Tag Archives: study

Nominal Fever Ravings

5 Feb

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I need a break from this Chekhov.

…Am stress dreaming about it at this point, because with almost no rehearsal other than talking about it, we open in 9 days.

….And while “concept” is great and all, I need to “do” the fuck out of a thing in order to actually build a tangible reality. One cannot just “theory” a show into existence. But we are having to…because we don’t have time together without giant gaps in between, and schedules are so harried from everyone’s conflicts, that there is no like “panic meet-up time” where one can get private scene partner work slipped in, or try every which way to do a scene, or…well…

…Anyway…I’m toasted. Have been reaming this script alone for days and hours and trying to make choices, hoping they won’t interfere with scene partner’s choices (who I’ve never worked with before), but having to stake out like three or four levels of options here so I can alter or try to connect my stuff to his stuff, for tomorrow morning…when we next meet up.

4 more rehearsals to figure it all out.

…God. You know you’re stressed when Stoppard is the easier, happy place you wish you could fall back into.

…Meanwhile…

The required post-show crash hit, was obtained and nursed for half this week, on my couch. A lot of sleeping. A lot of first generation X-Files-watching (which I had never seen the first time ’round.) I happen to think it’s fun, badass, and slightly terrifying…whilst simultaneously worrying about my cold being a deadly alien variety which has no earthly cure, and/or becoming abducted.

…I wish I was joking about that. But: I am not.

…I induced it even further into my Psyche by watching some episodes across hours of fever sleeping…so now I feel inevitably doomed, in a very deep marrow-of-my-bones way…but have to keep viewing, as like a “How To” mental log of how to combat them, when they do eventually come for me.

…The truth is out there. And so are “they.” Cuz there’s no fucking way that the buck stops at humanity. Microscopic animals take us down, for gods sake. Lets get real, here.

…Anyway…

…No X-Files after dark, is the rule mandate. That’s reserved for script stress, and inevitable alcohol consuming. Mostly with Cecil. Who I gave the cold back to. Cuz I’m an awesome, sharing, sister-friend that way.

…So.

…It’s Friday night. Rent is due, therefor: I’m broke. No Arcadia to go play in. Too distracted about tomorrow morning’s rehearsal to go see that other show I was going to, tonight…even as a PWYC. Which is prob’ly better anyway. Am still not back to even 80% ungross-feeling, across any length of time.

…Oh, and Mrs. Johnson dropped in…about three hours ago…to mix it up a little.

Oh, what a wicked cocktail of life, I do breed…

~D

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The Old Woman

27 Jan

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…some brain away time…

***

There’s this old woman.

…She looks a little like me, and she spends a lot of time at this book cafe, sipping at endless cups of coffee, leaving large red slash-stains along the porcelain lip.

…She doesn’t talk to people, mostly remains consumed in her books and papers, only sometimes, will sit back…take off her reading glasses, put a perfectly manicured hand to the back of her neck, and ease out a kink of stiffness settled in there, from too many hours of bowing over her work.

…And she is working…always…on something. Her interests are totally eclectic, but somehow themed across pockets of time, which only the wait staff will notice, because she has come here…for years…doing the very same thing. Alone at her table.

…But never, “lonely.”

…When not absorbed in her studies, she does manage to recognize the human beings all round her. She watches them, in fact. Rather closely.

…The students taking up multiple tables together, books, laptops, and papers everywhere. The quiet and comfortable husband and wife settled in, consumed in their newspaper and magazine, as they prob’ly have, in exactly the same way, over Saturday morning breakfast for the past however many years. There are the young people gabbing back and forth “at” one another (rather than “to”)…as one cannot hold actual conversation with a person, burried in their cellphone news and social  feeds.

…Sometimes, there are the awkward couples on first dates, the families with little people and their weary parents,  focused on the coffee reader board ahead and the promise of help that it will bring to their harried day.

…Sometime, it’s a man or a woman, alone. Some used to it, some visibly uncomfortable, as if wearing a new skin.

…She imagines their fuller selves as she watches, these pairings and singles…what they stepped out of to come here today…what awaits when they get home. What is their work? How do they play? Is the marriage one of old friends? Will there be a second date?

…The old woman watches all of this. But not with longing, or necessarily a sense of disconnect.

…She knows these stories. Well. In some way, you could say that she has lived all these lives, parading around her, and even holds special memories of the minutest degree, about them…from when it was her time…her sister, her son, her lover, her friend… “her,” thirty-five years ago, sitting alone like that one there…fully confident, hard at work, totally at ease…being the single, solitary lady at a table, in public, consumed in whatever the hell she was doing.

…But the secret she holds, sitting at her far end table, is one that no one in the cafe would ever imagine, or believe… to just look at her…even if they did.

…Which, they rarely do. Because why should they? To the eye, she is just an old woman, sitting in a cafe. Alone. So: a “spinster” or a “widow”…but of nothing any more complex or engaging to the curiosity.

To the young: she’s nonexistent. To the couples, perhaps a lonely peek at their one day inevitable future, to the singles…a potent gut kick of panic, “Dear God, what if someday, that is me? Alone. At a table. Just the same as I am now?”

…And every once in a while, because the old woman is keenly observant, she can feel these thoughts actually eeking out from the looks and gestures of those who are thinking them. For she is quite good at interpreting these even slightest of facial hints.

…After all, it is her profession.

…And I say, “is” not “was,” because she has been lucky with a job description one cannot age out of. In fact she is working, even now…at that table, as she has been for years on end. She is at study, waiting for a peek of something curious and extraordinary, blended into the everyday average of the average person’s busy day.

…She studies them like a scientist, interprets as an analyst, clicks in with their emotions, builds them in her mind as characters in say…a book.

Of course this doesn’t mean she knows the answers, that isn’t the point. It’s the art form of “what if” that she is after. Because life has so much endless possibility in even the most mundane of appearances.

…For instance, just looking at her…this old woman, alone at a table…could you imagine her true actual self? That she’s been a high end prostitute, a nun, an inventor, was once mostly blind, had been stabbed and shot a good many times, and had done her fair share of brutality, up to murder…several times. She was a lesbian with many male lovers, and a mistress…but also a spinster, with countless marriages, and children now dotting the globe in all ages, races, and colors.

…As well, as can toss back a neat double of whiskey as swift as any burley biker, holds more secrets than a government official at voting time, and has plans to meet up later with a gob of people twenty or more years her junior, where she will have love affairs, in public, and then go out drinking afterwards…just for the fucking fun of it.

Not for a moment, would this occur to any of the occupants at the other tables, nor the wait staff she’s known by sight for a decade or more. For despite her volcanic and tumultuous past, she is an introvert, and had always preferred to be the keeper of the secrets, than “out” them. It’s always been more fun, that way.

…Except sometimes…

…When she takes a look round a crowded cafe and spots a woman, alone, also sitting back and taking in the room. Their eyes meet. Across time and space, a connection is formed lasting perhaps only a beat.

Maybe the younger woman nods her head slightly. Maybe the old one winks. A smile begins on both mouths…saying nothing and everything. Kindred spirits: a meeting.

The younger woman holds the glance as if to say, “I see you, I know you, I will be you someday. And I’m pretty damn cool with that, actually. ”

…To which the old woman manages an actual chuckle and tilt of her head, as if to say: “Honey, are you in for a hell of a treat…”

~D

If It Doesn’t Scare The Crap Outta You…

3 Jun

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I don’t like new things. 

You know this about me. 

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

…None of that is normal for me.

…In fact, frankly, it is downright terrifying. 

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

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

…Which could be… I dunno…years?

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

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

Do you know what I mean?

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

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

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

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

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

It’s a lot of work, being me.

~D

Blue-Eyed Freak

20 Jan

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Have been watching a lot of Paul Newman lately. 

…A beautiful actor…and not just physically (though, he was that too.  Obviously.) I mean in “applied theory.”

Personally I always preferred Newman’s enviable ability to take all his work on a character, internalize it, and just “be”…unlike his classmate Brando…who acted through strange speech placement and physical ticks, with the specifics of an acting exercise deployment.

“Being” is the most arduous task an actor has to achieve, at the end of the day. Not everyone can do it, and it is frequently a thankless job, written off and underappreciated, because it lacks the flash and boom of sex, and rape, and murder and Hollywood mayhem.

…In essence, it’s taking all that table-work, and research…the inward exercises of intent and motivation, hours and hours of scene beat breakdowns, and workshopping…and trusting that somehow the work will take care of itself, informing your performance without forcefully pushing its agenda every second.  Learning all that, and trying to let it go so you can just “be” is – I think—the thing that keeps the artform of acting moving forward.  Because the challenge is so insane, constantly switching up on you from character to character, scene to scene, day to day, performance to performance.

Very few people win awards at this, but in my opinion, the actors who can just “be,” are the Masters of the craft. Not to be confused with the lazy, incompetent bastards who just “show up,” mind you. There is a mighty Mississippi of difference between a fella who arrives, takes up space, says a line…and a fella who has a reason, a past, a future goal, a hidden desire, an agenda, when he does.  But those things don’t mean he’s gotta hammer you over the damn head with it.  The intrigue is the fact that you can grasp a hint of what is going on in their heads…and you want to know more.

…The intrigue is: they make you lean in, and watch them…even without necessarily knowing why you’re doing it.

In theatre, this is a strange little animal to get ahold of because house size and lack of close-ups force you to use other active choices, and help direct the attention where it is needed.  There is a balancing act involved…and it’s a favorite tool, used by other actors, who I particularly favor.

…Meanwhile, though I appreciate the hell out of it, I totally admit my own limited capabilities, despite the recognition of the theory.  I can achieve it in a capacity of wryness, or the stillness of being “creepy,” but when excess energy is added to the mix, my already overly expressive face seems to run away with itself like a drunken sailor.

…Because I’m busy focusing on the inward information, listening to the others on stage with me, and forging through my own map of goals, I don’t honestly spend a lot of time thinking about what it all looks like while doing it.  My attempts to simply “be present,” inadvertently allow my face to run away with every thought that comes across my brain, which from half house in a 500-seat theatre, works for me.  From three feet away: not so much.

…The strange irony of this is popping out now, after two very broad and ostentatious roles.

I knew I would need to reel that shit far, far in, for this. Counting on the discipline of the corset to remind and readjust my bodily constrictions, I’ve been fairly concerned about what the frustration and bookwork exploding from this character, would naturally do with the rest of me.  But, what I wasn’t taking into consideration at the time, was the true size of a straightjacket I was being handed.

…The difficulty of battle sequences that I thought would render me completely physically obscene “expressively,” have been counter-challenged with an almost constant direct impediment: a pair of sunglasses worn for over 90% of the show.

…The discipline this is forcing on me has taken away the thing I’ve unconsciously leaned on for years as a performer, as well as forcing the development of one of the things I need most to work on. 

How do you spell out a thought process without eyes? How do you restrict the most essential communicable part of your face, while your body core is ensconced in steel ribs, and still tell the story? 

…I’ve got limbs, shoulder posture, neck rotation, knees, and a mouth with vocals as tools.  That is all.  Because of the rise of the circular rims, I haven’t even the browline to help me tell a story equally infused with fight and pain, hope and loss, anger and…at last…love.  I been made to drop the security blanket I’ve by turn counted on and been cursed by, for years, and am being required to learn another way to tell you, another way to show you, another way to “be.”

…And because I’m still working on finding her voice, that means I’m working on four fronts at the moment: The athleticism of choreography, the rise and fall, in and out of cadence…from neutral ground to flash-back nightmares in childhood, Simultaneous scene work: splitting any given moment between working with Helen physically in a totally different scene from the conversation-filled one being held with someone else, and dealing with a stolen security blanket…trying to trust I can do the job without it.

…In other words: “just fucking tell the story, and BE.”

Sounds easy enough when you say it. 

…But trust me: it ain’t.

Newman was a freak.

~D 

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

Netflix Whore

4 Nov

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Books.

Back to paper and words again. I’m getting office fever as every day our sells drop and the hours slow to the point of almost going backwards.  So am back to treadmill-stepping in between phone calls, and feeding my brains with other people’s lives and words.

…Just finished this for instance:

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…Purchased as part of my usual actor-stalkiness.  Because, yes, it is in fact THAT Lauren Graham who wrote it.  Cuz guess what?  She’s an author too. And she ain’t bad.

…If you’re an actor, you’ll totally get it in a “call-out-during-baptist-sunday-service-amen” kinda way.  If you are not an actor, but like Lauren Graham…you can totally hear her quirky line delivery with every sentence. If you are a little (or lot) frustrated with how your life-plans are behind where they are supposed to be, you can treat it like a drinking game every time she nails what you feel like right now…(then drunkenly commiserate that at least you aren’t totally alone in feeling like this.) 

…And if you aren’t any of those things…sorta screw you a little bit.  You’re a giant big fat Gilmore-hating, money-making success.

Congratulations, asshole.

…Now I’m on this one:

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“…That’s one hell of a segue,” you may be thinking right now.  And it is, but then, I realized like yesterday how two giant show auditions are just around the corner.  I was caught off guard, understandably, on account that both are like 4 and 6 months away from opening…but the powers that be, wisely looked at three major holidays ‘tween now and then and thought (I imagine, anyway), “Well, damn…plop all that together and it’s like a month of conflicts, we best get on this shit!”

…I specifically like the powers-that-be for “Miracle Worker” thinking that…just because shocking contrast makes me smile. (As if you haven’t guessed.) Almost as much as incomplete sentences, ellipses, and sinking smarmy parentheticals into everything.  I’m like a grammatical hooligan all up in here.  Not as blatant about it as the Twitter/texting aficionados, but then they are just secret freaks with their special number-acronym-mystery-language.  My stuff mostly makes sense at least. And rarely contains hashtags…which, BTW* are called POUNDS.

…Try telling that to a 20-year old sometime.

Go ahead. Try.

…Anyway…the book.  It’s about study time.  It’s time to hit the books again for this and other shows that will be popping up.  To get my jones on.  I feel it, already.  Plus, it’s got a two-for-one bonus of keeping my brain occupied until the next OITNB* season starts.  

(* yes, I note the irony. It’s part of the joke.  “Oh, there was a joke,” you ask?  Yes.  But it’s not funny now that I have to explain it. So thanks for that.)

So maybe I’m a little grumpy right now.  But only a little. It’s the “I’m busy reading don’t bug me” grumpy…not the real mean kind.  It is partly mixed with depression though…the depression of exhausting all my streaming joy sectors on Netflix. I’ve Gilmore-Girled, Parenthooded and Orange-Blacked myself through a wildfire of epic consumption.  All seasons…ALL…since just October 1st.

…I realize there is a wealth of “more” out there still to be had, but frankly, I don’t think I can get this close to another cast of characters again in such quick succession.  I sorta feel like a giant  streaming whore right now…just voracious appetite and flying through them faster than a bag of Costco Halloween candy on the day-after sale.  It’s a lot to hold onto. Like, in my head and heart.  I get too close to fake people.  And obsessive.

…Just ask my google history.

…Anyway…there is where we are. 

I’m on books now.

It somehow feels more personally productive. 

…Though as Lauren states in her book, it’s not like binging on quality TV isn’t an educational and worthwhile tool.  For instance, what if Netflix calls me up from that audition I never took and says, “Hey, we really need you to be in season 3 as Vee’s secret drug-mule daughter she left in Mexico that one time, but gets caught crossing the border, is put in the clink, and decides Red is gonna be her oedipal mom substitute. Do you need a character/family chart for that?”

…Now, (thanks to my diligent hours and hours of study), I can be like: “Dudes, I’m already on it.”

…And I’ll totally own that part.

…And win the Emmy.

The end.

~D

 
 

Things That Make Sense [Possibly Only] To Me

5 May

Wicked busy day at work…pushing $122,000 in new orders and bookings that had my butt stuck to my swivel chair for the full eight hours. 

…Decided to counter this with a 4 mile walk through partial spit and sunshine by the waterfront, directly after errands run of bank and script pick up.

…Then I peed.

…Checked my texts which had accumulated throughout the day, totally ignored…(due to reasons they pay me for)…and I saw a set from Puff:

Puff: “Awesome news…I will be up for Pride through 4th of July…!”

…JOY!!! Because, now that am camped in HRC with the Seattle kids…AND signed up for the huge-as-fuck event committees LIKE Pride…I was only the other day saying how kick-ass it would be if he were here for my first one, and I was there for his (in Seattle), cuz (without being a giant cock-block), we could hang some, and have times of awesome with him and his boys (whom I love), ‘tween my booth tending, button passing, and picture taking.

TIMES of AWESOME will be had. Indeed.

…Came home next, to find a gigantic box on my doorstep, weighing approximately half a pound.  After perusing labels which told me nothing, finally came to my senses and just ripped the thing open.  Arms waded through a sea of crumpled newspapers, reaching deep into the box’s guts to fish out: a giant globe on stand, and a card from an antique store in New Orleans.

…Texted The BFF, directly: “I presume was you who bought me the world…”

…The BFF texted back: “…It is your oyster after all.”

(This is why she is The BFF…reason # 562.)

…Wandered about house, attempting to find the perfect place for the world…and I found it: On top of record player by the complete Sherlock and choicest Du Mauriers.

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…Winning. Or rather, “won.” “Winning” sounds better. I will just move everything into the present tense now. Because.

…Go about opening new script (role secured only just last night), and begin to peruse the merchandise. She’s good, the playwright. A local. Commence to take notes, pull up dialect and start working for a good ol’ Louisiana drawl…mid-texting The BFF, who is well into the religious ceremony of Margarita drinking that is: Cinco de Mayo.

…I say I’m too lazy to go to the trouble of “all that mixing,” so offer chilled champagne, (still sitting in the fridge from my woeful birthday), or a warm scotch, as substitute.

The BFF says, ” Definitely champagne. But maybe I’m biased. It’s 80 degrees here.”

I respond: “I think it’s still wise here at 60-something. Cuz I mean..it’s champagne…”

We agree she is right. This almost never happens. She (presumably) goes to mix another ‘Rita…I grab a bar towel, and pop the cork.

…I study some more…

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…Mid-study I try to gauge the distinct difference between Creole, Cajun and general Louisianian dialects. Dunno which I’m suppose to use, so decide to learn all three.

…The Champagne goes largely untouched for some period of time, as I work. Then, as I fold up the script for now, I suddenly remember it.

Veuve Clicquot it ain’t, but it itches the scratch when yuh got it.

…I decide this would be an excellent marketing line, and I am totally in the wrong profession.

…I pour out some more.

…I drink it.

…I see the lap top sitting over there on the couch arm, plugged in and getting juiced.

…I decide maybe I should blog some. Then I can say I did a little study, a little writing, and a little walking with my evening…not just, “laid on the couch like a whore, swilling champagne and watching Burn Notice specials. Again.”

…Although, whatever sounds so bad about that, I’ll never know.

…You’d have to ask a non-actor civilian.

~D

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