Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 In The Spotlight

The last scribbles of 2010 - what a year this has been. I'm currently skimming the list of blog posts from this year to pull out a few of the highlights. Click to recap.

March - NYU Audition.
September - Ready, set, go.

Not a lot of highlights, but if I highlighted everything that was important, there'd be too many posts to call it a list of highlights, it'd just be a list of lights. :)

So what are my final thoughts?

I spent much of this morning going through the hurt and the aches and the mistakes and the skeletons in my closet from the past year and officially putting them to rest, as much as I can. Mistakes are unavoidable. I'm going to get hurt, things are going to suck sometimes. But I don't need to hang on to what hurt me this year. I've learned, and now I'm turning my face towards 2011 and everything it has in store. 365 days is a decently long time to get stuff done, and I'm going to be 21 in the wildest city in the world for most of those days. I'm going to live, I'm going to have fun, I'm going to learn, and I'm going to be someone new when the next December 31st rolls around. I hope she's wonderful.

Happy New Year to all of you Spotlightees :) Much love from Harlequin to you. Have a fabulous year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Magic!

My laptop has been refurbished thanks to a dear techie darling of mine from SCSU. I put everything important onto my new external hard drive and then he wiped my laptop clean and put a new system into it and other things I don't quite understand. It was technical magic.

In short, my laptop is up and running and free of viruses and all is well.

Updates coming soon.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Virus

My laptop is currently infected almost beyond use, so updates may be sparse until it is fixed. :(

Monday, December 20, 2010

Advice from Les Barany

Just when I think I've said all I want for today, perusing the world of art makes me want to share, and gives me plenty to think about. As much as I agree with a lot of what is said in this letter of advice from H.R. Giger's agent, I feel that art is something to be lived and to breathe, there is no formula to follow, and though this is incredibly inspiring, I find that I don't agree with some. Take what you will and create from the chaos within. Mary Shelley did it. I'd like to be as neat as her some day.

Dear Aspiring Artist:

Here is my advice. Think of it as a five-year plan:

Take whatever courses you find the most interesting.

Study closely the work of the Old Masters.

Stop making art that originates only from your own imagination.

Stay with one technique until you perfect it.

On any given day, always be in the middle of reading a book. When you finish one, start the next. Fiction, nonfiction, biographies, autobiographies, history, science, psychology, or how to build a kite. Anything but go easy on the comic books.

Buy and read the first 6 pages of newspaper every day and also the editorial commentaries. Skip the entertainment section. Su Doku is fine. Do the crossword puzzle.

Fill up a sketchbook every month with pen or pencil drawings of the world around you, not from your imagination.

Buy a book on figure drawing. It's the only art book you will ever need.

Until you can draw an accurate portrait of someone, you don’t know how to draw.

Stay away from the airbrush. You'll never master it, hardly anyone ever has.

Visit every museum in your city. Often, until you have seen everything in it. Every kind of museum. Not only the art museums but, of course, those as well.

Forget about contemporary art by living artists, at least for the next few years.

Stay away from most art galleries. Go to art auctions. That's where the real action is.

Learn to play chess.

Take a business course.

Talk to you mother or father at least once a week.

Stop going to the movies until you have rented and seen every film on this list.
http://www.time.com/time/2005/100movies/the_complete_list.html

Do not watch television unless it’s the news or documentaries.

Do not use an Ipod.

No video games, either.

Learn a foreign language.

Learn to cook.

Spend 8 hours in a hospital emergency room.

Save up money so you can travel to a foreign country within the next five years.

Do not litter.

Avoid politically correct people.

Vote in every election or never dare to utter a political opinion. You are not entitled to one.

Buy a digital camera and take photos every day.
If you see nothing interesting to photograph, you will never be a good artist. Keep only one photo of every ten you take. Delete the rest. It will force you to learn how to edit the garbage from your life, to make choices, to recognize what has real value and what is superficial.

Visit an old age home.

Listen to classical music and jazz. If you are unable to appreciate it at least as much as contemporary music, you lack the sensitivity to develop into an artist of any real depth.

Go to the ballet. Classical or Modern, it doesn't matter. It will teach you to appreciate physical grace and the relationship between sound and movement.

Wake up every morning no later than 8 AM, regardless of what time you went to sleep.

Learn to play a musical instrument.

Learn to swim.

Keep your word.

Never explain your art. People who ask you to do so are idiots.

Never explain yourself. Better yet, never do anything that will, later, require you to explain yourself or to say you're sorry.

Always use spell check.

Stop aspiring and start doing.

This will keep you very busy but it can't be helped.
In my opinion, this is how you might, possibly, have a shot at becoming a good artist.

Hope this helps,

Les Barany

Solstice

It's been a long time coming, but as of about 11:20 last night, my final paper is complete, I am home safe and sound in my little podunk hometown, and my first semester at NYU is officially complete.
Just kidding, I'm actually so happy not to be freaking out or feeling overworked. A few weeks of family, floofy little kitties, Christmas spirit, and then I'll be going back to New York so I don't get an overdose of all this goodness and want to strangle everyone. :)

Now that the madness of the past fortnight or so is over, I promised my readers updates on a lot of things. I'm not going to overload you all with everything at once, so they will be in separate updates, but they will happen. Here's what I promised:

Nora York
Finals (general thoughts on classes)
Finding My Art
Staying fit over break
What's up for next semester.

And right now I'm exceptionally concerned about the fourth topic, "Staying Fit Over Break." Now that I don't have yoga twice a week and dance three times a week, I'm worried that my little body is going to fall terribly out of shape and I'm going to nearly die of shock when second semester kicks in again and I have to get back into my routine. Next semester I'm still with Byron for his Broadway Styles class and Contemporary, and we're supposed to continue ballet, though I'm not sure where that stands since Francesca just had her first baby. I'm also picking up a class in Eskrima where yoga used to be. Click it if you're curious.

What my initial intentions are, for this break, are to do some kind of yoga and stretch every day, or very nearly every day, and Byron's physical work-out/warm-up at least twice a week, just to keep my stamina up. Hopefully I can overcome whatever mental block I will have created (but the couch is so comfy...) and keep myself working and physically in the place I need to be.

Maybe that will go in Diary of a Fancer - maybe I'll write about some of my experiences in dance classes there as well. Regardless, I have a lot of physical work to keep up on over break.


If I don't write by tomorrow, Happy Winter Solstice to all! December 21st is the official Solstice this year. Celebrate this wonderful season and all the love you have in your lives. I've certainly got more than I can even imagine.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tastes of Reality

Some Tommy, to spread the joy of the day.

"I'm free - I'm free,
And freedom tastes of reality!"

Practical finals are over, classes are complete, and I have two more papers to write and then I can put Fall 2010 behind me.

Once I am home, there will be updates. Promise. But for now I am still in the throes of NYC with much to do before I can really relax.

Going to see Black Swan with my little monster, Michelle, today. Maybe I'll learn how to dance by watching psychotic obsessive ballerinas do it. If Natalie Portman can pique turn and pirouette like a prima ballerina in six months, I can do it too.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Crawling on the planet's face..."

I feel like Brad and Janet at the end of Rocky Horror. Take that how you will.
(Working till 4 am and then waking up at 9 is a cruel joke.)

Interesting artistic musing of the week.

"Art can be so... passive aggressive."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happenstance

So I'm totally procrastinating, but I had to give this a shout out...

Headshot glory!

Click it.


Muchas amour pour ma chica, Karen. Yeah, that was Spanrench.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pause

Due to insane amounts of end of semester work, I probably won't be able to update anything (even though I've been promising updates since forever) until the semester is over. When I am on winter break, you will, and I promise, you will get updates on:

Nora York
Finals (general thoughts on classes)
Finding My Art
Staying fit over break (maybe Fancer will get a kickstart again...)
What's up for next semester.

See you in a few weeks!

To entertain you, here are some of my teachers, in video form. Give their names a click if you want to see them in their element.

Nora York "What I Want"
Michael McElroy As Collins in RENT
Sutton Foster In The Drowsy Chaperone at the Tony Awards

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Price We Pay

There's so much to say that goes with this one, mostly two major conversations with my voice teacher and my acting teacher, Nora York and Michele Shay, respectively.

But I woke up today and I am beginning to feel who I am. She's there inside, in this Pandora's box. I'm beginning to see my real artist, who I want to be and who I am, and it is beyond inspiring. It's frightening, it's exhilarating, it's going to be one hell of a long road, but it's all here, and the lid on that box is just starting to open.

I woke up today feeling my art living inside of me. And that is step one.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Who's Crazy

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-alice-ripley-20101121,0,4466846.story

One of my idols and inspirations for what I do. Some very powerful insight on character and what it takes to really live them, and how far good actors go for their art.

"Playing Diana feels like I'm walking out into traffic," she says. "You know that the bus is going to hit you, but you just have to step out in front of it anyway."

Ripley spent considerable time studying Diana's internal and external worlds. She initially made intricate collages and diagrams about pills and their side effects, about Diana's range of emotions and even the Goodman family's possible Seattle neighborhood. Reviewing Diana's drugs, for instance, helped her early on to see "where I would need to be at the beginning of the show. What drugs have I been taking ? How has that affected me? What did I do this morning and last night, pill-wise?"

Living the art. I want it. I want to start doing it. I still have to learn how.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Speech

This is my speech homework. I have to use IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet!) and transcribe the consonant sounds, so I'm kind of tired of reading this, at the moment, but I wanted to share it anyway because it's beautiful and I realized again today that even just being two years older than my classmates really makes such a huge difference.

West Wind #2

You are young. So you know everything. You leap
into the boat and begin rowing. But listen to me.
Without fanfare, without embarrassment, without
any doubt, I talk directly to your soul. Listen to me.
Lift the oars from the water, let your arms rest, and
your heart, and heart's little intelligence, and listen to
me. There is life without love. It is not worth a bent
penny, or a scuffed shoe. It is not worth the body of a
dead dog nine days unburied. When you hear, a mile
away and still out of sight, the churn of the water
as it begins to swirl and roil, fretting around the
sharp rocks - when you hear that unmistakable
pounding - when you feel the mist on your mouth
and sense ahead the embattlement, the long falls
plunging and steaming - then row, row for your life
toward it.

- Mary Oliver

Monday, November 15, 2010

ART.

Good weekend - got to see the ineffable Jesse, a dear friend of mine and an incredible performer, on Saturday. He stopped into the city and I got to meet some wonderful friends of his and got to see a really neat little movement theatre piece and talk art and theatre and poor life decisions with fellow ARTISTS. I say that with slight sarcasm but mostly it's reverence for the fact that I could find these people and have legitimate conversations with them and bond. Hooray.

Must get the play References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot by Jose Rivera.

Hopefully getting an audition time for a final thesis film this coming weekend. It's a stylized therapy session. I'm down with that. Hooray audition.

Lots of plays to read - just got three new ones in the mail, plus other scripts I've had and need to read again. Hopefully this week will be good. I have a good feeling.

And I have to get an apartment next year because I need to adopt a cat. Need isn't a strong enough word, but it's all I've got. I want to rescue a cat and name him Antonin or Johann. Maybe I will call him Bradbury. Or Oscar Wilde. Or Mittens.

ADDENDUM: I am naming my future kitty Humphrey Bogart. And another one Marlon. And maybe another one Harrison. I will have well named kitties.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Triple A

Once again I write a post as I should be writing an essay - but, once again, it has been weeks since I've updated, and so much has happened.

To write it all out would become this really unpleasant blob of paragraphs trying to put into words what is all just incredible experiences, so I'll try to find good words and just make one blob of text to explain it. Maybe. This could just be as awkward and not interesting to read as the other option, but we'll see.

Overwhelmed, tired and sore, hip issues, fixing hip issues, flexibility, Jerry Mitchell choreography, vocal range, passing classes, essays, Antonin Artaud, doodling, empty pockets, cold weather, breaking barriers, tears onstage, "unashamedly sexy, that honesty," Halloween, paparazzi, essays, toning up, good days, bad days, voice lessons, Sutton Foster, bloody feet, unexpected laughter, wishing studio floors were cleaner, still sucking at piano, essays, wishing lecture classes didn't suck, handstands, breaking out, breaking free, Alto Power, food supplies, homework, schedule planning, laundry day, cold, essays, making art, missing something.

Good luck making sense of that. Cuz I don't.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dressed As Girl

I should be writing my essay regarding "reading against the text" as proposed by Sue-Ellen Case in regards to Greek theatre and taking a feminist viewpoint in light of an art form dominated by men at that point in its history. Instead, I am writing this blog post. I have the essay outlined, sort of, so it should only take me a few hours at the current pace I'm at. Which is terribly, terribly slow. (Post title comes from the title of my essay. I'm sort of trying to focus, see?)

Studio today went surprisingly well. It's rare that I walk out feeling almost entirely content and relatively good about myself, often there is some lingering sense of grrr or blehhh that is in the driver's seat, but today I was smiling. For a technical Monday in this week of mine, that's quite an achievement.

I survived my second dance midterm, a painfully white-girl rendition of a contemporary dance piece, and actually kind of had fun; Sutton really liked my piece in Song Performance class today, and getting compliments from Sutton Foster kind of does a little something something for your ego; and my Meisner repetitions exercise in acting class was a explosion of emotional drama, with commendations from my teacher on the power of my work. Not too shabby for a day I was dreading.

Music I am currently working on:
Where or When
by Rodgers and Hart
I'll Know from Guys and Dolls
Racing With The Clock from Pajama Game
Lost in the Stars from Lost In The Stars
And, just for fun, No One But You by the one and only Queen.

Now I'm going to return to being some imitation of a studious NYU student and hopefully crank out a paper worthy of a decent grade. Muah!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Populism! YEA YEA

AA Orchestra, Seat 106, Lottery Tickets for Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson? Best twenty dollars I have ever spent.

This musical is the next big thing. Irreverent. Brilliant. Hysterical. Spectacle. Relevant. So non-PC there isn't a proper adjective for it. Incredible.

History just got all sexypants.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

One Of Those Nights

Definitely one of those nights I need one stiff drink, some yoga, and then to sleep for 12 hours. Sounds like a plan.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Hit the Ground Running

These first two weeks have been like nothing on earth - there is so much to catch up on, so much to say, so much ahead of me, and I can't even begin to find the words to say it all.

To try and give a sense of what I've been immersed in, here's a brief course description from my music theory class, taught by the incredible Darryl Tookes.

The New Studio on Broadway recognizes and celebrates the diversity of the artist as an individual, and also a vital part of the larger community. We are integrating the elements of acting to create a world of learning with new ideas coming from some of the most innovative teachers in the profession.. The cross disciplines of voice with dance, text with music, the musicality of the spoken word/rhythm/heightened language. Spoken word, singing - a holistic approach. This comprehensive teaching methodology will itself be a theatre in process. Faculty will be open to visits from other teachers at times when an observation from another experienced caring professor might add the needed perspective on a lesson. The students are not to tiered or "tracked" as this or that, but rather, they will be seen and heard as maturing actors, works in progress, on the edge of our seats, bending our ears to the sounds, our eyes to the sun, our hearts to the beat - in the heat of theatre!

Diary of a Fancer will be getting another kick start, since this little fancer is now enrolled in Ballet, Broadway, and Contemporary Dance classes.

Here goes...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Shipping Out

In a matter of hours the rental van will be loaded and we will be on the road to dump me in Manhattan. Updates about the coming week may be very, very delayed due to business and sheer WTF factor.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

FutureMe

I just got back from the hair salon and was planning on posting a picture of my new hair when I checked my email and got an email from the past. Check this out. I surprise myself sometimes. It's just the kind of boost I needed now that I'm getting nervous to go off to Tisch in a few days.

My relationships with these people have changed very much in the past year, but this has reminded me of what's really important, sometimes.
____

The following is an e-mail from the past, composed on Sunday, October 25, 2009, and sent via FutureMe.org
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Hey girl hey -

A few months ago I got a different FutureMe email and it pretty much made my week. I recognized the girl writing that letter but she seemed like someone entirely separate from myself, like it was impossible to have ever been the same person. But I was alive and well, still, and realizing that gave me a smile and some hope.

It's October 25, 2009, 11:27am. I'm sitting in dad's recliner watching Liverpool play Manchester United. I'm home for the first time in months, and it feels so good.

I'm writing to remind you of something I've learned over the past month, because I feel like it's one of the most important things I will ever learn. It isn't fair how I had to learn it, none of it is fair, but I want to make sure I never forget it. I know I probably won't, but I know how things change in a year.

It's been just over three weeks since Mike killed himself. Just over three weeks since that hideous, horrible Saturday morning where life froze and I couldn't breathe. I want to tell you that you're not going to forget him. You're never going to be completely okay with how you never said sorry for being so naive and angry, you'll never be okay with ignoring him at Delaney's that Tuesday, never going to find a way to come to terms with your justified anger and your incredible sorrow all at once.

But life goes on, no matter what. You put on a bangin show that next week - you rocked Desdemona and got yourself an Irene Ryan nomination for it. Classes continue, shows must go on, tears will fall. But you're still okay. Times can be shittier than you can imagine, but you'll be okay, even when you can't imagine how.

(You are a wonderful young actress. Stop being afraid to accept it - never stop working your ass off, but don't cut yourself short. Keep on going, don't you ever stop.)

When you get this, call someone you love. Text them, call them, email them, go see them, for all I care. But remember that in that time of desperate sadness and broken-hearted emptiness, you had each other. You had Kerry and DMD and Eric and Anthony and Jason and Billy. Never miss a chance to show someone how much you care. Forgive; don't forget, but forgive. You don't know how much time anyone has. Love like you don't have any more time. Appreciate the people in your life. Live each day like sundown is your last.

I love you. You love I. Take care of yourself, love the girl you are, whoever she is. She's special. You're beautiful. And as I write that, I truly believe it, so when you read this, you'd better damn well believe it.

See you on the flip side, ginger.

Love,
Me

Monday, August 23, 2010

Unicorns and Glitter

Been a little while since I posted. Packing insanity and last minute figuring out of nonsense. Lot of stuff to keep me busy.

First real goodbye today. Was very abbreviated. I was fine until I walked back in the house and realized I wouldn't be seeing my unicorn every other week anymore. My arm hurts and I'm kind of disoriented. Huh. Unrelated, maybe, but still. I hate goodbyes, even if it's only for a little while. They stress me out.

Happy Birthday to my darling unicorn - you're the bestest ever and we will have Pommes Frites very, very soon. <3

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Went into the city to get work study paperwork done, and I needed to have my ID card, so that's what I did first. Ta-dahhhh; official student. With a scarf. It totally should have said Harlequin on it. That would have made me giggle.

That's better.



Went to check out my dorm room as well this Wednesday - I am quite literally a stone's throw from Chinatown. Amazing Asian food, here I come!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lafayette

80 Lafayette Street, New York, New York - there's a large apartment building overlooking Franklin Street and White Street, and in room 601 is a small room waiting for me to move in. Low cost double housing, apartment style with my own refrigerator, stove, a bathroom to share with only ONE OTHER PERSON, and the NYU campus a meager 20 minute hike away.


Loading pictures on here has always been a slight challenge...

Lafayette Residence Hall and the NYU main campus, or Washington Square Park and the surrounding areas.

I now have a butt-ton of stuff to do. Yes, butt-ton is an actual, scientific measurement of physical matter and also intangible energy output. I need to do the paperwork for the work study job at the Steinhardt theatres, fill out my immunization forms because apparently I'm going to give everyone measles, mumps and rubella if I don't, email my new roomie, one Monique East, deposit my paychecks - three weeks worth, jeez - call about a discrepancy in my transferring credits, figure out if I want a meal plan, figure out when I will be getting my NYU ID card, and also start in on those summer reading books. Lots to do.

Lesson for the day: Do not transfer schools unless you really, really, REALLY want to be going somewhere else. You have to know that the effort required to make everything work out will be worth the reward in going to a new school.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Update.

Harlequin officially has a job as Event Assistant under Shuhei Seo at Steinhardt School of the Arts and Education at NYU - got my confirmation email and paperwork all sent to me today. So stoked.
____

Some issues with scheduling of event assisting and orientation (which is a week long), and my orientation schedule conflicting with itself, but I have sent out a series of emails in the hopes that these issues will be solved in the very near future. I'm nervous enough as it is, I don't need anything else to help me stress, thank you.

Still waiting to hear about housing and where I'll be living and who with. As edgy as I'm starting to get about leaving, I'm in desperate need of some space of my own. I love my family so very, very much and always miss them when I'm gone, but seriously, I need my own bathroom.

Summer reading: I need to get cracking on that. I have to finish Atlas Shrugged first, and I just haven't had the time. I have so much to read. Here's a handful, if I can remember them all.

Krik? Krak! - Edwidge Danticat
A Challenge for the Actor - Uta Hagen
Respect for Acting - Uta Hagen
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert M. Pirsig
Poetics - Aristotle

I only have to read Krik? Krak! for summer reading, but I want to read them all, I just don't have the time to sit and absorb them all like I should. Mum started reading Zen, so I'll see how she likes it. A friend of mine read it for his class last year at Marymount Manhattan and said it changed his life.

I'm in a place right now where I am so happy and I love the people I know and who love me - there is so much love in my life, and I couldn't be more grateful for it. This place I am in also has grey fog fear creeping in around the edges, threatening to take away everything I know and drop me alone in a city that lives to chew up and eat those who dare cross its path. The place I am in knows love, fear, but also sadness. Sadness for some of the love and sadness for the fear. I love my life, but my life confuses me.

Two more weeks of work - then freeeeeeeedoooooooooommmmmmm!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Steinhardt, NYU, NYC

The story of my job interview yesterday, as adapted from a message sent to my dearest darlingest Foxervalls.
____

So I was a stupid nervous wreck all morning because I felt silly wandering around NYU not knowing where I was (my biggest emotional issue, currently, is that I will be very out of my element and feel extremely lost. Which I was.), and it was semi-raining and humid and I was uncomfortable, didn't know where the interview was, blah blah blah. Poor mum hurt her foot two days ago, so walking around was making her miserable, so we were not the happiest of campers, but we managed to poke about NYU and she was happy to see the buildings. She likes the big purple flags. So do I - it makes me feel important.

We went to the NYU bookstore and mum got window clings for the cars so they can show off that I go to NYU, I got a textbook required for class (69 bucks - used!!! Textbooks are such a racket), and I was super happy that they sell intelligent posters, like Renoir, and old school book covers, intelligent movie posters - nerdy NYU kid stuff. Sometimes I think I really will fit in. :)

All right - the nterview. I go to the Steinhardt building at 35 West 4th Street and check in with the security guard, and I ask him where Mr. Shuhei Seo is, and he says he moved to the 6th floor. I was like, ok, cool. The room number I was told was 777, so I would have guessed it was the 7th floor, but I'll take this guy's word for it. Mr. Seo told me the security guard would direct me to him, so I hit the elevator.

6th floor. Definitely not where I'm supposed to be. I don't see anyone, and there's lots of computers and recording equipment behind soundproof glass. I go up to the 7th floor.

This looks more like the right place. Filing cabinets line the walls between piano practice rooms. Secretaries sit down the hall. I ask the girl working the desk about my meeting with Mr. Seo in 777. She looks at me and was like "Shu? He has a meeting with you... here?" Uh. Yeah. "Okay... hey, Cheryl, she says she's got a meeting with Shu here... Suite 777..." At this point I'm thinking uh-oh, I did something seriously wrong. They're confused and incredulous that he would have scheduled something here. So they try to call his office, he's not there. They ask me to wait because if the meeting is here, he'll show up.

3:30 comes and goes. 3:45 arrives. I had gotten there a good 10 minutes early, so I've been waiting a while, scared out of my mind that I'm in the wrong building and I'm going to fuck up this interview before I even find him. They call him again, and someone else who would know where he was. No one answers. I'm putting on my most calm, collected face, like this isn't even remotely a problem to me.

Cheryl walks up to me and has this pitying, mothering tone as she talks to me. "The meeting was here?" I explain it's a work-study interview and that he had explained the address as the footer of his email, 35 West 4th, Suite 777. She goes "Ohhhh okay. He's probably down in the theatre, that's where he usually is, so do you want to go look for him?" She sends me down with this guy who works there to go find him.

There's stuff going on in the theatre - I am intrigued and curious as to what they are doing, but Seo isn't among the people in the house. We poke around the offices at the front of the theatre. Empty. The guy takes me back up to the office upstairs.

"There's stuff going on in the theatre so I didn't go in, but he wasn't there. You think he's in the booth? The door was open, but I didn't go up... Think he's there...? Okay, we'll go check again."

Downstairs. Back to the offices at the front of the theatre. A door is open with a teeeeeny tiny little steel spiral staircase, steep as hell, going up to where the booth is. The guy pokes his head in and listens - there are voices up above.

"Yeah, he's up there. I can hear his voice. I've never been up there before. You can go up if you like. Good luck!" And he walks away.

A few small notes before I continue. It is probably almost 4pm at this point. My meeting was supposed to start half an hour ago. I am dressed in this green and blue swirly tube top dress with a little black short sleeved cardigan, black leggings, and my black pumps. I now have to hike up this terrifyingly tiny steel staircase in three inch heels, not knowing where I'm going to arrive when I reach the top. I am also scared of my heel catching in the steel grating and breaking and me tumbling backwards to an awkward death.

I reach the top of the stairs and see two men, an Asian guy in jeans, sneakers and a t-shirt, and a bald man in a button down and khakis opening boxes amid the organized chaos of a lighting booth. The Asian guy looks up and says hello, his name is Shu, asks me who I am. I say my name and he nods and seems to remember what I'm doing there. He leads me into the other part of the booth, where there is more random crap everywhere, a desk, a computer, three monitors, and windows looking down at the theatre.

"Late?" He asks, with a smile (one of the main points in the job description is being on time), and inside I'm like WTF!!!

"I was waiting upstairs at 777." I said, and he looks at me in mild surprise.

"You were waiting? I'm so sorry."

That begins and ends the awkwardness regarding my showing up in this lighting booth about 40 minutes late.

So I'm sitting in a swivel chair and he's behind the desk and he tells me about how the Steinhardt department is broken down, the theatres they have, what my job will be, then scheduling. He mentions right off that it'll only be 7.50 an hour, but a job is a job and it's in theatre, so I don't really care how crappy the pay is. He makes sure to emphasize that it's the powers way up high that determine pay, not him. I understand completely.

I feel so out of place in super nice clothes in a dusty, messy lighting booth, but at least I look cute.

We talk for probably half an hour - he's really quite nice and seems like the kind of person I would get along with brilliantly. Really thick accent, but he's incredibly intelligent and I was just basking in the company of someone who does their job with passion. He says at the end, with a smile, that I will "probably - yeah, probably - yeah, most likely will be hired." Score.

I shake his hand, clamber back down the staircase, stagger onto the street, and meet mum in a cafe next door.

Later, I also discover that the Tisch building in the heart of the Village that Foxervalls and I found is the other part of my studio. Score.

That is my story. I more than likely have a job at NYU. Wheee.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Three Points

A few topics this evening -

ONE: I am incredibly sorry I am incredibly lame at keeping up with the Spotlight this summer. My summer job had me working 40 hours last week (for a part time summer gig! What gives?), and I've been doing NYU stuff and trying to relax, so all in all it leaves me less time for this, and I wish that weren't the case.

The job, however, is going decently well. Paychecks are lovely. It makes me feel less distraught about my financial situation. Then I remember the bill for NYU and I cry inside. Food service is exhausting, especially for the special needs campers.

TWO: http://lesmisclub.deviantart.com/blog/33633393/
This is the cast list for the 25th Anniversary Les Miserables Concert. I am weeping. They have stepped away from Dreamcast and legitimacy of character and vocal quality and gone for some stunt casting, with the exception of a select few. I can't deal with this.

THREE: I have a job interview for Event Assistant at Steinhardt on Friday for work study. I'm terrified but so stoked.

Friday, July 16, 2010

David Foster Wallace


I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!


Adorable little site. I put in several blog posts to see what I write like, and I got Mr. Wallace, Stephen King, Vladimir Nabokov, and then Mr. Wallace again. I'm intrigued. I might have to play this game some more.

A lot to catch up on, no time to do it. Hopefully I'll get a spare moment this weekend.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy Sunburn Season!

Summer is officially here, as is the season that brought about the namesake of this blog. I have several small sunburns across my back from sunscreen failing to do that UV blocking thing it claims to do. Cheers.

I'm reading one of the greatest books I've ever laid my hands on. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. It's terrifyingly daunting, but I have never been gripped by a story like this before. Dagny Taggart speaks to my soul. Have a taste - no, not even a taste, two quotes cannot begin to describe what this book is - have a thought or two from this marvel.

"Well, I've always been unpopular in school and it didn't bother me, but now I've discovered the reason. It's an impossible kind of reason. They dislike me, not because I do things badly, but because I do them well. They dislike me because I've always had the best grades in class. I don't even have to study. I always get A's. Do you suppose I should try to get D's and become the most popular girl in school?"
Francisco stopped, looked at her and slapped her face.
__

She could not descend to an existance where her brain would explode under the pressure of forcing herself not to outdistance incompetence. She could not function to the rule of: keep down - slow down - don't do your best, it is not wanted!


My laptop received a new battery via eBay, and it works wonderfully. However, the problem now is that the charger cable remains dead and useless, so this newly functioning laptop cannot be used for fear of draining the battery to dead again. So here I am, making my bi-weekly check of the internet on the upstairs desktop. It's a strange and interesting world without the web. I kind of like it. I also kind of don't.

Work started last week - 8 hours of easy kitchen work in 90 degree weather four days a week is superfun (read: fml), but it pays well for what it is and I'm getting a paycheck on Friday. Money is necessary to this NYU adventure I'm attempting to go on.

And I wanted to share something that was shared with me via email, from the wonderful, incredibly enchanting woman who is my grandmother (and also a reader of this blog). She sends me incredibly inspirational photos and poems and sayings every so often, and I love all of them, but this one seems to play directly into the nature of this blog, so here it is. Life While You Wait.

Life While-You-Wait.
Performance without rehearsal.
Body without alterations.
Head without premeditation.
I know nothing of the role I play.
I only know it's mine. I can't exchange it.
I have to guess on the spot
just what this play's all about.
Ill-prepared for the privilege of living,
I can barely keep up with the pace that the action demands.
I improvise, although I loathe improvisation.
I trip at every step over my own ignorance.
I can't conceal my hayseed manners.
My instincts are for happy histrionics.
Stage fright makes excuses for me, which humiliate me more.
Extenuating circumstances strike me as cruel.
Words and impulses you can't take back,
stars you'll never get counted,
your character like a raincoat you button on the run,
the pitiful results of all this unexpectedness.
If only I could just rehearse one Wednesday in advance,
or repeat a single Thursday that has passed!
But here comes Friday with a script I haven't seen.
Is it fair, I ask
(my voice a little hoarse,
since I couldn't even clear my throat offstage).
You'd be wrong to think that it's just a slapdash quiz
taken in makeshift accommodations. Oh no.
I'm standing on the set and I see how strong it is.
The props are surprisingly precise.
The machine rotating the stage has been around even longer.
The farthest galaxies have been turned on.
Oh no, there's no question, this must be the premiere.
And whatever I do
will become forever what I've done.

~ Wislawa Szymborska ~

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dell...irium.

My laptop is having battery and charger cable troubles, so I have to use the desktop computer to check the interwebs. It's inconvenient, so it probably won't happen much. Once I fix my laptop, things will be back on schedule.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rage On!

An article from the June 17-23 issue of Backstage Magazine, written by Secret Agent Man.


Never forget why you became an actor.

"Do not go gentle into that goodnight/Old age should burn and rave at close of day/Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

That's from one of my favorite poems. Dylan Thomas wrote it in 1952, and that immortal last line tells us that death should be fought, not accepted. Thomas doesn't want us to quietly fade away. No, he wants us to rock and roll till the music stops.

Now, all great poetry is open to interpretation, and I've always felt that if you lose the reference to old age, the wisdom behind this poem can be easily applied to the life of an actor. Think about it. You're all creative people with a fire inside. That's the spark that keeps you going. IT's the desire to perform, to create characters, to inspire an emotional response. Without it, you'd never have the courage to pursue such a difficult career. That light inside you is your creative soul, and if you want to be happy in this cruel world, you have to find ways to keep it burning bright.

Unfortunately, the harshness of this business can sometimes douse that fire with a bucket of ice-cold reality. You send out a hundred submissions and no one responds. You nail an audition but the part goes to someone else. You meet with an agent who says you're great and then he refuses to take your call. It never seems to end, does it?

And on top of all that, there are the doomsayers who attack you on a regular basis. They're the ones who empower themselves by making you feel weak. They love to tell you all about the impossible odds facing an actor, as if you didn't already know. They can quote union statistics about the few members who are actually making a living, and they always have a waiter joke ready to go. These doomsayers can't stand to see your fire burning so bright, and they do everything they can to put it out. Pity them; don't hate them. They once had a fire too.

Sometimes your fellow actors are the ones conspiring to kill your inner light. You know these people. They spend all their time bitching and moaning about the business when they could be doing something positive to jump-start their careers. They hate all the agents and managers who won't take their calls and the casting directors who won't bring them in for auditions. Everything is a downer. Woe is me. Is it any wonder they're getting nowhere?

It's hard to keep your passion alive when you're surrounded by such negative energy. That's why you have to rage against the dying of the light. How do you do that? Start by surrounding yourself with positive people, not doomsayers. Then stretch your creative muscles constantly by staying in class, performing in theatre, creating content for the Web, whatever it takes. You must never lose your passion for acting, because if you do, you're finished. Game over, man.

Remember, it's okay to hate the industry. But you have to love the art. And if you're lucky, it might just love you back.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Makeover

Blogger.com updated itself, and with that update came an incredible new variety of makeover possibilities, so The Spotlight and Diary both got a bit of an updo. Diary's new header is my own creation with the help of Photoshop CS Free Trial. Thanks, Adobe.

Hello, Registration


Oh, hello NYU Schedule! How lovely to see you, all complete and thrilling and ready for me to kick ass and take names. :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

And don't call me Shirley.


Results of the rag rolling experiment.

They're much tighter than I expected them to be, so next time we'll attempt fewer rags and looser knots. The good part about these rollers is that there is zero product involved, so it can't possibly damage my hair.

They are very much Little Orphan Annie/Shirley Temple curls - intense to the max, and my hair is at my chin. I didn't expect my hair to curl up that short! Whether or not it's anything stylish, it's quite fun. My hair is never this bouncy.



Later, when there's no chance of me needing to
leave the house I'll be brushing it out and combing it to see if it doesn't just turn into a giant frizzy mess.

My friends were a little like "WTF" and I was like "It's fun, why not," but I wish stylistic deviations were appreciated more. It was a pain to tie them all up, but at least I know that this method will put a curl into my hair and keep it, somehow. So now it's just for some tweaking and we'll see if I can't get the light curls I'm looking for.



ADDENDUM:
My hair has evolved into a level 2 disaster, also known as THE WHITE GIRL FRO. Incredibly rare in the wild, this creature runs the risk of being mistaken for a wig or a rat's nest, or both.

This happens when you comb out the level one ringlets. I feel like I belong in the cast of HAIR. And I'm cool with that. :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rag Rolling

Diary of a Fancer is slow going, but so is this exercise regimen thing. It's hard to come up with a standard, daily routine, because every day is so different. No guarantee I can run in the afternoon, or the morning, so sometimes I'll miss a day but make up for it the next. See Fancer for details.

I'm still working on getting housing for New York - had a bit of a scare today and had to call NYU to make sure I could still apply for housing. I'm still nervous and want to know if an apartment is an option, because I'd love that so much, and it might be cheaper. But it would be worse if I was homeless in New York or a commuter. Cross my fingers.

Been cleaning out my room - it's still a disaster zone of post-semester nonsense. Boxes still loaded with college things, clothes that now have no place to go, and my room was transformed into the dumping ground for all things that needed a temporary home, so I removed them today to make sure they find a new place to live, namely not my room. The more I clean, the more I think about having my own place, and I never thought I'd want it, but I do really kind of want to live on my own. My rules, my decor, my kitchen, my room, my place.

I feel a sudden compulsion to reinvent myself. No particular reason, but it's time, I think. Maybe reinvent isn't what I'm trying to get at - maybe just have the exterior of me reflect what the interior has become. Yeah. That sounds about right. Something freeing, artistic, and fun. Just for kicks, I'm trying something new on my hair. I won't be recoloring it until after pool season - no use wasting the money for chestnut locks just to have it stripped by chlorine. We're going to attempt rag rollers overnight to see if that will give my hair some kind of curl and make it stay. If it works, I'm going to practice doing it to my own hair so I can transform myself whenever I want.

I should go running. I just have to motivate myself to get up and do it. Shower and rag rollers after I run. All right.


To help motivate me, I've taped a piece of paper above my bed that reads:

"Make up for lost time. One step ahead. SOMEONE IS DANCING RIGHT NOW. SOMEONE IS SINGING RIGHT NOW. SOMEONE IS BETTER THAN YOU RIGHT NOW. What are YOU doing? If you want it, fight for it."

And that is exactly what I have to do.


I leave you with the incredible discovery of Florence and the Machine, my new idol. The song is Dog Days Are Over. I also want her hair.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Diary of a Fancer

I've branched out! The Spotlight has a little baby blog sibling! Welcome to the blogosphere Diary of a Fancer!

This is where all of my physical efforts and work is going to go, from now on. All of the working out, the eating habits, the dance - this is where I'm going to log that, so if you're interested in that too, check it out. It's still in the baby phase so there's not much yet, but I'll be working on it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Summer Begins

It's been a little over a week since I got my official acceptance letter in the mail from NYU, and just a few days since I received the email saying I'll be attending the New Studio for Musical Theatre. Doors are just flying open for me and I am taking every single one.

I'm officially done for the semester, I took my finals, packed up, moved out, said a few startlingly painful goodbyes, and now it's time to start working my ass off. But I still feel like it isn't real yet, I haven't fully grasped how I'm moving to Manhattan in the fall, I haven't fully realized that I won't be seeing the people who have changed my life on a regular basis, and it's only slightly begun to sink in that my life is changing in a wild, incredible sort of way.

I'm sitting on my bed in pajamas still, right now, looking at the mess in my room from my dorm that I still need to clean up and move. I want to do something physical, like go running, or bike somewhere, but the sunlight is hindering me. Maybe I'll do it when it's duskier and I have less chance of being burnt and exhausted quickly. I want to get in shape and feel excellent about myself when I leave here come August. I need to start that routine early so I actually do it. Once I clear my floor I'll have room for yoga too.

This summer is all about me - physically and mentally, I need to become the person I want to be and who I feel I need to be to get ready for this life altering shift I'm rapidly approaching. I just have to force myself to be motivated enough to do it.

And I'm going to end on this note, sharing the awesome that is Jason Mraz and his badass attitude towards living life.

http://freshnessfactorfivethousand.blogspot.com/2010/05/i-am-fking-awesome.html

My goal for the summer: Start living a little bit more like him. Start running. Get in shape. Eat well. Love my life.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Purple is the Color of the Season


Purple is definitely the color of the season.

The Velveteen Rabbit

There are several things to be said about what I learned and what happened on the last day of Circle, but something small needs to be shared first. Alan Langdon shared with us a passage or two from a children's story I'm sure you've read before, and he told us that it was, in fact, about acting. I have never seen a group of people more enthralled and invested in the words of a story as my class was watching and listening to Alan read us The Velveteen Rabbit.

***

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Spotlight: T Charles Erickson

Also affectionately known as Charlie to our theatre.

http://www.photoshelter.com/c/tcharleserickson

Bio ripped directly from his webpage...

"T. Charles Erickson has been a professional photographer since 1979. While working as the Yale University photographer for six years beginning in 1981, he began pursuing a freelance career which led him to the specialty of photographing performances for theatre, dance and opera companies around the country.

Beginning with the Long Wharf Theatre in 1984, Mr. Erickson has continually expanded his client roster and reputation as the photographer for many of the dominant theatres on the national scene with past and present clients including Hartford Stage Company, the Yale Rep, Princeton's McCarter Theatre, Boston's A.R.T. and Huntington theatres, Houston's Alley, San Diego's Old Globe, Minneapolis' Guthrie Theatre, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Lincoln Center, in addition to numerous independently mounted Broadway and Off-Broadway productions.

... His photos are regularly featured in Time, New York, ArtForum, American Theatre and most major newspapers in the U.S. He has more than eighty magazine and book covers to his credit. He has been the subject of profiles in The New York Times, The Hartford Courant, Stage Directions, The New Haven Register and American Theatre."

My University is fortunate enough to have Charlie regularly come to photograph dress rehearsals of our productions. Most recently, he came to snap some photos of Some Girl(s), and I have never felt photogenic in my life, and this is no exception, but he does take some excellent photographs and even manages to make my pale bod look decent up on stage.

http://www.photoshelter.com/c/tcharleserickson/gallery-slideshow/G0000lRIrDPSIzMg/?start=

A wonderful slideshow of the production, thanks to Charlie. He's a wonderful photographer and I'm incredibly grateful that we have a man behind the camera with such talent to immortalize us in digital film. Thank you Charlie! :)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Physical Exposure

As I type this I should be writing any number of final exam essays, but, alas, I find my priorities are all discombobulated.

In my current show, Some Girl(s), by Neil LaBute, I play the character of Lindsay, a forty something professor at a university in Boston. She, like the other women of the show, have met with a significant ex of theirs, the same man, known only as Guy. Lindsay had an affair with him some years back while he worked as a grad professor and her husband worked as the head of the department. The affair was discovered and Guy disappeared, never calling and vanishing without a trace. She's returned to meet with him due to a phone call out of the blue, and she walks in intending to get him back for what he'd done to her. The only way to even things out remotely, she says, is to hurt his new fiancee the way she had hurt her husband. This involves Guy cheating on his new fiancee with Lindsay again. He protests, but the argument quickly degenerates into a bitter striptease, and Guy is left facing the prospect of being raped for revenge.

I am Lindsay, and getting half-naked onstage is a new thing for me. Weeks of rehearsal went by before I even came close to taking anything revealing off. I would establish the strip portion of the script by taking off my scarf and socks and shoes, but until I had a costume I didn't think my stripping would do any good, since it would take a different amount of time and it needed to be choreographed with a monologue, et cetera et cetera.

Then comes the day where I receive my black lingerie and my costume and I know that I have to and I know I'm going to, but there is still that initial terror of exposing myself to a bunch of people who know me. My peers would be sitting around, staring at me as I slowly pulled article after article of clothing off of my pale, not quite as toned as I would like body. People who I know don't necessarily like me, people who I know would judge me. It was terrifying in a way I'd never really felt before, because regardless of how scared I was and how fearful I got that my bra would slip or my underwear would ride up or my butt was a tiny bit untoned, I was going to be taking off my clothes and crawling across a bed to molest my scene partner. Didn't matter how I felt, I am an actress, and that is what I do.

The bra and underwear are lovely - they fit perfectly and there's no way I can really fall out of the bra, so I'm totally safe onstage, but it's knowing that there are multiple eyes glued to my butt or my chest, looking for an extra scrap of exposed skin, or finding all of my flaws and finding me unattractive because of that. I'm not a naturally sexy person, I don't feel, so taking the note to "be sexy" during a striptease was a challenge beyond challenges. How does one "be sexy" without getting cheesy or looking like a bad porno or something? And I had to be sophisticated sexy - Lindsay, as my director would fondly remind me, is a cougar.

So what did that mean? It was all a matter of at first faking a kind of confidence. I simply had to accept that yes, I was going to be standing on stage in all of my pale, redheaded glory with nothing but a few scraps of classy fabric keeping my dignity from the audience, and I was going to do it several times this week. There's nothing I can do to keep from shivering at least a little, it's effing cold with no clothes on, and the self-conscious nerves can't be fought back completely. However, I use my own nerves to channel into Lindsay. She's not as young as she once was, and is probably a bit concerned to be showing off her body to a man who is still young and fit like he used to be. That's the feeling that I try and share with the audience, not a twenty-something nervous as hell to show her friends her butt and boobs.

The more I do it onstage, however, the easier it becomes. I've received enough praise to boost my ego to the point where I'm much more okay with taking off my clothes. As long as what the audience sees is attractive and powerful and sexy, it doesn't matter how I feel, because I'm sending the right vibe. I was comfortable enough last night to be that sexy cougar in front of both of my parents in the audience and to not worry about what they might think of their daughter removing her clothes in front of dozens of strangers.

There is always that nervous tension about whether I'm going to fall out of my bra (though that is highly, highly unlikely) and whether my underwear is going to ride up and show off a little more than I'd care to be sharing, but that energy can be utilized for the character and her own body-consciousness. And I have more confidence now - there is very little people haven't seen of me, now, so there isn't anything to lose by risking things and exposing myself. Not lewdly, of course, but the risk and danger involved with doing things out of the ordinary for myself gives me more confidence in what I can do as a person and as a performer.

ACTF respondent is coming tonight. Last night was fabulous, let's make tonight even better.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"A Conversation With Myself"

Opening night went very well - I'm working to continue pushing and finding excellent things to connect with Lindsay, and I need to impress mum tonight. :)

But to do that I'm going to have to shake off something very disturbing from Circle today. Towards the end of our class with Alan Langdon, he said something that chilled me and kind of solidified all of my reservations about certain things. He said "I had a conversation with myself the other day about this class and whether you were actually getting anything out of it. I almost called to cancel the rest of the classes because if you're not getting anything out of it, I don't want to be wasting your time - if you aren't getting your money's worth, I mean..." And I felt cold and yet I knew exactly what he meant.

Much of the rant that could be placed here would be about bureaucratic things and departmental politics regarding the "gateway" to the Circle in the Square program, since that "gateway" is a joke and nonexistent, in reality. Much of what I could say would be repeating what I know from struggling horrendously through Bat Boy and the uphill trudge through lack of effort and motivation. In short, what I ultimately feel is this; the people who want it and who earn it should be able to go to this Circle program, otherwise it's nothing more than a joke. If anyone could get into that school, what makes it so special? Not everyone can go there. It takes talent and a certain level of skills and training to be able to handle it. And the program I've been put through is almost an embarrassment, with how much Alan basically gave up on us.

But I can only do what I can do. I've worked very hard to learn as much as I can, to take advantage of these opportunities I've been given and this once in a lifetime chance. If the others don't care, then fine. That's their problem. This is why I'm trying to leave. I need to be somewhere where there is no half-assing going on, where people actually give a shit, so that the professors aren't tempted to just throw in the towel because we're unprepared state school kids.

Now that that has been said, I need to start getting ready for tonight.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Opening Night

Opening Night Routine for Some Girl(s).

Gather necessary items from my room and arrange them into my bags for transport to the theatre. Necessary items include:

Make-up bag
Water
Curling iron
Brushes
Script
Notes
Toothbrush/toothpaste
Tissues
Lotion

Tonight will also require some unusual items to bring with me, since I'm going from the theatre to the gala to Meg's house to stay over to then go to Circle In The Square in the morning. A lot of my life is all pre-planned these days. My roomie must love how much I'm not here anymore. Unusual items needed tonight include:

Nice clothes/dress/skirt for gala
Notebooks for class in the AM
Change of clothes
Toiletries

These items aren't unusual on their own, but they aren't necessarily required for a show, usually, so it's just weird to me.

After everything is gathered and packed and arranged and I've quadruple checked it, then I'll either sit around and wait a bit before heading across campus to the theatre or I'll just go straight there to set everything up and start getting into the right mindset.

My warm up will probably include lots of physical work, at least a good amount of stretching and trying to loosen up my neck and shoulders, vocal work to keep my voice clear and my throat easy and unstressed. I will probably go make Opening Night cards for my cast, if I can find paper.

I just need to relax and find Lindsay, dig up all the painful memories of what men have done to me and what I've allowed them to do to me and how, in spite of these things, I can still forgive and love them, or be as bitter and vicious as ever. It's not terribly difficult, sometimes, looking into Anthony's big blue eyes. I do love my character.

Time to go start this routine. Send broken leg vibes to all of the Girl(s) and our Guy.

~Harley

Preview Night

Still not the other posts. My time - where has it gone? AH.

Preview night of Some Girl(s) went very well - I'm still scared as all getout to be stripping while a hundred or so people have their eyes glued to my pale bod, but hey, it's a great show. I'm down with it.

There will be a post at some point on the physical exposure and how I feel about all that, but right now I'm just awake at 1:30, have a paper or two to write, and sleep to catch up on. Not gonna happen.

Totally just saw Nightmare on Elm Street for the second time, thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Again. That does not help getting work done. Damn you, end of semester nonsense.

So many little things I'd like to say, so definitely not enough time right now to say them. I'll leave you with a quote from my director this evening, a note she gave us after the show.

"Be totally relaxed and in tune with your inner energy and the momentum of that inner energy, keep it going, keep it going, and your external energy, your body and your instrument will be relaxed and natural and true."

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Beltane

Happy Birthday to my mom. :)

I've been exceedingly bad about updating - there are two posts in the works about stuff from Circle a week or so ago, they'll be up as soon as I have a spare moment or two.

Some Girl(s) has gone into tech and we open on Wednesday - first dress tomorrow night, using costumes for the first time and working my strip tease for the first time. I'm nervous. It's going to take some inner strength to push through that strip with the confidence I'm supposed to have. I'm mostly worried about my body being judged, but that was bound to happen. This will be an excellent learning opportunity - learning how to allow myself to really be private in public, allow myself to be emotionally and physically exposed. Hopefully all goes well.

It's May. Waiting on NYU. A friend of mine was just accepted as a transfer to Marymount Manhattan. I'm so happy for him, beyond excited, but it makes me very anxious about NYU. We'll just have to wait and see.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Taken for Granted

K: What are you doing after this? When you're done?

A: I don't know. Nothing.

K: Nothing? Life ends. Cease to exist without us?

A: *laughter* Yeah, no, classes, work, you know.

K: Are you graduating after this year?

A: No, a lot of us are still staying. Most of us. So who knows what we'll do.

K: Mm.

A: I'm actually looking to transfer to NYU, actually, waiting to hear back.

K: Oh? What program?

A: Uh, Tisch, School of the Arts.

K: Well, yes, but which studio?

A: The New Studio.

K: *incredibly confused and quizzical look*

A: Musical Theatre.

K: Oh! The New Studio that took over Cap21, I got it. You know, I used to do programs and classes over there, workshops at Tisch, for a while.

A: Really?

K: Yeah. It's interesting over there... whatever you do, don't - don't, ah, don't take anything for granted, that they tell you. Don't let them skimp out, if you will, on your education. If you know what I mean. Don't just take it for what it is, I suppose. I know a lot of people who went through that program who came out with next to no real depth, I guess. It's one of the program's weaker points - well, all programs have their weaknesses - but really, don't take anything for granted. Don't just take it because 'they said it was so.'

A: I won't - that's part of the reason I'm trying to leave. And I haven't even heard anything yet, I'm still waiting -

K: Oh, I'm not worried about you. I just want to make sure you know that.

A: Thank you.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Holding My Breath

"The Admissions Committee will begin notifying transfer applicants of our decision in early to mid-May. Notification will continue on a rolling basis after the end of May. This means that once a decision has been reached on your application you will be notified of that decision. Notification letters are provided by US Postal Service only. We do not notify applicants by e-mail, the internet, or over the telephone."

I can't do this waiting game anymore. I can't.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cyclops




K: "Do you understand what I was saying, earlier? Do you know?"

A: "Yeah, I do, I was actually just thinking about that."

K: "You have this thing... this thing about being strong, you know?"

A: "Haha, yeah, actually, I totally know what you mean."

K: "There's that thing about being strong or appearing strong or having that strength, which is not a bad thing, it's sometimes a very good thing, but... but there is a time and a place for everything, do you know what I mean?"

A: "Yeah - I've actually been told something similar before, about the whole 'strength' thing."

K: "Mhm... it's like... Do you know the X-Men?"

A: "Hahaha, yes."

K: "You know Cyclops?"

A: "Hahaha, yeah..."

K: "He has to wear those sunglasses, because if he doesn't he'll... burn everybody up, right? But you have to put on those sunglasses sometimes."

A: "It's knowing when to wear the sunglasses and when not to."

K: "Yes, that's right. Because it's okay to wear those sunglasses, to not be a superhero or superwoman and to just be wearing those sunglasses sometimes. Sometimes you have to. Because it's not always about being strong or winning - in your theatrical life sometimes you'll win, sometimes you'll lose, you don't always lose, but every character does at some point. It's finding that and being able to really do it."

A: "To not think about it and just do it."

K: "Exactly."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mister A to Zee

It also works like this. I am committed to being an artist. I am neither attached to making money nor being poor. I am committed to being an artist.

I am committed to being your friend. I am not attached to you ignoring me when you’re having a bad day. I am committed to being your friend.


Words of love and inspiration from Jason Mraz at his blog, Freshness Factor Five Thousand. How to Make Peace, Brother. I love this man more and more every day for his music, his art, and for what he lives for.

http://freshnessfactorfivethousand.blogspot.com/2010/04/how-to-make-peace-brother.html

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Life Experience

Taking things from life to use in your work is one of the major foundations of my acting education. Finding the experiences to pull upon to relate to what is happening in the text is critical to finding truth in your work.

Basically that translates to everything that happens, everything that's said to me, everything I see and hear and feel is all fair game to be used someday internally to create something external.

Major life experiences happen without warning, and you know you're dedicated to your art when one of the first coherent thoughts you can form afterwards is how wonderful it is that you've now got lots more to feel and to use.

I go to school in a city where tough shit can go down, where ghetto means ghetto and street means street, and little ginger, white, suburban pseudo-hipster girl me didn't realize exactly what that can mean until I saw it first hand this afternoon. I'm fine, but that stuff makes a serious impact on your mental well being, and so part of my coping mechanism is detaching myself and figuring out where to stash it in the filing cabinets of feelings.

It'll be excellent to draw on later, but for now it's a little fresh in my head. But this is a log of everything I learn about this craft, so here it is. Take everything you can get. Don't go looking for it, life finds you. A relaxing walk with a friend can turn into sprinting down a street with your heart in your throat and your mind white with shock and fear. But it's all good. It's all going to be fine.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sacrifice

This isn't really a new sort of revelation, but a lot of things have helped me identify it and kind of lay it out in the open. It's an obstacle to this dream of mine that could be one of the harder ones I've ever had to face, and although I know without even thinking that I have to just keep going regardless, this one gives me pause, and it hurts.

In my relentless drive and motivation to learn more and take every opportunity and become the absolute best I can be, there are aspects of my life that suffer because of how much effort and time I put into the theatre part. Most of everything I do is based around something theatrical. Rehearsing for shows, rehearsing for classroom pieces, memorization for shows, memorization for classroom pieces, books on acting technique for classes, solo practice of scenes and monologues, homework assignments, tech hours, offering absurd amounts of my time to facets of shows and the department I have nothing to do with, a lot of emotional strain from work being done, a lot of physical strain. Because of all this, which does make me happy, I have such a limited array of close friends and people I can turn to when I need help or am hurting. I am very alone, and though I see plenty of my friends regardless, it's the same people and it's not the same as quality people time.

I guess what this means is, do I accept being lonely for much of my life for the sake of my career, or do I sacrifice my code of excellence for social happiness?

I'm at an unfair age to be dealing with this. But that is the life I chose. Live it and love it, regardless.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spotlight: Ken Schatz

My Circle in the Square movement class is taught by Ken Schatz, who has his own website. I checked it out the other day and realized just how incredibly fortunate I am to be learning anything from this man.

http://kenschatz.com/





"GREAT WORK! Ken is a brilliant actor and acting teacher, director, dialect coach, and movement teacher... he’s everything!"
— Harvey Keitel (The Piano, Pulp Fiction)


Yeah. No matter how painful that class may be, it's worth every damn ache and pulled muscle. He's brilliantly talented and has one of the quirkiest senses of humor I've ever seen, but he knows so much about the body in relation to acting and what it takes to move and really get in touch with your own instrument. I adore his class.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Enn Why You

So yesterday was a big day - my Tisch audition at Theatreworks USA. This weekend was one of the most fabulous I've ever had, so much love goes out to my Billy and Meg who were with me and everyone who sent me all their lovin and good vibes and wishes for broken legs. Here's a brief rundown of the last few days and how my audition went.

Wednesday I went down to New Haven to meet with my professor, the ineffable, incredible and resilient Kaia, who recently had surgery so she was limited to the couch and some shuffling to the door and back. But for being 5 days out of the hospital she looked wonderful and is healing amazingly well. She'll be back on her feet in no time. She takes such good care of her body, and I can only hope I can be as healthy as her someday. I worked my audition pieces with her one last time before hopping off to New York, and it made me feel pretty good about everything.

Thursday I had Circle classes, which were surprisingly wonderful, but they're always wonderful. We were late to Alan's class due to missing the train we had aimed for, but Christina's class was excellent, and our physical classes were shockingly wonderful. Ken's class was agonizing, literally, since he had us do some very very intense stuff that was probably going to incapacitate me the next day, but working out that hard ultimately makes me feel so good. Ken's class following that was the real bonus to the day of school, though, since he did deep muscle stretches with us and got us all incredibly flexible and taught us how to crack our backs. It was so amazingly wonderful. I'll be making time once a week to do deep muscle stretches because it felt so damn amazing. Hopefully I can write detailed descriptions of what he taught us in a post at some point.

Bill and Meg and I then hit up our hotel, which was just down the road from our school, amazingly enough, dumped our things, showered, got changed, then headed off to see Next to Normal and the ineffable Alice Ripley. It was so excellent - Alice Ripley is so amazing it's shocking, and the fact that at the back stage door after the show she and I chatted about boots and shoes absolutely made my trip. :)

Friday morning: I'm awake before either Bill or Meg and feeling ready to vomit from nerves. All my audition stuff is on the desk next to the bust of George Washington that lit up. I'm stretching and trying to do physical warm ups in the space next to the closet. A soothing shower, a shave, some light humming, TLC to make my hair pretty, audition clothes, make-up, Bill and Meg wake up, some serious packing, and then out the door to hike to Theatreworks, USA.

It's a serious haul from 48th to 26th, but we got there with plenty of time to spare, and once I walked in all my nerves went away. A brief overview of the setup of the auditions in a small studio room, and then Meg and Bill disappeared and I was off to try and not look too much like a fool whilst dancing.

Audition Day Schedule!

Dance Audition.
Our instructor and adjudicator was a young NYU graduate named Jackie who was just darling and quite fun. I realized very quickly that I was not even remotely close to being one of the better dancers in the room, but I'd known that from the start. I might even have been the worst, but I didn't appear that way because, walking in knowing I wasn't going to get any points for technique, I decided not to worry and just to do what I could and enjoy the ride. Having fun takes away half the pain and makes you look twenty times more fun to watch, since I had a smile on my face as I "fanced" my way about and tried my best, whereas others looked constipated and anguished. It wasn't pretty, or fabulous, but it was fun and I hope I made a good impression. We did a ballet routine to a piano version of Lady Gaga's Pokerface and we did a CRAZY routine to West Side Story's "Dance At The High School Gym," better known as "MAMBO!" I was the only ginger in the room and the only one wearing blue (everyone else looked like "dancers at rehearsal" in their black spandex getups) - maybe that will help me stand out too.

Acting Audition.
Immediately after we danced we had a fun vocal warm up session with our accompanist, then we split off into two groups for a little acting warm up as well. After that was complete, there were lists posted on the doors of the audition rooms with the order of auditionees. I was the very first monologue audition in my room, so I quickly put on my good shoes and hurried into the room. I'm pretty good with monologues (I did Spinning Into Butter and Loose Knit), and I felt mine contrasted very nicely, but I didn't feel that I'd done them as well as I had in the past. I did them well, but not as well as I'd have hoped. The woman taking notes didn't say much, but seemed to like them. She did, however, very much like my interview. She thought my answers to some of the questions were incredibly insightful, especially the ones about myself. What she didn't know is that the questions she asked, minus one or two, were things I've been thinking about for ages upon ages. And once the interview was concluded, I stepped into the hall to wait about an hour for my third to last singing audition slot.

Singing Audition.
This part of the audition was by far the best, for me, and I'm glad it's the note I left on. I finally go in there (at this point Meg and Bill had returned to wait for me and I was just puttering around trying to keep my voice light and fresh and my allergies from being too much of a problem), and immediately I get a good vibe from the pianist who is more excited than I am when I tell him I'm singing Bat Boy. The woman watching and judging my performance has knee high green stripey socks on, and I promptly inform her that I love them. Knee socks of that caliber must be complimented, I don't care where I am. So I sing "Three Bedroom House," which is very familiar territory to me at this point, regardless of the strange duet-into-solo cuts that were made, and I just rocked it the way I remembered I could. Screw stuffy noses, I know how to sing around them, and I love Meredith so much that I refused to let that song be anything but fabulous. When I finished (with that bangin' belt note "in a concrete shelter ten feet underGROOOOOUND!"), the woman looked at me with a strange expression and said "That was ambitious! Such a word heavy... word... bleh... kind of song, that was wonderful. Very ambitious of you. I enjoyed that very much." Does she know how to stroke my ego or what?! She then asked if I had a cold, and I said no, just allergies, and she was relieved to find out it was just a temporary issue, not a permanent nodule in my nose causing the awkward sound on a few things, but she said she could hear me sing around it and it was good. My second piece was much more difficult, being in my upper register, and the resonance in my nasal cavities was all wonky from my allergies, but again, she said she thought it was incredibly beautiful and enjoyed it. She asked me how I felt, and I said the resonance was off but otherwise it was fine. She seemed content with that, and, after complimenting my "beautiful cheekbones" and how they read so beautifully onstage, I was free to go and my fate was left to the people behind desks at NYU.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Catching Up

The last post was due to a hijacked computer the other day - a friend of mine is planning on leaving school to go on tour with that band, and he wanted to share it. He will be playing bass for them, if all works out.

Bat Boy had its two weekend run and is now, finally, somewhat regrettably, over. Four weeks of giving my blood, sweat and tears (all quite literally) to that show finally came to an end, and the post-show funk is still with me, but not as bad as it was for the first few days.

It was a surprising success, our production of the cult phenomenon, and I received endless praise for my portrayal of Meredith. There were some horrendous technical issues for a few days, which broke my heart because I was literally ashamed to present such mediocre crap to the audience. Having pride in our work certainly did not mean allowing microphones to cut out or hideous feedback shrieking through important moments in the plot, but that's what kept happening.

But overall it was very much liked, and that's all we could have hoped for, seeing as how four days before we opened there honestly wasn't a show to put on that stage. The issues of dedication and work ethic perpetuated throughout the run, and people's bullshit continues to try and affect me, but I'm just so done.

I can only hope that I get a chance to play Meredith again in my lifetime - she is fabulous, I adored every moment I could assume her name and be that paranoid, OCD, Stepford Wife of a woman. I miss her.

But it's over, like it or not, and I'm trying to maintain my voice for my NYU Tisch audition this Friday. I'm really going for it. I'm terrified. I'm so excited. I'm still trying to memorize monologues. I have excellent selections, I just want to rock it. So much.

I received an Irene Ryan nomination for my portrayal of Meredith. It's an honor and it made me a little sad as well, but I'm just an emotional mess these days anyway. I have to go pop some allergy meds before my voice decides to be stupid and take a vacation.

After Tisch comes Some Girl(s) auditions, and after that I need to figure out what I'm doing for the summer. It never ends. Theatre people don't have the luxury of taking it one step at a time.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Audience

Double entendre, today.

We have final dress tonight - we finally made it. I don't know how, but we did. There are some amazing moments onstage, and this score is just incredible, and Mary Jo and her lights are just fantastic. I wish we'd had this enthusiasm a few weeks ago, but the fact that we have it now is good enough, and having some people in the audience tonight will make a world of difference. Laughter and reactions are the greatest things for an actor onstage. We had our photographer, Charlie, there last night, and hearing his little exclamations of "ew" or giggles made me smile so much. Audience is the final piece of the theatre puzzle - it's the last element added and it takes it to a whole new level.

Now, the other piece of today's post.

It appears the Spotlight has more of an audience than I anticipated, so to those reading I say welcome, thank you, and hope you can appreciate what I've got going on here. This blog is for my benefit and anyone else who shares a passion in theatre. It's not a rant, not much besides personal opinion and the lessons I learn. Please, share your thoughts. There's an anonymous button, if you'd like to stop hiding.

Love your Bat Boy - we're gonna break shit.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Teching for Bat Boy

We've finally clawed our way to tech week of Bat Boy - still have no idea how we made it, and how this show is even remotely looking presentable, but this bat creature is shuddering to life, scene by scene.

Recently my discoveries and lessons have been mostly about things that have nothing to do with technique, nothing to do with books or schools of acting or methods or metaphors. It's all about an aspect of this life that no one can tell you about, that you have to begin experiencing to find out what you're really made of, deep down.

The fight required to keep going, day after day, pushing forward in a sea of setbacks and immaturity and frustration and jealousy and solitude and technical errors and complications and balancing all aspects of life and still waking up the next morning, after crying from physical pain and emotional shredding and mental snapping, with that eager desperation to do what I do best... that fight gets harder every day, but luckily I have found that toughened thing that refuses to let pettiness win, that refuses to allow the word mediocre into her life, that thing that doesn't recognize the mundane. I fight because not fighting equals giving up, and that is not an option. I hurt and struggle because it's the best option there is.

This bat child, my bat child, will be heard.