Friday, March 28, 2008

Rejection? I don't THINK so.

I've recently become preoccupied with Black Books, a (sadly) former BBC series about disgruntled book shop owner, Bernard Black, and his companions, employee Manny and longtime friend Fran. I have never fallen in love with an insane Irish man, so hard, so fast, so...Completely. I swear I'm not harping on/mourning over the Classical department's rejection, but this was too good not to share, and fits in the vein of "Wouldn't it be great if I actually had to balls/cared enough to do something like this?" But maybe it's not a matter of balls or caring. Maybe it's just a matter of the right combination of madness and alcohol.

Just. Please go here:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

NY Event Number One: Seeing someone important talk about stuff.

Accomplished: 3/25/08.

With the help of one Amy Lee Pearsall, I was able to get in to see James Ivory speak last night, in brief, about his history in the film industry, and reflect on the experience (again, briefly) of shooting the film Le Divorce, which was shown before the talk back.

I have to say that the movie itself: not the greatest. Kate Hudson was cute and floaty in her way, and Glenn Close is always a treat. I was particularly unimpressed by Naomi Watts, who I always expect near greatness from since she's married to such a man, but maybe it was just her character who was kind of...boring. But she shouldn't have been! Her stakes were such that--

Okay, I'm cutting this off before it turns into a review, which is not the purpose of this blog (Yet.). The interview was pretty informal, which was interesting. Many of the audience left before it began, which was queer indeed (It should be noted that most of the audience was comprised of people in their mid to late sixties, and this is, as my friend Abby noted to me at a SAG screening of Run Fatboy Run the other day, the predominant age demographic for these things, which just seems silly. Where are all the young, starving artists, who could see these movies for free when they're not working trying to pay their union dues or membership fees to FIAF? Take advantage, my children!). The interviewer's questions weren't too compelling, and the audience questions were either very specific and referenced other movies, OR very elaborate, clearly thought of before the event, and meant to impress in their thoroughness--which they did not, and instead elicited the occasional roll of the eyes from myself or Amy Lee (we are very similar in this, it would seem).

There was also a novelist there for some reason, who had written a different book that James Ivory had directed a long time ago, who didn't really speak at all, and one was left to wonder: just why is this woman here?

James Ivory seemed like a really charming man, someone you could hang out with on his country estate and talk about Joyce to, while enjoying some fine wine with Mozart in the background. Men like that don't seem to exist anymore, and it was refreshing to see a member of this dying breed. One of the few things he said that kind of stuck with me, just as one artist speaking about art, was, "Well listen: when somebody laughs at one of my movies, I'm amazed!" He was talking about jokes playing out on film, and how many of the things people found amusing, these were laughs that were coming accidentally. It's a good reminder that sometimes human nature, shown truthfully and without any fuss, is familiar enough that it evokes laughter. The universality in those things doesn't ask to be laughed at, it just asks to be understood. And in that understanding, comedy just exists, because of the truth of those experiences.

I tried to get real deep there at the end, but I don't know if I pulled it off. Anyway, scratch that off the list. Now when is the sculpture fountain in Lincoln Center going to stop renovations already? I have boats to sail!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

"How come I end up where I started/How come I end up where I went wrong/Won't take my eyes off the ball again..."

The classical program rejection letter came yesterday. I wasn't home--I had Heidi open it and read it to me over the phone. Then I asked her to destroy it, throw it out--I didn't want failure in the house. (Let's forget about the state of my room for the moment, which is its own failure in a way.) I have to call her to confirm that she did so.

The last time I got a rejection letter from a college I was on my way to my high school's cabaret auditions, wearing a purple prom dress and probably too much eye make up--I'm from New Jersey, it happens. It was actually a rejection from the college I ended up attending, the college I ended up getting my Bachelor's in Theatre Arts in--I gained entry into the department after one semester as "undeclared" and another audition. But regardless, the initial letter about near killed me. Since I had been expecting this letter this time around, and partly because of the previous admission letter, probably explains why I'm feeling the affects of this rejection less so, if at all. Having been able to avoid the offending artifact itself is also super great.

This entry was going to go in to my reaction to the rejection, some consideration of what it meant then, what it means now, what it means to do classical theatre versus the kind of theatre I was accepted to the school for, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, but I find little point in all of this. I also find anything I have to say comes out sounding superfluous and silly. Maybe because it falls into the overly "self-indulgent" category I'm trying to avoid. Maybe because I don't know how I feel about it all yet. I know I'll feel jealous of my classmates when I watch them doing those plays, speaking that text, but then that's generally how I roll. I'm jealous of everyone in a play that I'm not in, especially when it's a really good play and all you want to do is get up and join the fun. I'm Bottom, damn it: "Oh let me play the lion too!"

But maybe my lack of dramatic reaction, besides having pretty much known it was coming, is because what I want as an artist has changed. It used to be "all classical theatre, all the time"--this was of course, after the "all musical theatre, all the time" phase. And then it was just about any good play that utilized good Stanislavsky/Strasberg/Adler/Hagen/Meisner technique--take your pick. Then about a year ago, maybe more, realism got boring. REAL boring. KCruger can vouch for this one. I stopped wanting to work on straight plays, modern or classical, because nothing satisfied me. I wanted to create; something new, something of my own, and something that didn't depend on words or dialogue delivery to encompass what was going on with my character(s). I wanted a larger theatrical gesture, but didn't know how to get it. I still don't.

There's something about creating work that is solely your own--not necessarily solo pieces, but being the (mostly) sole creative force behind a work of art--that is ultimately terrifying, yet in the end seems to be the only thing that will be at all satiating to me. Figuring out how to do something like that at 23 though, seems impossible. And while I'm the kind of person that normally sees some daunting task and will literally almost kill herself trying to succeed at that, while performing 18 other life threatening feets at the same time (just ask me what I've done the first three months of this year), I find suddenly: I am tired. I don't want to work that hard all my days. And I'm too young to be this weary. Luckily for me my ambition always overcomes my exhaustion. I only hope that experimenting with so many disciplines as we are slated to next year, many rooted in dealing with the physical life of a character/creature/"thing" on stage, I'll find what works for me. And hopefully it will work more than running around in a bodice ever could.

But bodices are real fun...

I guess the danger is to assume that when you're not studying or performing classical theatre, that you don't do it anymore. That it goes away. This is obviously not true, and there are Lots of examples as to why, and having finished a fairly successful production of Much Ado About Nothing just a week ago after missing out on the Shakespeare for about two years, should just prove more how it doesn't just go away. But how does one make room for that kind of performance with what's to be studied? And how can the two aid each other, in performance and in the classroom?

I guess we'll find out.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"...I know what I'm needing, and I don't want to waste more time..."

It has been hard, lately, to get myself to work on time. I'm usually pretty punctual in all things, but now I'm slipping into a kind of senioritis concerning my day-to-day life, my excuse seemingly being, "Well, I'm moving to England in October, so what does it matter if I get out of bed right now? Or shower once I do? Or do my hair/make up/nails/wash my face/brush my teeth/eat breakfast/succeed at anything else in life generally?" Well, it does matter. What also matters is that I'm leaving New York for such an extended period of time and still, after living here for so very long, have not having taken full advantage of the city. So now, in a last ditch effort to really get something out of this experience, I'm trying to make up a list of things to do here before I go. What I have so far:

1) Fold origami boats and sail them on the sculpture fountain at Lincoln Center.
2) Visit the Bronx zoo
3) Visit the Botanical garden
4) See a movie in Bryant Park, Finally.
5) Have a picnic...somewhere. But like a real one, with a basket and everything.
6) Attend a lecture on something interesting.
7) See professional dance in performance (Because I've only done that once in my life.).

I'm stuck, which is ridiculous given my subscriptions to both Time Out and the New Yorker, but I'm opening up the floor to suggestions. It could be as simple as "Eat at this restaurant," or as romantic as, "Watch the sunset from this very spot." So my friends: what have you got?

NOTE: Visiting the following are out, as I've done them either on school functions or dates or day trips with my parents:
--Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge
--Going to the Empire State Building
--Visiting Ellis Island
--Visiting the Statue of Liberty

Anything? Anything? Bueller?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

OD #1: Next question, please?

(This one's for the actors, or those who have studied it in their time, or those who use such technique at some point.
Or for liars.)

Okay, guys: I think periodically I will ask a question here and look to all of you answer it, because I think a strength of a good blog is to engage in or introduce a discussion. Hopefully this will work. This is something that came up during my interview for the Classical course at Central. I was posed this question during my interview:

"What do you do when you act?"

For the actors, you'll be thinking, "I'm focusing, I'm saying lines, I'm listening to my partner, I'm putting myself into the circumstances of the character," etc. Well, you're wrong. Every answer I gave of that ilk garnered the response, "Yes, but what are you Doing?" An example of the interaction:

"Well, I'm staying present."
"Yes, but how do you Do that?"
"With my body, with my breath, with my voice...?"

I had no idea. I was exasperated and so was my auditor, who assured me, perhaps in an attempt to cut off the conversation, that there were loads of answers. I just didn't have one. He wanted something beyond Stanislavsky, and I could only really call out technique. I just didn't have an answer.

I thought about it a long time after--the rest of the day the question followed me: backstage at my performance of
Much Ado About Nothing, and later into the audience of Conversations in Tusculum, which is where, while watching Aidan Quinn stand against a column, an answer occurred to me.

Here's what I came up with.
I think the answer is that you breathe. According to my yogiraj, breath is one of the three things that make up life (the other two being light and love). Breath has been known to control our rate of thinking, the pace of our dialogue, our action. It keeps us present, calms us down, speeds us up, and is the thing we live on. All of these things are happening when we act and affecting how we act, what's going on in the moment, so I think that's my answer.

My roommate, Heidi, another Central acceptee this year for dramaturgy, who I had repeated the question to later, came home with an answer to days later. She had seen a documentary made about mounting
Mother Courage at the Public in 2006, where Meryl Streep was basically asked the same question. She said something to the affect of being a translator; that she was both Brecht and herself, both 1939 and 2006, embodying this story and making it coherent for an audience of today, singing the songs of old so they not be forgot.

So Meryl Streep translates, and I breathe. What is it you do?

Lying, lying liars: feel free to comment as well.

"It's not easy being green."

NOTE: This girl is a lying, lying liar and has been blogging behind my back for months. That said, I do adore her, and she's one of the smartest people I know. Check out her very affective discussion regarding the unfortunate and seemingly near impossible cost of "going green." One step at a time, Katie, one step at a time.

That had nothing to do with London, or theatre, or myself really whatsoever (though that picture was taken on a flight to London, I'll have you know {And also: I took the picture. So there's that.}.). I shall make it up by being overly self-indulgent in my next post.

(Katie, I'll take this down eventually. I know you don't like pictures of yourself. But it is all the revenge I can take.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"...Lord knows it would be the first time."

Katie my friend, I write this introductory paragraph to you: I broke down. I'm sorry. I hope your respect for me does not waiver. I've missed a written dialogue, something neither of us seems to have time enough for these days, and seeing as how I will be needing to stay in touch with a great many people in six months time I figured this will be a better way to do it than mass e-mails every few months. And let's be honest: it was going to happen eventually anyway.

Today I found out I was accepted to Central School of Speech and Drama. For those of you who don't know, this school is the alma mater of the likes of Judi Dench, Rufus Sewell, Harold Pinter, Gael Garcia Bernal, and of course one of my all time favorites: Laurence Olivier. If you want a whole list, check them out here. The course is the MA in Advanced Theatre Practice, focus on Performance (I also auditioned for the Classical Acting Course, and am currently waiting for the rejection letter from that program--never in my life have I been less articulate. Ever.). It's a year long, pretty intense looking, and also:

It's in London.

So come October, after being half of a pair of Maids of Honor for my childhood best friend's wedding, I'm moving. It's been a dream since forever, to study in London, to move to London, to run away and potentially never come back, and the actuality of it is both shocking and gratifying. How often do you get what you really want? Seriously? There's a discussion to be had there, the fear that comes with actually attaining a desire, but let's forget about it right now. Something tells me it'll come up eventually.

The reason for this blog is to, as my friend Dani has done, make a place to share with friends who are far far away any notable happenings that one might share at a dinner party...if said friends were in a close enough vicinity to come to a dinner party. So, my loves: these are letters to all of you, with less of a lag than the snail post of old and without the cost of postage--which can add up, given the overseas aspect.

Rabbiting, for those not familiar, is a term that means to talk incessantly (or so says my Trainspotting glossary, and I'll take it). I tend to do this generally, so I figured it was an appropriate description of what was going on here. I'll try to keep myself (read: my personal life) out of this forum, as that's the first thing that's always been my biggest argument against blogging and source of much hatred for bloggers in general, but I've never claimed to not be hypocrite and I'll probably slip up every once in a while. I'm not better than anybody else. And if I hate myself because of these occasional wanderings in subject matter, no matter. I am an actor: self-loathing is usually required.

So here we go my friends. Here we go...