Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Jane Eyre- Week 1

Last Monday, we began rehearsals for the Out Loud Theatre production of Jane Eyre. It's an adaptation by Polly Teale and her production company Shared Experience. This isn't your usual Jane Eyre, though. It's written as a small ensemble piece with about 10 people. Everyone except Jane and the woman in the attic, Bertha, are double cast- with rhyme and reason! This suggests the idea of duplicity. For example, I play every "religious" man- Brocklehurst, the clergyman at their halted wedding, and St. John Rivers. In addition, I also appear as complete opposites of these individuals- Lord Ingram, Pilot the dog, and a footman. In a way, Jane's memories would certainly group some oft these individuals and their qualities together.

This theme of duplicity is even more apparent in the visible relationship between Jane and Bertha. Bertha is not only herself in the attic, but also literally a part of Jane. It's a bit like the new Disney/Pixar film, Inside Out, where we see a physical manifestation of an internal element or quality. Bertha represents Jane's id. This theatre utilizing one of its major potentials- bringing visible what is otherwise invisible. And here we are physically seeing the parallels of human beings' journeys through life!

The initial week found us mostly doing exercises and workshops that build trust, bravery, and ensemble spirit. It's unfortunately rare in the mainstream theatre for playfulness like this to be consistently part of the process' structure. For some reason, team building and physicalizing subtext is thrown out the window after drama school. Mark Rylance's daily backstage games shouldn't be considered anomalies or strange in a creative environment. Theatre totes itself as sharing energy, digging deep- if a cast doesn't have a professional ability to do this, then what is the point? It's a struggle.

Tonight, we will begin staging the show. With the amount of professional trust between one another, which means a familiarity of body, voice, and intents, we are set up to play. Additionally, we've now talked at length about the show-motivations, time period.

I am really looking forward to discussing more here as we continue.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Outside and Inside

Two haikus as explanation.

A vehicle crashed
in front of this coffee shop.
Rescue in progress.

Sometimes taking looks,
but here we sit with our tasks.
Many lives at once.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Social Medialessness / De-Faust

This morning, like every morning, especially since getting a smart phone in late 2011, I scrolled through my Facebook feed and then my Twitter feed. Then I sat around feeling sorry for myself when the new profile photo of the boy I desperately loved in college popped up. Regretful thoughts seemed to physically occupy a large portion in the center of my brain. Heavy. So heavy! Lots of likes. And there were articles! So many articles to read. I must read them all, because everyone's a writer and everyone has something to say. Plus, headlines written as "[Insert Name] destroys [Bigotry] with two sentences." And Gifs of a celebrities dancing around! So many crooked-smile selfies, and...

And... I suddenly realized how much of my real life I have been wasting. Hungry for academic information through high school, and morphed into knowing tidbits through social media as an adult, what do I have now? I have a lot of time comparing myself to others' seeming success. This results in needing validation of my actions. When doing something or getting news, I suddenly needed to post it on social media, so everyone could just know. But that's not pleasing myself. That's needing 40 likes on one post, and when only 2 are acquired, I must be really disliked by others.

At the Guthrie program, there was a beautiful teacher named Morris Johnson. He was a man who spoke from such a place of self fulfillment and peace that I eventually doubted him. Youth brain. A shiny bald head, a perpetual smile and a connection to music that grounded him to the earth-those are the details most remembered. He was masculine and feminine, he was quiet and loud, he was older than he seemed. He was wise and healthy, not weary and weathered. He said to us once, and I paraphrase, "Don't tell everyone everything. Keep certain things to yourself. You must have secrets. People will be more interested in you."

I believe so much in honesty and being present with others. But when I look at myself in the mirror, I get frustrated, I get sad. I see myself wallowing and holding myself back from a potential that I truly don't comprehend.

I want to be real. I want to wake up and listen to the wind rustle through the trees, and pet my dogs first thing, and call people on the phone to set up appointments, and make an effort to search for people I have lost contact with. I don't want ideas left untended or photos kept on the hardrive of a website. I want things in my hands. I want to live the way I did in Europe in 2011, when I wasn't reachable all the time, when I looked up, instead of down, when I had a practice in resourcefulness and curiosity. That's lapsed now, because I have been permeated by the thoughtlessness of social media.

The world is more complicated than hashtags. I don't want to see myself or my friends breaking their life and their identities down into hashtags. Those reactionary "articles" that hyperbolically affect narratives of contemporary issues through the lens of righteousness don't need to be in my face anymore. If I want information, I will seek it. I will talk.

At least for the next 365 days, until my brother's 23rd birthday, I will not log into Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. I will only read and send emails on my computer, never on my cellphone. My cellphone will be left at home at least 3 days a week.

The act of pulling myself away from what is in front of me will hopefully be deliberate, and not due to habit, like it is now.

I will use this blog to record my journey. To discuss what it's like to call a date rather than texting him, to not look up a fact on my phone, to use a map or write down directions from home...

The rules in a list (and now taped to my bedroom door):
  1. The laptop stays in the office, never to be used in the bedroom or the kitchen. It can be taken out of the house to a coffee shop ONCE a week.
  2. The cellphone stays home three times per week. The days can vary, but the default shall be Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
  3. The cellphone will have no apps. It will be used solely for calls and texts (text minimally).
  4. Call to make plans or catch up with friends (unless they live internationally). Especially make an effort to call dates on the phone.
  5. Go to an outdoor or seasonally indoor event every weekend. Say hello to one person you don't know, and get their phone number or email address.
  6. No Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! No more passive engagement with loved ones.
Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


Since Cabaret closed, I have been unemployed. I am not even going to call it funemployed. I have enough issues trying to be self motivated as it is, and with more than ample amounts of time, single, and fatherless, I feel ultimately purposeless. I'm trying really hard to hang onto the tiny triumphs.

Ti-Ny Tri-Umphs. So glad you asked what those are...
1. Swiping right or left on Tinder.
2. Writing a lot.
3. Actually taking steps to submit my show.
4. Sending more than three messages on a dating app.
5. Having job interviews and rewarding myself with a coffee afterward.

I'm, of course, listening to a lot of German musical theatre showtunes and Phantom of the Opera. And sitting around feeling sorry for myself..

Wait- if nothing's really working out the way I planned, then I suppose I should really be doing different things.

Instead of swiping right or left on Tinder, maybe I should go out to bars and the beach.
Instead of writing a lot with the Internet on, maybe it should be off.
Instead of taking steps to submit my show by June 30, why not by June 17?!
Instead of sending messages, why don't I call someone up?
Instead of... no, I'll keep buying coffees.

It's important to revisit and fix and improve the self often. I used to be really good at that, but then I lost faith in myself along the journey of early adulthood. I've been working on that, and have made huge strides. There's a memoir or a play or something in the story... all three forms are simultaneously evolving, and eventually will be shared.

Just blogging for the sake of blogging. Getting things down.

As the brilliant Barbara Houseman said, cameras out, not cameras in.

Objectivity Exists

Guys! Thought- We always say art is completely subjective. I think this is an over-simplification. Quick why:
1. Our personal identification with a piece is, of course, subjective.
2. But, I believe, there is an objective standard of good work. One has to contextualize the performance one sees to "get" that.
SO! I might not personally identify and feel overly moved by a show (SUBJECTIVITY)  BUT- I might be able to OBJECTIVELY understand its worth or its lack thereof.
Always trying to work on this skill. One learns more that way, I think. Should have done that earlier.
If we don't have some sort of objectivity that removes personal needs, then how we are ever going to keep standards going? Yknow?
Just putting it down...