Friday, December 31, 2010

Be Nice, You Two, Or No God-Awful Champagne

New year!

It's funny reading people's Facebook statuses, and the sheer number of people who are saying 'Fuck you, 2010', or talking about how it was such a terrible year for them. I know that this time last year I felt the same way about SuckFest. I commemorated my feelings for 2009 in cake:

So I know and remember how it is to have a year you can't wait to see the back of. It's kind of really happy-making that I don't feel that way about 2010. Maybe that's just in comparison because 2009 really was so atrocious. Let's not talk about it! This year was far from perfect and I struggled a lot and had a lot of significant letdowns and heartbreaks, but when I compare myself to this time last year, I just think so much good stuff has happened and I feel farther along. Wow, that really seems like a massive accomplishment for me.

I make lots of resolutions on a constant basis, so New Year's is of course no different. I am writing them down and being super specific because I know that's how you have to talk if you want things to happen.

I'd like to tilt the scales in terms of how much I work for free. This year, I came up with a pretty even balance, maybe working a bit more for free, but making money off my acting (and more than once!). In 2011, I would really love that to change. Working more for money than not. Is that a bad goal? Out of the three projects I have tentatively lined up, one is a contract, one is a low (under) paying gig, and one will be unpaid, but something I am excited for. I will probably always work more for free, just because I can, but it would be great to keep climbing.

I want to focus on writing. I say this every year. God dammit. I am so rejected from writing that it seems impossible.

I also want to make the move into self-producing and doing my own work. Again, something I always say and something that scares me, and something that gets put on the back burner because I get offered acting stuff.

I want some good generals this coming year. Come on, legitimate theatres, check me out.

I want the work to go deeper and truer and stronger.

I want to get some better monologues. I am actually so excited about this. As soon as this big stressful thing on Sunday THAT I AM AVOIDING BY WRITING THIS HEE HEE HEE, as soon as that is done I am going on a monologue binge. Fucking A. I'm excited to have new pieces and to feel confident with them. I hope they miraculously appear without me having to do any work.

I'd like to get a joe job that is not babysitting. I miss Harry Potter. It's so valuable to my self esteem to have some little job. And I'd like to move out. And there are a million other personal things that I don't need to share. Don't worry, they're on the master list!

Get an agent. Please.

Ha ha THIS IS SO NARCISSISTIC AND I DO NOT EVEN CARE. I wonder if I have a cyber-stalker yet. Please reveal yourself....but not in the dirty way. Because then I'll cry.

There's more. There's so much more. And maybe I'm setting myself up for failure by making so many and maybe I'm setting myself up for failure by telling anyone, because this guy on said that was a mistake. But there it is. Goals. Lots of them. Right now it is exciting. Then they will become overwhelming. Then frustrating. Then I eat an entire cake. But now it all still seems possible.

AND, I don't want to get into this stuff, because it is silly, BUT I was nominated for an award by a theatre blog. Pretty cool and nice! I don't want to campaign for votes because almost everyone else nominated is someone I know and care for and want to work with! But it is really great. I found this blog and invited this girl and she ended up seeing me in three shows over the summer. I am trying to foster relationships with new theatre bloggers. I think they're going to become more and more powerful.

Ok, so, bring on the BEST YEAR YET.

Say it with cake!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm Giving Up My Vices

I did a reading of this play again last night:

I could do that play again and again. That's Jason Maghanoy's dust, by the way. So weird to revisit it after a year. The character feels so much a part of me, so easy to slip into, but without the stuff that goes along with it, like Brandon, and the blocking, and the pacing and pauses, it was very strange. All these little readings and things that I get myself involved in are usually something I agonize over before hand, and swear up and down I won't do again, but they really go a long way into making me feel like I'm a part of the community. So weird. It's strange how such a little thing can register in a way that a full production just slips under the radar, for both me and other people watching.

It's a time to look back. Kind of neat that I had to revisit a show. And then I was reading NOW magazine and one of the plays I did this summer is mentioned in the 'site-specific section' as something they want to see more of! Amazing! Way to go the WITCH of edmonton. How awesome is that?

I have a big thing I'm supposed to be working on but it just makes me terrified, so I have been avoiding it. It is a great opportunity and I have to remember that and be happy with that, but because I think of what it could lead to, it makes me ill. Ugh. I am trying to be happy with being given the chance. But it's very scary.

SO let's look back at this year and then I will avoid that avenue of terror for a few more minutes!

Shows: 5. Remount of dust, The Queens, The Taming of the Shrew, the WITCH of edmonton, and Alice in Wonderland. While I spent most of the year worried that I wasn't doing enough, that seems like a lot, doesn't it? That seems pretty good. I don't even know what standard I'm holding myself up to. It's just hard to go through those two month long stretches where I'm not IN anything...I'm in one is ass.

Other things: TheatreKairos workshops and reading, Tout Comme Elle workshop (amazing), two readings for the Vagabond Trust Series, a Sea Change performance, a TPM Buzz performance, Humber River's Macbeth reading, two of those 24 hour play things. Hmm. That seems like a lot all put together! This game is good! Plus, there's just my 'living theatrically', like Jenna Maroney. One day we'll both get Tony's for that.

Training: Ah, well, here I dropped the ball. I did the Theatre Gargantua workshop (which was one day, awesome sauce), and....and that was it. Dammit, training is so much money and I'd rather learn by just being cast in things, but I guess that's something to think about. Hmm.

Plays I saw: Brief Encounter, Brief Encounter, Brief Encounter. Man, that changed everything. Holy God, I walk around thinking about it all the time. It's so amazing to be so inspired. Ride the Cyclone was fantastic. Frankenstein at midnight stays in my head just for the experience of it, even though I didn't love the show. I missed a lot of good stuff this year, according to the top 10 lists, which is always the way. I feel I see so much but it just is never the right stuff. I missed a lot of Fringe and SummerWorks this year, which is unusual for me. I missed a lot of big stuff too. I haven't been seeing things lately, so I'm excited to get back on the boat.

I also kind of got into this blog thing. It's fun....maybe next year will be the year I start telling people about it.

I worked so hard to make this year good, and for all the ups and downs, it was a pretty good one in a lot of ways. A huge improvement over SuckFest, or, as it is commonly called, 2009. Tomorrow I'm going to look ahead and make some resolutions WHICH I LOVE ALTHOUGH THEY DIE FASTER THAN GOLDFISH.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

I"m Reviewing the Situation

It's over now.


This show was very fun.

Jennifer, who played Alice, introduced me to this way of measuring what you're doing. And while it isn't always helpful to qualify and quantify everything, this can be a way to know if you're on the right track. A job should fill your wallet, advance your career, or feed your soul. If it does none of those, don't bother. If you have all three, well, it's a dream.

This kind of filled all three.

'Fill your wallet' should really mean a lot of money, and I did not make that, but really just getting paid to act is still pretty thrilling. I wonder when that novelty will wear off. Probably ungratefully soon. But it is great to be on contract. It is amazing to just be an actor for a bit. 'Advance your career': yes. This was a great regional contract. A pretty big one. Lots of really amazing actors work there. 'Feed your soul', well, I fucking loooove Alice. And this was the kind of stuff I love: physical, clown-y. At one point I was directed to act like a cartoon. That's my kind of play.

And now it's done and I have to wage a battle against feeling empty and sad. It doesn't get easier. My heart just breaks and it's going to break again and again, and I'm always thinking of all the things that might have been and never were and they're all gone with the wind because there's nothing to hold on to in the theatre. Only the memories and the dreams.

But it's all good.

There will be other things. I hope them and will bring them into being with my hope. UGH I HATE THE SECRET.

The new things are coming (some...not enough). And I will get through them, even the ones that I'm scared of, and I'll have new things pop up that I don't even know about yet, and they'll all be great.

And my next job will fill my wallet, advance my career, and feed my soul.


Cute bunch, eh? I am seriously only in theatre to get close to the good looking people.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day by Day

Great shows one day, bad ones the next.

So it goes.

All I can do is stay moment to moment and try to move on from mistakes and be true. I guess that's all you are ever trying to do in acting. It is a wonder that I haven't mastered this yet. It's hard. It's something that I just have to constantly attempt and may never achieve. What a piss off that is! Statements like that make me want to go and eat an entire pizza.

These photos were taken by Charlotte Robertson, who is a genius and designed these crazy costumes. I'm going to miss this show and I'm worried about how much I'm going to miss it. I'm having so many feelings as this run winds down and it is all exhausting. Oh, God, why do I always have so many feelings????

I'm so not cut out to be an actor, really....listening to other actors and watching them work makes me think that I am not of their ilk. They seem exotic to me. I'm sure that's why I want to be in theatre. I still have some belief that this is where the cool kids are and I'm always just thrilled that they talk to me every now and again.

Possibilities are in the air for the future and that's wonderful but also scary. I'm scared of disappointment and failure and of ever being excited for fear that it will end with me being crushed. Again, stay in the moment. Argh.

What a complicated creature I am.

And I am sideways going through doors.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What a Thrill When Lovebirds Trill

We go on. We do the show again and again. 11 shows a week. 9:30 a.m. shows to school groups, and then 12:30 shows immediately after for more school groups. Sometimes we do evening shows which are at more reasonable hours, but also difficult, because adults don't laugh at the same things kids do.

There are problems. Sometimes I think I don't want to do a particular scene. Sometimes I'm exhausted before we begin. Sometimes things go wrong, like all the lights come up when there is supposed to be an effect and I scream all my lines from backstage while frantically changing. Sometimes we have high school groups who are very polite but don't care about the show or us. There's a lot of grumbling from everyone, especially actors. I catch myself doing it. It hits right before I'm about to start.

It's lot of things all the time. Every show is different and every show is the same. I hate myself and my acting a lot. I guess the trick is to not let that stop you from, on occasion, being brilliant, and, all of the time, doing the job you are paid to do. Because I love the job I get to do. I love that more than I hate myself. I think this is the math that matters.

I'm so lucky to be paid to do this for five weeks.

Even if it's only five weeks. Even if I'm not paid that much.

There's a stamina to doing a show which is different from rehearsing. In a lot of ways it's much easier. You don't have to come up with material with the same rigour, because you have found some things that work, so you can just let those be. You work fewer hours. But you are performing, and that's a different energy. It's also maddening for the few things that don't come out right.

But it's wonderful.

It's worth everything.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Brown paper packages tied up with string

Going back in time....


For flowers and cards and tarts and APPLAUSE.

For backstage gifts!

Otherwise why would you bother? There are easier ways to get attention. Prostitution and constant shouting come to mind.

Or you could combine both of those and have a life on the STAGE!

These are all from opening.

Dance machine opening.

Oh I have said again and again what a great crew this is, but for real.

Inherent in the happiness of doing a show is the sadness that you only do it for a little while and then everything goes away. Oh well.

There will be other shows, right? I hope so.

But still I will miss this one. I guess I am just a hopeless romantic, emotional nutcase who always has to have all these feelings about everything.

But there is more partying to come!

Already on this contract I have seen three movies, had a night on the town, had opening dance fest, had a bonfire party, done a taco night, and been to a gala at my billet's house with Sudbury's upper crust. There is still Secret Santa, cookie contest, dinner at another billet's, and closing party to go. TOO MUCH FUN.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I'm a Mishap About to Ensue

All right, I have been a terrible blogger. Now I am finally doing a show, and I don't have the will to write about it.

Oh well.

The show is going great. It's exhausting. Not even just physically, even though the show is demanding in that way. I just go up and down energy all morning long, and then feel pretty spent by the end of it. But it is wonderful. I'm proud of this work. Not all of my work. I have scenes where I am particularly strong, and scenes where I'm not sure I'm an actor anymore. But overall I think it's a quite charming, clever show.

Opening was wonderful. Everyone is so nice here.

I'm worrying about what is coming next (because nothing is coming next) but trying to dwai and enjoy what's going on.

La la la la

Friday, December 3, 2010

Children Will Listen


And magical.

We had an invited dress last night. We've done lots of runs on this show, which is helpful, especially because this show is equally frenetic offstage as on, and we have needed time to practice changing clothes, moving things, etc. But we were ready for an audience, it was time to see where we were at with that new dimension. So about 60 kids came to the show for free, and wow, was that ever exciting. We enter from the house, so we heard them scream 'WONDERLAND' to start the show, and it was shockingly loud. Then when we make our way up they were laughing and happy, and when we make them all cheer within the first lines of the show, it was deafening. Really wonderful.

They were super quiet for the rest of the first act, but I felt, and everyone else agreed, that they were listening. With the Jabberwocky they got really into it, and then there were laughs the rest of the way through.

Initially I had concerns that the Queen of Hearts would be scary, or alienating. But when I asked, rhetorically, 'WHO DARES TO STEAL MY TARTS?' to the audience, the kids put their hands up admitting it! They wanted to be in the show.....

It was great.

And now it's the next phase of this process. We have two previews tonight and tomorrow, open tomorrow night, and then get into 11 shows a week. Intense in a new way. A good way. I'll have to find ways to wake up earlier.

The thing with blogging about theatre is that when it really gets exciting I have no time or energy to blog. Also, I can't take pictures because I'm now in the show. Fatal flaw in this system....

Some new things are in the air and that makes me feel hopeful and happy. Having something to look forward to is great. I wish the haze of January/February would fill in a little bit....nothing there yet. It would be nice to have some way to spend those months. Get 2011 off to a good start....It would be great if just one or two of those seedlings came to fruition and became something I could love and work on. Hope.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Curtains Up, Light the Lights.


Long day.

12 hours.

But I can't complain because it was relatively smooth. And the crew works way harder and longer than I did anyway.

It's a pretty amazing team they have here. Not only is everyone talented, everyone is a DEAR.

Costumes and moving platforms and pyro and lights and sound and songs and quick changes. Some ridiculous quick changes! Wow. I hope I can do them.

It seems very unreal that a show is about to happen. It seems farther away then it has yet, even though it's inching closer and we open on Friday.

My nerves and insecurities are rampant but I have to remind myself that nobody wants to hear them. They type of attitude you have hinders your career as much as a lack of talent, and I know I can be insufferable with my anxiety. So I'm trying to keep it in check, or at least hidden, even though I am still worried about my work. My friend and mentor was telling me that I have to be more positive. He is a Secret believer and thinks that I'm attracting my bad luck by being pessimistic. Trying to believe, trying to believe.

Because really I'm only negative about myself. I'm in a great production with an amazing group of people. Every day I get paid to play, and I never thought that would be possible. After so many people telling me it could never happen, I am working, and that's the goal in theatre, to just book work. I just want to be as good as everything around me.

And I will be!

And I'm on a website!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

One week, will it ever be right?


I never have super fun times due to a ridiculous number of insecurities and a propensity towards inactivity and crying, but whenever I do they are so SUPER FUN TIMES.

Doing a show out of town has some fairly significant drawbacks, but it is really fun too. Namely that you get to be driven around by an 18 year old Sudburian, who takes you to gay bars and then picks you up and takes you to a party where you can't get in BECAUSE YOU ARE TOO OLD and then shows you the Sudbury After Dark tour!

So fun.

And now I can say I danced in Sudbury! Jen, who is Alice in the play, and is just a huge inspiration because she is so happy and positive, says whenever you go anywhere you should dance so that you can say you danced there after. It's good advice.

I was almost not going to go out because I'm worried that I'm not doing a good job, and I felt I had to stay responsible and be at home worrying. I"m a tiny bit sick as well....Coughy McGee.....but I went out. Because what am I going to do at home worrying? That isn't the work. I don't think it is, at least. I'm trying to push through this thing....I don't know what it is. This feeling of things never being good enough, this constant worry. I wonder if it ever goes away. If there is a point when I've done enough shows or received enough acclaim or made enough money or am in some way the kind of success I want to be, which I can't even articulate now, but one day I achieve it and the worry goes away. My mom thinks if I took voice lessons it would go away.....I don't know.

It's hard to work with though. It crushes away at a genuine joy that I do have for the work. Sometimes I think it feeds me, that being a perfectionist means I work harder and the work is better, but sometimes it just means that the work is harder and I am never happy.

The STC crew is pretty amazing....they were pulling 30 plus hour days and still smiling, still's a pretty incredibly positive place. I have such a tendency to work out of negativity and frustration, to never think I can be positive or relaxed, and then I kept getting myself in environments where this was encouraged. It's surprising and wonderful to be in such a gentle, happy place.

Except for some reason I am pensive in this picture. BUT REALLY I AM HAPPY!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What Kind of Girl is She?

I have lots of parts in this play. Joy joy joy.

First off is an 'Ensemble' member. We're this troupe of travelling players who do Alice in Wonderland. So I am kind of a clowny, happy person who loves performing for children. Because this is essentially who I am in real life (save for my curmudgeonly bitterness and hatred for all living things), this part is fun for me. I actually love doing the narration bits. Maybe that means instead of being an actor I should be some sort of infomercial saleswoman, or game show host.

Then I play 'Alice's Sister'. Now, Alice's sister is kind of a bitch. Alice just wants to hang out, yo. And the Sister is all, 'I have to read my book'. Pfft. What's her deal? Why you gotta read, sister? PRINT IS DEAD! So anyway, she's a bit of a jerk and really boring. She just thinks she's better than everyone else because she has a damn book.

This is the Mouse. I love the mouse because she stutters and is nervous and shy, which is also just like how I am! The mouse is hanging out with a bunch of birds for some reason that is never explained. Why would a mouse hang with birds? Including an eagle, which is a natural bird of prey. The Mouse in the book has a story in the shape of a tail, but I just have a funny voice and four lines. But I love the Mouse. She's cute. I get a tail!

Then there is the Caterpillar.

I kind of hate the Caterpillar.

I love the character and I'm so happy to get a chance to play this iconic thing, but I'm kind of terrible at it. So far, anyway. I haven't found the way to do it yet. And there is a lot to think about, I am standing on this moving platform and other actors are my arms and, anyway, I am dreadful. The Caterpillar is my great shame right now in the play. I don't even know why.

I also suck at playing the Duchess!

HAHAHAHAHA I am not cut out for the stage.

But the Duchess gets a crazy hat!

The Duchess is also one where I have a lot to deal with and I struggle with that. I have a baby and we have to throw the baby and sneeze and I guess it is all too much for my tiny dinosaur brain because so far the only way I have coped is forgetting my lines and failing.

Those two scenes are back to back and they are the parts that I kind of go 'ugh'. SO FAR. Things change. I keep trying to tell myself that I have a week to get it together. But, shit, that doesn't seem like enough. Argh. I have to love these characters more. Throw love at the problem, throw love at the problem.

Then I am the Tiger Lily! I love the Tiger Lily! When I first went through my script I didn't even pay much attention to the flowers. Its a very short scene, I didn't immediately click with Tiger Lily, so I kind of just flipped through it and didn't pay much attention. Then I realized that I was really far behind with my Tiger Lily development and then I just TALKED IN A TERRIBLE ACCENT and all of a sudden I had a character and it was my favorite scene. I really can't wait to see the costume of that's going to be so beautiful!

And then I am the Queen of Hearts.

None of these costumes look anything like these shitty drawings. They are beautiful and amazing and people who have that skill stun me into submission. I just pray that I don't spill anything on their beautiful creations. NO EATING IN COSTUME.

Queen of Hearts is weird because I'm really not doing a character for her. I don't have a voice that is really different from my own. She's more of a human, but a ridiculously exaggerated human. I have been trying to give her a speech impediment, because I think she should have one. Again, I don't know why.

And these are the people I am all day.

I just realized that most people spend time making sure horrible pictures of them DON'T get online. I am never going to find a husband.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Nicest Kids in Town





It's just about the best thing I've ever heard.

Our 18 year old AD Alessandro, who is, of course, my favorite person ever, taught us all about 'dwai' and continues to teach us how to 'dwai'. Our cast has adopted it. Some of us are better at it than others.

Our cast is very cute. We've been hanging out. Yay for cast bonding. It is so weird here....we only know each other!

Day off day off day off, hooray I will waste the day but enjoy wasting it so much because I love watching stuff on my computer and really doing nothing. I'm probably far too lazy to be in theatre. But I know deep down that I love working very intensely; I just also really like to rest too! My incredibly overwhelming and extreme personality means I like things very much one way, or very much the other.

The work is great. We seem to be zipping along and the show has a very definite shape and lots of things are in place. However, there's lots of costumes and changing and opening doors and closing them and going into the audience and lights and music and stuff, so I'm sure things will change lots.

I have to change characters are not distinct enough. I'm disappointed int he work that I've been doing. Some days are ok, but some of them are kind of blah. I know an unfortunate thing about me as an actor is that shit takes me a long time. I wish I got things quickly but I do have to struggle through. I build. I change. I wish I was someone who showed up on day one and was great, but it's not the way. I'm a struggler. I'm a lost boy. I'm a turtle.

I'm a Hufflepuff.