Saturday, October 31, 2009


A bit to think on that has nothing to do with this All Hallow's Eve.

Spread some Autumnal spook and nonsense tonight! And see Paranormal Activity; besides being too scared to breathe and crying in downright terror, it's an excellent, excellent example of truth in improvisational acting.

Happy Halloween. :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009



If you have a good idea and it’s well-executed, it looks effortless. It looks like it’s been around forever.

But I don’t want it to look effortless! you say. I want it to look as hard as I worked on it.

No, you don’t. You want it to look easy.

Friday, October 23, 2009


And we continue to roll onward.

Monday evening (the day after Othello closed) was the start of the auditions for the one acts, student directed short plays that are a part of the Directing II class. Last year I was in a one act called Home Free - it was my springboard into the middle of the theatre world here at school and they are fabulous opportunities for so many people.

It was a quick, very short cold reading of a scene for the panel of student directors. With material that new and unfamiliar and also as short as it was, it's really difficult to judge your own performance. At least in my opinion.

(this entry was just interrupted for an hour by FRANTIC, a totally addicting little spaceship shooter game)

So I had doubts about my audition, but a very good friend of mine is directing one of the other shows, and because his show was all men, he could give me honest feedback without feeling like he was cheating or something. So he tried to slap me when I berated myself about my dislike of my audition and told me I had a callback.

Callbacks, Wednesday night. Talk about a clusterfuck. The organization is seriously lacking, but that's not my problem. I sat for three hours and only read twice, and was petrified because I felt like I'd read badly, and I was feeling a bit under the weather as it was, so I was kind of a mess.

I won't get into the drama following callbacks. Basically people are dumb and I have a newfound dislike for certain individulas.

I was cast in a ten minute play called The Last Days of Leni Riefenstahl, where I am the title female, a 100 year old woman who (true story) was Hitler's greatest filmmaker. I'm very excited for the role, since she's incredibly fascinating, and the longest little monologue I have is about Helen Keller.

The read through last night proved that I'm working amidst a small circus, and since my patience is running thin anyway because the last month has proven to be the most difficult of my life, I might end up being the bitch of the show. But I don't care. I'm there to do my job and perform Leni as truthfully as I can, not deal with giggly, immature people.

Halloween is coming up, the best holiday ever. Please welcome to the stage Miss Harleen Quinzel. :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Curtain Call

Othello just closed, so I'll give you a brief rundown of things I've learned from the process over the past two months. These lessons are from classtime, private lessons, personal experience, and whatever else hit me like a rubber mallet to the face.

1. You are bound to run into someone too crazy and too senile and too absurd to have any sort of power, and yet there they are, in a position of power and authority. When dealing with these people, you must smile and nod and edge around the corners until you can ignore them completely.

2. Do not, under any circumstance, procrastinate in the face of Shakespeare and Eugene O'Neill simultaneously.

3. Sense memories are one of an actors most powerful and most dangerous tools.

4. No matter how wonderfully you can articulate and project, turning your ass to the audience to deliver lines is a complete and utter no-no. Even if the audience can hear you.

5. Let the make-up and hair crew do whatever they feel like. They don't listen to reason and think they understand your hair better than you do. Let them trial and error their way through the mutilated curls and retarded bobby pins until they can discover your hair's inability to function on their own. They'll feel better about themselves.

6. No matter what the situation is outside of the show, no matter how horrible and bleak it may seem, no matter how many nights you sit up sobbing and unable to sleep, the show must go on. The show will go on.

7. Techtors are few and far between. Cherish them when you find them.

8. Good people are few and far between. Cherish them when you find them. Tell your friends you love them and forgive them - you might not get another chance. Send a little message, give a hug, a smile, a phone call - connect with the people who matter. You don't want to have to apologize for something when they're lying in a casket.

9. Shakespeare isn't that scary once you download a mental translator.

10. Being lectured at is not a successful way to learn acting techniques.

11. Shows can turn out half-decent even if half the cast is legitimately challenged and has some form of Asberger's Syndrome.

12. Renaissance dresses and bodices are not condusive to belly dancing.

13. Find a mentor who you can really trust and bond with - the things you'll learn are endless.

14. No matter how tired or pissy or annoyed or college-y or hungover or weary you are, try to find something good to take out of every situation you are presented with. You never know what you'll wind up with.

15. Sometimes a trial by fire is the only way to go.

16. Love your stage manager. ADORE your stage manager.

17. Fight through flat audiences. There's nothing you can do but keep going. If it's sink or swim in a black hole audience, never, ever sink. Never. Fight the good fight, keep pushing the power you have and the show you know how to do. You have to lift yourself, your castmates, and try to fight off the overwhelming low energy around you. You have no choice but to keep fighting.

18. Never turn down an opportunity to nap.

19. Respect your green room. Love your green room. Do not leave four day old chinese food behind couches in the green room.

20. Treat every performance the same. No matter if you have a three night run or you put it on for seven days or two weekends or months at a time, treat every performance the same. Keep fighting for that energy. It's a fight. Every day is a fight.

I learned how to fight over the past few months. I'm stronger because of it.

Oh yeah. And I'm going back to KCACTF next January. :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Road Bumps.

There are road bumps in life; most are unexpected. As this is a narrative of my experiences, I feel it's only appropriate to document yet one more road bump.

Our theatre department lost someone last night to suicide. I can't stop shaking.

I hope you found peace, Mike.


Words have power. Given or taken, words can change people, change lives, change history. That sentence might be a tad melodramatic, but I type it in all seriousness.

Bravo, Quinnipiac University and their presentation of The Laramie Project. Bravo for everything it stands for, bravo for their excellent rendition of it, bravo for reminding me. I remember.

The fact that people's voices can be recorded, transcribed, rearranged, printed into a small book called a script, memorized, then respoken, and those words can have such force and memory and movement in them - that's part of the true magic that is theatre.

Theatre isn't always flashing lights and fun and games - sometimes it is raw power and emotion. Theatre is life, only more beautiful, or uglier, or stranger, or just as strange, or better, or worse, or...

And it's not even just about The Laramie Project in itself. Laramie showed me the power of words. Laramie showed me the power of hate, and, even moreso, love.

Theatre moved me tonight. Again. And I can't thank the theatre gods enough for it.

Matthew Shepard
1977 -1998