Tag Archives: theatre

Wendy, Darling

29 Nov

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

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

(aka: Pfeni in “Sisters Rosensweig.”)

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

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

…I’m very very big on that, now.

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

Quality over quantity. Forever. 

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

No. It does. It needs to.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…And kinda…

…Brilliant.

~D

Well, Fuck.

10 Nov

 I have succeeded in taking care of myself zero much this week. I’ve only 7 things on my Wonder Wall “Do Me” list, and I’ve only even touched 2. Things like “going to bed earlier” and “getting my walks in” didn’t even *make* the fucking list. Not even, “maybe detox a bit,” after Monday’s post-closing hangover — where I invented almost a mathematical equation of the amount of times you can dehydrate and rehydrate yourself in a given space of one nine-hour work day. (I stopped counting after 8.)
…And that was only on wine…

…Which will tell you how much was probably involved.

You guys, I over extended myself in Every capacity, socially, mentally, lack-of-physically, I’ve had no more than 3 waking hours to myself all week. And I’ve two more things still to do. And I’m going to do them. Because putting anything off at this point is fucking pointless. Damage is already done. 

…So despite every day, walking past my damn living room bar with an almost audible, “Oh, Fuck off,” tonight, I B-lined to it.

I started with the money bar and a sipping shot. Getting wasted might help tonight, but not so much tomorrow. So, I’ll sip on my Buckingham Palace, gold-rimmed shot of Suntory Whisky Toki, and plan my next spoiling. I will taste my way through a night of good stuff and not kill the new elephant-walking neighbor upstairs. 

…I will unload on all of you, then go attempt to read that damn book I keep picking up and can’t focus on. Or maybe I’ll say fuck that, and just lay here waiting for Bud to arrive, listening to the Glenn Miller Pandora channel that I would be getting ready to right now, had the show not wrapped on Sunday.

This is my first week in many, where that wasn’t a thing. Where I wouldn’t be setting my hair right now, and running my lines for the 10,000th time. 

…And in about ten minutes, I’d be in the dressing room, greeting the ladies, popping the music on again, getting into the flow, and trying to pretend I wasn’t nervous as fuck about how very many ways I could (and probably would), screw up tonight. 

…In a few minutes, I’d be laughing despite all that (because: theatre), shoving some awesome Mdm Arcadi baked good in my face, (in lieu of dinner,) sipping on my 6th black coffee for the day, wishing to God it was this whiskey.

 …And despite the fact: it never would be, and despite how terrified I was, I’d still rather be in that room than not in that room.

…Even without the whiskey.

I’m not even well enough to function “generally” and I want back in the the place that freaks me out ten ways to Sunday.

Figures.

Why wouldn’t it be that way?

Why would anything make sense, except my inability to get my damn shit together?

I’m bone-tired. And heart-sad. And super thankful for the team I’m not with tonight, who I would be, if we hadn’t demolished it all to fuck, 5 days ago.

…Also: I need to pick another sipping whiskey.

Except: no, I won’t. The next one is for my Blithe’s.

One Bombay Sapphire, in memory of the yous.

…Love you nerds. Miss yuh like my mental acuity. 

XO and all that,

~D

Dear My Blithe Spirits

3 Nov

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

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

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

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

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

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

…This team.

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

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

…So: I couldn’t. 

…So: I didn’t.

…So: I still haven’t.

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

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

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

Thank you,

~D

I’ll Have What She’s Having

1 Nov

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s eat!

~D

Crazy Lady On The Beach

30 Oct

First week of bookwork is done, made all the boxes so could check all the things off…cuz that is the best part. 

…One of the things: my weekly “Artist’s Date,” I paired with my “Imaginary Lives” list, and went to be an Archaeologist for the afternoon, on Saturday. Not for real, of course, mostly as a gesture of representation. But when you’re hunched over with a plastic tub, and a gardening spade, sitting on your haunches at the seaside…picking at (and through) insignificant shit while curious dog walkers pass by, and kids stop to stare at you, cuz, “what the hell, lady?” It kinda steals a little of your thunder.

…Until you eventually start getting into it, and make a staging of your findings on some leaves for picture-taking purposes, and feel terribly importantly artistic as you try to flick those tiny crab claws open –because that’s just more aesthetically pleasing, and also: “Oh Fuck off! I’m trying to ART here, dude! You just picked your dog’s shit up in a hand baggie, and put it in your pocket. I totally saw you! Who’s the REAL wierdo here, really?!?”

(…I’m also dealing with anger issues. And being more positive…)

I am a work in progress.

Anyway…I picked at things buried under rocks and twigs, I took some arty pics, I sat on an “Alice” log, contemplating its navel. I breathed. I watched pokey sticks gouge at the shore. I wrote a little thing. 

…I Be’d.

…And then I went home, popped my findings in a baggy, and clipped em to my Wall of Wonder…to look back on. 

…Whenever. 

…To that one time I was a marine archaeologist. 

…Which is way better than being a poop-scooping, pocket warmer. So there.

“Only Alice Knows”“Breathe.”“Messy Bow”“Those metaphorical shards of life shit that just keep coming at you, wave after wave.”“Things Found”“The Random Details”

…I also managed my morning pages after a full night’s sleep, every night…found about four or five really good brain-dig findings, and that I am still PTSDing from that last show so hard, that just being on stage is upending me. 

I’m fighting the battle onward, in front of a live audience, nightly…which is my only option. An interestingly (when it’s not you, probably) terrifying, and often very hopeless feeling, which I get to share intimately, not only with my castmates…but the several hundred other people at a time who are (unbeknownst to them) paying to see it.

I can only do what I can.

A break after this show, (for quite a bit of time)…while I try and figure this shit all out, and learn to trust the stage again…is necessary. 

…Meanwhile, not unlike that dude with the dog: when shit happens, I palm it best as I can and pretend, as I fight on, that this is a totally normal part of life. 

…While super wishing I had a trashbin somewhere, to throw it the fuck away.

~D

12 Oct

…I have to think of something else.

My brain has been full of horrible thoughts for far, far too long. It has consumed me entirely. It has stripped me of everything from joy, to my health, to my dignity. And with nothing else to lose, (except, of course there is,  and when you’re me and my brain, we can even itemize them out for you…alphabetically, if you so choose) I sit here in between hour two of what will be a lot more, running lines tubed into my left ear, via my phone headset…during work, with the still dark thoughts absorbing me where they should be concentrating on lines I’ve had to relearn so many times now, that I can’t remember the count.
I’ve failed at a lot of things in life, but this was always the one thing I could count on to be solid. 

Art. 

Theatre.

I’ve always worked my damn ass of to assure that no matter what, I am prepared. I am professional. I am solid. Because I have no other self-identity other then being an actor. It’s what I am. It’s what I do. It’s my purpose. And now it’s failing me too. Or rather, I’m failing it. 

A lot terrifies me. But my “purpose” leaving me, is now officially taking the damn cake. I couldn’t try grasping frantically for some shred of recognition or safety more, if my life depended on it. And it feels very much like it does. Couldn’t pray harder. Couldn’t lose more sleep, push more, plead more, cry more, melt down more. I couldn’t lose more dignity if  every bodily fluid expelled at once, on stage vs the humiliation I put myself through, at last night’s rehearsal.

…Absolutely zero control.

Despite an extremely understanding and totally supportive team, I can’t help but see the inevitable trajectory this shit-fest is taking, and my total inability to stop it…despite all major efforts I am attempting to negate it.

I just closed “Dark” on Sunday, and “Blithe” opens in 8 days. I have never struggled like this for the most basic requirements of doing the job I need to do, on that stage. Never mind the character, I can’t even get grasp on the fucking text. What should be a light and airy word-play of epically brilliant double-entendres, and bitch-bitey exuberance, is a nightmare of impossible-to-recall word specifics that no one uses outside of a Mensa meeting, and broken record of Agatha Christie repetition-hell, of saying the same thing, slightly different and more catty, 13 times, in 15 different monologues, without rest.

Am still very broken from the last show, all but shattered before we’ve even opened this one. And for the first time I am really and truly actually questioning my ability to do this anymore. 

…And if I can’t. What in the flying fuck has it even all been about?

I’m trying to open a show in the middle of my biggest fucking mental breakdown since I’d been diagnosed, in 2009.

… I have to think of something else.

~D

Awake!

17 Sep

It’s 7:02. My body does one of those jolting awake things, like when you’ve forgotten something. I look at my wrist to check the time. The Fitbit is off. I didn’t put it back on again after my post-show shower last night. What an idiot! Check the time. Oh good! Good body-clock! Thank God! 

I get up and put the Fitbit on again, checking the battery, which is severely low. Wow, even with it on, I’d have prob’ly missed the alarm. I’ll charge it at work, I tell myself.

…I lay there checking my Entertainment news, as is my morning practice, and contemplate my tummy’s readiness for its first cup of (what will be many) black coffees today. While streaming news I remind self of rehearsal tonight, lines I’ll need to learn at lunch somehow, and being thankful I made it without a major injury through another week of shows.

…Coffee is made, and consumed, look down at my Fitbit, and sure enough, the alarm didn’t buzz. But I’m up and getting ready for work, none-the-less.

…Then it’s car, commute, so many damn detours from out of nowhere! I text Boss at second one…looks like I’ll be late because of them. I’m circling, I’m on and off-ramping, I’m getting ticked, cuz I’m too damn tired for this, and its a hell of a way to start a Monday.

…I get to work, and am first in. Unlock the crap, prep the stuff…I’m sitting at my desk, jotting to-dos on my idiot pad, when Boss texts me back:

“Um, why you there? It’s Sunday.”

…I open my computer screen.

“Sunday,” it says.

…Sunday. It’s Sunday. 

I’m sitting at my desk, and it’s Sunday.

…It does actually take me that long to understand what is wrong with this and all the things that led to this moment and how I have never ever ever, in my life, so totally lost the sense of time and day before. Not just “a little,” not just for a “moment.” I’m almost two hours into the loss, at this point.

…I pack up. I lock up. I go through the Starbucks for a giant latte and some food to settle my now flip-flopping tummy. 

…Not “suddenly” but even more than a moment ago, I feel like total shit. I was exhausted: now I’m emotionally almost crippled by it. I was cold: now I’m blasting the heat like its winter in Michigan, and still freezing. I was bruised but relieved that I made it through this last weekend of shows: now I’m horrified that I have a matinee still yet to face.

…I try my best not to freak out my Barista with this total overload of emotion, collect my goods, and drive home.

I get into bed, without even bothering to unmake it first. The pillows are taking up all the room, I’m already two cups of black coffee in, even without the latte, so sleep is impossible. It would be anyway. It already has often been, of late.

There is a misnomer that Art is or should be all fun and games. It’s probably great for some people if it is. I prefer it as the icing on a good amount of work. But sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it sucks the absolute life out of you. And there is some strange unspoken rule that despite what it takes from you, you should be greatful to be a working artist and not mention the toll, or the truth of its impact. I say: that is shit. 

…Art is like anything else. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it is disappointing as fuck, and frustrating, and insulting, and debilitating. Like anything you love: art has shit days. It *can* have shit months. 

…For me, of late: it has. I have been fully aware of it. I knew it was bad. I didn’t know it was this bad. It’s a new low on the scale. 

I feel…empty. 

I am laying here in bed, too exhausted to cry, I need to save whatever energy I have for a house full of ticket payers. I need to somehow adjust my mood so I won’t infect my fellow cast, who is probably sleeping away right now, blissfully oblivious of the day I’ve already had before they’ve so much as got up for their morning pee. I need to rally presence of mind and focus…of a brain which didn’t know what day it was through two hours of time…so that I don’t do more physical damage to myself than is absolutely necessary out there, in stocking feet, in the dark.

I need to trust.

I don’t have any of that right now.

…And I am very, very, very, very tired.

Obviously.

In every way that I can be.

And that, is my Sunday morning truth.

~D

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

First Day On Set

27 Aug

Today we meet our set. Always an exciting time, but I’ve been freaking out about it for days.

…Because not only is it angles and staircases and platforms and sofas and multiple tables…kitchen and laundry appliances…with things like live flame and giant death fights, and practical light sources, which eventually will go down to 2% blues and black…

…I’m doing it all blind. Because my character is.

…So, take you out of the rehearsal room, where touch as marker, how many steps, at what angle, and what texture and size has been accruing in your mind across nearly two months, on a single surface…and put in totally different measure in depth and width, with added levels and stairs, ever revolving new props as they are subbed in from rehearsal to show versions…and keep in mind, you cannot visually mark a damn thing to help you, and know you have nine days on this set to pull it all off by Preview.

Soft-focus is the landed perspective I’m working in. (Like if you spaced out and tried to focus closer while doing it…a kind of duplicate out-of-focusing.) It removes all sharpness to your visuals, and heavily handicaps your peripheral. On top of which you don’t look toward the action or person…your ears are the primary focus, so they can pick up echoes, bounce-back off surfaces that can relate information like a bat uses sonar…explaining room layout, depth, where people are standing, how close another object is, the configuration of a hallways width, a doorway versus as wall, and general movement…etc. 

…Doing all this means that the usual safety standards for actors on set, in blackout, or partial light, aren’t going to help me. Glowtape on the lip of the stairs means fuck-all. Spike tape is meaningless, unless it is in an area I can physically feel with my fingertips. If I place a prop in the scene and it falls, I have to take the time to search it out on hands and knees and restore it, even if mid-fight, mid task of something else, and not depend on someone nearest to cover, or there is no way the character would know where it is for later. It means bruises I’ve already accrued will magnify greatly, as I have to relearn every new angle and movement pattern, forwards and backwards, all over again. The configuration of her movement, in subtly using the furniture in her home to get her from “A” to “B” to “C,” now changes in angle and needs to be relearned and adjusted. It used to take five steps in the rehearsal room to get from here to there, and eight to that place, but now will it take seven, eight, and ten? How do I redistribute my line delivery time to cover that, or do we need to start two lines earlier because now I have an entire staircase to climb?

…How can I be safe? And when they add stage lights to my already halo-like, duplicate-vision, what the hell is that gonna do to impare me even further?

The role has always been on the bucket list…and it’s great work because of how many challenges it throws at you. But this is the moment I have always been most scared of. There is very little anyone can do to help me, and I have a very short learning curve to get a whole hell of a lot dialed in. And it all completely affects the pacing, tension, and presentation of the entire show if I can’t figure it out. 

…So: no pressure or anything.

It’s 10am. I already need a drink.

~D

…Meanwhile: On Stage

23 Jul

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

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

“Wait Until Dark.”

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

I love it.

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

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

…Bring it.

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

…Seventh-freakin-heaven.

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

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

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

Yes.

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

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

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

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

~D

This Time, In NA…

5 May

Studied up and ready to open “Water By The Spoonful” tonight, with an energized and eager company. Fantastic post-preview talks, last night, with some of the production-family, reinvigorated my brains within Odessa’s headspace. 

…I love nothing better than spinning those connecting webs of collaboration…from the AD to the Costume Designer to the Actor, and how each take and builds from the others’ contribution, making this art-from-art kind of Celtic knot of seamless (we hope) common goal-reaching.
Am proud of this team, and honored to be a part of it.

…And honored to portray those who struggle with substance abuse issues…to tell their story as truthfully as we can, as raw and naked and serving the fact of that moment to moment struggle. Am very thankful at how much research I needed to do on the NA side of things…in that I have been fortunate to not have the first-hand knowledge of its world. The devastation it leaves in its wake is such an astonishing payment with ripple effect. After living in that headspace even only as an actor, the empathy for its victims is another study on the frailty in our humanity…but also the stubborness of our strength, the frustration in our circumstance, the fate of our birth, the pomposity and arrogance of our gambles with death, and the fight and fight and fight we can put up, when life throws fists in our faces, time and time again.

It’s a hell of a piece of theatre.

…And a pretty damn good production. (If I do say so myself.)

And: I do.

Happy Opening, team!

~D

We All Look Like A Tim Burton

21 Mar

How you know someone is mid Tech Week # 10:
They show up in public looking like a damn disaster, and give zero shits.

…At night, this might not be so very glaring…in the day time, in line at the grocery story, or under office lighting…it’s straight-up horrifying. I just caught sight of myself in the office bathroom mirror, and I’d cast me right now in any zombie movie ever. As-is. Or as someone with horrible (multiple) substance abuse issues.

…Or, anything by Tim Burton.

Last night’s remenants of water proof mascara…which truly apparently IS…is still clinging and bleeding down my lower lid, onto the exhausted bags under my eyes. My 50’s hair of curls from last night, are a wild, crunchy, fro of untamed fury. And while I was too tired to shower this morning, or more than slap some face base on, I am kept from total cadaver status, only due to the (I’m sure) toxic lip stuffs I use to stain my mouth that insanely red-red that no one but whores and Drag Queens now use. And whereas I would mind zero-much being compared to a Drag Queen, I unfortunately rather suggest a lower-end former in appearance.

…I LOOK, like I’m in the middle of Hell Week. Every classic symptom. From shitty exhausted lack of hygiene, to the overwhelming desire to fall asleep into my fifth cup of black coffee.

…And, I dunno if its the ongoing weather trend or not, but people have been just enormously shitty for two days solid on call after call after call.

 …And, Mrs. Johnson showed up last night.

I just took my first (and only) break of the day at 1:45. We have our first early call tonight. I haven’t walked out doors or had a whiff of clean air in two days. They’ve added a command performance on Tuesday. The pills aren’t helping the general warzone of my lady regions.

…I want to go home.

And sleep.

But strangely enough, even more than that…I want a clean run of this show. And I want it: tonight.

~D

Win-Losses & Trannies

4 Feb

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

The script is fast becoming mutilated. They always do.

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

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

…And I am very, very happy. 

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

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

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

…My God, she is frustrating to track. 

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

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

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

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

…But in all the good ways. 

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

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

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

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

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

2. Horton Foote might be a fucking genius. 

~D

McWinkerson

9 Jan

So here’s a first: think I put the wrong contact in my right eye…cuz everything’s been blurry and off all day. And it’s more than just a little annoying. At this point in my paper working day,  it’s given me a headache and made me nauseous. 

…So now I’m taking my “lunch, ” pacing the office while winking through one eye so I can type this without vomiting. 

(…she said, with hope.) 

It hasn’t been a great Monday. 

…But I’ve had worse. 

(…this is me: being positive .)

Oh,  hey,  and while we’re on that subject: didn’t get the show,  but did book a paid stage read in Feb. So…that’s like getting the vaccination shot and feeling only nominally like shit, versus not getting the shot at all and wasting away without aide. 

… I still feel diseased, but with the “good drugs,” so I don’t notice it as much at the moment. 

…Which is helpful. 

…What isn’t so helpful is the pacing and writing with only one eye. Things are getting squidgy. 

Shut it down, dude. 

But first: if you haven’t yet — see Bright Lights, and find whole sadness of joys. And also: add to your life-list for someone to creative-crush on you as eloquently as Viola Davis does on Meryl Streep. And also: try to be more like Meryl Streep…just like you know: in general. 

Over-and-out. 

~D

Markers

4 Jan

I bet that waiting for a casting call is a lot like waiting for the Jury to come outta that deliberation room. 

…Your fate in this, is now totally out of your hands, and it is at other people’s graces to determine your future for whatever space of time is at stake…which will almost entirely wage how you will be conducting your life,  and where, and with whom…often cases in total intimacy with complete strangers, who will know more random closely guarded secrets about you than sometimes even your significant other…but there is no telling how fucking long it will take them to make this highly anticipatory decision, until they finally make it. 

…And until then: you just have to wait. 

…Just sit here. 

One of my favorite UK classes reminded and pushed the mantra that the audition is my work,  and the rest belongs to “them. ” It is not my job to fret or deliberate anything. My job is done. 

…Unless they pick me up to do the show itself. 

…In which case, my new job begins. 

…But until or unless that happens… I’m not supposed to waste energy or worry about the outcome… 

…Which,  again with the “Jury” scenario,  is kinda the most difficult thing I’m supposed to do. 

How the hell do you actively “not care? ”

…And this gets even rougher when they draw the process out. And when you don’t know them at all,  or the way they might usually do things. 

…And when you are wanting to make plans and build schedules and stipend gas money and other finances. 

…And you could also use a haircut. 

…Many,  many things,  from basic personal care to several months of financial, social, and life choices are just sitting here in the box,  waiting for someone else’s decision to tell me what I can and cannot do. 

…Just keep counting the markers as they pass by. 

We are in day 8.

…It’s already been a long 2017.

Next: As resolutions I decided to chart things. (Cuz I pretty much do that shit anyway, so am destined to win at at least that.) 

…This time it’s one financial goal, one fitness specific, and some accountability for alcohol unit consumption…keeping in mind, I am no longer 20 with unlimited bounce-back before me. 

…At the moment I am at stellar achievement level with my Habitbull app. Course,  we’re only 4 days in,  but I bet you so much money that new gym memberships are already starting to feel neglected and whole cartons of cookies have already made their first binge round of “fuckit, ” with a lot of people we know. 

(…well,  the cookie one for sure. That was me. But then cookies were never on my list. That’s just a fucking stupid way to start hating the year before it’s even begun.)

…Meanwhile, I’m nailing my rules shit. (Even the addendums) 

…AND the cookie -eating. (You’re welcome.) 

Now: onto some more freezing cold walks and movie-watching…as I pretend not to wait for that damn Jury verdict. 

..This is me: not caring so hard right now. 

…So. Hard…

~D

Last Brothel Shift Of 2016

30 Dec

After prepping for an uber Month/Year-End hell, (which will be my first day back to work on the 3rd), I ordered a hot dog: delivered, and spent money I don’t have right now to repurchase Debbie Reynolds films I hadn’t updgraded yet to DVD. 

…It is a necessity. 

…So has been the (thus far)  6-film fest-binge. Which will continue. She was one of the closest of the family who raised me to do the things I do with the work ethic that I do ’em. 

She’ll always be a necessity for me. 

(..Am still kind of perplexed about the hot dog bit, though. I think maybe it’s some kind of strange kiddom regression…)

Anyway. It was a damn good hot dog. 

…In other news: the office is ready to purge out 2016, like a bad hangover…which is a lot like these past few weeks have felt for me. I truly want nothing more than to see this last chunk of time disappear in a loud gulping flush of awful, to the sewer where it belongs. And if people I love could stop dieing for five fucking seconds,  I might even fit in a thought towards non-shitty aspirations for the New Year. 

…I expect it to at least start well,  standing under an explosion of fireworks from the Space Needle with m’bud, and still holding out hope that one of these last two callbacks will lead to a new show and positive focus,  directly after. 

…It won’t be from lack of trying. 

And maybe THAT will be the new mantra of 2017.

…I’ve had worse. 

Meanwhile, there are those summer shorts I need to fit into 6 months from now, so these long freezing-ass,  rainey walks will continue. (Which I’ve grown to despise, even though I know they are really good for me right now.)  And I’ve a lot of film therapy coming my way. 

…So,  there’s that. 

…And only two more hours to the work day. 

Even you could do that. 

…So let’s count it down together…

~D

We Were Dating,  Now We’re Not

2 Dec

Doing a show is like having a whirlwind romance, where you meet and get married in like a week, and said relationship lasts with total devotion, until you unceremoniously strike your home and get a Mexican divorce–however long your run is-days later.

…Because working on a character across a full rehearsal and production schedule, is absolutely consuming and requires not only devotion of time and physical and mental presence, but also through sickness and through health, as long as you both shall live (together .) 

…And it doesn’t matter if you “have a headache tonight, ” or “really need some alone time, ” or “start to feel suffocated” by their insistent presence. Doesn’t matter that it seems you –at times– have absolutely put yourself and your needs on the back burner and have from time to time gotten completely lost inside the relationship, which starts to blur (as time goes on)  in fully realizing just where you end and they pick up (or vice versa.) 

…You see each other through your finest moments,  and miserable worst, and yet you are able to commit fully to this marriage because –I guess,  really– of two things:

1. You have made this commitment with full knowledge of what is required of you, in front of all of those witnesses, who will hold your ass to it, by supportive teamwork. 

2. This passionate affaire, has a sell-by date, which you are also fully aware of on the outset, so: there’s really just no damn excuse not to give it your all,  while you can. 

At this point,  I’ve been married –MANY times. 59, in fact. I make Liz Taylor and Mickey Rooney look Catholic by comparison. And luckily for me,  I’ve enjoyed the HELL out of the bulk of them, and have bins and books full of our Honeymoon days together, which already make me misty-eyed with memory,  and I’m not even middle-aged as yet. 

…The thing is: as great as the bulk of those marriages are in my memory, there is even something singularly satisfying in the terrible ones, in that: I made the absolute best effort I could to make it work out, and even if it ended shitty,  I know that to be true. 

…Because I actually really really love to “commit.” 

…(In a show, that is.) 

…But along with these “marriages,” I’ve also had me some “flings.” 27, of note. And these,  while intriguing, only seem to mostly “hot and bother” me, and while enjoyable in the moment, leave me as unfulfilled at their ending, as a one-night-stand. 

–Which, in fact, most of them ARE.

The Staged Read, is an enigmatic animal. They are considerably lower maintenance than a real relationship in that you don’t live with the character. At most, you might workshop (or, “date”) it for a few days, but by and large, it’s just a tease. 

…Even if you really like the character. Even if the cast is a dream. Even if your Director is creative as fuck. You still are hampered from full investment to grow it into a real relatonship, because Staged Reads are the flings we have in foreign countries, while on Holiday. They aren’t allowed to become more than that, because of your surrounding circumstances, even if you really, really, really like them, and you get on with total ease, and know you could make the most magnificent children together…

…And even knowing this, a lot of the time, you still can’t help getting sucked into the “what if,” daydream which sometimes comes with the really, really special flings.

…These will be the ones you always pine over, the ones you wish you could learn all the  secret intimacies about…everything from the corny, “how they take their tea, ” to the deeply sheltered truths they hide… the ones that even though you held them for a moment,  you can’t help but think that they are one of those ones who,”got away. ”

Yesterday’s “Joe Egg, ” read is one of those for me. 

We dated heavily for several weeks, and it was disturbing but so enlightening, and…She’s gone now… 

…Out of my life… 

…The supremely gifted family: broken up. And though I am so very satisfied to have met the role at all,  never mind with this amazing group of people — I know in my gut-parts, she and I would have had one of THE best marriages that I have ever had…

…If only…

If only.

~D

The Airplane Blog

22 Oct

I’m one bottle into two minis of red, (my dinner,  thank you Iceland Air), listening to Bjork via ear buds, because: Iceland. 

…Meanwhile, the quaintly circa 1965 pill-box-hatted-and-scarved stewardesses (Flight Staff? Attendants?) are trying to shill me duty-free jewelry. 
…And I really have to pee. But I’m a window seat in a row of three. So am waiting for the guy on the  aisle, (with two beers in him), to start the stampede.

…Goddamn,  he can hold his beer.

…Don’t you have to pee yet,  guy?!  Beer makes *me* need to pee! *Instantly!* And often! 

When I saw Aisle Guy get two beers and a water I was all, “FREAKIN SWEET! He’ll for *sure* have to pee soon…at *least* as much as I do (already before I decided to drink dinner.)”

…But, no.

…Enjoy that youthfull prostate,  young guy. It only goes down from here.

Focus on distraction. 

…Bjork. 

…What *is* it? 

…(Other than many cellos, synth, electric keyboards, and a small bird voice saying words that are English,  but don’t really make actual sentences together?) 

Meanwhile: finally got to see “Hitchcock. ” I like that it’s an Alma love -letter. That woman was the Eleanore Roosevelt of his career. It’s about damn *time* someone noticed… 

…So, so, so distracted by bladder right now. It’s starting to hurt. But nice,  silent, Nordic Knitting Woman beside me,  makes me wary of making the first move. 

….A silent letter,  sent mentally to two seats over:

Dear Aisle  Guy, 

Remember those beers? And that bottle of water? No?  Well I remember my pre-flight apple juice and dinner of Syrah. 

GET THE FUCK UP. 

With Gratitude,

~Window Seat Lush

***

(Later) 

…Peeing is magnificent. Don’t ever take it for granted again.

***

(Even Later) 

Have given up on Bjork. Maybe I’ll like their breakfast foods or foreign films…

…Am chillin now with my girl Adele, trying really hard not to belt along. It is more difficult than I thought it would be. Am thinking the words and making all the faces anyway. 

Vacation is fun.

…Even in a hollow tube streaking a zillion miles per hour, by magic and science, (but mostly magic) across the sky. 

…Speaking of that: my onboard consul tells me we are roughly half way to this place which is supposed to heavily resemble Mars (according to others who have been there…to Iceland, that is,  not Mars… Though how the fuck they know enough about Mars topography to equate it, I’ll never know.) 

…Because of flight mode,  I have no idea what time it really is,  or what time zone I’m in. I suspect (because I’m still rocking it over Canada,) I’m three hrs ahead… ish. 

…Oh,  Canada… 

(Wonders where Cecil is,  in her journey. Wonders if she drank dinner too. Wonders if anyone lost bets that I chose wine instead of the Johnny Walker Black option. *I* did. I *totally* owe me a whiskey on that loss. Later. Maybe for breakfast.)

(…I’m only a little bit kidding.) 

***

(Later) 

“When Harry Met Sally” because: (no reason besides, “it’s ‘When Harry Met Sally,'” will ever be needed in this life.)

**

(Even Later)

This scene:

**
(Later,  later) 

Whatever creation Nordic Knitting Woman is making next to me,  requires a seven page booklet of number and letter charting, which she’s added math equations to…along with occasional liner notes, all of which are a mystery. Because of her mother tongue. And: math. 

 …Every row’s end, she stops, charts, flips pages, and writes more. With the length she currently working on – and given the tiny,  tiny yarn thickness -she must have started this project about two years ago. Or maybe 20. And I can’t even tell what the hell it’s supposed to be,  yet. 

A scarf? An infant’s blanket? Dear God,  I hope not the front part of a sweater. She’s already well into her sixties. She’ll never survive both arms. 

**

(Later-ish)

WATER!! 

Remember back when I had to piss like a racehorse?  I peed so hard, I caused full Exodus of fluid from my entire body. I’ve been a living Sahara for like two hours now. But the lovely-beautiful-fantastical-retro-badass-ladies-who-take-care-of-us (like magical Stage Managers in the sky) just showed up with another cart. 

I love you, Iceland Air. 

And it’s a real love. 

Not like with Delta.

**

(Later,  still.) 

Reached Iceland. 

Close you eyes. 

That is what I saw of it. Pitch black still past 6 am… They didn’t let us leave the inner concourse if traveling to UK, I was immediately put into a line (and then an all glass holding pen) with no bathrooms or way to get water… until about 20 mins later, when they opened another glass door, and we all pushed through the rain in blackness, on the tarmac, to get to our plane. 

…And that’s what I saw of Iceland. 

The end. 

**

(Flight 2)

I smell. And a lot of people all around me do too. But not as much as the Axe Body Spray walking advertisement, somewhere within 12 rows of me.

..

My nostrils are burning, and am wondering what is truly worse: BO or American Bro.

Jury is still out. 

I need sleep. 

And a drink. 

…And to find a way to put Axe Body Spray out of business. 

***

(At Last) 

OMG. 

I am in England. 

😀

~D

Thoughts (1 Day Before London) 

20 Oct

Have got a lot of travel-time alone, to do all my normal freak-out things tomorrow…as Cecil and I are on totally different flights. She’ll be kicking it with family in Boston hours before I reach Reykjavik. She lands at Gatwick, I’m touching down in Heathrow. 
…And where, in “normal-world” anxiety terms, that’s just fun adventure…for people like me,  the fact I’m getting on a damn plane to Iceland, and have 55 minutes to get through customs and to my London flight… should be seriously freaking me the fuck out right now. 

…I dunno why,  but for the moment at least, I’m totally fine with it. 

…Where last night was my third consecutive one of shit sleep, it isn’t due to crippling fear or pacing. My nights have been 300% consumed in mapping, ticket-buying, and investingating all the stuff we could do (if we want to), will do (cuz we need to), and might do, despite all odds. 

…Between London, Brighton, Warrington, and Stratford (so far on our lists), that is a pretty consuming occupation. So much so,  that my brain doesn’t have time to flip out and require multiple distractions and interfacing from TVs, computers, bright lights, and other people…which is it’s usual demand. 

I prefer this way. 

…In the best of circumstances, it never has time to blip over to the shitty stage. This would be my brain Mecca of Zen….whilst mid world-altering happenings I cannot control,  take place all around me, and I partake, blissfully, and completely okay with it. 

And it might just happen. 

…How I know is, today when the Whs guy was all, “So. Vacation,  huh? Where yuh goin’? Hawaii? ”

…I said, “Nope. London. ”

…And he’s all, “Holy shit! ”

…And for the first time all week, I started to tear up. Not cuz of a 2 a.m. anxiety attack, period emo anger, or night-sweating hypochondriac freak-outs. 

…It was cuz:

Holy shit. 

I am going to fucking London. 

Tomorrow. 

To take theatre classes. 

The number one thing I’ve wanted to do. 

My entire life. 

My top plan. 

For me. 

…I’ve got a lot of people to thank for helping me get here, and a hell of a lot of cheerleaders backing me. 

…But I’m one of those people too. And even with the sometimes cripplingness that is me… 

I. mutherfucking. made it. 

(You’d choke up too) 

😂

~D

Thoughts, (10 Days Before London) 

11 Oct

Um,  I dunno if you know it (International Friends), but there’s this whole thing where Americans wishing to look less ridiculous (or wanting to more easily blend in) will often pretend to be Canadians , whilst visiting abroad. It’s not exactly like we’re ashamed of being “American,” it’s that we are embarrassed by the general casting-type. 
…Look,  I have to say that by and large,  we earn it. Having been abroad before, I was never more aware of our loud,  braying, overly-enthusiastic,  self- entitlement than quietly sitting in corners of tubes and restaurants and buses…watching us being giant low-class dicks,  en mass. We dress horribly.  We push to run every room and tourist guiding,  we chew gum in ancient cathedrals, scream at one another across silent museum lobbies, we complain about food portions, bitch about the size of the showers, and how everyone doesn’t bathe twice a day,  and strangely like to infringe on , (and advertise),  our private business to any and everyone who doesn’t (and won’t ever care)…cuz that shit is embarrassing. 

…But then Brexit happened,  and I was all,  “Woa,  for once we aren’t the biggest idiots”

…But then this election happened and now I’m all, ” Well, fuck. I gotta pretend to be British-Columbian from Vancouver,  again.”

The deal is: I don’t talk political shit on my Facebook, I’m sure as hell not gonna want to “live,”  on a tube platform with a random Italian. (Let’s be real,  the English don’t talk in tubes.) 

…Though,  to be off the International Shit-List,  they might just break precedent.And the French always have hated us (and always will), because of our hard-“R’s,” designer-knock-offs, and wearing T-shirts with vacation locations on them. 

Americans are like the class clowns of the world. Right now: we are specializing in scaring the shit out of everyone–even ourselves. And frankly,  I am not comfortable being a “representative abroad. ”

I’m not super proud of us right now. And I don’t wanna talk about it. Cuz the world I come back to, (the week of the election), scares the living shit out of me.  If I could,  I’d fucking just stay there.

…And I would always have said that. (But would have literally never meant it, more.) Than right now

…And you know what?  That kinda sucks. 

 …Because, though I unreasonably love Britain like it is in my blood (cuz it is)… I have great grandfathers who fled from those bitches,  (on the Irish and Pilgrim side.) Like:legit. I’ve an ancestor who signed the Mayflower Compact, and we’ve fought in every single American war.INCLUDING against the Brits. 

I *want* to be proud. 

…But…

…As I prepare to cross the pond for a place I adore and identify with (prob’ly because it is in my blood) …and even though I really, really, REALLY, don’t want to get political…I just don’t know how I’ll be able to prevent it. 

I don’t know what to say. 

I don’t know how to excuse us.
…Because, I know a LOT of very, very very smart people. 

…And they don’t seem to either. 

And on an International level:  on planes,  busses, trains and week-long workshops… I dunno how the hell I’m gonna duck or explain it. 

…And with ALL the weird shit on my brain right now…ten days before I leave to study abroad…why is THAT the main thing on my freak-out list?

~D

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