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.

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.

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.

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
Curling iron

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

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.


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


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.