Saturday, October 17, 2015

Beginning Anew

There's been a lot going on since June. I knew I was moving from Seattle to Austin, but making a public announcement had to come in waves, so it was hard for a while to write a public blog without talking about my plans. So I took a break.

Now that the move has officially happened let's get back on track!

I had a fantastic summer working at Mt. Baker Theatre doing their summer repertory season production of Other Desert Cities. I was reunited with one of my all time favorite directors, and had the opportunity to work with one of the most experienced and talented casts I had in some time. I enjoyed every emotionally charged moment of that show, and I can confidently say that I hope Brooke is a part I continue to play for the next 10 to 15 years.

After a 6 month contract performing and touring Alice's Adventures in Wonderland with Book-It Repertory Theatre, I really needed the adult content of Other Desert Cities and the actor challenge it presented. Not only is the show incredibly intimate with such a small cast and a one room set, but the theater decided to stage it in a black box setting, so the audience was all of one foot away from the actor playing space. It had been a long time since I felt as alive as I was this summer giving such beautiful and important writing a voice.

I also spent the summer being a tour guide, and for all my fellow actors reading this blog out there--if you haven't given it a shot you totally should! It was the most fun I've had doing a job outside of acting. Every day was a blast. I got to use my public speaking abilities, I got to entertain guests that paid me to entertain them, and I got to share great stories and food with strangers that became friends. Plus the company was amazing. I plan on being a tour guide many more times in my future.

I knew since around April or May that I would be touring this fall with The National Theatre for Children. I wasn't sure what to make of doing another tour at the time of me signing on, but I needed a job to get me out of Seattle for a while, and that was the ticket.

I started the tour about two weeks ago and I can say it's incredibly fun! It's always fulfilling to do theatre for children. But this show and this company are special because they do theatre with children. Our show is for middle schoolers and it's called The Conservation Crew, and we tour to schools in North and South Carolina to talk about energy conservation and why it's important for our changing world. What's unique is we get to use student volunteers and their suggestions to shape the show and make it a personal, memorable experience for them. And what's more, they all have the opportunity to receive their own energy conservation kit free of charge (donated by our sponsor Duke Energy) that's full of helpful appliances such as energy efficient shower heads, hot water gauges, LED nightlights, and CFL light bulbs.

Duke Energy also pays for a raffle, where schools can sign up to enter into a drawing that could win them $10,000.  Basically, I feel like I'm creating social change through an established institution that wants to make the world a better place. And I'm learning from a great business model that happens to respect actors!

I'm happy I've done a tour before, because now I know what to expect with a lot of the schools and the kids. My first touring experience was a difficult transition between main stage acting and a transient show. Now I have the knowledge to tackle issues as they arise, and the patience to deal with the craziness of a school day.

The best thing about this tour though is getting paid to travel longer distances. We have the opportunity to visit big cities, and historic small towns. My tour partner and I are a great match because we love antiquing and visiting huge museums! And stopping at cheese shops, because cheese is really important.

I know I'll be taking this time to really reevaluate myself and what I want and where I want to go in my career. And honestly, there are much much worse ways I could spend my time figuring it out. But I happen to have a gypsy soul and there isn't a thing I'd rather be doing right now. Here's to the next 6 weeks!