Saturday, March 27, 2010

New friends pour through the revolving door

I'm constantly battling my feelings about theatre. It really is my marriage: but it's like a George and Martha marriage, full of codependency and cruelty, while ultimately being something I can't walk away from due to the life of delusion we've created together.

So I go back and forth about whether I should be doing it, how much I enjoy it, what the fuck am I doing being in theatre at all?!

This year has been a particularly bad period of wondering about theatre and my relationship to it, due in total part to what we shall call, 'The Unpleasantness'. I've taken a big step back from it and, for a long time, wasn't putting myself out there in the same way as I used to.

One thing that I have done recently though, and that I'm so glad about, is being an actor with Theatre Kairos' writing circle.

Six writers were brought on this year to develop their plays with Theatre Kairos. After a few months of the writers doing exercises and working on their pieces, actors are brought in so that the pieces can be read out loud. I love cold reading: I think that's a bit unusual amongst actors, but I find it frees me to be pretty outrageous, and I like to work and think and speak quickly, to see how words and phrases taste in the mouth and work on instinct. Cold reading is an opportunity for that, for me. Good thing, because that's what I did in the unit.

It is a really great group of people. We just wrapped up the last of our group sessions, and while there is still a bit of time before the public reading of these pieces, and lots of development to do, we aren't going to be meeting in our group anymore, and that made me kind of sad. Hence the cupcakes. Because sadness and baking are made for each other. I really dig this bunch of people. The work is strong, I get the feeling that everyone really cares about supporting each other, but it is still a crazy amount of fun and I would usually have at least one giggly episode every session.

This is some of them. Aren't they cute?

I made cupcakes so they would love me. It was a medium success. The cupcakes spelled out the company name.

Here, Christopher and Brian try to find other words that can be made when people take random cupcakes away.

I hope I can keep working on one or two of the plays in the next stage of devlopement, which is were dramaturges and directors get involved. My rehearsal schedule for The Queens might be getting in the way, but hopefully things will work out. It has been such a great great experience for me. I would like to be a writer in it at some time, but, again, thinking about writing wakes up my anxiety and insanity and I really don't know if I could do it.

Man, I love play development. It is so fun. It's nice seeing things be born! Like baby moose and ideas! Plus, I get to play lots of different characters and then get to share my opinions! Those are like my favorite things. And then I dream that one day the play will be published and my name will be in a book as someone who helped it become a real play. Such as what is happening with dust later this year. Holla.

Say it with cupcake, homies.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Doesn't hurt the story...story's pretty strong.....

On Wednesday, a play I wrote was read out loud.

Or, as we say in the theatrical world, 'performed'.

It was performed at Hogwarts.

Actually, the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto. But it does really look like Hogwarts. It is quite impressive.

Avada Kedavra!

Just kidding. I, of course, am a good wizard, most likely of the house of Hufflepuff, where they put the fat, asthmatic kids with nut allergies. There's a lot of acne medicine in Hufflepuff. As much as I wish I was a Ravenclaw or a Gryffindor. Or maybe just the hat that says, 'GRRRRYYYYFINDOR!' as that is most certainly my favorite part of the movie franchise.

Anyway, actors performed my play.

It is a really terrifying thing to watch people deal with the crap you have created. I am a very nervous actor: I am an even more nervous playwright. Wow. I sat with my heart in my mouth and my stomach in my throat and nothing was where it should be. So scary!

I really want to write more, and this course forced me to commit to an idea and live with it and make it better, and see it through. So that was incredibly valuable. And I got to meet some super fun people. I'm so glad that I did it. But wow, the anxiety during the show is U-N-B-E-L-I-E-V-A-B-L-E.

I don't know what to do next, writing-wise. I can never get chosen for Fringe for some reason, and I don't have enough experience to do something cool like SummerWorks, and I don't have enough discipline to do much of anything, which is probably the first problem. I have ideas, but I start to hate them almost immediately, and really, I just write Diablo Cody-esque hyper-hypenated pseudo-intellectual dialogue full of pop culture references, and can't actually tell a story to save my life. So that's probably something to work on. Yes. Definitely.

And look, my blog has pictures now! I'm going to get better at a) taking more pictures, b) taking better pictures, and c) making sure said pictures go to my blog. And then someone might read it!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Another day, another destiny

What did you do yesterday?

Sounds good.


Oh, nothing much, person who doesn't exist. I just went to Whitby in a stranger's car to perform in a castle in a 24 hour play-event for no money.

Yes, I am my own agent, why do you ask?

I went and did Trafalgar 24 with Driftwood Theatre yesterday. It's a fundraiser for their season, and brings out a ton of people to the fanciest school I have ever seen that did not appear in 'Cruel Intentions'. Actors and directors show up at 9 am and rehearse plays that were written overnight, and then we perform at 7:30. I've done events like this before but never this one, so it was a lot of new people. I had a pretty good time. That stuff can be overwhelming for me, as not knowing people makes me nervous, and I feel distinctly 'un-actorly' whenever I'm in a room with lots of actors. I'm so bad at the things actors have to do all the time, like speaking to humans and smiling and not eating two pieces of cheesecake in one sitting.

But it was's amazing to remember that even in the most ridiculous circumstances, the show will go on, and does go on, somehow.

I did get sad halfway through though, as I didn't get a part in Driftwood's season, and the one in Barrie that I really had my heart set on has not contacted me (even after I wrote to them to ask if they had made decisions, HA! Clearly they are not so into the me), and I really really want to do Shakespeare this summer (or NOW. and Forever. But mostly this summer), and it's not going to happen. So I'll be back auditioning for Fringe and not auditioning for SummerWorks and that all kind of seems like the same thing I've done before and I dont know if I really want to do it right now.


I don't know.

Hopefully something good will materialize now, as I really need that.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

And I'm Still Hurting

Ok, so positive energy is officially invited to bite me.

As it did not get me the part I so badly wanted.

This really sucks. There's a part for me in that show, my audition was good, a friend wrote a note of recommendation for me.....and I really wanted this one.

The ones where it's actually their mistake, rather than yours, are the worst ones not go get. When you kind of aren't really right for it, when you don't do a great job, whatever, you don't get it. When you could REALLY do it, and they don't see that, even though you show it to them with everything you have, that sucks. That's on them, but it still sucks. For me.

Curses curses curses foiled again.

I am so very disappointed.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Way-ay-aiting is the hardest part

I told myself I would name all my posts using musical theatre lyrics, which makes me soooo not cool, but super cool in my little mind, but I have to immediately make an exception for Tom Petty lyric stolen from the episode of 'The Simpsons' where Homer gets a gun. It's good to have goals.

So so much for that.

Also so much for the summer project I really want. No, we're not saying that, we are using The Secret and saying that I WILL THINK IT AND ATTRACT IT INTO MY LIFE LIKE A MAGNET. Really I am trying to say that but also saying 'Oh God I probably didn't get it I am a failure'. But apparently this is not doing The Secret at all, you have to be totally sure that things will happen the way you want them, and that is so not how I operate at all.

I'm trying to be more positive, but it definitely feels like a jacket that does not fit, whereas my negativity feels like pajamas. I can just put that on and sit in bed and eat chips for days. Yep. That's me. BUT NO MORE OF THAT.

Maybe a bit more of that.

Yesterday I went to a rehearsal for the writer's circle where I'm an actor. They write scripts, and then some actors come in and we read them and try to help them hear the work. It's really fun and the writing is incredibly strong. It makes me wonder about my own writing. I'd really like to create my own work, but writing is terrifying for me. I am taking a playwriting class and I wrote something and have had to hear it read and that was incredibly painful. I just wanted to throw up all over myself. I don't think I have any sense of plot or action, all I want is to create small moments for nerdy people, or have ridiculous absurd things happen. Sometime I see theatre and that is all it is anyway, and I think 'I could do that'. And then I see theatre and realize that what I have is a collection of napkins with words scribbled on them and that that is so far from a play, and that I have no money or people to help me turn it from napkins to play and then I want to give up and be really jealous of talented people with help turning their scribblings into something. Everyone in the writer's group is talented....really talented. It overwhelms me.

I don't think I'm talented at all. I think I'm genuinely a really hard worker, but then there are days like today where I watch season 2 of 'Friends' instead of doing ANYTHING ELSE and then I wonder how I can think I have this great work ethic. Maybe I don't. I hope so though, because that's about all I have going for me.

I am good at pushing myself through horrible experiences, though, which might be a requirement if I am going to try and write anything really. I write all the time but it is absolutely nothing. Just little bits......

I'm waiting and it really sucks. Let's have good news now, please.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Sheriff Who Escorts You Out of Town

This blog would be a lot better if it had pictures, wouldn't it? I should get on that. I can take pictures. I am sure I can figure that out. Ok, this will start happening. Then maybe I can convince some people to read it. Although I'm not sure I even want to do that.

Callback today. That's nice. It is like a second date, a second chance, but also, a way to hold you up to harsher, more intense scrutiny, and see if you fit in the little box they have decided they might consider putting you in. That sounds more negative than I want it to. Callbacks are great. I like when I get them. I like when I do not suck IMMEDIATELY and have to be forced from the audition room with everyone crying.

It was a very fun one. That's nice too. It's such a good feeling when you're in the room and you're working with people, it moves it from feeling like a try-out to feeling like the work, like you're just people in a room who want the play to be as good as it can be, who want to discover things about a text. That's very invigorating and reminds me of why I like acting in the first place. And when the director is good and has great notes and interesting ideas, specifics and is willing to play, its just a lot of fun. That happened today. That's always good. I also always think it indicates that the director is interested in creating something, and wants to see if he actually likes people, not just whether they can do the given sides, and their own monologues

I really want to have the experience of being a reader or being in the audition room, and get to see a lot of people audition. Particularly girls. Part of this is competitive, yes, but mostly I'm just so so so curious. This would probably mean me writing or directing something. I doubt that will happen anytime soon. Blargh. It would be interesting though....

So now I have to forget allll about that and think nothing of it. Sick.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong

Wow, do I come up with bad post titles or what? I wish I could get paid to think up terrible puns. I guess if I had been a writer on 'Sex and the City', this would have been possible. Or bad play titles. I would be amazing at thinking up titles of plays that nobody would ever want to see. I could probably write a lot of plays that nobody would ever want to see too, but who has the patience? Well, apparently I do, I spend a lot of time typing away at little snatches of dialogue that will never be anything, and if they were, eventually, something, it would be the sort of something that I could convince a few dear friends to see, but would be otherwise performed in an empty theatre and cost me a lot of money.

I am going through intense bursts of 'feeling like an actor', and then 'feeling not like an actor'. After such a long break from acting, and such a tough break from the only thing that made me feel like an actor, I am definitely back in it in a way that I didn't think would be possible. It's not 100%. It's not the career I want, or even close to that. But it is more than I was doing. I'm in a show. I have a (really cool sounding, professional-type) workshop coming up. I'm doing a reading series and helping develop new work. I am auditioning a bit, and have a callback tomorrow. These are all not nothing. I think. Today I had rehearsal, tomorrow callback, Sunday costume fitting and reading. That seems like an actorly schedule.

And then I flip and feel like the work I'm doing isn't good enough, both in terms of the quality of the work I'm putting out there and the stuff that I'm cast in or trying out for or whatever. That everyone else has real careers and mine is still so amateur. And that everything I'm doing is really nothing.

That's frustrating. I don't like that feeling, but I don't know how to stop it.

Sometimes I try by watching so much TV-on-the-Internet. It often works!

Monday, March 1, 2010

La Repetition

We're going to do it again and again....and again....and again and again!

Oh Simpsons. I would be a better person if I opened a blog post with a quote from classic literature, or probably even The Godfather or something, but that's just not how I roll.

La repetition is french for 'the repetition'. And also, 'the rehearsal'. I had rehearsal today. It was ok. I get insights into how I work and then I worry that the way I work isn't right. I feel like I move slower than the other people I'm in the play with, I like to layer things and try things out and it takes me some time to really get into the world of the play and start making connections. Maybe that means I'm not that bright? The other people in the play seem to come in with more decisions made, but I like to explore more. I used to think I was extremely intense, but maybe things have changed, because now I'm kind of feeling like I want to take my time and let the play piece it self together for me. Maybe it's also just the's very cryptic. It's a mystery. It's one of the things that attracted me to working on it.

It is a lot of people giving notes....there are four people on the other side of the table, and then the other actors give notes, which I usually dislike. And this time is not exception. I'm trying not to get my back up about it because I don't want to be DIFFICULT.

I guess I am extremely difficult....the way I work clearly doesn't work for everyone. So I'm trying to keep my mouth shut even though it's not ideal for me. Especially because I have been very worried about being a difficult person to schedule thus far. I have had bad timing luck. I used to cancel everything for rehearsals, clear my schedule just to be in a show, and now that's just not possible. Maybe I'm less committed to theatre, but really I think it is just life. It finds a way. Jurassic Park. Life gets in the way more and more now.

Also, learning lines is hard, and it's probably really bad for an actor to struggle the way that I do with them. Eep.

I have to learn lines for Thursday and I have to learn some sides for Friday. I am going to try not to get too pent up about that, because if I get overwhelmed I will fall apart. LET'S KEEP IT TOGETHER.