’em!”
Big Brother: “You were alright too…sometimes.”
Me: “When I was mean?”
Big Brother: “Yeah.”

7. From an actor: “Have you seen yourself on film, doing this? The whole way you move is just hilarious! This round, wide, rolling waddle thing, with your butt popping out and hanging mid-air in that weird squat kind of shelf…?!”
Me: (long pause.) “Um. Thank you?”

6. From a friend: “So. should I start NOW on the beaver jokes or wait until later. Cuz after that whole thing, I’ve got about 140 stored up.”
Answer: “Stand in line. I’ve got 5 weeks worth, myself.”

5. From a grade-schooler: “You and your husband fight like mommy and daddy!”
Answer: “Well ‘at does ‘appen sometimes, don’t it?”

4. Two Adult patrons: “Can we take your picture?”
Me: “Certainly!”
Adult Patron one: “With us?”
Me: “A course!”
Adult Patron two: “As beavers?”
Me: “Done and done!”

3. (Toddler stands with total horrified look frozen on his face)
Toddler Mom: “Hi, he just wanted to meet you.”
Me: “Oh, alrigh’…well, ‘ow are yew, then?”
(toddler stands with total horrified look frozen on his face)
Me: “Did you have fun watchin’ all the animals?”
(toddler stands with total horrified look frozen on his face)
Me: “Which ones were your favorite?”
(toddler stands with total horrified look frozen on his face)
Me: “Am I to’ally freakin’ yew out and will la’er turn up in a shrink session someday?”
(toddler stands with total horrified look frozen on his face, as parents laugh)

2. From a Dad: “You really get into that beavering, don’t you?”
(Dad realizes what he said and starts to blush)
Dad: “I mean…”
Answer: (with a wink) ” –‘salright, love, I’ll jus’ stop yuh there…only gets worse when you try to wiggle ’round it.”

1. From 311 adults in the past four days: “Doesn’t your back hurt hunching over like that for two hours?!?!”
Answer: ” (*FUCKING) YES!!!!!!!! (*OBVIOUSLY)
(*the asterisks, implied.)

~D

Beavering Away

29 Oct

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So, I’m popping my Beaver cherry. 

…And with that, as many gauche and explicitly  inappropriate  references to the subject that I can make (or anyone else can, for that matter) will follow.

Children’s theatre.  For the Holidays.

…Friends I know run it. Friends I know do it. So I thought, “Whelp, at least there will be friends…that I know…in it.” Thus began my first venture into the world of children’s theatre.

…Not that I haven’t done theatre WITH children (for, I have), or performed FOR them in the past (Hello, ridiculous 9 am student matinees)…but this would be the first time I had ever began a show whose goal audience IS, “children.”

As one of a handful of actual adults in the upcoming “Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe,” I’ll be attempting to embrace the wholesome atmos being a good and wise example, (whilst little people are watching)…and making fun of it as wrongly as possible, when they are not. 

Why? 

…BECAUSE I’M PLAYING A FUCKING BEAVER.

(Totally different from a Beaver fucking, P.S. You can tell, because I’m a “Mrs.”  That means there is a “Mr.”  We already have two beaver kids, and everyone knows…sex after that for married mammals is non-existent.  Which is prob’ly why they bicker so much in the script.  Sex antagonism.)

…First off, the “Mr.” is out, TOTALLY ignoring them all by working on his damn dam all day.  (A useful excuse if I ever heard one.)  I mean, it’s been ice and snow in Narnia for like what…five generations or something?  Am I right?  What the hell is he daming up?  There’s no stream flowing through there.  There’s no mud to pack.  Shit is FROZEN, bro.  Has been forever.  Prob’ly always WILL be.  But yeah, you go out and keep “working” on that dam, dude.

…Meanwhile, the “Mrs” is stuck inside that frozen hut all day, dealing with never-hibernating children.  Constantly hungry.  Constantly cold. And housebound. Everyone’s all freaky-deaky about the White Witch and all her secret followers, so even sending the kids outside to play and get the hell outta your fur for five minutes is basically just inviting the Child Protective Services to come knocking on your hut, being all:

CPS Rep (prob’ly a Kangaroo): “Uh, yes, Ma’am…we have report of child neglect from a few of your neighboring Oak Trees and local Ground Covers. They feel very concerned that you aren’t taking proper precautions to the White Witch Warnings.”

Me: “Oh, really?”

Kangaroo: “Yes, Ma’am.”

Me: “Well, let me ask you this, Mr. Roo …or-whatever-the-hell-your-name-is…have you ever been in constant fucking demand in an ice-bound hut, with no ventilation for three decades, going on four…while early onset beavopause, hot flashes night and day…running off and on like a sunofabitch, as your body keeps packing on winter weight you’ll never lose the whole of your fucking life, non-stop, while your children scream at you all day long about how bored they are of eating twigs and frozen bark, and your husband is out, every day, futzing with some goddamn dam, useless as a tick on a dog, without so much as a stream trickle to keep at bay, as even his PISS freezes before it reaches the ice-packed ground?!”

Kangaroo: “Well…no. I can’t say that I have.”

Me: “Alright then!”

…So begins the character motivation work.

Now that we know the dynamics of “home life,” we can begin to delve into the curious fact of there being but TWO Beavers (and corresponding children) in all of Narnia to begin with…which begs answers to questions like, “where did we even come from?” And, “If it’s so shitty in there, why don’t we just leave? Cuz clearly everyone else did.”

…Not to mention the supremely convenient, total-rip-off-of-entire-character-existence, by J.K. Rowling, in this whole business.

Seriously.

Make us human and call us “Weasley.”

Think about it for a hot second.

We’re Bohemian, country bumpkins with weird accents . (Check.)

We are the natural defenders and protectors of the “Chosen One(s).” (Check.)

We are responsible for explaining all the main plot, concepts, and obstacles, to the completely ignorant main characters. (Check.)

Our home is demolished by evil bastards in vengeance. (Check)

Our kids are almost killed by a total mentally evil and fucked-up Witch. (Check.)

…Only real difference is, the Weasleys have super-awesome magical powers…while, as Beavers, we have…

…Buck teeth.

And…

Yep. I got nothin.’

Wow.

Did we get the shaft on that one, or what?

So…to round things up:

We are the only surviving animals in our class, left in this place of total frozen devastation, waiting indefinitely for a prophecy to come true, which if/when it DOES, will mean CERTAIN war…which we will fight, with the use of nothing.

Good plan.

Totally logical.

Don’t see how it could POSSIBLY fail.

…I mean, it’s like work here at the office, really, when you think about it.

Frozen wasteland of crap, surrounded in devastation.

…And look how well THAT turned out for us!

~D

The Blog That Wasn’t

14 Jun

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I’m nearly to my year of blog-a-days, and last night (for only the second time) posted naught.

It was Opening, guys…

…I was having fun…

…Marty came for catch ups…

…Post cast hang time at the Mexi-bar…

…Multiple house guests talking of Dr. Who and theatre in general until all hours…

…Passed out humans in various rooms, soon to follow.

In short: It didn’t happen, and I was having too much fun to regret it.

Here is its placeholder. 

“The Blog That Wasn’t”

A joyous cast killed over 5 minutes off the show time in pace, wound up all the one-liners neatly, tied up the ending with a bow, and got its first (stellar) review already on the internet, making the FB and other PR rounds as we speak.

…We are happy peeps.

…And now for a bit of a nap, before the end-of-year theatre patio BBQ and auction, (special entertainment by The Fella), with our (hopefully) sold-out second performance of Earnest to follow.

Huzzah and things!

~D

The Evil Smell Of “Yum”

28 Feb

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Hello Bunnies! 

Am super ecstatic to report that in the quest to lose tonnage for my current show, ye olde scale finally hit the negative 10 marker! That’s right, 10 pounds lost, since first weigh-in on February 12th!

The craptastical thing about it, is that I only getta claim 7 pounds of that “legit,” as my “cheat-day” saw me gain 3 pounds and have to re-lose it again…plus another pound, which took me until this morning to finally accomplish.

…And what have we learned from this?

…We learned that it isn’t worth a whole day of cheating to have to work 3 days after that, in order to get outta the hole.

…Which means less of a cheat on cheating days.

This is something I can totally do, you guys. 

My goal was 20 lbs by Opening…and had I not stuffed m’damn gob so hard last weekend, I would be halfway there by now.  And STILL not even by calorie counting or “technically” starving m’self.

(* “technically” refers to the fact that my body has plenty input to work on and burn off, with all kinds of green things and homemade foods. But, because I’m me, I am perpetually “hungry” nearly every waking moment of the day.)

The cravings are stupendous. 

I instantly want to eat everything I lay my eyes on…even things I wouldn’t in “real life.”  This makes going to a grocery store, or even the gas station, a major mental hurdle of willpower.  For some reason, my sense of smell has also become magnified to pick up just the faintest whiffs of foodage…cooking 3 miles away…in a house…somewhere in my neighborhood. 

…I swear to you, I could smell pasta sauce simmering, when getting out of my car last night.

With me, this will always be a constant fight, that will never get easier.  Such is the life of a foodie. And I’m one of the foodiest.

…At some point, I’ll be able to add in exercise beyond pacing in my office…soon as the weather turns.  No time to get soaking wet post-work, and pre-rehearsal, then shower et al.  Nor do I choose to chance getting a cold right now.  So, until these gray clouds and random sky pissings calm down to less than 7 days per week, this is the way it’s gonna be.

In Other News:  Finished blocking last night for the entire show, which means we are fucking WIZARDS! (But not literally.  Although, that might be cool to try sometime.)

…I am on my 4th cup of black coffee, (which helped me thru this morning’s Month-End closeouts), and am now off to spend my “lunch,” learning more lines… keeping my mouth too busy to chew on things.

~D

Press Corruption

27 Feb

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This has nothing to do with buy-outs and palm-greasing of the Journalist trade, and everything to do with pimping out a product.

…Yesterday’s blog got high numbers of interest, so thought you might enjoy a little more on the the realm of Theatre PR.  It’s pretty basic in that you are trying to sell something that people don’t need, and make them pay money they often can’t afford, for something that lasts a maximum of three hours time.

…This is on the basics of course.  The cold, hard, sell-it-to-me facts. 

WE know that theatre is necessary and worth it, and lasts much longer than a fleeting instant, by the fact of how it commands your attention, and influences debates and conversations and emotions long after the curtain has gone down.  But before people get all emotionally invested in whatever it is they are about to see, you have to make them emotionally invested in what they are about to see.

…Yes. It’s sort of a “catch-22.”

Hollywood has been doing this with entertainment for over 100 years.  They found the best ways to corrupt your feelings and pocket book, and continue to tweak them infinitely in new combos and patterns and trends in order to keep up the good work.  It only makes sense for theatre to follow in their footsteps and do the same thing: so we do. 

…We slobber posters all over everything, invent catchy tag-lines, print out postcards and flood the market in bookstores, local businesses, and home addresses, flip out bookmarks, bulk-mail season flyers, tweet about rehearsals, FB “special deals, ” sell random tchotchkes, email campaign your inboxes, and stick ads on every theatre callboard, newspaper, community calendar, radio station, and even craigslist.  We are not too proud to do anything.  Hell, give us a sandwich board and a hot dog suit made of felt, and we’d use that too!

…The point is: theatre only works if you have people come to it.  Tickets are often upwards of twice the price of a Friday night trip to the movie theatre, and it is limited in the special effects and able-to-get-up-any-time-you-want-to-go-pee option. Also, a lot of time, you’re going out on a limb in content, by unrecognizable actors, and plots you’ve never heard of.

I’ll give you all that.

…But it is also my job to get your butt in the seat and watch it anyway. It’s my job as an Actor. It’s my job as a person of theatre. It’s my job as part of a PR team. So here is how I do my share: trailers.

Trailers are the sweet-spot of instant info and emotional investment you can use on unsuspecting patrons. In 2-4 minutes, you can give them history, plot, characters, emotional content, themes, a good cry when needed, and production dates, times, and ticket info. It’s short. The music will help set a perfect mood. And they can share it with others. When I go on a full-run campaign, I usually mix it up with an initial teaser with history of the show and content, to educate…followed by another trailer by Opening to light a flame under their asses more specifically, followed by a review quote-filled one telling them why they should all go buy tickets now because the damn this is just too goddamn amazing to miss…followed by a “one more week and you’ll have missed it, and then won’t YOU just feel like a schmo?” hit.

…And: it works.

People will talk about them. People will share them. It can go viral on FB, and be sent in newsletters and general emails…and it answers the question of WHY a person should buy a ticket, WHAT they are in for, and WHERE the show once came from. So here are a few as examples…just to wet your whistle:

***

First: The Teasers:

Opening Week:

Reviews:

~D

One For The Tall, Belting, Redhead

15 Feb

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Know what’s awesome about FB…aside from the prime place to go and waste your time while you should be doing other things?  The fact that you can find people from your past who you delighted in, years and years later, and reconnect on a whole new level.  Even from several states away.

I love to stalk them.

I love to watch their projects grow, follow them through casting and rehearsals and performances and tours.  I love to see the many new sides of their personalities come out in different roles…I love the new headshots, and reviews, and interviews, and go-and-get-em-team speeching on Opening Nights that they send out to all their casts and crews. 

…I love how we can still (even from far away) share these experiences together…like we once did before. 

…And I love how it makes me miss ’em, and wonder over the wide world of possibilities of ever finding some way to work together again.

Almost anything can happen. This is, after all, the “Theatre.”

…And this all comes from a tagging today, where she poked me to show a sneaked pic of her, standing off-set in the wings, catching up on some of m’blogs while on break. She’s obviously not reading one of the funnier ones, but is totally consumed in whatever it is…so much so that she didn’t even notice the Paparazzi at work.

…And I thought, “Wow. That means other people do it too…that ‘stalking’ thing. Maybe I don’t have to be so freak-fetish-feeling secretive about it. Other people will (on some random days), stop for a hot second, to catch up on an old friend they worked with a million years ago and thought of just now, today. Just because.”

It makes me feel good.

…And warm-fuzzy.

…And memory-filled of our days spent on the Titanic and in ridiculously giant ball gowns in the dead of summer, going to post-show picnics at the Village, drinking fuzzy navels while watching old movies, reading “Lolita,” lovin’ all up on Rosemary Clooneyness, singing at the top of our lungs toward seas of patron’s faces…and the time I spent whoring her as a prostitute for two months, under my professional care. (The condom runs were epic, purchased in bulk weekly and turned in as a “business expense” which 18 year-old-me delighted in, to no end. Even if it was for the mic pack equipment.)

…I think you will find, not many people share those kind of memories. Or if they do, prob’ly not with the consistent fondness that we do.

…Which is the magic of our industry. (Long may it reign!)

…This is all (P.S.) really only a big, fat, giant preface to the fact that I promised her something funny today, after reading whatever it was that caught her all up in emo-ville. Which is a tall order. As nothing even remotely funny has happened yet.

…But I say, “yet” as it is a Friday, and Marty is coming up for a girls-night, and we have about 11 too many already pre-planned things ahead of us. Something hysterical is bound to happen. And usually in some form of embarrassment. Which helps her not at all right now, at this second. But it will (no doubt) at a later date.

…So, keep readin’, friend.

Even still…betcha she smiled to herself, already. At least once.

😉

Which makes today’s blog: a success!

~D

P.S. …’Member the time someone subbed in real beer for the whole show? That was a doozy 😉

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

Lessons

3 Feb

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Theatre is a fickle business, sometimes. 

…Sometimes it’s only just for “show”…sometimes it’s the ride for the ride’s sake…sometimes it means nothing more (well done as it may be), than doing a job of it.

…And those can still be satisfying experiences, as long as you showed up and did your work to the best of your ability.  But when those shows are over, you are ready for them to be, and easily move on into the next “whatever” that is on the horizon.

…Sometimes, the show can be a horror, of miss-matched talents and personalities, that makes you feel like you are constantly swimming upstream in order to get anything done at all.  These are frustration-filled epics, that make you despise the theatre-gene that insists you put yourself through this…because you signed up for it, and because for whatever reason (or collection of them), you feel anything but fulfilled by run’s end. 

These shows, you are so damn glad are finally over, that you want to all but start a bonfire with the script, set and costumes, at the end, and walk away while the whole fucker just burns to the ground.

…Sometimes you have a chummy-cast show, where friendships are forged fiercely, and the JOY of being around one another brings an unfortunate realization by last performance (which you somehow manage to sidetrack yourself from acknowledging until then), that this is the last time you will all be together, like this, ever again.

…And then there are shows that you bleed for.

The process of making them, is like giving birth…in that it’s raw, and uncomfortable, and hysterical, and frustrating, and infuriating, and more nakedly real than you ever intended on being in front of strangers…who, through the process of all being in the delivery room together, come out of the experience as something stronger than sometimes even blood-family.

…Everyone is in dire circumstances, in that delivery room. Everyone is pushing as hard as they can, together, to the counts and the rhythms you’ve come to find you can all work best at. You are all sweating blood, and sobbing tears. You are all watching one another so hard that you can match the other person’s breath…see them riding their wave of pain from this moment to that, and know that once they get “here,” you will take it upon yourself and shoulder it the rest of the way to “there.” You learn about how far a person can be pressed, emotionally AND physically…and you watch that ability grow across the time you have spent together, because when you trust people at this kind of level, almost anything is possible.

Those kind of shows are exhausting…not just for the performers, but also (often) the audience as well. And those are the kind of shows where, when you go out to the lobby afterwards, the first thing people will say…with their blotchy faces, tracked with mascara stains, and wearied eyes…is how exhausted they are. How exhausting this WAS. How in the hell do the people who do it every day, manage to make it happen? And won’t we all be glad when it’s over and we don’t have to put ourselves through all this…over, and over, and over again?

Those are the kind of shows where you can honestly look them in the eyes, and tell them you wish it would never end.

…Because to say a line to a person on stage, and have an entire audience blown to silence…SILENCE…a room full of humans who are too held up into this moment to trust themselves even to breathe. THAT is power. That is trust, and affection, and desire, and hope, and pain projected from every person at the same time, all for you…because YOU trusted them enough to share something so personal and ugly and hopeless and real, that they can recognize it as something different than just a “show.” Because they have at some point, for some reason, felt that too.

They are invested in this moment before them. In this one person, who can only do the job they have to do, because this other person nourishes it into something spectacular.

Today, our company did our last performance of one of THOSE kind of shows.

…The kind that matters.

It hurts.

It’s thoroughly exhausting.

It’s frankly, a lot like willingly walking straight into house afire. How the hell do you prepare to undertake that every day?

…Because the feeling of accomplishment with your team at the end, is so astounding that the repercussions of all the scrapes and bruising and mind-games is always totally worth it.

ALWAYS.

…Even on nights where you’ve missed a mark, let an opportunity pass by, or couldn’t quite find the same breath-pace at a critical moment. Then, you beat yourself up…not just for you, but for the team, for the audience…because it wasn’t your best that time…though you put in the same work and sweat and bled just as hard as you always do, to achieve it.

I will nothing, but miss this show.

…I walked into it, from day one, with nothing but respect for the role I was trusted to do. I had connections to her that were frankly terrifying in how real and open it forced me to be as a person and as an artist. I was surrounded by friends who gave everything they had in equal measure to their parts, and made new friends via the baptism-through-fire, that is putting on a production like this.

…And now we’ve come to its end, here is what I know, and what I’ve learned:

It is fucking frustratingly exhausting to be forever terrified of being “found out.” This isn’t a new realization, so much as the extent of what you take on as a person in order to protect yourself.

…We all have those mechanisms in us, but when you take up the weight as a different kind of person and carry it around for two months, it’s like taking up a new exercise regime. Everything suddenly hurts everywhere, all the fucking time. You know what it’s like to do your old routine, your body is acclimated to it…it’s long-learned how to delegate the stress and balance everything out. But when you take on a new persona…a totally new set of muscles are brought into play.

Physically, I’ve had everything from bouts of nausea, headaches, two totally unexplainable weeks of “tennis elbow” that I never COULD figure out, and gained a pretty good amount of weight, while drinking too much…all from lifting Martha, for two months of time.

…Emotionally, I’ve sobbed through countless showers and welled up during break-up songs in grocery store lines. Have lost sleep, acknowledge some sizable self-image issues, and have taken to blatantly telling people where to “get off,” when they cross a line…in not always the most rage-appropriate situations.

Quite rightly, she has made me see that “enough” is “enough.”

…If you continue to hold it in, it will bottle up. It will seeth and grow. And at some point: it will break you.

I’ve also reaffirmed how important “justice” is to me. How essential it is to “trust,” never lightly, but fully…yet never without the earning of it. A self-preservation, re-instilled, for reasons that both she and I share, in life.

…And as an artist, I’ve learned how there is always further to go…even when you think you’ve reached the end of a possible moment of truth. There is always more there to find. And it will always mean something different to the people you are up there with and the ones out in the audience…who are watching you.

You can’t force a perspective of a character. You can only show what you think and know to be true…but that doesn’t mean other people will see or interpret it that way. Sometimes that can frustrate you as a performer. “No…you didn’t get the point at all…it’s like this…” …you may sometimes want to argue back. But interpretation is the viewers prerogative…you don’t get to make those decisions for them.

…Yet, at times, for whatever reason, everyone seems to be on the same exact page of the book…

…And you’re all reading in tandem together…

…And the power of all those conscious voices, reading the words at the same tempo, at the same time, in the same room, makes this energy that feeds and grows and builds and makes for something totally unique. A shared experience that you don’t HAVE to “spell” out for them, because they are already there…they can see and feel it…even when you aren’t saying a damn thing. Just standing there.

…I’ve learned more about what you “say” when you aren’t saying anything, than in any other show I’ve ever done. Which takes phenomenal amounts of trust in your fellow performers, and in yourself, and in the audience…to understand what it all means.

I think that is the secret about why holding secrets is such a damning (yet necessary) thing in our lives.

…We HAVE to protect ourselves, because it can sometimes be a really shitty world. And self-preservation is an automatic, human, thing. But there will always be consequences of it.

As a performer, I think I learned how to make that internal process show on the outside with more specificity…which informs the levels of emotion so much further…which gives the audience an “insider look” and opportunity of knowing more than the characters do…which gains their emotional support further and faster than any amount of huge monologuing will ever do.

It’s like music to the body…no words are necessary…you can say even more without them…and it’s terrifying how far that projection can go, and how fucking naked it makes you feel to do it in front of a house full of people…

…More naked than if you were just physically, were…

…However, if you and your partners have done it well enough…by the end of the night…you will hit that one moment…the pin-drop…the everyone-in-the-room-has-stopped-breathing-because-they-know-what-you-are-about-to-say-before-you-say-it-cause-they’ve-seen-you-fight-with-it-for-so-fucking-long-now-and-here-we’ve-finally-come-to-the-moment-of-truth.

I promise you: nothing on earth feels better than that moment.

Nothing.

…How the fuck do you do anything but mourn the fact, that this today, was the last time you will ever have that moment in those circumstances, ever again?

Art is a fierce thing, friends. We’re lucky bastards who get these moments in it, to share. And I can honestly say, (at least this time): I have loved every moment of it.

~D

Oh, Hello

16 Jan

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This day is trudging by like slugs on salted pavement.

I dunno why, but our paperwork for all the Road Shows come in clumps or not at all…and after a first part of the week with “coming,” I’m in the “not at all” phase.  This makes me sit here for hours and hours, building show trailers and catching up on my TV shows.  Which sounds like an awesome gig…and prob’ly is…but I can’t appreciate it much, cuz I’m restless and need to keep getting up to pace the lobby.

…This seems an opportune time to run my lines, I think.

…Also: all my favorite shows right now have coinciding bummer endings this week, which makes me feel bad. 

I think I take my TV character arcs a little too personally.  For instance, here is Marty’s post from last night, while mid-way ‘tween viewings.

Meanwhile: Am listening to my “Karen/Martha Mixtape” and missing the show like crazy right now.  Who’d have thunk you could miss puking out your guts?  And it is actually the “performance” that I miss…not just the people and being at the theatre.  (Though I like them too…only don’t tell ’em.) 

…Maybe cuz a it takes work, and I feel like a total slacker right now. 

Or maybe I just like it. 

…Or both.

Harriet is still in the shop, for what now feels like going on infinity (in real-time, week two.) 

…In that amount of time, “Joe’s” car accidentally kicked into “JM’s,” leaving bumper dimples and a totalled light, Marty’s car has died and been brought back from the grave so many times, I’ve lost count, while Ma’s is now in the same shop as mine, with an even bigger price tag on the repair list. 

The Fella has called it, “The Great Car-Death of 2013.”

…And I feel bad about that too.  As I seem to be the one linking factor to it all.”

I am the “X” in the car-crap formula.

…So you should stay away from me, maybe.

…And never give me a ride.

I’ll understand.

…Am now being chauffeured by Ma’s rental until “whenever they get that one part back from the grinder.” 

I dunno what that means. 

I don’t fucking speak “car.”

…All I know is: it ain’t done yet, and is highly inconvenient. To me and everyone else whose given me a ride lately and thus paid for it by karmic damage as a risidual of it.      

All I can say is: “I’m sorry.  And I’ll buy you a drink. Someday.  When I’m done paying for all this shit.  So like in ten years.  If you’re around, totally look me up.  I’m good for it.”

~D

Real Time

12 Jan

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Ladies and gentlemen, we are now in hour 1.52 of celebratory Opening Us-ness, post-performance.  Including dance parties via butts (so as not to piss off the downstairs  neighbors.) God.  We need to have a legit cast party at an actual house where we can lose our shit and jump around like assholes.

…We are such good examples of humanity to the youth of our cast. 

Guess what, though?

…Tonight is just grown-up time…with four almost grown-ups.  The Joe, a Marty, The Fella, and Me.

I’m restricted cuz of period pain pills. 

The limitation pisses me off. 

But we still managed to kill an entire magnum of Champagne in an over-sized Wine glass the size that God drinks out of…while playing “Thunder Struck”…which was new to me, cuz I never went to a Big-Ten college.

Then the Kracken and Coke and Vino were busted out…and the dance party got all yay-er.

…Also, we have a matinee tomorrow…or rather “today”…and there are Cheetoes in front of me.

…I dunno that this random stream-of-consciousness is gonna be as awesome when I read it in retrospect tomorrow…something like fifty seconds after the alarm goes off and I have to be in the shower. In fact, it prob’ly won’t…but at least I can say I fulfilled my blogging obligations for the day.

I am a responsible adult, dammit!

…Gotta go. We are apparently watching Katy Perry videos now.

~D

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