Monday, April 18, 2011

Big Shoes to Fill

So, we were just assigned a new set of scenes in acting class...what I assume will be our last set of scenes for the year.  We are doing classical/style work right now, and Suzanne assigned me Lady Bracknell from The Importance of Being Earnest.  WOW!  When she first announced the scene assignments in class, I was kind of speechless.  Then, I felt both excited and honored that she thought me up to the challenge of tackling such an iconic character.  THEN, a little bit of intimidation set in.  I mean, Lady Bracknell...that's a tall order!

Slight intimidation notwithstanding, I am diving in head first.  Hopefully, I can do this great lady justice and have a little fun in the process.  Bring it on!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I Gotta Be Me

I had an audition yesterday that went really well, at least from my perspective anyway.  I feel really good about how I did.  Will it result in work?  That's out of my hands.  All I can do is move forward and get ready for the next audition.  Still, it's nice to leave an audition feeling like it was a good experience and that I did the best I could.  One particular positive about yesterday's audition experience was the lesson I learned about trusting my gut and being true to who I know myself to be as an artist...owning the strengths that I bring to the table as well as recognizing my weaknesses (and knowing the right time and place to work on those weaknesses).

The audition was a combined audition event and I had two minutes on stage to perform for multiple auditors, and I had made the decision to both sing and perform a monologue.  I chose my song and monologue and in the process of polishing, tweaking, cutting and timing them, the idea was born to take a different approach with my song than I had ever taken before.  I won't go into detail about how or why that idea came into being, who suggested it, why I attempted to follow that advice.  None of those things are as important as the fact that for about a week and a half, I spent time and energy trying to force something that really wasn't working for me.  The idea to change the tone of my song was valid intellectually and might have even worked in a different audition setting (for a specific show, character, etc.)  However, this being a general, combined audition event, my gut was telling me to go in there and show them ME...rather than try to walk in a pair of shoes that don't quite fit me yet.

So, I abandoned the advice and made the decision to stick with the original interpretation of my audition song, and I had a blast!  I discovered more joy in the song than I ever had before.

As actors (and human beings), we are who we are.  Every character we create comes from somewhere deep inside ourselves, even the ones who differ greatly from us in our "real" lives.  Range is an awesome thing and it's important to stretch ourselves and take risks as's the only way we really grow.  Yet, there are also times when the best thing to do it simply put ourselves out there exactly as we are and say, 'Hello world (and auditors).  This is me!"  For me, yesterday's combined audition was one of those times.  No matter what the outcome may be, even if I don't book a single job from it, I can feel good about the woman who showed up and sang her little heart out and performed a monologue that resonated deeply with her sense of truth.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tomorrow is Opening Day!

...for Cleveland Indians baseball, that is.

As much as I love living in New York, I can't help but feel just a little bit sad that I won't be in downtown Cleveland for the Tribe's home opener.  It's times like these I wish that Star Trek technology really existed.  If it did, I could "beam" myself to Cleveland just long enough to enjoy the pre-game festivities at the ballpark, watch the game and then "beam myself back home to the Big Apple.  Of course, sometime around the 4th or 5th inning I would be cursing the cold and clinging to my third cup of hot chocolate.  A ballgame in Cleveland in early April is much more of a winter experience than a spring one. 

Okay, so there is not always snow on the field, but it is quite often ridiculously cold.  Still, I love my hometown team and would love to be there tomorrow.  Instead, I will be watching the game in my Harlem apartment...gotta love MLBTV and Roku!

Go Tribe!

BTW, the photo is from Opening Day 2007.  That was some CRAZY winter weather for a baseball game!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Think Bigger!

The question I am pondering most this week...what would I do if I knew I couldn't fail?  I am making this my mantra as I continue to push myself and work hard on my craft.  It's time to stop clinging to the idea of being safe, of following all the rules.  Rules can be good and some of them exist for a reason, but some rules were made to be broken.  It's time to let go of the idea that I have to be perfect before I put myself out there.  It's time to take some risks.

It's time to simply be proud of the things I accomplished in Cleveland and stop worrying about the things I didn't accomplish before making the big move...and it's time to just get out there and conquer New York!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pretty sure this describes me...

The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanely sensitive. To them... a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create -- so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, their very breath is cut off...They must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating. - Pearl Buck

This quote is currently posted on the bulletin board in the Esper Studio lobby, and Suzanne read it to our class shortly before spring break.

Yep.  This pretty much sums it up perfectly.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Conquering My Fears: A Work in Progress

"Julia Child was the opposite of the mid-western, mid-American, mid-century, middlebrow food I grew up on.  She was also the antithesis of the women I saw cooking, all of whom had serious June Lockhart aspirations.  Julia, on the other hand, turned imperfection into a hoot and a holler.  She seemed to teach cooking, but she was really celebrating the human, with all its flaws and appetites.  I was a goner the first time I heard her voice, which happened to be while I was a cook in a feminist restaurant that nerved nonviolent cuisine.  If it weren't for Julia Child, I might never have moved past brown rice and tofu.  Worse, I might still be afraid of being less than perfect.  Cooking through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I learned how to cook without fear because I got over fearing failure.  Julia Child gave an entire generation this gift - and dinner too." - Molly O'Neill

I read this quote in the 40th Anniversary edition of Julia Child's iconic cookbook, which I received this year as a Christmas gift.  It immediately reminded me of another quote I have encountered, this one from Martha Graham...

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."

Sometimes, fear of failure can really start to gnaw away at me and tempt me to give up.  I'll say to myself, "I'm too old, too fat, too shy while others around me are aggressive about going after what they want." or "I'm not built like a model and don't have Hollywood good looks, so what's the point?" or "How will I ever get my Equity card, and without it, where do I even begin to get my foot in the door?"  And I worry WAY too much about what others think.  I agonize over the fact that some of my relatives probably don't get me and that some of them may not approve of this life I have chosen (or more accurately, this life that has chosen me).  I worry and wonder if some family/in laws/friends might even resent me for leaving Ohio and taking Jeremy with me to pursue this dream.  I'm afraid of always being the "black sheep" or an outcast.

ARRGGHHHH!  It's enough to drive a person crazy!

Sometimes, I need to take a deep breath and tell the negative voice in my head to "Shut the fuck up!"  I need to drown out the self-criticism, replace it with more positive thoughts.  That's not always so easy to do, but quotes like the ones above inspire me to keep trying.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl Tonight!

Having been born and raised in Northeast Ohio, I can tell you firsthand how HEARTBREAKING it often is to be a Cleveland sports fan.  The Drive, The Fumble, Game 7 of the 1997 World Series and most recently...The Decision.  (I won't go any further into that.)

However, being an Ohio State football fan is much less painful.  Sure, there are bitter disappointments from time to time, but it's not hopeless.  There are bright spots.  We beat Michigan most of the time (in recent years anyway), and coach Jim Tressel simply rocks!  He's a stand-up guy, a great coach and a class act all the way.

So, tonight I hope to celebrate an Ohio State Sugar Bowl victory!  Go Bucks!!!!

That's all for now.  I'm off to secure a spot at the bar to watch the game.