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Posts Tagged ‘Theatre’

 

 

It’s been a little while since an update so here goes (and where to start??).  I believe in my last post I had mentioned how I would be soon starting to work for a new dog walking company.  Due to my work related injury (all the way back last December!), this plan got scratched.  In the end, it is so obviously for the best it would have been a committed Mon.-Fri. day job, which would make it difficult to do films, have day rehearsals, and go on many auditions, and many other necessities towards my acting career.  What I WILL be doing instead is freelance babysitting, cat sitting, background work, and doing freelance errands.  I have taken actions towards all of these and have plans and appointments laid out for the weeks ahead, and am excited about doing work I enjoy that also gives me the complete flexibility needed to continue building my acting career.  I won’t be going back to waiting tables as I am physically unable, but even if that were a current possibility, I wouldn’t as I don’t want to ever risk this type of injury through that work again. It has been a LONG 5 months of recovery;  I’ve been going to PT consistently since February, and my physical therapist is GREAT (wonderful positive energy), but quite frankly I’m over it!  I have an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon on the 14th, so I’ll give a further update after that.  I am certainly not bed ridden (by any stretch of the imagination); it’s that certain actions (lifting, carrying, specific range of motion) will still bring pain after a short period of use (or sometimes immediately).  So I keep doing my PT sessions, at home stretches, etc, but I have long mentally and physically moved on to “OK, what can I do with where I am at now.”

 

 

Speaking of, my classes have or are coming to an end (one more Alexander Technique class left for the quarter).  My monologue audition class was fantastic in so many ways, not just with the technique but even more importantly in the details that most don’t think about.  How you walk in the room, when do you say hello, how do you close the door, how you smile, don’t step back at the end when saying “thank you,” etc.  My classmates were/are AWESOME, and with some I have joined a weekly rehearsal group to meet with so that we can get feedback on what we are currently working on, which is SO HELPFUL–and  I especially love supporting these truly wonderful new friends of mine in the same way.  While the class was still in session, it required a fairly large time commitment and so I was selective about what I was submitting for (castings wise).  Now, however, I’m submitting for any and all that I could possibly fit for and interests me, as is Jack.  Last Sunday was particularly great because Jack and I both had 3 auditions each (all of mine were theatre based and his were all film based).  It looks likely that Jack will be doing one of the films, in which case he will be shooting on location in New Jersey for 4 days in June.  One of my auditions  granted me membership into their theatre company, which  does consistent work year round (full plays and one acts, etc); looking forward to working with them and learning a lot!  Jack has also been going on EPAs, which haven’t given him a chance to audition yet, but he is persistent.

 

 

My plan is to join Jack in going to EPAs as soon as I update my headshots;  I asked the advice of an off-Broadway casting director that I know, and they are truly in DIRE need of updating since they just don’t look like I do now.  I want my first impression at the EPAs to be that of a professional who takes my work seriously, thus the waiting until I have the new headshots.  My “official” goal is to have them by September 15th, although I’ve already gotten the ball rolling so it is likely I will have them much sooner.  As they are pretty costly, I am gathering a list of those that are recommended and whose work I like, then setting up appointments for consultations/interviews before making my decision.

 

 

Let’s see, what else??…the steriods I was on for my herniated disc added a nice (not-so-nice) sack of potatoes weight to my body, so I am working out on a regular basis now.  Regular means at least 5 times a week at the gym, and on non-gym days, at least a 30 minute walk. At the gym I am only doing the elliptical as it provides a good cardio workout but is also low-impact on my body and so doesn’t effect herniated disc.  The Alexander Technique work I’ve been doing has helped a LOT in this regard, too, because I am constantly checking in with my body:  where am I touching the earth, am I holding my breath, is there any tension in my body, where is the back of my head (critical for me as it helps me to allow it to go back rather than forward, which puts strain on my neck and shoulders); release, soften, head up an out, etc.  The exercise has been GREAT for my spirit and daily perspective.  Jack and I are both focusing on eating *mostly* vegetarian (he has actually swayed this way by no prompting by me), although there have been a few rare exceptions but only with “organic, humanely raised (MOST important!), properly fed, hormone and antibiotic free” eggs and beef.  Mainly dark green leafy vegetables and multi-colored produce remains the goal.

 

 

We are currently in our last three months in this apartment!  Seems strange although I am READY for us to finally have our OWN place, where we will not move again for quite a while.  I’m ready to paint and decorate and build our own home.  We will stay in Astoria although we are flexible as to what exact street/area.  I would kind of prefer Ditmars as it seems a bit quieter, plus the trains are always running there (whereas there has been a lot of construction and rerouting at our current stop).   I’ve been periodically keeping a lookout, although we won’t start seriously looking until probably the middle of June.  We would LIKE to avoid using a broker, but are not limiting ourselves to owner-rented only, as we have pretty specific desires for what we want and thus want to have access to all of the options possible.

 

 

Alright, that’s the update!  Kind of an informal post (I’m not going to go back to reread and edit), but it’s been a while so I wanted to just get it out.   Maybe for June I will do another 30 day challenge where I post at least once a day…the last time I did that in January, it really inspired me and evoked a lot of big changes and positive action that were REALLY good for me and my life.:)

 

 

OK I will send you off with a couple of pictures from Jack’s 46th birthday dinner in April!  We ate at this beautiful little place called Locale in Astoria.  Amazingly delicious food and surprisingly inexpensive (another good reason to live in Astoria!).

 

 

PS–I lied, I had to edit (or actually add to) this post!  I completely forgot to share about the theatre AWESOMENESS that I have been so blessed to see lately!  First, we saw War Horse the day after Jack’s birthday (it was a gift that I had bought tickets for back in December).  The crazy thing about that show was that I bought first row mezzanine…like that is what I specifically selected and paid for.  I don’t know what the heck happened, but we ended up in our own personal row, FIRST row (as in FIRST first) center!!!! We literally had THE best seats in the entire theatre (even one of the ushers commented on it).   I cannot do this show justice by even attempting to give it a review, so I will just say that it was worth EVERY single penny.  I also get offers for free shows when I am registered at ESPA, and so I got to see Primary Stages, “Morini Strad,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” at the Neil Simon Theatre, and Second Stage’s, “Lonely I’m Not” thanks to ESPA.  My absolute favorite out of all of those (that I just saw last night in fact) was “Lonely I’m Not.”  I’m so impressed and inspired with everything that I’ve seen Second Stage put up.  In addition to being a member of TDF (through which I can get discount tickets), a lot of my acting friends have been sharing other resources, one of which gets me tickets almost for free.  Thanks to this particularly awesome resource, I got to see Tennessee Williams, “In Masks Outrageous and Austere” at the Culture Project in the Village.  Only in NYC can I see 3 shows in one week for almost nothing, one of them being a Tennessee Williams world premiere!  How incredible is my life!  Not only that, but my seats for both “In Masks” and “Lonely I’m Not” were BOTH 2nd row!!!  Hot damn, knock on wood, I’ve got some serious theater seat karma lately…maybe I should play the lottery!

Happy Birthday, Jackie!

My incredible pasta dinner–that’s a beet sauce!

Dylan says, “Chow!”

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“Success demands singleness of purpose.”

–Vince Lombardi

One of the books I am reading recently is a never-before-released Napoleon Hill book titled, “Outwitting the Devil.”  It is considered a controversial book in the “New Thought” realm, and in fact he and then his wife and later nephew’s did not want to publish it for this exact reason. It wasn’t until the nephew’s wife died that it was then published in 2011, approximately 73 years later.

Those that know me well know that a belief in a physical devil, red-skinned, horned, and pitched forked does not at all exist in my world of reality.  And Hill I feel rides the fence here and is perhaps purposely ambiguous, perhaps to be heard/understood by all parties.  One could read this book as religious, spiritual, or psychological, and all three I find challenge by beliefs and understandings up until now…which is exactly what appeals to me.  I find the parallels of ideas in Steven Pressfield‘s, ” The War of Art” to be striking, which is significant to me personally since I just “happened upon” both of these books.

I’m not going to give a full on book report or dissertation, but want to note something specific that struck me.  In this book, he states how “definiteness of purpose” is the key to being a “non-drifter,” how to succeed in one’s life.  He defines “hypnotic rhythm” as a natural law, which is then how the majority (he states 98%) fall into the habits of “drifters” because of their indefiniteness, and how the other 2% of the population uses this law in collaboration with their definiteness of purpose to habitually live the life of the “non-drifter.”  You can easily know which you are currently (although you could be moving towards one or the other either by conscious decision and commitment) by taking a look at your life:  your finances, your health, your relationships, how you feel about your work, etc.  To be in the population of the 2% non-drifters, all areas of one’s life must contain the through line of one’s purpose.  The reason that there is such a large percentage of drifters is because most don’t consciously know or ask themselves (or believe that they can/are allowed) what their purpose is.  The truth, however, is that every single person has their own individualized purpose and that this purpose can be easily accessed;  all one really has to do is do that 2nd grade mantra: “Stop, Look, and Listen.”

I bring this up now not because this is new information to me, but because an “aha!” light went on this morning when pondering these concepts.  I was inspired to pull out the book I created from the Intentions Retreat I went on in 2010.  I flipped to the page of my “purpose statement” and reread what I wrote, comparing it with my current 2012 Intentions journal.  I’m not going to share what I wrote in 2010 here, as I am realizing there is power for me in keeping it to myself (much like one would in acting out a scene in theatre;  there is often more power in the unsaid and in the doing).  But I want to note that even at that time, there was a word in my statement that came to me, but looking back I get that it was too big for me to grasp and accept at the time (or better said, so I thought).  I remember battling with this word, bringing it up in the group, and even embarrassed and feeling that I was being completely brazen for even suggesting it (as in a “who am I kidding or trying to fool”).  I scratched the word out and changed it more than once (even in the final copy of my book).  In my 2011 and 2012 books, that word didn’t come back, and suddenly this morning while reading all of this I GOT IT. And I don’t know how quite to explain, other than in perhaps acting terms.  The purpose of one’s life is like their intention.  When you have a play, you have all kinds of beats, scenes, acts;  you can look at the whole of the play and you can break it up into these smaller and smaller chunks.  Each chunk can have its individualized tactic, but during the entirety of the play your character is going after one big SPECIFIC centralized intention/objective.  And it’s always about doing/action and it’s always about in order to affect outside of oneself.   Living one’s passion alone (with the focus on “what I will get from it”) will never lead to enduring success.  I focus on the word enduring because obviously it is possible to reach temporary success on passion alone, as we have seen with so many.  But only those who find and ground themselves in their purpose will be able to stay there.  For enduring success the focus must be on one’s purpose, which allows the freedom to continuously live out the passions.  The purpose is the intention of one’s life; the passion is the chosen method of joy in how this purpose is achieved (I say “chosen” although in truth the passion almost always “chooses” us).  While often the passion is what is initially ignited and then opens one’s eyes to their purpose (although if they access their life, they will usually see how they were already unconsciously living it), it is the purpose, not the passion, that must be so alive in a person that the stakes are then raised so high that they are  then free in the faith of said purpose.  This leads to the willingness to risk their full vulnerability(giving-ness) of self in the how of their tactic(s)/passion(s).

I probably could actually write an entire dissertation on this and go on and on and on (you know, like I just did), but for now I’m going to leave it at that.  I get that this understanding has come to light in conjunction with all of the recent action I have been taking in my life.  And now I get, as in GET get that Master Key that keeps that flame burning.  It was a question that had been rolling around in my brain for so long in frustration because I was only obtaining grasps of the answer in a very generalized way.

“The price of anything is the amount of life you

exchange for it.”

–Henry David Thoreau

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Arrrg, so much to update, so little time!  Been writing, classing it, auditioning nonstop.  Actually got to put my Sign Language skills to good use during an audition today which was pretty fun…more like riding a bicycle than I expected.  Jack and I are no longer associated with the theatre company, UA;  there’s no purpose or value in elaborating on the subject, so I won’t.  Onward and upward!  And we definitely are.  Jack’s been submitting and auditioning just as much, and in fact he flies out to Vermont this Sunday to shoot a commercial for Nokian Tires.  Because of the long distance, he had to submit his audition through video, so I taped him last Sunday (two separate takes, second with added direction) with my phone and we sent them in.  If you know me personally and would like to see either of these awesome HIGHlarious audition submissions (and haven’t already), email me and I will send you the private link.   The second submission he went for it so hard that I had to stop twice and restart because I couldn’t help laughing.

 

Quick summed-up update:  Regarding my herniated disc injury, I’m still in PT, have 5+ more weeks at least.  Improving, kind of the two steps forward, one step back kind of deal.  BUT when I go back to work, I already have the most amazing job lined up: I will be working for this incredible, innovative start-up dog walking company(the company itself has been around for a few years, but with this particular focus for 8 months).  Super great, young, motivated energy and forward thinking company that uses new ideas and modern technology to provide top notch service to dog owners.  And I will be doing a flash mob (my first ever!) with them!  We’re going to be participating in a huge adopt-a-dog event where we’ll be breaking out our mad skills.  In addition to dog walking, I’m going to be doing freelance babysitting and maaaaaaaaaaybe working with a company that specializes in kids parties. I have specific companies I can work with, but am also going to focus on getting jobs on my own, starting with giving 3 families in my building a “free night of babysitting” (up to 4 hours).  The exchange will be that they can see if they like me, and then if so allow me to use them as a local reference.  I’m thinking of also doing a referral program where for each new unique referral someone gives me, I’ll give them a free hour of babysitting service.  Or something like that.   I think I might have enough work without all of this, but summer is right around the corner, so we’ll see, and if it seems not then I might add on the kids birthday parties work.  I’ve been getting called in for a lot of auditions (including for paid gigs), and acting’s what I’m here for, so I want to leave plenty of open time to allow for those opportunities.  But I AM totally freaking PSYCHED to soon be working with doggies!!!!!!  Seriously you guys, I can’t wait.

 

Speaking of acting, my classes have been A-mazing.  I did a Viewpoints Composition weekend workshop a couple of weekends ago that BLEW MY MIND and opened up my world and took my mind down the rabbit hole with regards to acting and art in new ways I never knew were possible. LOVED it.  I’ve also been studying dialects (Spanish and British RP so far, Scottish starts next week) and while I still definitely need practice, practice, practice, I am not nearly as intimidated by it all as I used to be.  In fact I actually (if you can believe it) find it all really fascinating and fun.  Definite props to my talented and passionate instructor.   My solo performance class has one more week to go, and I’ve hit some highs and some blocks, but I just keep going (because what else can I do?…I’m in a current block with it, can ya’ tell??).  I have a good foundation and will continue working on it long after the class is finished.  Lastly, I’m taking a new Monologues Audition class (taught by Karen Kohlhaas) that a good friend recommended and I am already completely in love with.  As in…maybe…possibly…just perhaps…working and doing monologues auditions could actually be…fun.  No really ya’ll. NO. REALLY.

 

Speaking of all this work, I have to get back to it, sooooo…I’ll do one more quick post after this to upload some recent photos.  I’ll try my best not to be so long in between future blog posts! One photo teaser; this is what makes me officially now a New Yorker (MY GRANNY CART):

 

 

And noooooooow… why I actually signed in tonight, to quickly post (then felt guilty for not updating, so there you go) this video below that a friend of mine from my Alexander Technique sent me yesterday, which is absolutely freaking ridiculously  INCREDIBLE.  This is especially for all  of you actors out there, but really for anyone who is pursuing the arts and/or creative field.

 

Susan:
There are some people in the world who say that writing stories,
or composing music or dancing sparkly dances is easy for them.
Nothing interferes with their ability to create.
While I celebrate their creative freedom,
a little part of me just wants to punch those motherfuckers in the teeth.
This song, I sing this song for you guys and for all the rest of us. Help me out y’all
Backup:
We’ll sing backup
Susan:
You have a story to tell, a novel you keep in a drawer.
Backup:
Old sock drawer!
Susan:
You have a painting to paint, but you lazy like an old French whore
Backup:
Je suis whore
Susan:
You have a movie to make, Shrinky Dinks you can bake
but you best grab a stake, cause,
in sweep the vampires, in creep the vampires, knee deep in vampires,
Filling you with doubt. Insecurity, ’bout what you art should be
in sweep the vampires
All:
Die vampire
Susan:
You sketched that turtle you saw in an ad on late-night cable TV
Backup:
Tippy Turtle!
Susan:
But your fourth grade teacher said
Female Backup:
You can’t draw
Susan:
Aww, those vampires just won’t let you be
Backup:
Fuck you Ms. Johnson, Word!
Susan:
And when they come run like hell, see those bats in your belfry, then call on Van Helsing.
Susan:
In swoosh
Backup:
Ooh, the vampires
Susan:
in a whoosh
Backup:
ooh, the vampires,
Susan:
Babaganoosh
Backup:
ooh, all the vampires
Susan:
Filling you with thoughts of
Backup:
Self consciousness
Susan:
Feelings of
Backup:
Worthlessness
Susan:
They’ll make you
Backup:
Second guess
Die vam-
All:
-pire!
There are so many vampires, inside, outside, and nationwide,
it helps to recognize them with this vampire hunting guide!
Listen closely,
a vampire is any person or thought or feeling
that stands between you and your creative self expression,
but they can assume many seductive forms.
Here’s a few of them!
Backup:
Tell us Susan!
Susan:
First up are you pigmy vampires.
They’ll swarm around you head like gnats and say things like:
Male Backup:
Your teeth need whitening
Female Backup:
You went to state school?
Male Backup:
You sound weird
All:
Shakespeare, Sondheim, Sedaris
Susan:
Did it before you and better than you, or they might say that you cannot
sing good enough to be in a musical, or they might say:
Backup:
Ooh, your song’s derivative,
Ooh, your song’s derivative,
Ooh, your song’s derivative,

Susan:
To keep that song from you! Just tell them:
Backup:
Die vampire, die!
Susan:
Brothers and sisters, next up is the air freshener vampire,
she might look like you mama, or your old fat-ass, fat aunt Fanny.
She smells something unpleasant in what you’re creating.
She’ll urge you to:
Backup:
(Spraying sound)
Susan:
It with some pine fresh smell ’em ups.
The air freshener vampire doesn’t want you to write about
Backup:
bad language, blood, or blow jobs
Susan:
She wants you to clean it up and clean it out.
Which will leave your work toothless, gutless, and crotchless
but, you’ll be left with two tight paragraphs,
All kittens that your grandma would be so proud of.
You look at that air freshener vampire in her fat ass, fat old fuckin’ face and you say
All:
(Chanting)
Susan:
The last vampire is the mother of all vampires and that is the vampire of despair.
It’ll wake you up at 4am to say things like:
Backup:
Who do you think you’re kidding?
You look like a fool.
No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be good enough
Susan:
Why is it that if some dude walked up to me on the subway platform
and said these things, I’d think he was a mentally ill asshole,
but if the vampire inside my head says it,
It’s the voice of reason.
Backup:
You have a story to tell, pull your novel out of that sock drawer!
You have a painting to paint, you best paint it and then paint some more!

Susan:
Oh baby, you must escape and grab it by the nape of its neck, by the trachea
fuckin’ break it, go on drive a stake in,
Yeah there’s no mistaking, now you’re shake and bakin’
All:
Die, vampire
I said, “Die, vampire”
I said, “Now die vam-pi-re, die!”
All:
In fly the vampires, oh my the vampires, then die the vampires,
filling you with life, creativity, all that you heart should be, out go the vampires
Die vampire, die vampire, die vampire, die!

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So much beautiful *unbelievable* synchronicity, generosity, and expansion is happening in my life right now.  I am inspired by my mentors, so very blessed by the love from connections both old and new, and am eternally grateful for this ground breaking time in my life of which I can barely keep up with, but your bet your sweet butt I am.  I hope to write more later this week when I get a bit of a breather.  Until then, here is a recent inspiration.

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Because basically the acting studio where I take classes at (ESPA shout-out!) is basically the awesome-est of the awesome, Sunday I got to see Second Stage’s production of How I Learned to Drive (written by Paula Vogel and directed by Kate Whorisky) for FREE.  I left the theater feeling like I did after watching Blue Valentine, and if you have read any of my previous blog entries, you know what that means:

 

GO SEE IT.

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Because I, in general, like to set myself up for the next-to-impossible, I’m beginning 2012 with just that.  2 months from now I will be taking a 5 week “Solo Performance” workshop class at ESPA  (through Primary Stages), of which I fully intend to come out of with a completed first draft of a solo performance piece. And then…of course… the dreaded…the awful… the evil:

AUDITIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

And so, you know, just to make my life an utter living hell (and by hell I of course actually mean  totally freaking awesome), I will be starting out the first month of 2012 in Creative Incubation. This means:

1.DISTRACTION DEPRIVATION: Exactly what it sounds like.  I am the Q-U-E-E-N of distraction procrastination. This was my safety zone, by binkie, my warm and cozy blankie as a child, and sometimes I forget that I don’t actually (always) need it anymore. For me, the biggest culprits are: Facebook, computer/phone games, and news and entertainment websites. Soooo, for the next month, if it isn’t directly related to acting, creative “work” (re:  play), personal connections (emails, letters, phone calls, in-person), bills(gotta be responsible sometimes), and/or work, it ain’t happening. So,  DEAR, lovely black holes of my precious sweet time, I’m sending you on a little va-cay for the wintery month of January. Sayonara.

2.  30+ Minutes DAILY Intentional Movement: Gym, walking, sit-ups, yoga, dancing, whatever. As long as I am purposefully MOVING.

3.  DAILY Morning Pages

4.  Daily Meditation

5.  Alexander Technique’s Constructive Rest Exercise Daily (At least 15 minutes)

6.  30 Minutes Creative Writing Daily (this will be left up to flexible interpretation, but will always mean some sort of 30 minute nonstop writing-just-for-the-sake-of-writing exercise)

7.  Weekly Artist Dates

8. 100% VEGAN!!:  I’ve been riding the edge  on this for a while now, not fully BYALONGSHOT giving up the dairy. This action definitely supports a happier, healthier, more creatively nutritious me.

9.  Making and keeping my appointments with myself (and weekly POW meetings) on my PATH. (I fully give myself permission to have all of the appointments be creative-play-based, as long as they fit within the perimeters of my PATH.)

10. New (VEGAN!) Recipe Each Week!   Jack’s not likely going vegan anytime soon (and by soon I mean NEVER), so I gotta keep things tasty and interesting to keep him happy, as well!  Happy husband=happy wife, and vice versa.

11. DAILY (did I just type that?!) Blog Entry: Yes, folks, you heard it here first. This blog has been sporadic to say the least, but not this month!  It might be a one liner, a simple picture of something inspires me, or it might be a 300 page novel.  Let’s play it by ear.  (And honestly, I’m totally stealing this daily posting idea from Bekah Brunstetter, whose blog I adore:  http://blog.bekahbrunstetter.com/ )

12.

 

 

 

Ok, actually I don’t have a number 12.

 

Ok.  Maybe that’s actually what number 12 is.  Not having one…an end goal,  a specified outcome, or a needed result. Just a daily  re-commitment for the next month to being more fully present with myself and life, caring for and nurturing my creative and spiritual sweet Self.  And then…whatever hatches, hatches.

 

 

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