Thursday, December 22, 2011

Groove

I haven't written in so long! I needed time to adjust to life, I think.  Things are so different now, and I  had a lot of letting go to do.

Since I posted last I have started 4 jobs. Yes, 4. I have been stage managing at Stone Soup Theatre. I have been working holiday hours at Target. I've become a substitute teacher at the performing arts preschool, but I work full time hours. And I work in the phone center and box office at the 5th Avenue Theatre.

Life is fantastic.

I am now a freelance teacher of theatre for youth and I have 3 classes coming up in the next six months. I'll be teaching a physical comedy class, an elementary acting class with a showcase, and an acting class working with poetry and small scripts.

I have a bunch of classes that I'm looking into taking for myself in the coming months and I'm becoming more and more excited about the prospect of learning more. An actor never stops being a student. I know that I will learn so many things from the people I meet in this journey of mine, and I love knowing that college was not the last step in my education. In five years, I will still value everything my college taught me, but I will know so much more.

Honestly, what I've been doing in the last month and a half is changing my lifestyle, my thought process, and my attitude about life.  There is so much to be learned from hard work and dedication. I've met a lot of people lately who lead lives based completely on their financial means. It took me a while to remember that I told myself long ago that I wouldn't be one of those people.

Obviously I need to be concerned about paying my bills and saving for my future. But working so many hours has really taught me a lesson. I didn't come to Seattle to make a lot of money. I didn't come to Seattle to work all day. I came here to start something new, to meet new people and have new experiences.

I love that I know now what it means to work 19 hours in a day. I know what it's like to not sleep on a bed for two months. I know what it feels like to be broke and worried about making rent. I watch how much I spend at the grocery store, I don't shop unless it's necessary, and I rarely sleep. Through all of this, I've adjusted what money means to me. It's great to have, fun to spend, and sometimes tiring to make. But above all--It does not control my life.

I appreciate the time I've had away from theatre. I forgot how valuable it can be to step back and do other things. I'm excited to get back to it soon, but I'm also beginning to comprehend how important it can be to not let theatre control my life either. I spent a lot of the last month and a half sad about not being more involved in theatre. Three weeks ago I took a look at my life and said, "Seriously? This is why you moved, Sascha. This is what you wanted." I wanted to struggle and get frustrated and find my way to being happy.

I'm beginning to really love this city. The people are opening my eyes everyday to so many opportunities and ways of life. I've learned about being environmentally friendly to an absurd degree. I've learned about different styles of clothes, and food, and bars. I've met people that have become friends when they were supposed to be bosses or managers or directors. I'm finding myself in a way I didn't in college, and it was really difficult at first because I thought I had already done that. And because I was holding onto a lot of things that it was time to let go of.

Life is about discovering love in the people you meet, the places you go, the jobs that you take, the chances you miss, the ones that you find, and the secrets that you stumble onto about yourself.

I came out of college ready to act 24/7, ready to carve my name into the industry indelibly. I've met some actors recently who do theatre for fun. Only every once and a while when the itch kicks in, they'll audition. They all have families, and jobs they hate, and a history of trying to make it but never getting there.

I don't know quite yet what I'm looking for in a career. But I know now that I don't want to be them. I want to always have fun in my day job if I can. I want to act more than they do. I want to go places I think they didn't.

Basically, I have dreams. We all know it. It's all I talk about in this ridiculous blog. But as the time goes by, and the months draw closer to a year out of school, I find myself becoming more focused on where I want to be in a couple years.  How will I make my mark?

I'm not sure. But I want to have the grandest adventure getting there. And when I make it, I want to feel accomplished, proud, and ready to move forward.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

How to Survive in the Real World #2

Keep yourself motivated.

The transition from school to the real world or from one home to another can be a long and difficult process. But it doesn't have to be!

1. Find something that you look forward to everyday. This could be what you're having for dinner, a friend you get to see, a book you get to read, going to work, or any number of things. When you have a lot of time on your hands, it's helpful to find something productive to work towards.

2. Keep your goal in mind. Some people think they don't have goals, but that's impossible. Everyone has at least one thing that they want or need, and we spend our days working to get it. My long term goal is easy--I want to be an actress. This also happens to be a short term goal of mine. Now this is obviously not my only goal in life, but it's my most immediate in mind which means it's the one I'm working my hardest on. When you have a goal present it's hard to become complacent.

3. Don't make your goal into a struggle you can't win. Stay positive and make sure you feel like you're accomplishing small steps towards your goal regularly. 

4. Get a hobby. This is probably going to end up on every single list I ever make in my life.

5. Treat yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back in some way every once in a while. Don't let life get the best of you.

Have I become a self help blog? It's possible. Am I writing some of this so I can go back and remind myself to suck it up? That's likely.

I should be starting my second job this week and I'm very excited to start making some real money!

I recently had an interview at a local theatre here for some part time box office work. It was probably my most professional interview so far. The two women were incredibly nice, and I think I would have a great time working at the theatre. They took me on a tour and the space is so beautiful! I can't wait to see shows there! I should hear back relatively soon.

I went to see The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged last night for the second time. I had seen the rehearsal on Halloween and they were both hilarious shows. The three men are very talented Seattle actors, and the most interesting thing is the strangely varying backgrounds they come from. You have to love that every artist has a different story. After the show, the Stone Soup Theatre where I'm working, and where the show took place, had a VIP party for their donors. I got to stick around along with some of my college friends, and I met some great people. It was a really fun night.

Here's a picture of me on Halloween!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How to Survive in the Real World #1

Keep Yourself Busy.

 How do you do this? It can be easy, and then it can get very very difficult. Especially when you're unemployed.

 1. Have a hobby. My current hobby is cooking. I set aside two hours of my day to create a nice meal for my roommate and I.
I create a shopping list at the beginning of the week that includes a small amount of ingredients that can be used in many recipes. This way, I'm thrifty, I stay busy, and I'm full!

2. Keep a Journal. Writing things down is not only time consuming, but therapeutic. Don't have anything to write about? Sure you do. I have my blog, I have my personal journal, and I have my actors journal. It's been difficult for me lately to find something to write about for my blog since it's supposed to be about my theatre career which is almost non-existent at the moment. However, I just think of the things that I would want to read about, and Voile! Here I am writing a cliche, yet extremely truthful post about Real Life.

Other things to write about can be: something you're having difficulty expressing, or things that are jumbled in your mind. Seriously, I just started writing all my finances down in a way I hadn't tried before, and I feel so much better. I made charts and graphs and I feel very accomplished (which is something very important to feel when trying to survive in the Real World).

3. Create future goals and then--attempt to reach them. This one has been the hardest for me recently. I've had to recreate short term goals from my long term goals because it will be a really long depressing time before I'm able to accomplish THOSE. So instead, everyday I hunt for a new job I'd like. And then I apply for it. Now, it doesn't matter whether or not I receive an interview, I feel good that I tried. As it happens, I've just been hired at my third job, so that work payed off for me!

My other short term goals include saving enough money for a bed, finding my future headshot photographer so I can make a money goal I'll have to meet, tak ing at least 3 walks to the park a week with my dog for fresh air and exercise, and keeping my finances in order.

4. Exercise! I just mentioned that I walk my dog to the park a couple times a week. However, I'm a naturally athletic person and I go crazy if I don't have physical things to do. I ride my bike, I jog with my dog, and there's an exercise facility in my apartment complex at my disposal. I think it's really important to have some fresh air in your diet.

 5. Do that thing you told yourself you'd do when you have more time. Mine? Read classic literature. I started Dracula and I keep putting it off. I need to finish it. I also enjoy reading my plays that I haven't gotten a chance to read yet. Maybe you'll want to organize something, decorate something, play something, or go somewhere. There are plenty of things you've always wanted to do if you just take the time to think about it. And if this has been at all a useful list, it proves you have plenty of time to think about it.


All of these are things you can do by spending little to no money, which is actually the most important thing to me at the moment. It has also been the reason I've run out of things to do lately. Still, this just forces me to be more creative everyday until the day when things pick up. I start work next week and I can wait to be a social creature again!

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Life in Seattle



I have arrived and I have begun!

Life is a new and exciting array of opportunities! Katie and I arrived in Seattle on the 11th after a cross country drive. I stopped by my Alma Mater (weird to say) to spend some time with college friends before meeting up with Katie in Denver, CO. From there we went to Perry, UT, up through Laramie, WY, then Boise, ID, then SEATTLE! I left on the 6th from Texas and we made it on the 11th.

My car was packed overfull, and my dog Riley took the passenger seat to keep me company.

It was so cold when we got in that night, and we were supposed to be able to walk right into our unit to start unpacking, but somehow the wires got crossed and nobody left it unlocked for us so we were stranded! It was 10 at night, and we were two girls alone in the city. Fortunately the apartment manager answers her emails at night, so she kindly called the on-site emergency help (who had previously not responded to OUR calls) and sent a man over to let us in. He had to drive all the way from Kent, which is about 20 minutes, so we started unpacking our things outside our door. It was a hard task with my dog, but we managed to get all our essentials unpacked by the time our helper came by. Katie and I unpacked our cots for the night, flipped a coin for who got the master bedroom (I lost), and went to sleep!

The next day we woke up and got to work. We unpacked our cars, half of our boxes, and then went out for the essentials. Katie and I only packed things that could fit into our car, so not only were we foodless and jobless which is to be expected, but we were furnitureless, and I happened to be pillowless. What a dilemma.

So we spent the next couple days obtaining our food, and random bits of furniture that we needed to unpack our boxes.



We visited a local market, and ALL of the Seattle Goodwills in search of the cheapest buys. I found a beautiful lamp that reminds me of the one my grandmother had when I was a child. I also scored this amazing rolltop desk!



Now we've been here a week and a half and we're almost unpacked all the way. We're having furniture donated on Sunday and I can't wait to have a couch and dining room table! The rest of our time has been spent job hunting.

One of the things I find most frustrating about job hunting is being considered too young. I've been asked 'Are you 18?' Not only am I 18, but I happen to have a degree! However, I feel the search is going strong and I think I'll have a job to speak of soon. Currently I've stumbled into a Stage Managing gig at Stone Soup Theatre, which is terribly exciting. I was originally supposed to intern there to help with marketing, but they needed someone last minute and handed me a contract to sign after a brief interview. The show is A Child's Christmas in Wales and I hope to stay on for the duration of the rehearsal process and run. If I get a day job that will pay my rent and the hours conflict, I'll obviously have to choose to pay my rent.

I have an interview this next week at a Performing Arts Preschool to be a substitute teacher. I'm hoping to grab little jobs like these to have for extra money. As a sub, I would be on call for whenever they need me which would be great!

All in all, I've gotten to explore more than I thought I would. Yesterday I found 2 theatres in West Seattle where I live. I've found some auditions coming up, but I don't think I can afford to go on them until I have a job under my belt. The city is beautiful, and I can't wait to meet more people here. Our neighbors are friendly, and the dog parks are fun places to meet and greet. Everything's going pretty slow right now, but it will pick up soon!

It's really starting to feel like I've moved cross country. Family and friends are very far away, but it's all so exciting right now. Katie has been trying to figure out Christmas plans, and we're looking at spending our first Christmas without family. But we've made a list of our own traditions to start to make this apartment feel like home. All good things.




Thursday, September 15, 2011

Serious

Seriously, this has got to stop.

I've always been the kind of person to make the best of things. I know how to keep myself busy. I'm the champion of doing too many things at once.

I'm finally gaining a little perspective on this not-so-fun transition period. I'm getting out of my funk and moving towards a brighter, faster-paced, exciting future.

It's been pretty rough to be out of my element. I get bored, I get frustrated, I get angry, and then I get a little obstinate. None of these are good, but all of them have been amazing to learn well. They aren't emotions that I've danced with before in large doses, and now they're all just more tools that I can add to my growing kit. And they're certainly motivation to get out there and get going.

I literally can not wait to start acting again. I can not wait to have a job, an apartment, and a new city to learn and love. I have so many things I want to do with my life, and sitting around while everyone around me accomplishes their own list has not been the time of my life. I've had a heart to heart with my uglier side and realize now that its just as stubborn as my prettier side is. Fortunately, the ugly side has waived the white flag and is finally letting me breathe again.

Seattle is in sight. It's just around the corner. There have been a few bumps on the road, but I have confidence that Katie and I are going to have an amazing time where we choose to be. This next week is all about the apartment hunt. We have three days to find some suitable apartments, contact the realtors/landlords, see them, decide on one, and HOPEFULLY sign that coveted lease we're looking for. If not, we'll figure it out.

I'm amazed at how unconcerned I am at this point. I'm such a planner. And I used to be a bit more anal about my plans. These days I'm throwing caution to the wind and I'm setting out on a grand adventure that's sure to be full of mistakes. The best part is, I can't wait to make them. Maybe I'll have months full of being obstinate and angry, but the next time someone is auditioning for a character who fits that description, you can bet I'll be able to grab it and play it with the passion it deserves.

I learned so many wonderful things in college, and among them is the talent to let things go. I've gotten pretty good at it. I've also learned how to not control situations and to really throw myself into something I want instead of shying into it. These things might be the most useful tools I possess in my first months in Seattle.

And the ability to have fun. That one's my favorite. Why do anything you don't love?

Monday, August 29, 2011

I need a hobby, or three

They always told us in school that the most important thing you can do for your acting career is to have other interests that you explore regularly.

I thought I had hobbies. I know I have interests; I have things I want to see and accomplish. But honestly, I think the most difficult thing about 'real life' so far is the feeling of purposelessness that comes from not having a set, rigorous schedule that I have to follow. It's up to me to entertain myself, motivate myself, inspire myself.

I have to admit that most days I feel like I'm floundering. I have days where I'm busy, and I know I accomplish a lot. I even have days where I feel artistically inspired (which is becoming sadly refreshing instead of normal). But most days I'm struggling to not be nostalgic or listless.

When my mind is on Seattle, I feel like I'm in forward motion. I know that once I'm there, I can move at a pace that is much more suited to my needs. And I know that in the mean time I should be enjoying this 'relaxation' time while I have it. I'm terrible at relaxing though. I'm terrible at watching and hearing about other people accomplishing things while I sit still.

Mostly I find that I have issues with not moving up some sort of inner social/professional ladder that I've conjured up to keep myself motivated. I need to be part of a group that is working towards a goal. I don't remember being such a social creature before college, but it's clear to me now that this is what I have become.

The frustration that comes from realizing all these things and still somehow being unable to change the situation seems constant. But the moments of clarity that break through occasionally and allow me to breathe and reevaluate myself are becoming more numerous. Slowly I feel like I'm grasping back my sanity and working towards the purpose that I've lost.

I really can't wait until I'm holding it down so it can't escape.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Be the crazy you see in the world

Last night we had our company meeting before strike, and something was said that I hadn't thought about before. Professor B, who is the Artistic Director of the Okoboji Summer Theatre said," This is the last time this company will be gathered together, so enjoy each other." I found that sad until she also said," But that's theatre."

That is so true. Theatre is all about people coming in and out of your life, and allowing them to have a lasting affect on who you are and how you make your art. I've learned so much from meeting so many new people this summer. I've strengthened my previous relationships with students, and I've made some amazing friends. Some might even follow me out to Seattle.

What she said made me really excited to go out and start meeting more people and have more unforgettable experiences that will shape me. Seattle will be such an adventure. And when I'm ready to move on from there, maybe Chicago or New York or L.A. will hold more opportunities for me.

Of course it's sad to see these people go so soon, but it's highly possible that I will meet and work with some of them again someday. And that is the other great thing about theatre. Even though shows end, the world of theatre is so small that you're bound to end up collaborating with the people you love again and again.

I've spent entirely too many days looking up jobs on craigslist, and I've decided that it's depressing to find jobs I'd be good at when the position will be filled far before I move. I'm ready to take a break from this job hunt for a small moment and instead focus on how awesome my last weeks up here will be. I couldn't have asked for a better summer.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Head Strong

It's Pig Roast at the Okoboji Summer Theatre, and currently the marauding pigs are traveling the lot and inciting pig celebrations. It's fun.

It's been a crazy couple weeks here and we're down to the final three shows starting on Tuesday. I can't believe how fast this summer has flown by. Sitting in a different seat, I've realized how far I've come since my time here last year.

All of the students here are going back to college soon, and they're worried about the first audition of the semester, and their class schedule, and their place in the hierarchy of college life. I'm looking at a whole wide world of opportunities ahead of me. I'll be going home to spend time with family before my big move, and I feel oddly free and relaxed. I'm excited about starting life after school. This week has been filled with apartment shopping, neighborhood rating, job hunting, and--of course--networking. I've had the chance to meet some fantastic people this summer, and make some great connections. As excited as I am to be moving forward, it's strange to be leaving these people behind. They're moving in a separate direction, and I hope to run into them someday in the future. Most of these students only have a year of college left, and I bet I'll be seeing them soon.

There is definitely a bittersweet note to the coming end of this Boji, but I feel like it's being steadily eclipsed by my growing excitement for what is to come. So many members of my graduating class have already started their grand adventures, and Katie, Kaitie, and I are on our way to carving out a place for ourselves in Seattle.

I have to say, this might have been the best first professional job I could have asked for, and I really hope to be able to come back someday. I don't think I could have been away from theatre all summer. It's inspiring to see a new show every week and think, "I can do that." I can't wait to do that again.

I've been spending a lot of my time this summer riding my bike, and I've discovered that if I have a destination and an objective to accomplish, that I can ride my bike anywhere! I'm going to have a blast in Seattle becoming part of the two wheel community! I'm also ridiculously excited to have my dog with me so soon. I really think he's going to like the north. I think I'm going to enjoy the trip up--mom says I can drive through 8 states!

I haven't accomplished my goal of reading one play a week this summer. I realized I needed a break from too much theatre. However, I did read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and I've started Atlas Shrugged. The first I loved, the second....I can't decide. However, I do want to read as much as I can now that I don't have school. I also want to learn a foreign language--shooting too high? I think not.

I'm off to look for more jobs!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

This thing called life

It's been so long since I've written and I have no excuse but life getting in the way.

I graduated college on May 7, 2011. My Oma, Mother, Father, and Brother made it up to celebrate. I spent my last week of college finishing up my final exams, performing my last directing scene (which went fabulous), performing my last college 'comedy' show (which went surprisingly better than expected, but not much that I'll remember too fondly), and packing up all of my un-needed things into haphazard boxes. I juggled my time between family and friends on the last few days and nights. I attended a Trustee Banquet, where I met some amazing alum of my school who inspired me to give back one day. I only hope I'm as successful and happy as they all seemed to be. I had my last senior party, and a graduation rehearsal entirely too early in the morning to be of much use.

Then there was the big day. Graduation. My friends and I carried our dresses and caps and gowns over to the rehearsal room to change before final bows. Everyone in my class decorated their caps to say WWRD, which stands for What Would Rob Do? as a tribute to our Professor who has taught us so much. Professor D gave the acronym to us as advice on our last day of class. Then we all went outside to take pictures for about a half an hour.

When we came back in, it was time for the faculty toasts. The entire performing arts faculty lined up and toasted our graduating class in the rehearsal room, saying inspiring things and quoting the greats. There were quotes from Uta Hagen and Shakespeare, and a lot of great advice. They said we've come so far, and to just believe in ourselves, basically. Honestly, I was such an emotional mess I don't remember any of the advice given by anyone, but I was touched by the thought that went into the toasts. After toasts we had final bows which included every one of the performing arts students walking onto stage with our families in the audience and taking one final bow.

The theatre award winners were requested to go last by Professor B, and I ended up going last of all. I walked across the stage and stopped in the center. I took a moment to stare at my entire class, who I've come so far with, standing on the other side of the stage. I turned to face our 'audience' and then I completely broke down. I took my final bow in tears and my classmates joined me for one final group bow on the stage. I have never felt as fulfilled as I did in that moment. I felt as if I completed a long, hard journey and prevailed.

After that, it was a race to graduation. We ran to find our spots in the processional line. I was in the staff/faculty processional. Which means we led the students into the gym for graduation after walking around the campus like a parade for the parents. I ended up standing close to one of the trustee members that had dinner with me the night before, and I was able to talk to her more. She was great. When I made it inside, I sat on the stage beside the class president and we waited our turn to speak.

I hadn't looked over my speech much since I wrote it. I'm the kind of writer that scraps an entire piece and writes it again if I get too used to it. I decided to play it safe and keep it fresh, so by the time it was my turn to get to the podium and speak, I realized that I didn't know the words I was going to say as well as my theatrical training required of me. However, I wrote my speech specifically for the amazing men and women that were sitting in front of me, and all I had to do was tell them how I really felt. I had so much fun speaking to my class, and being allowed to share my thoughts with them. They brought me so far, and I owe so much to them and the amazing theatre faculty. I cried during the speech, but it was a good cry, and for the second time in the same day I felt really great about what I'd accomplished and where I was going.


My family was asked to stand and be recognized which was really cool, and my class and I sang 3 songs mostly in tears for the ceremony. Afterwards there was such a rush to find family and faculty to take pictures with that I never had the opportunity to say goodbye to everyone. Oddly enough, I didn't feel too bad about it because I have a feeling we'll all be seeing each other again soon in our lives.

I had two graduation meals that day: one at Jimmy Johns as a send off, and the other at Outback Steakhouse, because who doesn't love Outback?

The rest is mostly a blur. I drove home with my brother. My Oma stuck around for a couple of days and then she was off.
I had my wisdom teeth removed and spent some quality time with my friends whom I love dearly. Then it was my turn to head back up to my Alma Mater. It was strange and different to be back on campus, but I had to pick some things up for my summer job in Okoboji, and my friends and I caravanned the rest of the way to Iowa.


Preseason was a great time. We spent three weeks getting the theatre ready to open, organizing tickets, looking through this history of the place and categorizing a lot of things.


I realize that it's the middle of the season now, and I have nothing to show for what I've been doing except a fourth of July tan from playing volleyball and too many mosquito bites to count. I've met some new friends, and spoken with some talented artists.

Honestly my favorite part about this place is being with a family. It's all about being a company here and everybody is constantly striving for the same thing. No one person is singled out, and it just makes me feel like a part of something really great.

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about Seattle, and working at home, and finding work in my future, and what kind of work I actually want to do. I've also been spending a lot of my time enjoying what I have in front of me. It's definitely a strange balance to strike. The students here have been working towards going back to college, and it's odd to know that the staff here won't be going back with them. Most of the staff has just graduated.


What I've learned this summer is to let things happen, and to work hard to be happy in the moment. I should probably have more to say after all the time that has lapsed since my last post, but it's so hard to think about life outside when I'm in this little world. I'm just taking it one day at a time and loving every moment.

Monday, May 2, 2011

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one

Time flies. That phrase has never seemed so applicable. I remember graduating from high school was a sad affair, but it seems so much more prominent now. I think there was the safety of knowing the people I left behind would be there when I got back. There were school breaks to be had, and summers to play in. Now, the future is so real and there's nothing holding us back. When I leave school this time, I'm really leaving. I won't be home for breaks, and soon my friends won't be either. Then there's the amazing women I've met in college that are all starting life with me. I've gone through so much with them, and now that it's time to move on I thought I would be so much more excited for the future. High School graduation was filled with excitement, and I couldn't wait to leave home. Now, I just want to spend a little longer with this inspiring family that I've grown up with instead of moving on.

I've literally not had a second to sit down and write. The seconds I did have free, I've been spending with all my friends soaking up the last moments. I've been dress shopping for a graduation dress, which I have yet to find. I've finished my graduation speech and it's been approved. I've picked up my cap and gown. I've eaten almost too many Jimmy Johns sandwiches. I've had a senior banquet and a Stevies celebration (theatre banquet). I've filmed my last student film. I've seen my last college show. I've attended my last college cast party. I've had my last college class. I've had two finals and have three more to go.

Before this week is through I'd like to write a post about all the things I never want to forget, but I don't actually have time at the moment because I have rehearsal and then performance for a directing scene I'm in. I'm very excited to perform it, and I hope people come! My performance for comedy class has been moved to Thursday so we can perfect our through line for the show, so that's one less stress for the day.

Honestly, I'm just excited to take this week one day at a time, and try not to get overwhelmed. We just had our last class with Professor D and he gave us each an individual comment about what he respects most about us, and what he hopes we keep in mind. He told me that I have a maturity beyond my years but that I can play any age I want, and that he's really enjoyed working with me. Then he told me to remember to be a young woman, and to really enjoy my 20s and 30s because that's important. Thank you Professor D.

So much crying has happened in the last week for my class. There were a lot of tears today because of his comments, and there were a lot of tears at Stevies, which was a great success. Rhea came back into town for it and we got to hear everything she's been up to for the past 4 months. She makes me excited for my future.

By the time Saturday comes, I can officially be Facebook friends with all of my teachers! What an odd thing to be excited about.

I hope you enjoyed how spastic this post was, and maybe I'll be in a better state of mind to write later. Maybe. Who knows?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Slow down life

I can't keep anything straight! It's been so hectic around here, and instead of it feeling like the end is approaching, I just keep forgetting. I feel like I have years left in college instead of 2 more weeks. People have to keep reminding the seniors about deadlines because it doesn't feel as if graduation is about to happen. There's so much left to do. And feel. Ah.

So: My show opened last Wednesday. It went fantastic! Every night of the show was a strong night. I'm not sure I'd ever had this experience before, so it was really nice to have it for my last show. We received a lot of great compliments, and I had so much fun. I had forgotten that I hadn't played a crazy role in a while (probably because the rehearsal process seemed so long), so it was nice to hear my classmates say they enjoyed seeing me in something that wasn't dramatic.

All of the faculty came out to support us, and I couldn't have had a better experience. My costume was fantastic, my castmates were amazing and have great things ahead of them, and I got to work with some of my favorite people one last time. I'd say Friday was probably my strongest performance, but every night was a new show. Saturday night was strike, and honestly it was kind of a blur. I had a moment where I realized it was my last strike...then it passed and nothing seemed to hit me. I think it will hit when we're striking Thoroughly Modern Millie and the rest of my classmates are finished with me.

We had honors convocation and I won the Trustee Award which means I'm the senior speaker at graduation. I also received the Sarah Ann Fay award for theatre, which was really exciting. So many amazing and gifted women have won it before me and I felt honored and humbled to be chosen for it this year. I don't tend to think of theatre or acting as an individual experience. It's about a community, and that means I owe everything I've accompished to the amazing people around me. I think it also made me realize how far I've truly come and how hard I've worked to be where I am. I'm so lucky to have come to the place that I'm at, and I couldn't have asked for a better experience.

Along with rehearsals, performances, and tons of senior things I've also had a couple other events to check off on my to do list. I've had rehearsals for 2 off-the-walls I'm acting in. I'll be performing in Love, Loss, and What I Wore Thursday night and 27 Wagons Full of Cotton on May 3rd. There's been some rehearsals for singing at graduation as well as for the senior recital that's coming up on Saturday.

I've had no afternoon rehearsals for the past 2 days and it's been so strange. Normally, you'd think this would give me more time to think, pack, write a speech, or do something productive that prepares me for life after college. Instead all I do is spend entirely too much time with my classmates talking about how we don't want to graduate but we want to be done with school, staring at my room wishing it would pack itself, memorizing lines, stressing about singing in front of an audience, and designing various projects.

Full steam ahead.

I have so much to do! I'm so happy to be going to Boji because it's a reprieve from real life, but it's strange to see how excited the 2nd years are about their casting. That was me only a year ago--yet I feel like I've come so far. The seniors are in such a different place, and it's strange to feel things coming to an end.

We've had the last Sketchy Business show, the last improv show, and we even held a Warehouse sponsored Murder Mystery/Dance.

I've also finally made the decision to move to Seattle. That's it. That's where I'm going. If I don't like it, I'll move again. But right now, the plan is to pack my car, snatch my dog, and start from square one in the North West corner of America. I feel slightly sick typing this which is possibly a mixture of excitement and unease at the prospect of being at the bottom of the food chain and working my way up.

Which reminds me of everything I learned this weekend about auditioning. I'll have to write a stand alone post about Merri Sugarman's workshop this past Saturday, but right now I have to run to class.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lost and Found

It's been so long! I'm so sorry!

A recap is necessary for the past 2 weeks, but first: It's my 21st birthday! I feel....old? Hm. I feel legal, let's put it that way. I feel like my opportunities are endless. There are more things I can do and more places I can go. It's exciting. I had a great time last night. I went to a campus sponsored speak easy where all the proceeds went to VegFam for charity. So technically, I gambled on my 21st birthday because I played some Blackjack, but all the proceeds went to charity! Then the girls in my class took me out and we had a great time. I received a lot of birthday wishes, and I had a large group sing me happy birthday. It was fun!

But moving backwards:

Spring Break 2011--New York City

We left Saturday morning at 7 to get to the airport. The flight over was smooth and we got in at 1. We found Ashley's Brooklyn apartment with no problem. It was a really cute little place. The neighborhood was nice, and right by 5th avenue where EVERYTHING was happening. We spent a morning walking down 5th avenue and it was a lot of fun. The street was so busy, and all the shops were selling the same things, but everybody had customers. We actually ate at a $5 chinese restaurant there called Bruce Lee's Restaurant that was pretty good.

So the first day Ashley took us into the city to show us the little church basement theatre that she was directing at. It was a neat space! She had to work, so Kaitie and I walked down to Hell's Kitchen and explored and at some food. I had the best tuna wrap ever. It had taken us about an hour on the subway to get into the city from Brooklyn so it was already getting pretty late and we decided we wanted to find a show. We found The Women's Theatre Project, which is a small place that a past graduate and friend of mine interned at for a short time. We walked in to explore and they happened to be about to put on a one woman show called Room based on the writings of Virginia Woolf and directed by Ann Bogart. We got student tickets at $20 and piddled around in Times Square before it was time to see the show.

This show was amazing. It was all based on the Viewpoints technique, which is a method that Ann Bogart herself, created. We were watching a show directed by one of the greats. 20 years from now people will be talking about this method the way they talk about Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg. It is already taught (and has been for 20 years or so) in every good graduate program. Anyway, the show--fantastic. I was a little too tired from the plane ride to really take in all the dialogue, but I was so focused on her physicality that I wouldn't have paid total attention either way. 'Viewpoints is a technique of composition that provides a vocabulary for thinking about and acting upon movement and gesture.' So the entire play she did a series of extremely controlled movements in specific orders, all on specific lines. Some were simple-others were complex. I actually tried to do a couple later that night just to see if I could. I couldn't. The climax of the production happened when she did every single move she had covered so far in rapid fire succession. She didn't mess up or lose her balance once. It was amazing.

It really spoke to me about the use of an actor's body as a tool. They tell us how important our physicality is all the time in school. Of course it changes with every role: how you walk or hold yourself. It really helped me unlock the kind of movements I needed to be making with my character Dorothea in Eleemosynary right now.

Also, the set was a box. All lights were visible. And there was nothing but a chair on stage. It was a great show.

Next up--Sunday. So on Sunday we met up with Melissa in the city and we saw a bit of Shetler Studios which is a rehearsal and audition space in New York that, if I lived there, I would be seeing a lot of at some point. Then we went shopping for a while, at which I was completely unsuccessful but Kaitie and Melissa both managed to find something. That night we went to see the show Ashley was stage managing at a different theatre. She was working with the Young Company, which is the Columbia Graduate Acting program students. Some of them were past graduates, and some had yet to graduate. They were performing As You Like It in 90 minutes.

It started out a little rough, but they all settled into it and it became a really enjoyable show. It's a show they perform for a lot of schools, so there were some fun elements like a slow motion fight and live music that the actors added in. All in all, it was a solid show, but the whole time I was watching it I was thinking "My class could do that". Columbia has some great faculty members for their graduate program, but honestly it made me think that I would never go there for graduate school. I want to improve and be surrounded by people that push me harder, and I wasn't impressed by the show to that degree. But I liked the show.

Then we went out for desert in Times Square and we at at Roxy's Delicatessen, which was yummy. We ended up taking almost 3 hours to get home that night. We had to take Katie Mac back to Williamsburg where she was staying, and the subways were running slow. There wasn't a subway from Williamsburg down into Brooklyn, so we had to ride back into the city, then into Brooklyn. I decided right then and there that I don't like my life being dictated by the public transportation schedule, especially when I'm tired and I have someone waiting up to let me in their building. Strike 1 against New York.

Monday we had a chill day. We went shopping with Melissa again, and we decided not to see a show. We met up with some of our classmates for a birthday, which was fun. We called it a night early so Ashley wouldn't be waiting up for us two nights in a row. Tuesday was Kaitie's 21st birthday, and we were on the move to stay at Katie Mac's. We took our luggage into the city and ate at Lombardi's for lunch. Lombardi's is New York's first pizzeria. It's supposed to be a classic. I enjoyed it, but compared to the 99 cent pizza I had later in the week, I wouldn't say it was amazing. They were nice enough to hold our bags for us though. Then we ate desert at a small cafe called The Best Chocolate Cake in the world. I had the chocolate cake, and it was my 2nd best. My 1st is a Brazilian restaurant in Texas. But it was a close 2nd, and I would eat it again. They actually ship their cakes anywhere, but I decided not to tempt myself by taking a business card with me.

After that we headed over to Williamsburg to drop our stuff off at Katie Mac's. We ended up doing some more shopping and I found a pair of boots that I liked for $24! We put our stuff in the apartment, and then we headed into town for a birthday meal at Ellen's Stardust Diner. I have to say, it was the most unimpressive I've ever seen it. That could be because I have a lot more training now, or because I wasn't there with an adult meaning I didn't look like a child meaning I didn't deserve special attention, or it could be because they just didn't know how to work a crowd. Possibly a mixture of all three. Seriously though, they all sounded great ( I think they sounded the best out of every time I've ever been) but they just didn't interact. They all stood in the same place to sing, or they sang while they were serving. But none of them sang to anyone specific, or seemed to have anything to say with the song they chose. Kaitie wasn't impressed, and our server hardly paid attention to us, even after we told him it was her 21st birthday. Strike 2?

We went out to some bars that night. We went to the International Bar (?) in the east side, which we decided wasn't the atmosphere for us. After that we went into Williamsburg to a bar called Barcade which had a bunch of old arcade games that everyone could play for 25 cents. That was a fun time, but we called it a night early and decided to watch some Robert Downey Jr. movie at Katie Mac's place before going to bed.

Wednesday we moved our stuff up to Harlem where we would be staying with Rachael that night. Then we went into the city and saw Arcadia for a matinee and Driving Miss Daisy at night. Arcadia was something I really wanted to see. It had Billy Crudup in it and I am a huge fan. We got student rush tickets and the show was amazing. I absolutely loved it. It's a fantastically intelligent and humorous script, and the acting was supreme. The set was beautiful and simple. It's a play that goes between two different time periods, and they did it wonderfully. I loved everything about it.

Driving Miss Daisy was phenomenal as well. Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones were stunning. I was originally sad that I couldn't get tickets to Warhorse, but I'm so glad I had the opportunity to see this show instead. I saw two of the greatest actors of this century on stage. My professor says everybody should see Vanessa Redgrave before she dies. I will have something to talk about for years to come. They were literally amazing to watch. Mr. Jone's characterization absolutely blew me away. And to watch the two of them age was such a great educational tool since I have to do the same in Eleemosynary. Also, the stage had a bunch of slipping set pieces on it, which was really cool to watch. They had a rotating piece of stage for the car, which was a neat idea. The play was great!

We went out that night to see everyone one last time. It was crazy because everyone from my school that went to New York for the break showed up at the bar, and we had a lot of fun speaking to all the alumni. Rachael's apartment was really cute, and I got to sleep on my second blow up mattress of the trip. I slept on a floor for 2 nights, a couch for 1, and an air mattress for 2. I loved every minute of it.

Thursday morning we were up and out of there in time to explore for some of the acting schools I wanted to research. I tried to see the School for Film and Television (Conservatory of Dramatic Arts now it's called) and the Stella Adler Studio, but both were in random buildings on some high floor and I didn't feel comfortable waltzing in. So instead, we went to the American Natural History Museum, which was one of my favorite things on the trip. I had so much fun! I've forgotten after going to theatre school for 3 years, how nice it is to be reminded of the outside world and where we came from. It's an amazing museum and I wish I could have spent more than 3 hours there, but we were on a race to get a deli sandwich (which we were told we had to do before leaving New York because it is classic cuisine) and catch a subway car to the airport.

There was a bit of a snafu which almost made us entirely too late for our airplane. Instead we were only marginally late and we somehow made it (with the help of a nice man who ushered us down 5 more ramps, after 1 football field of running through an airport, into our flight just in time and became our saving grace) into our seats. The stewardess was nice enough to provide us with bottle water to catch our breath and we were off! A five night, six day trip to New York City complete!

What did I learn? I hate the cold. I'm not the biggest fan of public transportation late at night. Carrying luggage around through a large city is tiring and just a hassle. I love theatre. I can do theatre. I could live in New York if I had to. I don't want to live in New York at this moment if I don't have to. I hate the cold.

That about sums it up.

So we got back, I did a bunch of homework, and I officially became addicted to past and present ABC Family television shows that should probably only entertain preteens. What can I say?

This week has been even crazier than the two before it. We crashed back into rehearsal, and were in much better shape than when we left because surprisingly a week off can always do more good than harm. I had a presentation and 5 page essay for Dramatic Lit on Monday. Comedy Class on Tuesday consisted of us starting to piece together our final company class show based on Lysistrata. Wednesday was Crew Watch and the beginning of Tech Week. Thursday was Warehouse Board Elections. And Friday was the Boji Meeting and my Birthday night!

I've had entirely too much homework to be happy. I've been looking into Seattle a lot and am 85% certain I'd like to possibly move there after Boji. I could expound on that, but since I haven't made final decisions I'll save it for another day.

It is obvious to me now that I'm capable of writing entirely too much information in one go, and that it's slightly odd I chose my birthday to take the time to write this down. Today I want to see a movie because it's been so long. And then I'm going to Melissa's senior recital and 33 in 66 to support my friends! Happy Birthday to me!

Here's some pictures to make this post even longer:



Thursday, March 17, 2011

What's in a name?

I've gotten so incredibly busy that I couldn't stop for a moment and breathe to write this. I probably should have taken the time to do so and I wouldn't have felt so crazy!

We finished blocking the show on Friday. We're on Boji time, it seems. We were able to work a lot of character things in with blocking, so it was fun. What's been taking up a lot of time is our character work. Director E has been letting us do character exercises in rehearsal to help us build these characters. Some days we have to walk around and interact with each other at our different ages in the script. We have a research assignment every day about our characters that we share. On Friday, we came into rehearsal and the middle of the floor was filled with random things. Director gave us 2 minutes to grab what we thought would be in our character's room, then we had to sit down in our 'space' and write a letter to one of the characters in the play. It was really hard, but it was incredibly useful. It took about 20 minutes, and then we read them out loud.

We get to do all of these exercises with the swing cast, which is great for interpretation. We get to understand how another person thinks of our character from a different point of view. By Monday, we were working the show. We started at scene 1, and we just started and stopped every time Director E had an idea. It was a lot of moment work, which is always great to focus on. We tried out a lot of new choices for our characters and discarded the ones that Director E didn't like. We've been working off book for scenes 1-3 since Monday, and the rest is off book by Friday. It's so nice to have the script out of my hands!

We met individually with Director E last night to talk about our characters and what directions we're thinking of going. It was nice to finally hear where she would like me to go. She'd been giving me a lot of freedom lately, and I toned my character down. It turns out she'd much rather I go bigger and crazier. I'm really excited to start on that! I got to do it a little last night. We reviewed Act II so we could have the lines in our bones again before getting off book.

Director E gave us an updated time line for our characters. The ages change so rapidly in the play, we had to map it out to be able to grab how old we were in a certain scene. It turns out Dorothea (my character) was born in 1910! Our assignment for tonight was to pick what kind of music we think our characters listen to. I've got some research to do.

I've been working all last week and this week on the poster.
It's gone through more revisions than my previous ones, I feel like. But I'm happy with the final outcome. The faculty and the board had input on this one, and it was nice to hear the opinions and be able to fix the problems.

I've been a little stressed this week because there's so much to do. There was the frustration of feeling like I wasn't doing things right in rehearsal (which I know now to be because we were going in 2 different directions), homework for classes which includes memorizing new monologues, memorizing for the show, memorizing for Acting for the Camera, working in Box Office on Boji things, and midterms for Creating Online Media and Voice. When it gets to this weekend, I'm going to RELAX.

Last weekend, I had some fun seeing a show downtown with one of the former teachers here. Addison was fantastic! It was a two man show, called Halper and Johnson. I hung out with some friends last weekend, which seems to be something I don't get to do a whole lot, so that was great too! I also watched the movie Auntie Mame for some character study, and it was very helpful.

We had an assignment for Comedy class to be a man doing a task. Last night I went down to the boys and 4 of them were nice enough to take our the trash for me so I could observe them. Then they walked me through their thought process of taking out the trash, and then they helped me make sure I looked like a man while doing it. Definitely one of my favorite assignments I think.

Today in rehearsal, we're going to get hypnotized by a certified hypno-therapist. My character is an eccentric who regularly takes her daughter to be hypnotized, so we thought it would be great to know what it's like. I'm SO excited!

The weather on Monday was horrible--it snowed 6 inches. But for the past 2 days it's been 70 degrees outside. I love it! I can only hope New York stays semi-warm for my visit. I'm very excited for Spring Break. Not only does a week off sound fantastic, but I'm getting pumped to see some amazing shows!

Class time!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

You can't always be prepared

Orig. Title: How has attending a Women's College helped me?

I had an interview yesterday for the Trustee Award I applied for. If I win the award, I get to speak at graduation. I was interviewed by 4 people, all of which are involved with my college, but none of which I'd met before. They were incredibly nice and easy to talk to. However, their questions were things I've thought about in my own time, but not necessarily things I'd had to formulate answers for before. And of course, in an interview situation, you have to have an answer.

I spoke a lot about how much I love this college, and how much I've learned about myself as an individual. In fact, I must have been too positive about the school, because I was asked if there was anything that bothers me about the college! That was hard to dig myself out of. Honestly, I felt like I talked in circles and repeated myself a lot. I also couldn't remember the ten ideals of my college...oh wait, that's because I never had to learn them. Honestly, I should know them anyway after all my time here, but I don't. I didn't look very intelligent on that answer. Overall, I became frustrated (not in the room of course, but afterwards). The questions they asked were things that I wanted to sit and think about before giving an answer. Subsequently, I'm still thinking about them now. And some questions I didn't think had appropriate answers, such as: How are you so involved in theatre with such an intense, accelerated curriculum, and involved around campus, and still manage to keep your sparkling GPA? My response was: I do my homework.

I wouldn't say the interview was rough, but I'm not sure it was my shining moment either. I learned a valuable lesson about interviews though: you can't always be prepared.

So: backtracking. I saw a True/False film this year called The Arbor which was very good, but incredibly depressing. The idea behind it was interesting. The director did audio interviews and then hired actors to lip sync to the voices of the real people. It was pretty amazing.

I also went to see the dance concert. Some of my friends from Freshmen year had solos, and it was amazing to finally get to see them shine. They did a fantastic job! The costumes were stunning, the dances were really cool, and I had a great time with friends!

Friday night I had auditions and callbacks for Eleemosynary, and Monday the cast list went up. I made it! My character is Dorothea. She is a 75 year old mother/grandmother who has recently had a stroke. All of her action in the play takes place in the memory of her granddaughter Echo, who imagines her much younger. So for the most part, I get to be in my 40's and 50's, but she was born in the 1920's. I'm so excited to research this role. I have so much that I can do with it. Since we found out we got cast the same day as our first rehearsal, I haven't had much time to prepare. I'm definitely going to take this upcoming weekend as a time to dive into everything. We've blocked 2 scenes so far, and my cast is amazing! We also have a swing cast that will get to perform one show. The girl playing my role in the swing cast is great! I'm so excited to get to work with her on this project.

Already I've been researching eccentricity, since my character is a notable eccentric. The play is really about a family of geniuses. All the characters are incredibly smart, so it's a lot of fun to work on such an intelligent script.

Also this week, I've been working on the directing scene I'm acting in. It gets better every time we run it, which is no surprise, but it also becomes more fun. I'm always finding something new to laugh about, and it's so easy to be natural in this role. I love knowing that I get to come have fun every time we rehearse, and I don't have to worry about being somebody else necessarily. We perform that this coming Sunday!

Yesterday in comedy class we had to perform a skit by our comedians. I was playing Molly Shannon's character Mary Katherine Gallagher.
She's an Irish Catholic schoolgirl whose grandmother thinks she can be a superstar. She has no social skills, she puts her hands in her armpits and smells them when she gets nervous, and she watches too many made for TV movies. I had a blast! I got to jump around, do a horrible monologue and song, and fling myself onto a pile of folding chairs. She always does dangerous stunts, but I made sure it was safe. Professor L loved it! She told me I was her doppelganger and that I did a great impression. You can sort of see the stack of chairs I jumped on in the background.

Here's a link to the skit I copied for class. It plays an advertisement before it lets you watch, but it's worth the wait! Just copy and paste it.

http://www.hulu.com/watch/4121/saturday-night-live-st-monicas-talent-auditions


It's been a crazy couple of days. We've been reading more plays in Dramatic Literature, and doing more on camera scenes for Acting for the Camera. Our next assignment due before spring break in that class is called Hidden Camera. Professor D has give us 6 monologues. We're supposed to choose one and then have someone film us performing it in public somewhere off campus in a creative way. If we use a stranger, they're required to know they're being filmed of course, but the hardest part is making the monologues into our own words. They're very difficult monologues, which Professor D gave us on purpose. I'm excited to try it out, though I haven't decided how I want to perform mine yet.

I'm so busy all of a sudden that I'm having trouble keeping up with things. Our next assignment in comedy class is to perform a Shakespeare monologue as our comedian. You can not possibly understand how excited I am to perform Shakespeare as Mary Katherine Gallagher. It's going to be so awkward!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Peace be unto you

It hasn't necessarily been a busy week, and I couldn't decide what to write about. Classes have been going well. We watched a lot of our film footage in Acting for the Camera. I felt good about some of it, surprisingly, but I have a lot to learn.

I've spent a lot of this week catching up on real life. I've been doing some research on Seattle, and internships there. I've been thinking of pros and cons for moving certain places. Honestly, I just talk myself in circles, but at least I feel mildly productive.

But here's the real stuff: we read and discussed a play this week called Yellow Face about the practice of yellow face (think black face except for Asians) in the theatrical world, and the way that society tends not to oppose the idea of yellow face the way that black face is opposed. People are offended by the use of black face today because our country is so racially charged. But honestly, until I read this play, I hadn't even considered the struggles of Asians in America. It was definitely an eye opening play.

We discussed whether the idea of one race playing another on stage is ever appropriate. There were a lot of opposing views, but the majority thought that if the circumstance was meant to be farcical, or an artistic experience, that the idea was acceptable. But most of the time, the class agreed that the subject is offensive and inconsiderate.

This week I also watched one of the movies on the list that Professor D gave us to watch. I watched Malcolm X. I knew of Malcolm X, but because of his more radical approach to the topic of integration and race, he's not really covered in school the way Martin Luther King is. This movie was amazing to watch. It's about the journey and transformation of a young boy into a man. It's impossible to put race aside when speaking about this movie, but what really inspired me wasn't Malcolm X's ideas or methods. It was his ability to grow so much as a human being. He was constantly having his eyes opened to the injustices of the world, and learning of new faults in himself.

Most of what I'd heard of Malcolm X wasn't positive, and I'm definitely inspired to go read his autobiography (which is named one of the 100 most influential novels of the 20th century.), but I'm interested to know how much of the movie is true. I'm assuming most of it, otherwise the family wouldn't have let it be made. In the movie, the majority of the first half is Malcolm X being a hypocrite, and then espousing black supremacy which was equally supported and opposed at the time. But he continues to listen to people, and grow from his experiences (namely a trip to Mecca) and he lets them shape him and his cause. He's not afraid of change, and he's fighting for results. By the end of the movie he is working for a common cause, and is trying to fix some of his past transgressions.

It was inspiring to think that I can and will continue to grow as a person after I leave school. My time here is almost up, but I'm no where near done learning. I like the idea of traveling and learning about other ways of life, and opening my eyes to the world around me. It makes me excited about every possibility that lies before me.

This week made me proud and thankful to have grown up in the generation that I have. Race is and will always be an issue. But so much progress has been made.

There were 2 unfortunate incidents in my city this week. On a nearby college campus, there was a rape, and at our local grocery store there was a sexual assault. Though I live in a college town that can get pretty rowdy, it is not often that incidents like this occur. We've received an email about ways to handle situations like these should they occur, and the security staff has decided to offer self defense seminars in a couple weeks.

My freshmen year, we were required (as a class) to have a seminar with some members of the police force who spoke to us about how to conduct ourselves in a college town to avoid incidents like these. Because I go to a women's college, I thought these discussions were extremely relevant and important. I'm thankful that our staff take the time to help us protect ourselves by giving us important knowledge. We even received rape whistles in our mail boxes that came on lanyards so we could easily attach them to our purses.

The idea of assault is incredibly scary. But having gone to a women's college for almost 3 years now, my views are much stronger on the subject. I feel for women as a collective group now, in ways I didn't before.

I'm going to be moving to a larger city soon, and I'm inspired to not only be aware of myself and my surroundings, but to make sure that I can protect myself. I never want to feel helpless in a situation.

So, this week has been a learning experience all around. I've learned about my future, about the past, and how to stay aware of the present. And this afternoon---Eleemosynary auditions and hopefully callbacks! It's going to be a fun day!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

When I Say Jump--Say How High?

I've been meaning to update all week, because I feel like I learned a lot I need to share, but I just didn't know how to put it in words.

I'm still a little confused, but sooner is better than later.

Monday: My first school day being done with the show. It was weird. It was nice. I ran around getting the programs printed for the Warehouse show, and then folded them. I had a lot of time for my homework in the afternoon and evening. Kaitie and I let our first year friend Emma sleep over because her whole building's heat got turned off. We went and saw the Sketchy Business show, which is a student sketch comedy group on campus. It's made up of mostly underclassmen, but the boys stepped in for a skit this time, and it was really great! I'm really enjoying watching as much theatre on and off campus this semester as possible. I find myself wanting to be as involved as I can before my time is up here.

Tuesday: Here's where things got a little interesting. Professor L spent our 2 hours of Comedy Class talking about our futures. We started by going over some of the girls' experiences at their Midwest auditions. Then we moved into subsistence work (Young Audiences Inc.), touring shows, writing your own material, and working off royalties. Those were things we'd heard before from Professor D, but Professor L shared some of her personal experiences, and it was eye opening for me. Then we talked about regional markets vs. New York City, and we covered some common misconceptions there.

Normally, I love that our faculty tends to have completely differing opinions on most subjects, and you can find what works best for you as an individual. This week I became slightly frustrated that I didn't know who's advice applied to me better. Professor L said that New York is mainly for the singers. And the way to make it there is to go with a meal ticket in hand. The interesting, artistically challenging works start in the regions, pick up momentum, and then move to NYC. Why not get on board with those in the regions? We spoke a lot about how we have to find the markets that fit our style.

Then we talked about finding our type (the most difficult assignment for me last semester). Know who you are, Professor L said, and know what you need to do to be fulfilled. Do I want to do commercial theatre or artistically challenging theatre? Professor L spent a lot of the class time looking at me when she spoke of leading lady types and graduate school. She said that some people will hit their prime later in life and will work more then. She told us that graduate school should be done only when you are ready for it. Some people wait 8 years for graduate school. I believe Professor L waited quite a few years before graduate school, and she received two degrees (Acting and Directing) at different points in her life.

She wanted us to talk about our fears. We spoke up about wanting a paycheck to validate us when we graduate, not knowing who we are beyond this school, and not knowing how to proceed.

Honestly, it was nice to have this talk because these are the kinds of things we're desperate to hear this last semester. It shows us the faculty understands and they care. However, it was so overwhelming at the time, no one really knew what to say or ask.

After class I went up to Professor L to set up a feedback time with her about my last audition. Instead she told me right there why she didn't cast me. She gave me nothing but amazing feedback, which made my head spin a little(a lot). She'd never been so honest with me, and I felt for the first time here that I could go to her for anything, because I know now how much she believes in me. So after that 4 minute crazy interlude in my life, I asked to meet on Thursday for a talk about graduate schools.

Wednesday: I had a blast in the box office! This entire week I spent a lot of time in the box office, and I had the opportunity to do a lot of new things. I started correspondence with designers, made gift certificates and donation cards, and to trouble shoot some technical difficulties. I'm not sure why I'm so excited about this, but I am! Box Office is cathartic to me, I think. I really enjoy being around the people, and working on the business side. Sometimes I don't know how they keep it all together though, because it's so much work!

That night I saw the opening of The Young and Fair!

My mentizzle was sick, and she was the lead in the show, so her understudy had to go on! She was absolutely fantastic. What a model for all the other understudies out there. She never looked like she didn't know what she was doing or what she was about to say. Every understudy should always remember they might have to go on. It's easy in the real world when you're being paid for it, but at school sometimes people forget. I was so proud of the entire cast! Of course, I'm going back tonight to see the show, because my mentizzle is better now.

Thursday: I met with Professor L before class. She talked with me more in depth about why I was thinking so strongly of moving to New York. She expressed again that there are 50,000 unemployed actors in New York with more experience than me. Why not go when I have a sure thing? Or better connections (ie after graduate school)? She also told me that I should strongly consider film, which I told her is an interest of mine anyway. She urged me to look into markets with a strong film base such as Chicago. Chicago also does a lot of new works, she said, and that's the kind of work I should be involved in, she said. It was really nice to have such an honest talk. I told her about my interest in Seattle because my friends are moving there, and she told me that as long as it has a good film scene, I should consider it.

We talked specifically about choosing a graduate school that pays for me and has a repertory or regional theatre attached to it. She graduated with an MFA in acting from UMKC, and she told me that when she was there, they brought in world class directors and playwrights to work with. By the time she graduated people couldn't believe that she was so young and had worked with so many amazing people. She told me that's the kind of program I need to be looking for. She warned me to not think about graduate school until I knew what I wanted. Graduate school should be done when you're sure of the direction you'd like to go so you can choose the school that's the best fit for you. I take that with a grain of salt only because I think that I'm not sure I'll ever be able to choose exactly what I want. I'm not big on boxing myself in. I'll make sure I'm interesting in learning what a program has to offer.

In Comedy Class we went around in a circle and talked about the backgrounds of our comedians we're about to start 'inhabiting'. We didn't make it all the way around because our research is so in depth. Next class we're going to finish the Bio circle, and then we're going to start our sketches. We're supposed to have taken a sketch we think we can imitate of our comedian and perform it eventually. I'll be doing Molly Shannon and her Mary Katherine Gallagher sketch from SNL. I'm really excited about it. She's a total spaz.

Thursday it also started snowing again, out of no where. I went to see Bach's Lunch with some friends. I loved it! Erin (my mom from Sense) performed a duet called Secondary Characters from Title of Show. It was fantastic. I had such a great time watching new people perform too.

My Creating Online Media class was cancelled because of the snow, but I'm basically finished with the resume page we had to code. I only need to add a navigation bar and a .pdf link of my resume to download.

Friday: I had to tell a personal story about a piece of art that is meaningful to me in Acting for the Camera. It was a closeup shot and we had to make it conversational. I told the story of buying my first book of poetry, and how I used to think I'd be a writer. It made me promise myself that I will still be a writer. I've been so caught up these years here that I've forgotten one of my first passions. But soon, I'll have a lot of time on my hands.

Last night was the opening of 33 in 66 at the Berlin Theatre downtown. Basically this show was created off the idea of the Neofuturists' show Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. A group of students here got together who were all inspired by the above troupe, and they decided they wanted to do a similar show. What happens is, there is a closeline on stage, with numbers attached to it. Each number stands for a different 'play'. The audience calls our a number, and a member of the troupe takes it down, reads the name of the play and they have to perform it right then and there. When that one is done, another random number is called. The actors never know which number correlates with which play until they read it, and the order of the plays is different every time because of the audience. The goal is to put on 33 plays in 66 minutes! Crazy right? It's so much fun to watch! The sketches range from funny to honest, and it's all student written. Tons of my friends were in it and they did such a great job. They're planning on doing a new 33 plays every month! I can't wait!

Saturday: So this weekend is all about catching up for me. I still have an essay to write for this award. I have to start watching more of Molly Shannon. The Oscars are on Sunday, and I've signed onto do a directing scene that starts rehearsal tomorrow as well. Busy Busy, but nothing like it was. Also coming up this week: my last audition at college--Eleemosynary!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Next Big Thing

Today was the end of one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had in college. I've made fantastic new friends, and built great relationships. I've learned so much about myself and my abilities.

Our show Friday night was performed to a sold out crowd, half of which were prospective theatre students. This entire run has sold incredibly well, and our resident stage manager expressed that we should all be proud of our hard work on such a well received show. We had a lot to overcome in this process with 4 snowdays, a huge cast, and not enough shop/costume workers to go around. I'm glad to say I was a part of it.

We received a standing ovation at the end of Friday night. It was an interesting show for me because I felt a little off about my performance. But I have to remind myself that I don't always need to like what I give, as long as the audience enjoys it and learns from it. And even on an off night I discovered new things. I listened in ways I hadn't before and tried things that the swing performance had inspired me to try.

Tonight's show was the most fun yet. Everyone was so excited to be there, and so ready to give it one last go. We all started the show in great spirits, and we ended the show in even better spirits. I realized when I started preparing for the show tonight that it was going to be an emotional roller coaster ride. I found out earlier in the day that I wasn't cast in Clean House. I won't be in the musical at the end of semester. So tonight was my last main stage performance. For 3 years, I've called this school home, and it's only fitting that I end with such an amazing opportunity under my belt.

I've gotten to act with 2 faculty members who have taught me so much, and a huge cast of students who live and breathe this art form every day. This process taught me again how to handle a large part and how to listen in every scene. It taught me commitment to character and emotions. I can tell that my ability to draw my emotions out quickly has improved immensely. And I've learned how to be myself again. I spent a lot of time in college being shy when I'm cast, but this show really allowed me to be myself, and I can only thank my amazing cast for that.

I wrote personal thank you cards for everyone because I feel it's important to show appreciation. I write them for every show, but it was especially difficult for this one. I had so much I wanted to say.

I received some breath-stopping, blush-inducing compliments today from people I've never met, and from people I highly esteem. If there's one thing I've taken away from this experience, it's that I want to do this again. I want to be in a large cast, and part of a company that has a common goal.

I've spent a lot of time recently thinking about where I want to end up and what I really want to do for my career. My dinner with 2 amazing alumni women really inspired me to think harder. I know now that I don't want to pursue strictly commercial theatre or strictly avante garde work. I want to be hired at places where they value a company atmosphere. Whether that's at a theatre or on a television series is neither here nor there. I'd like to do a wide range of things in this field, but I know that I don't want to end up doing this just for the money. And I don't want a main role just because it's a good one to put on a resume. I want to enjoy the experience and get to know the people. For me, it's all about the community. That's what I value. And good work comes out of working with people who value that as well. It's what makes me happy.

We striked the set after the show tonight. It was sad to see it go, but I love strike because everyone is working together and you get to be a part of something bigger than yourself. A couple of the members in my cast are in the next show, and I can't wait to see them perform! Professor L magically improves everyone she works with. It's impossible to not grow from the experience. I'll be going in for feedback early this week about my audition, which I'll post here.

So, enough about Sense and Sensibility and our fantastic closing show that made me incredibly happy and proud. More interesting are the two women I had the opportunity to spend a dinner with: Karyn Meek and Mara McEwin. Karyn is a Broadway stage manager who is currently touring the show 9 to 5. Mara co-founded and acts as artistic director for her own theatre company called Treehouse Shakers. They perform theatre/dance performance art pieces for young audiences in New York. They graduated with each other and are good friends. They talked forever about New York, Equity vs. Non-Equity, and how to decide where your niche is. It was fascinating and inspiring.

I learned that beyond not going Equity too soon because of financial considerations(which I'd learned already), it can mark you out for artistically fulfilling work. Mara's company hires Non-Equity and they can pay better than some Equity contracts. She told me that there are many Non-Equity theatres that also offer benefit plans that can be nearly as good as or better than Equity benefit plans. Karyn spoke a lot about how commercial work can be soul-killing if you want to do theatre for the art of it. It's a decision a lot of actors have to make, she says, of wanting to go down the commercially(aka monetarily) successful path or the artistically fulfilling. That's something I don't necessarily have to consider now, but it is important for my future.

They talked about how our college network (especially and specifically in NYC, though it's large in other areas of the country) is magnificent. Both of them (they graduated mid 1990's) were given their first day jobs by the alumni association. Professor L expressed her love of the alumni association as well. Apparently, these amazing women will help hook graduates up with day jobs, agent info, sublets or good apartments to rent, and anything else we could ever want or need. It was really reassuring to know that when I move, I won't be alone if I don't choose to be. Mara also offered to meet up with any of us if we should decide to go to New York for spring break. I'm very excited at this prospect.

Honestly, the last couple days have been a bit overwhelming. I've never been so thankful to have almost no homework over a weekend before. I've thought entirely too much about my future, and I fluctuate between extreme excitement and absolute dread at the thought of leaving college. I suppose I sound like every other college senior on the face of the planet. With the end of this show comes the time for me to begin making a lot of decisions that I'm not entirely ready to make. I have to remember that not everything needs to be decided now, and instead be happy at all the opportunities that are before me.

What an exciting prospect.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bye Bye Blackbird

That's the title of a song that I enjoy that I'd heard before, forgotten, and recently been reintroduced too. We used it in a scene in Acting IV last year, and it was in the ending of The History Boys movie I just finished watching.

This week:

I auditioned for Clean House! There were auditions Monday, and I performed a new monologue that I really like. Comedic monologues can be so difficult to find so I mark it as a success when I land on one I enjoy that shows personality. And isn't overdone. I also had to tell 2 jokes.

My jokes were:
1. The phrase 'sort of' is so inconsequential. It doesn't mean anything. It's just a filler. Except when it's said after things, like after I love you. Or you're going to live! Or, it's a boy!

2. My friend has six locks on her door, one after the other. Whenever she leaves, she makes sure to lock every other one. She says this way, if someone were to stand there picking her locks, they'd always be sure to lock 3 of them.

Professor/Director L really liked my jokes. I believe it might have been one of her more fun auditions for her. Who wouldn't want to sit and listen to free comedy for 3 hours.

I made callbacks, so Tuesday afternoon was fun as well. I read for the character Lane and Virginia. Director L definitely liked me more for Lane because she had me read an extra monologue. Overall it was a really fun experience. I'm not sure I'm the right fit for this play, but I would love the opportunity to be involved because it would be such a great learning experience. And I could definitely use a comedy on my resume. And I want to work with Professor L again before I graduate.

The cast list is posted Saturday afternoon. But if things don't work out, then a couple weeks from now is the auditions for Eleemosynary in the Warehouse, which is a 3 women show that looks like it's going to be a real challenge and tons of fun. I can't wait for both! Both casts might offer a swing cast as well.

Speaking of swing casts, tonight was the understudy performance of Sense and Sensibility! It went so well! I was so excited to watch these ladies get to show their stuff after such a thankless process. It can be very difficult to be an understudy and never have full rehearsal time and never receive acknowledgement for the work put in. But tonight was their night, and they performed beautifully!

It was such a different show. It had different pace, different characters, and told a different story in a lot of ways. It was a study for the full cast to watch. I think we learned a lot from each other tonight, and I loved the opportunity. My swing had so much to memorize, and I'm so proud of her! She has more experience than me in this theatre department, so I wasn't worried, but it must have been difficult without 3 weeks of rehearsal. Really, then entire show was just an admirable event, and the turn out was great. The entire audience was pumped to be there and were ready to support.

It was also extremely interesting to watch the men (who don't have swings and were required to perform with the swing cast tonight) perform with a different group of girls. There was different chemistry and different character relationships all around. It really opened up interpretation which can become stale after a rehearsal process. I have new ideas for tomorrow night that I think will help me grow.

I was so excited to watch the show, since I've never had the opportunity to see a couple parts. I loved every part of it, and I found myself laughing even when I already knew the jokes. I laughed through the entirety of my ending scene where my character is proposed to, because even though I wasn't on stage, it was as cheesy as ever. I loved it.

The underclassmen should be proud of everything they accomplished, and they have many great things to look forward to here and beyond. Job well done!

I dropped out of the Midwest auditions which opened up my Friday. Tomorrow I'm doing an audition for the Advanced Narrative Film class for the moving they've written, which should be fun. We've received some intriguing sides and I'm interested to see how they have us work them. Also in Acting for Film, we'll be speaking to an alumna. She's a dancer/choreographer/(maybe actor?) who has her own theatre company called The Treehouse Shakers, I believe. I'll be finding out more tomorrow, but I'm excited because I've been offered the opportunity to have dinner with her, the president of our college, the dean of our theatre department (Professor B), and a few other senior acting students. I might look a bit odd at a swanky restaurant with my hair in curlers tomorrow, but I have a show to put on! I can't wait to meet the guest!

This whole week has been a round of auditions it seems. We did mock audition packages in comedy class Tuesday. They went relatively well. I definitely decided that I hate my package and will not be doing it for another audition. Time to find some different pieces, or just pair things differently. We did mock auditions in Acting for Film on Wednesday. I'll be receiving feedback tomorrow afternoon. I don't think I've done amazing work, but I think that is mostly due to nerves, preparation (though I was memorized), and my inability to judge what looks good on camera. I won't learn without watching my footage though, and that's what tomorrow is for. I really just need to focus on make interesting choices. It seems so easy and natural for me on stage, but when it comes to the camera, I just draw a blank.

Box Office internship has been fun this week. I've gotten to prepare some things for Boji, and I've been learning more and more. I like administration type work, and working to help run a theatre.

So tomorrow I have a show, which I'm ecstatic to get back to. And then we're taking all the prospective theatre majors to the Warehouse to watch our combat/sketch show Women Fight Against! I'm excited to show off our student run theatre. I'm feeling a little odd about being such a potentially influential role in these prospective students' choice of institution for higher education. However, it's kind of cool, because when I came to visit, it was watching a show that made my decision for me. It's like I've come full circle. And theatre to me is all about giving back--so I can't wait to have an awesome show! I've missed the cast this week, and I'm ready to have 2 more runs at it before strike.

I've been nominated for an award called the Trustee Award, and the winning senior gets to speak at graduation. However, I have to have 2 letters of recommendation and I've run into the problem of realizing that the only faculty who know me on campus, are theatre faculty. And if I do 2 of them, I don't seem very well rounded. That, and the 2 professors I wanted to ask have been so busy this week with auditions and family emergencies that it's a really horrible time to impose upon them. I haven't figured out how to rectify this situation.

The Warehouse show opens next Wednesday! My mentizzle (we have a mentor program here, and I'm mentoring a 1st year student) is one of the main roles in it. I can't wait to see the show!