Sunday, February 27, 2011

I Play it the Company Way

I'm doing training at a new joe job and it is quite terrifying. It has made a few things really scarily plain.

1) I am dangerously close to having theatre be the only thing that I can actually do. Someone recently said to me, after I mentioned people feeling like they 'need' to be actors, said that no one needs to be an actor. They said that's a silly thing artistic people tell themselves so they don't have to get real jobs. But, he said, at a certain age, you do need to be an actor, because its all you have done and all you can do. I think that age was probably about 60.....but....apparently I am veering towards that cut off. Just one more thing I have in common with seniors, really. I just want to wear ill-fitting pants and for the damn kids to turn their music down. And eat dinner at 4 and fall asleep at 6. And tell everyone my opinions all the time, regardless of political correctness or current topic of discussion.

Anyway, that's scary. I have been walking around wondering 'Whatever will become of me?' like the heroine of a gothic-romance novel that I am. I do this wearing a high-necked dress and clutching flowers on moors.

But I am worried. Where did my skills go? I did so much school....where are the skills?? Could it be that getting by on my smart-mouth and ability to convince teachers to let me do creative interpretations of assignments has actually led me down a path of ill-repute? Could it be I should have learned to count and drive a car and dress myself, instead of getting so damn good at crying at the drop of a hat? It couldn't be....but COULD IT?

2) Balancing a career where you actually make money and a career where you are paid in self-fulfillment and the realization of dreams is very difficult. A balance between both is necessary to my happiness, but its a very very tenuous balance to reach.

3) I am the worst at cash. Worst!!!

4) The Oscars were boring....ok, I realized that after work. But still!

Monday, February 21, 2011

You Come From My Inkwell

I just realized that I actually started the last post by talking about CHURCH DOORS. Man, I am boring. My life is very small. I should not share it on the Internet!

I took a workshop for the past two days. In the Distillery.

So pretty.

It was a writing workshop. My continual desire to be a writer will not be quenched! These little two day workshops are hard, they just seem like the beginnings of things, but this one was actually very helpful. It's kind of amazing in Canadian Theatre how the people you emulate and grow up wanting to be and are the people you want to work for are just kind of around. It's not THAT hard to find them. You see them on the street. So you can just sign up and take a writing class with Judith Thompson. NBD. And Kurt Browning shops in Bloor West Village and Sarah Polley takes the subway.

One of my favorite things in the entire world is when people have crushes on low-level Canadian celebrities. I just find it hilarious and heart warming. Like my crushes on Felix King and Gus Pike.

More than anything, I was looking for something that forced me to write. Really, I'm interested in some small elf or gnome who sits on my computer or bedside table with a stick and prods me and goes, 'Write!' in some kind of elfin or gnomish tongue. I don't have the self discipline to continue to pour out writing in to my computer with some vague sense that it will never see the light of day. It just seems sad. Like pouring my tears into a bucket. I know that writing is its own reward and that everything I create may have a home one day, but with no feeling that I will ever get a play on, or get into a writing program, or feel like a writer, it sometimes is just too hard to do. So this was nice. We didn't even get through half the material Judith wanted to, but I still came out with two monologues and a scene, that are at least something to start hacking away at and hating, you know?

It's amazing how everyone can write. Humbling. Everyone was kind of amazing and I am continually cowed by how much other people have accomplished and can do. It all makes me want to take a nap. Creation is so easy, in a way you know? You just write for fifteen minutes and something comes out and part of it is kind of usable. Because it can be so easy it's infuriating when it can also be like pulling teeth.

Toronto was beautiful and warm and I had hope for the world, but now the snow is back and it is cold and if I was a groundhog I wouldn't leave my hole ever. Man. I would get that shit pimped out and freaking reeeelax.

So the attempt will now be to continue this sense of momentum I feel from the workshop, and at least keep writing a bit. I have the Fringe show thing, that I wrote, so that is something, and I will have to keep writing that and some other projects, so maybe this can be a little pre-take off prep. I hope so.

It's all in the search of this:

My other favorite thing (other than crushes on Canadian celebrity) is finding text written out there in the world. Everything always seems profoud when stumbled upon in isolation on a whiteboard in a church basement.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

And Fill my Lonely Pew....

Today in 'Strange Places to Rehearse', we introduce the chapter: 'Church Basements'.

Not that strange, but strange and creepy when you don't know how to get into the building and then have to sneak around in the dark BY YOURSELF looking for the other heathen actors. Afraid of vampires and Jesus at every turn.

These are all doors that I tried to get in before I managed to get in. Note how they all look eerily similar. That will become important when I forget which doors I have already tried and have to start again.

We rehearse in a room that is used for some Godly purpose and has its own 'Wailing Wall', where kids (adorably) put their prayers and things to lament on Post-Its.

I keep thinking one day there will be one that says 'Jessica's performance'.

My thoughts exactly, kid!!!

It's still an awkward uncomfortable part of rehearsal. I won't feel better until I get offbook and I am a lazy bum of an actor for not being off book, because it really just makes all the difference, but learning lines is hard, man. That's really all I can say. It takes a lot of time, and when you haven't even done the scene yet it's hard to bring yourself to do it. I'm going to make an effort for my next rehearsal (no, I won't). Yes I will!!!!

Man, Shakespeare is so the best. I am very, very anxious to get another Shakespeare show. I just want to do more and more of it. Mostly so that Stratford will see me and think I'm awesome. One day. Oi. But I need to get off book and then I'll start feeling things more and it will all be good. Right now this show doesn't have performances, which is kind of hard. It's like how sex is no good after a vasectomy: NO POTENCY. So I really hope there are performances. Workshops are wonderful and all, but I just want to doooo itttttt.

I'm still kind of sick and still feeling crappy because I'm not busy enough, and not making enough money, and will never be a successful actor because Tim Horton's doesn't want to have me sell their Mocha Lattes or Caramel Crunch donuts (even though they're all I eat, so I'd be awesome!), and all of that, but I got significantly buoyed by seeing THIS:

That's the beautiful exciting cast of Tout Comme Elle, a show I'm so thrilled to do this spring with Necessary Angel. You can find out the names of all these people here. I'm in the top corner! This just made my day. I was jumping around and everything when I saw it. I was firstly very curious to know who else was in it, as I've known about this show for over a year now, did a workshop with 14 of these women almost a year ago, and won't do the show until May. But it was so nice to see who they were, squeal that I'm ACTUALLY IN A SHOW WITH THESE PEOPLE, NOT PAYING TO WATCH THEM ACT WHILE I CRY IN THE AUDIENCE ALONE, and also to think that it isn't so far after all!


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Movies from A to Zukor

Because I was on such a roll of posting videos of myself last night, I'm doing it some more.

These are all 24 Calamity, which, regrettably, did not get to the point where we have our own TV show. But maybe one day all of us in it will! Or different TV shows. Both these guys are pretty talented.

My relationship to film/TV/viral stuff is ridiculous. I watch so much of it at home, I really love it, and I know from a career perspective I need to care more, but I just can't encourage myself to really push for a film career (EVERYONE WATCHING THESE VIDEOS SAYS 'AND A GOOD THING TOO!'). I just love theatre so much. That's what I like doing. I had a total blast doing these, and The Carswell Show, which is the TV show I was talking about in this blog post, but really it's not where my heart is. I'm just obsessed with theatre.

But maybe I'd like to do more of these kinds of things.... I don't know. Really, I have to do something, instead of endlessly talking about it and posting videos of myself.

I already posted our absolutely amazing parody of 'The Secret', that book that I talk about on this thing constantly but have never really read and kind of don't believe in, well, sometimes, but not really, here.

Our comments are kind of hysterical, if you go on YouTube and read them. People call us the devil because we make fun of things, and say we are going to hell and they hate us and all that. Kind of crazy. They've been up for a few years, and they have quite a number of views at this point. More people than have probably ever seen me perform onstage, in all the performances of all the plays I've done in my whole life. It's kind of amazing. I guess lots of people sit at home in bed all day and watch YouTube. Just like me!

I have two writing deadlines coming up soon, and I'm not in a great place with either of them. One I'm super super excited for, but it's not really an idea, it's not really an anything yet, just buzzing. And the other one I'm lost on. Have to do some work. Uh oh. Work? Me.

No, I'll just keep watching the Superbowl and never work ever. That sounds good too.

To Pay the Bills I Have to Pay

On my constantly rotating series of weird joe jobs is now 'prompter'. I help an actor learn his lines for a one man show. Today I provided this service en route to a wake in Oshawa. Round trip.

Yup, this is the life.

As bleak as my money-earning situation is, it is very amusing. Sometimes. Sometimes I just wish I had a small, steady trickle of quarters that were deposited by my bed. It's frustrating to me that I'll always be dependent on these silly, low paying things. I know I don't want to do anything else, but the joe job game gets me down. real job news (or the job that I aspire towards news...acting really isn't my real job. It's my pretend job), I started rehearsals for Twelfth Night tonight. Same old table read game. It's a different take on it, a small cast meant to tour into schools. The educational program, the things we want the kids to think about, etc., is built into the production. Never worked this way, so we'll see how it goes. It's kind of a workshop, prototype presentation. Hopefully we'll get to perform, but you never know. Sigh.

Here's what I looked like the first time I did Twelfth Night:

I hope I look better in this one, although my propensity towards ugly hat and unflattering facial expressions bodes ill for that.

I still have writing deadlines. Still ignoring those.

I have blogged three days in a row and feel that deserves mention.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

For Those Old Honky Tonk Monkeyshines

Wow, I was sitting here lamenting the fact that I don't have anything to blog about because I still have no camera and no life, and then I realized it was 1 a.m. on Sunday morning, right after SNL (Dana Carvey was pretty great tonight, I think), and I remembered that, once upon a time, I was on a TV show that aired at Sunday morning at 1 a.m.

True story.

I regret posting this even as I am typing this! I made my costume, can you tell? Wow. What a genius I am.

I had an overwhelming urge to get back into sketch, because tonight I was hit with the strongest urge to be on SNL I have had since I was 15. I really wanted to be on the show at that point. And before that, when I was like 10, I wanted to be the head writer of both SNL and 'Sesame Street'. I had some idea that they were within walking distance to each other, so I would work on Sesame in the mornings, then walk to NBC at like 5. I know I would be eaten alive in such a competitive, high pressure environment, as I often succumb to overwhelming pressure while, say, choosing a brand of juice to purchase, but when they bring the old guys like Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz back, I am reminded of its hey day. And maybe they were all hepped up on drugs, and maybe they all hated each other when they weren't sleeping together, but there is still something so familial about a sketch group. I'm so naive. I will be eaten alive on the harsh city streets!


I'm such a horrific actor, it kind of makes me laugh.

I actually can't even watch these. But putting them up is making me laugh.

How is it even possible that, at one point in my life, I hopped on the GO train every weekend to go to Oshawa and film these? With people I didn't know? And then, how is it possible that they were played on Rogers? It's a mystery. Like the sphinx.

Man, I miss doing sketch so much. No, I really don't. I want to be a legitimate actor and be respected widely for my ease with classical text. But I also often want to dress up and be embarrassed. Luckily I do that in my regular life.