Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Clock is Ticking, That's for Certain

I didn't want to blog today, but I will! Where's my cookie?

Isn't that what we're all wondering? Where's my cookie?

Things move along. The work is good. A lot of returning to stuff from before. It's fun to go be a student again, because it kind of helps me see both how much I do know and how much  I don't. It's a confidence booster in that it makes me realize how much training and work I have already done, but it's also a sobering reminder that there is so much more to know and go deeper with.

We do a lot of stuff with time limits, where we have a certain amount of time and then have to present. This terrifies me. A very short time limit of a few minutes or hours can be really debilitating to me. I just start to crack under the pressure. So I'm battling that and my worry that I'm terrible and everyone hates me. So it goes.

I think the subject matter, which is related to The Twilight Zone is really inspiring and exciting. I'm super turned on by it.

We play this game called 4 Square with is terrifying and I'm bad at but is really fun.

I'm learning and struggling and I think that's what it is. Sometimes that's thrilling and sometimes it's not. Pretty exciting though.

Monday, May 6, 2013

No Canary in a Cage for Me

I am super going to try to blog every day while I'm out here doing the Ghost River Intensive in Calgary. See how long that lasts.

I'm so not reckless, and I'm so not someone who just 'does things', and this is a thing that I'm doing. So I'm really proud and excited to be out here.

Where the sky goes all the way to the ground!

Like, I did something. I took a chance. That really is hard for me.

We're going to be creating a show together...me and some strangers. There is no one from Toronto here which is JOYOUS and THRILLING. It's cool to gain some perspective that there are other markets, there is art happening all over, and also to not really have my past matter as much, and to not be able to be as intimidated by people, because I recognize the companies and the work they're doing less than I would were they all Torontonians.

Of course I'm still intimidated and dealing with all my shit about how I'm the worst in the room and no one likes me already, and all that fascinating stuff. We talked today about what makes a space safe and the thing I kept being reminded of is when Damien Atkins, one of the best teachers I've ever had, along with Paul Dunn, told me, as I sobbed about how stressed I was about the piece I was writing/performing said that my feelings were fine, but they weren't the work. And that being hysterical, even though it came from the work, wasn't the work. If things can really just be focused on finding the best way through the show, it doesn't hurt so much. I don't have to grind, and it isn't awful when someone is hard on you or doesn't like what you're doing. It's just the work. Ann-Marie Kerr could kind of do this too. Give a harsh note but it felt like she just wanted you to be better. So I just have to focus on the work.

And the work is very cool. Eric Rose is the dude what is leading it and he asks a lot of questions that make me hum and buzz. I feel like he is speaking my language. That's exciting to me. Being from planet Oddball.

Devised work, collaborative work: stuff that I love but mostly say that I love and am not really suited to. I'm trying to chill: that's my challenge to myself. Control less. Listen more. I want to contribute and I don't want to dull my excitement because I think that's actually something that's good about me, and I want to care, but I don't want to care to the point that it stops me from working. That's what usually happens. This is all practice. This is all learning. Everything is just the thing that takes me to the next thing. Is what I'm trying to tell myself.

We'll see how it all goes.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

There Is Life Outside Your Apartment. But You Gotta Open the Door.

I'm going to Calgary tomorrow.

I've never been west of....Burlington? No, Hamilton. Or Stratford? For someone who doesn't get to travel enough I sure don't know my Ontario geography. Anyway, I haven't really been west except that i did go to Calgary for a public speaking competition in grade 12, but I remember nothing except my abject fear and how greasy the pizza they served us was.

I'm training for three weeks with a company that knocked my socks off when I saw their show at SummerWorks a while back, Ghost River theatre. They do cool stuff, like this thing, which is the dream of what 'Modern Love' would be at some point. I saw this while I was writing 'Modern Love' and was overcome with jealousy and admiration and a feeling of having found kindred artists.

And this is what I saw at SummerWorks:

This is cool, yes? This is pretty much what I think theatre should be. I am excited. And nervous. There will be other people. That's always scary. Who will like me. Who will think I'm talented. Will I be a strong part of the team or the one that gets carried along. It's scary. But I'm really thrilled and buzzy. I'm hoping it reconnects me to theatre. I haven't been writing here because I've been in one of those moods where I go GEE THEATRE CAN REALLY KILL YOU.

And I have a bad back, because....I don't know. Because things happen. I could launch into a tirade about how I'm this hopeless, hapless person who OF COURSE  busts her back before going into an intensive training program, but let's spare ourselves this, eh? Things happen. Nothing is ever perfect. Life gives no breaks. Why should I deserve them? Just keep fighting through the pain and try to see the good even when you can't stand up straight.

Adventure time!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Bing Bang Boom, Let's Get Tough Playin' Rough

This thing from Arthur Penn is pretty interesting and really worth a read. 

I'm difficult and sometimes I like myself for it and sometimes it gets me into a lot of trouble, but I do like it when people fight, and people care, and people are something other than what everyone else is.

I was recently told I was 'too strong' for a character, which might have just been a way to let me down, but if it is true, is one of the worst reasons for not getting a job ever. Cast strong people! Make the rest of your cast step it up! No commitment to mediocrity! Also, given the particular character, I just think it is a terrible choice and will ruin the play. Characters are strong. Actors should be strong. Give your audience, give the play, something great, or awful, or big, or insane. But something.

I want to work with nice people and I think I can be nice, and I am on time, and I know my lines and I'm very very good at showing up (this is the one positive thing that can be said of me, I show up when I am supposed to, and often when I'm not), but 'pleasant' is not the same as 'good' and that's not the same as 'exciting'. A little cackle means there's a fire!

Having just been in 'The Clockmaker' room where I was definitely the least experienced and arguably the least talented, it was really great to feel challenged and that I had to step up and that I would let people down if I was anything less than 100 percent.

I also just love a good fight when someone really cares. It can be like an intellectual colonic.

I think there's a way of balancing kindness and rigour, and I tend to fall on the rigour side of things, but I really believe there are environments where everyone is pushing and pushing each other and still everyone is happy. I have to believe that work can happen in that kind of room and that I can find those kind of rooms and get to work in them. Someday. Somewhere.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gleam in its Eye, Bright as a Rose...

It's really fun when things just seem to start happening in the world of the play. When scenes that you've done again and again surprise you and make a new sense and scare you and thrill you, and you are in them.

I really loved a scene tonight that has sometimes been good but not always. It was very alive, very uncertain, in a really great way. It's such a great feeling. We had a day off, so the whole play felt kind of fresh and new to me, in a way that was exciting, not as if I had never rehearsed and was in 'The Actor's Nightmare'.

And then, you can't bottle it. It disappears when you try to chase it. Crumbles if you reach for it. You can't go out and have the same show. What a pisser.

It's a kind of frustrating thing that you think you understand the play and you put all this work into it, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. The work takes you to the point, hopefully, that even if it isn't flying it is still moving, it is still working, it is still a show, the right show. But there's that other something, that pixie dust, that makes it worth doing. I just don't know when it's going to show up.

Monday, March 25, 2013

March Comes in Like a Lion, What Else? Still the Snow Never Melts

I'm here!

Yes, that's right! Sudbury!

I have been watching Game of Thrones lately, and the Sudbury landscape is such that when walking alone late at night, I have the giddy feeling that direwolves might be watching me.

Which would be thrilling. Although I have had three separate experiences, walking along Paris street in Sudbury, where I thought I saw small woodland creatures. I quickly became attached to them and gave them names. They were:

1) Mr Squiggles, a hedgehog
2) Minerva, a white mink
3) Gander, a great grey goose.

In reality, these things were:

1) a hunk of snow
2) a piece of garbage
3) a hunk of snow

If you have poor eyesight and a need to care for something, you will get your heart broken a lot in Sudbury.

The show is going pretty well. Opening was weird in the way that openings were weird, and the second night was weird in the way second nights are weird. Yesterday I felt was a good show. But it feels like the bones are there...we've spent enough time with the project and the script and production are strong enough that the show still soldiers on, even if there are those terrifying moments and slip ups and strange ghosts.

I don't like to talk about my miserable theatre school experience, but I do have to say that one thing that was beneficial was whenever they talked about just working from wherever you were, and coping. Working hard enough that you could cope with whatever ended up happening to you. That has proven to be quite valuable to me.

I feel very honoured to be in this show and working with people I've got to work with. They all have a great deal more experience than me and have been able to carve out really interesting, inspiring careers in theatre. They are, though, all dudes. So while I can't emulate their career paths, I can emulate their work ethics and attitudes. You want to be near people who you want to be near to. That's it. People who are positive and exciting and hard-working and game. I feel like I'm kind of watching them like a little direwolf, taking notes. They're really wonderful. And it's encouraging that they have had careers. Its encouraging that anyone has a career. It's quite amazing, actually. And the crew here is just the best. I'm very lucky.

Before I left my friend Rose was talking to me about how she recently had a part (in another Stephen Massicotte play) that she didn't feel was really her hit, and how wonderful it was to get to do that and how she learned that she could do it. And she said she thought this experience might be the same for me. I'm not sure if that's happened. I don't know how I'm doing. I feel a bit divorced from how I feel about my work. It never feels great....the experience of being in a show and the thrill of it and all that fun stuff and certain moments feel great, but I never ever feel like I was really good. I don't know what this means. I don't know how to work on this either.

But all in all, it's going well.

And, of course, in the birth of anything lie the seeds of its destruction and it ends in a week and I might never act again. My summer is a very large question mark....I'm waiting to hear about something to know how to proceed with something else. I have to put together a self-tape in the next few days, which is always hugely stressful, though it was a project I'd love to do, so that would be great.

I'm hungry for Shakespeare. It feels like when I am dehydrated but don't really know it and then drink water and it tastes cool and clear and like the only thing I'd ever want forever. I feel, at this point, my Shakespeare days are over, but I am longing for it like hydration.

I'm trying to make this freedom and how much energy I have and how much I want to do things, I'm trying to make all this into some kind of frenzied kinetic motion that means I put on my own fucking Shakespeare play, write my own stuff, cast myself in the roles that no one will cast me as and just take over, but I inevitably just feel defeated and lost. It's hard to convert fuel to movement. It's so much easier to just watch Game of Thrones.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Curtain Up, Light the Lights

Opening night tonight.

Last night, even though I was kind of nervous and worried about my next (non existent) job and all that shit, I thought about how I am the luckiest person to even get to do a thing like this even once in my life.