Archive for the ‘theatre’ Tag

On Sleeping Around   Leave a comment

I’ve struggled with sleep issues since I was an early teen. In the 15 or so years since I started having issues, I’ve learned a lot about me and my sleep needs. I think I struggled in high school because of the way my bedroom was positioned in the house:

This diagram is not to scale in the least, but my bedroom was the one in the upper right-hand corner. Air didn’t naturally flow in and out of that room, and the sun was shining in the windows for most of the day. So the heat built up and never left. It was rarely cool enough for me to sleep. When I finally moved out, and into a house where the bedroom had the chance to get cool at night, I slept like a log.

Except for when the seasons change. Even though I spend 98% of my time indoors, whenever a solstice or an equinox hit, I can’t sleep for about a week while my body adjusts to…whatever the heck it needs to adjust.

It was recently the summer solstice, so Titania and Oberon danced on my brain for about a week. I’ve been weaning myself off of caffiene, but it hasn’t helped. Then last night, a thunderstorm brewed. Something I actually like about North Carolina: thunderstorm season. Last night was the first night of thunderstorm season, which meant that the heat finally broke.

I could feel it.

If I hadn’t had stuff to do last night, people to meet and places to go, I would have climbed into bed at 6:00 and been out by 7:00. But as it was, I downed a cup of coffee and chugged on. I went to bed around 11:00 or 11:30 instead (like I said: people to meet and places to go). And my body was out like a light.

I hadn’t slept in a week, so my body felt even heavier than usual. I didn’t even hear my alarm go off. I finally rolled over at 6:30 and realized that I was about half an hour late for work.

I called out. I feel bad, because I wasn’t actually sick. I just didn’t want to get in trouble. I didn’t actually say “I’m sick”, though, I just said “I am calling out”. I’m hoping that maybe, since I’m sleeping again, that means that tomorrow I will be awesome at work. Maybe. Here’s hoping.

Since I do have the day off unexpectedly, I’m reviewing my script again. As I said a few weeks ago on Facebook, I have two background roles, “Second Girl” and “First Cutie”.* As you can tell by the names, I’m never a standalone character. I have a scene partner in both. And, reading through the script, I realized that I am actually the Straight Man in both scenes. My scene partner is the Foil.

This is very weird to me, because consistently, across all of my acting career, I have either been part of a very large ensemble with no discernible character (fairies, cards), a character actor (Stapleton, Mrs. Pruitt), or the Foil (Second Deer, The Parade). I have literally never been the Straight Man in my entire life. Personally, I like being characters the best. You don’t have to memorize the entire play or carry the show. You just show up and add flavor to the experience of the show. You’re memorable without working too hard. This is why I was excited to audition for Olga the Manicurist. She’s a character, a one-scene wonder. The actress they ultimately chose for the part had much the same reading that I did, but with a better accent and a better sense of the character. So I’m pleased, both for her and for my ability to cold-read characters. But that still leaves me with two characters that I have no idea what to do with.

Really, for First Cutie, I think I have the what to do down pretty easily. Here’s her scenes:

Outside…outside a party, long story short, okay

First Cutie: It’s jammed.
Second Cutie: Oh, my boyfriend’ll get us a table.

More of the scene, then…

First Cutie: Thought you and the boyfriend had a row?
Second Cutie: We did.
First Cutie: What about?
Second Cutie: His wife.
First Cutie: His wife? What right has she got to butt in?
Second Cutie: He’s got some cockeyed idea that after twenty years he can’t kick her out.

They exit

Later, they reenter

Second Cutie: So there were on Saturday night and it’s Atlantic City. And he says: “I gotta go home tomorrow, baby!” And I says: “Why dja got to?” And he says: “My wife always expects me home on Easter Sunday.” So I says: “What’s she expect ya to do? Lay an egg?”
First Cutie: They got no sentiment.
Second Cutie: So I told him, “I had a great career until you made me give up the stage, you lunkhead. For what? A couple of cheesy diamond bracelets? A lousy car, which every time it breaks down you got to have the parts shipped over from Italy.”

They exit

I think First Cutie (my character) is only using Second Cutie for her connections, and is swiftly losing patience with Second Cutie. How I will portray that will have to do with Second Cutie. I’ll talk it over with her, whenever I see her again. I think it will be funny? Literally every single character in this story is 100% on board with cheating so a character who is annoyed by the whole prospect, but not for moral reasons, will be…she’ll be different, right?

Anyway the harder character is Second Girl, for some bizarre reason.

At a lingerie store

First Girl: Well, now we can put them all back again. Makes you drag everything out in the damn store, and doesn’t even buy a brassiere!
Second Girl: And that’s the kind who always needs one.
First Girl: This isn’t her type. That isn’t her type. I’d like to tell her what her type is.
Second Girl: I’d like to know.
First Girl: It’s the type that nobody gives a damn about! Gee, I’d like to work in a men’s shop once. What can a man try on?
Second Girl: Ever see a man try on hats? What they go through, you’d think a head was something peculiar.

They exit

That’s the entire scene for those two. They show up later in the scene to eavesdrop, but they have no other lines.

I feel like the key line for her is the last line. I have no idea how to gesticulate the meaning of that sentence. It needs something. I can’t just rattle off that line. It’s a punchline.

Maybe it, again, needs a readthrough with my scene partner. Or maybe not. I wish I had someone to talk about this with. But cats just kind of stare at you.

*Which reminds me. Yesterday I emailed my resume to James, because I was going to use his computer to print my resume out. I put in the subject “Resume For Printing” and then explained what I was doing in the body of the email. He emailed me back, saying that I had it all wrong and that it was actually a resume for being lovable.

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Posted June 16, 2017 by agentksilver in Personal

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My thoughts as I fell asleep last night   Leave a comment

I’m not big into musical theatre, but one of my followers on tumblr is, and so I heard all about the big performance at the Tony Awards. That was Your Keys, and it was sung by a twelve-year-old girl, standing by herself on the big stage. At the Tony Awards. When all the other performances were big dance-crazy ensemble numbers. She nails it. It’s pretty impressive.

That little girl is playing a young Alison Bechdel. She’s singing about the moment she realized that she wanted to dress in a butch way. She’s sitting in a diner with her father, and she sees a woman dressed the way she wants to look. It’s a big moment.

There’s a concept in Christianity called Providence. The Pilgrims and other Puritans were big believers in it. It’s the opposite of Free Will — you have no choice in everything that you do. God has already decided everything. He’s even already decided if you’re going to heaven or not. Some people on this Earth are the Elect. They have been chosen to go to Heaven. They will always act in the most perfectly correct Christian way because God made them Elect and so they can’t sin. God would have decided if you had sinned or not.

In order to prove that you are the Elect, you always act in the most perfectly Christian way, because the Elect would never want to act any other way. And so you follow the harsh set of rules laid down by the Puritan lifestyle. It’s a very stressful way of life: in Sarah Vowell’s The Wordy Shipmates, she mentions an anecdote about a woman drowning her children in a well, and coming out happier in the end. If she were the Elect, then she wouldn’t have killed her children, because that’s evil. But now she knew she wasn’t the Elect and so she knew she was going to Hell. It was a real load off her mind.

It’s a fascinating idea. It goes completely against everything that I believe — that we’re all stumbling through this life making it up as we go along. No one has any idea what they’re doing. If there is a God, then that God is too far away, taking care of an entire universe, to notice what we small individual people are doing.

Yet I find myself pondering Providence at random moments. What if everything is God’s plan? In that case, what were we put on this Earth to do?

This is the panel from Fun Home that inspired the Your Keys song. Look at that woman. Alison Bechdel clearly remembers, after all these years, what that butch woman looked like. Who was that woman? I’ve never seen nor read Fun Home so I have no idea if Alison Bechdel talks to her or finds out anything about her. But she made a big impact on her.

In this Providential way of thinking, if we have no free will, then what if the entire point of this woman’s life was to be seen dressed like that in that diner? That small moment, triggering an entire little girl’s life? That woman would have no way of knowing that. What if the entire point of entire people’s lives is to just be seen, briefly? What if you spend your entire life building up to one big moment — you finally win a big lawsuit or get your art put on display at some gallery or you take a big trip to see all seven continents — and in the end the entire point of your life was to hold the door open for someone when you were 23?

In case you’re wondering, yes, Alison Bechdel is a butch lesbian.

Two entries in one   Leave a comment

Last night I put almost all of my books into boxes. It was originally going to be just one or two of the smaller boxes. You know, keep them in a small box, so that they’re not so heavy to carry.

But then I tried putting it in a small box and I hadn’t even filled it halfway when I thought I should see how heavy this is. I tried to lift it, and I couldn’t. Too many books. So I took some books out and tested the box again; still to heavy. A third time, and it shifted a little but still wouldn’t move up. I emptied it so that it was only a quarter full of books, and now I could lift it.

I ended up having to distribute 128 books across six boxes of various sizes. I took 21 books out of my collection entirely. I still have two sitting by my pillow to keep me company until Sunday. I had 151 books on that shelf altogether.

This was all from my biggest bookshelf, but oh my goodness, you guys. With all of my other books, we were able to fill up this entire bookshelf of mine. I probably own around 200 books altogether. And James sent me an update from the apartment, where he has successfully merged our books together.

bookshelf full of books

half of those books are mine

Maybe…maybe I do have a problem.

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So the only community theater that I’ve been able to find is are two fairly large theater companies, both based in a huge complex about half an hour from where I’m going to live. One of those is straight-up professional, and the other, well, here’s what the Raleigh Little Theatre says:

There are over 500 people who volunteer some of their time at RLT…As you can imagine, activities at RLT revolve around the shows we do. The theatre puts on 11 productions every season (July-June), so its just about one per month. And each production runs for 2-3 weeks. So as you can see, as one show closes, the next one is just about to start…here are some of the tasks volunteers do at the theatre. The theatre maintains a series of volunteer handbooks which describe some of the volunteer roles…

There is also a list of multiple people you can contact, depending on what you want to do. And there’s a separate mailing list entirely for volunteers. Yes, there’s stuff about how you’re “giving back” to the community and how you can donate your time based on how much you can give, but…

But maybe I’m just spoiled by all the options I’ve had up here in DC (outside of New York, DC is the most theatre-friendly city in the country). This doesn’t feel like community theatre. It feels like…like not-community theatre. Wow, am I glad I didn’t try to pursue a career in creative writing. I don’t feel like I would be contributing to an overall cause. I don’t feel like my presence will impact their ability to put the show on. Even in Sterling Playmakers, which is getting pretty big now, I still felt I was contributing. Even if all I was doing was putting a box onstage and then taking it off, well, I still had a feeling of “thank goodness I’m here to carry this box”. But with Raleigh Little Theatre, I’m getting a vibe of “we’ll let you carry this box since you’re here already.”

Maybe I’m pre-judging them. And I do need to build up theatre contacts if I ever want to do as my Britches and Hose suggest and start my own Britches and Hose 2.0 down there. But I’m just…I’m worried about my theatre options down in Raleigh.

Knights and Knaves is still beyond me   Leave a comment

When I was in fourth grade, I was introduced to the horror that is logic puzzles. I’m terrible at them, but I remember the answers like nobody’s business, which has occasionally granted me clues to future logic puzzles. The most famous logic puzzle is, of course, the St. Ives conundrum.

As I was going to St. Ives
I met a man with seven wives
Each wife had seven cats
Each cat has seven kits
How many were going to St. Ives?

The answer, in case you don’t know, is one. Only the protagonist is said to be going to St. Ives. This blew our eight-year-old minds and taught us to listen better to the way the story is told* (well, it taught me, at least). But about ten seconds after you’re told that only one person is going to St. Ives, you realize that we weren’t told the man wasn’t going to St. Ives. Perhaps you met him on the train to St. Ives. Apparently St. Ives is a real place in the Southwest of England^ which you can totally go to.

Also, is polygamy legal in Southwest England?** The man has seven wives. I suppose they could all be dead. Each wife was around for her cat to give birth to exactly seven kittens. How did they ensure that, anyway? Did the cat ever slip up and have too many kittens, at which point the man slaughtered them all, cat and owner alike? What if the cat did the more typical cat thing and give birth to less than seven kittens? Or did the cat give birth to a litter of three and a litter of four, say, and then the owner killed everyone? How did the protagonist meet this man anyway?

You see the problem with logic puzzles? As soon as you apply logic to them, they make no sense and you end up crazy. Perhaps the man from St. Ives encountered the Knights and Knaves puzzle.

*you could said that it molded our young minds, and impressed our character and ideals! To understand what I’m talking about, please see Britches and Hose’ production of The Hound of the Baskervilles
^You know what else is in the Southwest of England? My collection of Lepidoptera! It’s the most complete one in the area, I should think! By the time you are through inspecting it, lunch will be almost ready. You are resolute then? Very well. I shall see you March 29 and April 5 at 8:00 and March 30 and April 6 at 4:00
**That would explain — haha! I nearly told you a major plot twist to The Hound of the Baskervilles, which you should totally see!