Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I hurt myself pretty bad today and can barely stand on my left leg so I’m going to be skipping rehearsal. Yeah. I feel like an asshole. But I can’t do it tonight. It won’t be worth anyone’s time for me to pretend that I could.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Of Good Rehearsals and Fragile Egos

I had a good rehearsal of Hearts last night. The kind where I come home and tell the husband “I was good tonight.” I like those. And I fucking hate them. Because now it means the next rehearsal I will feel horrified by my total lack of <fill in the blank> and flattened because I felt the last rehearsal went so well. It’s a familiar cycle. And I hear you say ‘But you just identified the problem so now you can just face that soul crushing experience and say hey, I know this is just a by product of being so elated that all of your flaws are super prominent.’ And I’ll say to you ‘You’d think so, wouldn’t you?’ And I think the problem is two fold. First, I’m not altogether sure that the ego whacking I’m going to take is a terrible thing. It keeps me humble which makes me work hard all the time and it allows me to see where I was over confident before. The things that weren’t as truly meaningful as I thought they were in the moment of that last rehearsal. And second, even when I prepare myself for all the wrong things that I think I’m going to see in myself next go round I always leave some stone unturned. And it’s always under that fucking stone that the horrible disgusting squishy thing is lurking that’s going to make me cry and want to run away.

But enough about me and my fragile ego. I want to gush about my cast for a bit. M was so good last night. She had a private rehearsal to go over her monologues on Saturday and you could definitely see the work. She really is very good as Grace. And I’ve become more and more impressed with J. When the sweet scare little boy comes out he’s just a wonder to watch. Although his accent sometimes sounds a little bit like Foghorn Leghorn to me. And G is great as the drunken overbearing Mama. I hope that I can live up to their standards. That I can be just as good and do the show justice.

Oh yeah. And the kiss between Grace and Chloe was taken out. Yeah. I’m sad too.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Disconnect and a Confession

I am usually very conscientious when it comes to my roles in the theater. It's a matter of pride and a certain work ethic I gained from decades of dancing. That's why my current blasé attitude about learning the lines and even thinking very hard about my character is both a surprise and an embarrassment for me. I mean I know my lines. Not in the solid I know the words will just come way that I usually learn them but I know what they are. What my cues are. What the last words of my lines are definitely. That sort of thing. But not well enough that I can really concentrate on listening and doing because the words are not so ingrained that they will just spill out no matter how I work.

And my lack of character development is also surprising to me. I haven’t really thought about either of these women or what they really want. And that is a terrible lack. I’m trying to play them natural, of course. Make all of their movements real, all of their words that come out of my mouth real. But I don’t know why. I really didn’t see this total disconnect from what I am doing and the characterization until we did the rehearsal without E for Sweetness. It was like floating free without the third pin to hold us down. And I started to ask myself questions about my blocking that I couldn’t possibly answer without more thought into what is really supposed to be going on here. And then I realized I had never even asked those questions before.

I can’t place blame for these things. I think I maybe having trouble though because my husband is so upset at me for doing this show. And how it’s interfering with our time that I am reticent about working on it outside of rehearsal time because I don’t want him to be angry with me but that’s hurting my performance. I can’t keep going without doing the work that I have to do outside of the studio. So I am going to start doing the work right this second. I’m going to think about who I am and why I am. And I’m going to learn those lines so well they just spill out of me and ride on top of the action. Like Meisner would say I’m going to float them on top of the river of the emotion like a boat.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Off Book

I had my first off book rehearsals for both plays on Wednesday and Thursday. I told the director how new I was to the whole acting thing having been a performer as a dancer and using this to fulfill my ingrained performance needs. So on during rehearsals for Heart she had me and J do some acting exercises about listening. I really enjoyed them. But she's so concerned about being supportive and keeping our confidence up that she called me later that night to tell me not to think she was picking on me. I should have told her that coming from a dance background I would be way more concerned if she wasn't telling me how to improve often. As a dancer if your teacher doesn't tell you what's wrong with you at least once a class or rehearsal then you become complete distraught that the teacher or choreographer doesn't think that you are worth talking to because you'll never improve and then you'll never get cast again. It's a very twisted world dance. But I really liked the scene after the exercise so it felt like a useful and productive exercise.

I'm not sure how I feel about J. He's easy to work with. Very giving on stage. But off stage I'm at a complete loss on how to talk to him. Now it's probably totally my problem that I'm having a hard time being totally open with him on stage because I don't know how to deal with him off. And I am quite new to this so I know that I have a lot to learn about letting my guard down emotionally. But I wish I knew better how to be friendly with him in a real way so that I can bring that connection on stage rather than trying to produce it out of nowhere on stage. But that's what they call acting isn't it? And I'll have to learn it or never get any better at this craft.

Rehearsal for Sweetness was strange because E couldn't come because of car trouble. So it was just me and J. And I must admit that it was weird and oddly relaxing to work without doing the kissing scene. I SO have to get over my discomforture with that soon. I mean I AM getting better about it but it still makes me feel weird. I don't know how to explain it. Or why it bothers me SO much that I worry about it for hours before a rehearsal. I think it's the whole fear of letting go and being embarrassed again. So this show will be a real learning experience for me again. Every show is. Not be all gushy but I just love theater. It's always new and different. No matter how big or small your parts are. The playwright was there too so I was a little nervous at first about getting the words just right. Which is something I don't always worry about.

I am very much looking forward to my next rehearsals of both plays. Being off book is a really freeing experience. It's also a scary one where I realize that my body is act really strange. I do the limp wrist thing a lot on stage. I have no idea why. I'm going to spend a little bit more time looking at how I move during conversation in real life so I can figure out how to get myself to behave more naturally. I'm better off if I have a prop. I can always be natural when I have something in my hand.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Milos

Well, I didn't win. Oh well. But there was a great after party where I got to hang out with some of the cast members from the other shows and drink lots. And I did. Drink lots.

I had such a good time. This is such a great theater group. I'm so glad to be part of it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Milo Awards

Friday night is the Milo Awards. These are the Parkroad Playhouse's awards in twenty categories. You know best actress, best actor, best ensemble, best play, best musical, that sort of thing. I am nominated for best actress. I don't think I'll win because it was such a strange play and the awards are voted on by the subscribers. Other plays this season were more crowd pleasing like Lend Me a Tenor and Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolff? As opposed to the two acted disconnected 28 scene oddity that is Reckless. But Rachel is a huge and demanding part so maybe I'll get points for the numerous jawbreaking monologues and the fac that I never left the stage. Except to change my clothes before the lights came back up. So wish me luck oh single reader of mine!


Last night was my third rehearsal for Hearts. The floor is being painted for Friday’s Milo Awards so we were in the rehearsal space which I never like. I thought Saturday was a real breakdown. Tonight was even more so. Almost line by line. Lots of looking away. And lots of real microdirection. One step here. Beat. Breathe in. Say the line. Sit on this word. I don’t know. Maybe when I own the lines a little better. Like when I’m off book next Tuesday it will feel a lot more natural. Right now I’m real mechanical. And I feel like all of the choices have been stripped from me. But it’s too early for that kind of complaint I guess. We still have to stage the fight. Not having the porch yet makes it impossible. I’m starting to feel like I’m not acting yet. And its funny but I’m not sure if I always feel like this at this point or not. It’s an odd feeling of isolation and disconnection from the other actors. Where I’m not really listen and I am over anticipating. And I’m worrying about what I look like. None of these things are good. But I’ll be off book tonight and hopefully we will be back in the theater.

Dirty Whore

Saturday was a killer day for me all around. First, that morning I got up and left the house by 8:30 am to drive to Hamden for the Great Park Pursuit. A contest my family and I are participating that requires a visit to a state park every Saturday where we complete some kind of activity in order to complete for the top three prizes of $5000 worth of camping equipment or two Kayaks or four mountain bikes. So we hike the 1.6 miles up the Sleeping Giant to the tower to take our picture and down again all as quickly as we could and in the pouring rain. Then after my mother picks up my son J. My husband C and I drive to New Fairfield to pick up a pool that we were getting from this couple from craigslist. We had to take the whole thing apart. And I don’t know if you’ve ever taken a pool apart but it is filthy backbreaking work that went on for about 3 and half hours. And we still weren’t done but I had to bolt because I had to get to rehearsal by five and I hadn’t eaten since breakfast.

So I get to rehearsal at 10 after 5 having eaten fast food which I am completely against because it makes me feel like complete crap and well we could go into how it doesn’t jive with my politics but then we would be completely off topic. And I am a muddy sweaty stinky mess too. And exhausted. Yeah!

Saturday, is a double rehearsal for me two hours of Heart followed by two hours of Sweetness. G is leaving early from the Heart rehearsal so they spend the whole time she is available on the opening which is Gracie and Mama so I don’t have to go on right away which is awesome. Because I lie on the floor and pass out. For about 20 minutes. Finally, it’s my turn to go on. So I do my thing. Using the accent I have been practicing for hours with Chris in the car rides to and from New Fairfield. Which I must say is starting to come out quite awesome! Yippee! And the director, K, is very much into breaking things down smaller and smaller. So it’s two or three lines and then we run it again mode. So I do my three lines and then when I go off to redo the entrance. K is also into private direction. Quietly to the individual so that we are working at cross purposes without knowing the other person’s purpose. I like this method a lot. So her private direction to me? “You know how gross you feel right now? Go with it. Dirty dirty whore.” I tried. Although, I don’t think I succeeded that well on Saturday because of sheer exhaustion. I will never ever again pack that much stuff in right before a rehearsal. It is too hard to summon the kind of energy that I need for either play.

After G left we skipped to the end where it is just Grace and Chloe. And then we get the part where Grace says she loves me and then K has Grace kiss me and I realize that I totally misread that last scene. What an ass. I totally thought that we were just sisterly. But it was okay because I am just sisterly. So I actually got the real shock going on when she kissed me. Not that I actually minded so much. I forgot what it was like to kiss a girl. She’s so soft. No stubble. It’s really nice.

Then ten minute break and on to Sweetness. We did a little bit of reblocking and we did finally do the kiss with E. Which isn’t so bad after all. I am worried about the going into the water bit and how I am going to get myself back on stage. She keeps changing her mind. And we still don’t have the platform so I still have fear of falling to hard and dumping E and his wheel chair off of it. But the whole kicker of that rehearsal was that I needed to be off book for Wednesday. And I hadn’t even begun yet.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

First Rehearsal - Sweetness and Light.

Last night was a ridiculously fun rehearsal. The cast is comprised of me (Jules), E (Jake), and J (TJ). E has to sit in his wheelchair the whole time. Playing a quadriplegic and all. And on the floor we have marked the “dock” which is this narrow two feet where all of the action is going to take place. It’s barely a foot wider than the chair so I am mighty excited about the first time we dump E off of it when we start rehearsing on it next week. We are supposed to be drinking tequila so we keep slugging off of the water filled bottle we have and at one point I came to the realization that if we really drank as much tequila as we do so far we would be slammed. So that thought led us to decide that we were going to try doing the scene and drinking tequila for real. Just to see how it goes.

Unfortunately, I have forgotten all of the really inappropriate quadriplegic jokes that came up and I will definitely make note of them next time. There is a silly amount of laughing that happens. But we actually got the whole act blocked and an hour before schedule. And lucky them they all went out for a cocktail after. Me, I’ve barely got enough money for the gas to and from rehearsals so I begged off. But I can’t keep that up. I’ll have to dig money up from somewhere so that I can join in the revelry and do the bonding thing. Seems the only one I’m bonding with is the 18 year old stage-manager because he will let me bum the occasional smoke.

This morning when I looked at my knees I also realized I was going to have to invest in some knee pads due to the amount of kneeling I do at the side of the wheel chair. I also spend a bunch of time sitting on E in the chair. Did I mention the kiss? Well, we didn’t stage it yet but just standing next E while J read the lines has made me even more nervous. It’s a long time. I mean a very long time. Them I have to get thrown off of him into the water where I’ve been told I will need to run into the shower in order to get drenched for my next entrance. Thank the flying spaghetti monster that it’s the last play of the evening. And whoever’s running the shower for me had better run it hot. And I hope my costume doesn’t consist of a white t-shirt.

So now for the hard work. I really want to have the lines down for Saturday’s rehearsal. And still no response yet from craigslist. Who would let me only put up one post asking for someone to talk to even in different states. I thought that was stupid. I need to reach as many people as possible. I doubt it’ll be easy to find someone who wants to just chat with a stranger.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

First Rehearsal - Heart Suspended

The first rehearsal was a first rehearsal. The process was to read a scene and move naturally and then go back and take a little direction on it piece by piece until K, the director, felt we were moving in the right direction. And then rerun the whole thing. We got through about ¾ of the act. M (Grace) & G (Mama) were doing a southern highland’s accent and J (Tom) and I (Chloe) were doing Louisiana. It was pretty unclear to us where the show actually took place other than general “South.” Turns out J and I were wrong. Oh well. I think the easiest way for me to learn the accent would be to go off book before the next rehearsal on Saturday and I’m going to put an ad up on craigslist to see if someone from North or South Carolina or Georgia (or is Georgia lowlands too? I’ll have to look that up) is willing to converse with me for a couple of hours while I soak up their accent by immersion.

So my big shocker was that “my…unchristian like behavior” that I talk about in the show isn’t just that I have a few boyfriends and drink and smoke. No, I actually prostitute myself to get what I want. Which is much father than I was thinking. And, truthfully, makes my life a lot easier. Chloe seemed easier when I thought about her that way. I’m not chafing at my bonds of southern woman in the 50’s I have fucking broken right out of them. It made it easier to breathe life into her. I actually like Chloe a lot better now. She has more strength and more depth.

I like the cast. M is very sweet as Grace. And J is appropriately shy and earnest. And G is going to make a mean drunk. I can’t wait to stage our fight scene. I always like the physical scenes and nothing is quite as physical as a good fight scene. I also like K as a director. I guess if I was going to say that I had one complaint it would be that says “Okay. Awesome! Now if you could just…” that I no longer believe that anything is “Awesome!” But it’s better to have someone supportive than have someone who gives you nothing but criticism with no positive reinforcement. Or someone who gives you nothing. She also gives good motivation direction. She asks questions and she tells you things about your character that are very helpful. And pretty decisive too. I like that.

After rehearsal I told K that I was freaking out about kissing E in Sweetness and she promised to make it comfortable for me. She even suggested that the four of us get together and do the scene while drink tequila. We drink tequila in the scene any way so she thinks it will help the mood and help us bond. And make kissing E easier. Which it probably will. I’m starting to think it’s the having the husband, C, all pissed off about me doing a show that is compounding my unease. But I’m sure I’ll get past it. Tonight is my first rehearsal for Sweetness and I am very much looking forward to it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Plays

I have just been cast in a production of three one acts by Betsey Macquire. I am going to have to correct that spelling having just come to the embarrassing conclusion that I have no idea how the playwright spells her name. The plays are Heart Suspended, The Wager, and Sweetness and Light. I have been cast in two of them.

In Heart Suspended I play an older cousin by marriage, Chloe, of a girl, Grace, who lives with her alcoholic mother after her father left her years ago. I like this part. I do not like the fact that I'm going to have to do an accent. Accents have never been my thing. And it's southern which is going to drive me to all sorts of odd cliché things I'm going to have to work my ass off to avoid.

Sweetness and Light is about three best friends. One of whom is a quadriplegic, Jake, who wants the other two, me, Jules, and TJ to push him off the dock so that he can drown. I have a kissing scene in this one. That’s the huge challenge for this one going right in. And to make matters worse I have to kiss the quadriplegic so basically it’s all me.

Tonight is the first rehearsal of Heart. We had a table read of all three on Friday night and I had a chance to meet the cast. I had met everyone in both of my casts before the read except for Mama from Heart. So that was comforting on some levels. I’ve worked with E who will be playing Jake in Sweetness in another one act called Stiff Cuff. Funny that was my only other stage kiss before and it was with him. I’m excited and as always scared that I won’t be able to live up the part. Here’s hoping all goes well.

I also wanted to give credit for the title of my blog. I was reading a blog about acting technique and I read that phrase the courage to be calm and I realized that was exactly what I needed to quell my unbelievable stage fright that sometimes makes it hard to just be natural on stage. And it really works. But I can’t give actual linky credit because I can’t remember where I read it. So I am going to keep on looking and looking and will give a link when I find it.