Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now?"

Liza Cucco, fellow soon-to-be-ex-patriot, herself going to London to get her masters in art this fall, expressed the other day in a Facebook note her wariness regarding the move. So much wariness in fact, that she is considering deferring for one year in order to work and save up money to pay off the mounting debt from the student loans she'll have to take on. I'm worried about loans myself, and as I've been fortunate to not have one yet, the whole concept is foreign to me. What is a loan? Where can I get one? Who gives them out? What's a private loan versus other kinds of loans? What loan will get me the most money without killing me with interest later on? Or killing me with repaying it? These questions I ask myself, shaking in my bed in a cold sweat. It's okay though--it's been so humid lately, I happy for the relief. Even if it is giving me an ulcer.

I have a friend whose minimum monthly payment for his undergrad loan is $1,000. He's just 24 years old, a struggling actor (read: waiter), and I'm not sure he knows how he's going to get out of this. And I don't envy him. Now, granted, he disappeared for a bit, hitchhiking through Canada for several months in a row last year, doing odd jobs just to cover food and other small expenses, so it's not like he made himself available to take care of this financial situation back in the states. But it's sad to think that five or so months of precociousness could screw you that much.

I guess that's adulthood.

I myself have been feeling the growing pains a lot lately, falling away from the parental safety net (or rather, out of it), grappling with the fact that I will actually have to really take care of myself this time around, so far away from everything and everyone I know, save Heidi. I have enough money to cover my tuition and a little extra, but if the market continues on this trend--and most likely it will--that money's going to decrease before I get over there, leaving me with an even greater housing bill. School is only meant to take up 25 hours a week, so if I can get a job on top of that, it would be helpful. But I worry about my flagrant lack of responsibility--I sometimes act as if, if I could avoid taking any, I could avoid growing up. But that's ridiculous, of course. And I suppose now's the time to stop all this foolishness.

Still, the thought from Liza was beating on the sides of my brain the other day. If I had the chance, would I stay? I considered it for a little bit--the whole quandary reminded me of the song Banjo sings in The Man Who Came To Dinner (hence the picture of Jimmy Durante at the head of this entry), one of my all time favorite plays/play-to-movie adaptations. But my answer is a resounding "NO!" I feel lately I don't have any reason to stay--New York bores me, America bores me, my job bores me, realism bores me, drama (personal people kind) bores me. I feel totally uninspired and the malaise that's settled around me is the worst. I remember a single thought that kept resonating with me largely throughout this past winter, that I may have mentioned before, which was that I wanted something so new I couldn't even name it. And I think this thing, this whole journey that is still a big mystery in so many ways, I think that's it. So even though I have a feeling that I want to stay, I have to yield to the feeling of wanting to go. Even though the song is opposite. And I really do love that song!

I'm trying to get my visa app done by the end of next week. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

General Update--Housing, Lighting, and Robots

So I've been gone for a bit, and I apologize to my five loyal readers. Here's an overview of what's been going on...

I got word just yesterday that I got housing one of the University of London's Intercollegiate Halls, College Hall. Uni of London is associated with Central, and so housing is available through them to wayward students like me. The cost is going to come to 25.80 pound sterling a night, making that a little over $1,500 a month in American money. Yeep. But the savings really comes in the fact that the Hall also provides two meals a day, and since food is usually where I pour all my money into anyway, I'll at least be able to cut costs there. And finally having housing also means: I can finally finish my visa application.

It must be said that the only reason I applied at all is because my roommate had the gumption to go hunting about the university's website and found out about it, which leads me to ask the question: if Heidi wasn't around, would I actually be doing any of this myself? I worry that the answer is "no," and am ashamed at the codependency this process has brought out in me. In the process of applying, at some point I said to Heidi, who's been having some of the same misgivings as I about this journey, "I think one day we're just going to have to suck it up and accept that we're really going." And maybe that's the problem: the MAJOR DENIAL permeates still. But let's save the psycho-babble for my therapist, shall we? I think it best, yes.

I have been spending most of my time the past few weeks--hence the length of my absence from my blog--running tech for my theatre company's show, A Devil Inside.
It's a good little play with a hilarious script, and a couple truly stand-out performances. I was running lights for the show, as well as projections, and I have to tell you: as an actor, nothing is more painful than watching other people act, knowing you're not allowed to join in the fun. Being an audience member is different--you appreciate your role in that piece of theatre as being more separate from the production. But being involved, but not in the way you'd prefer is...painful. There's no beating around the bush. While I really love those people, I'm happy the play is over, because my ego needs a different kind of stroking all together. A huge part of doing this kind of work that is hard for me, is that it feels so cut off from any creative process. The design was set--the cues were even being run off a laptop (as were the projections), so I didn't have to adjust anything by hand. It was kind of mindless. In an effort to feel like I was doing anything to serve the action on stage (such an actor...), I tried to look at the timing of the lights and projections as having it's own part in the dialogue, that they were helping to shape the narrative to a story similarly. I genuinely think that they do. And on a good day, that was enough. But for someone who's been trained as an actor for so long, and who's had a substantial break from her last acting challenge (four months is like an ETERNITY--GPS units do not constitute a challenge), and who's waiting around to go to school for acting--I'm like chomping at the bit, people!

It got frustrating. I told myself this would be a good way to find out if I could do all aspects of theatre with an open heart and enthusiasm. Well, I've found out: I cannot. I do not like this thing, and have no intention of ever doing it again. Unless it's for money. And I mean A LOT of money. Or for the sake of my own, or a loved one's piece. But they better be taking me out to a lobster dinner afterwards. ("For serious.")

So yes--lesson learned, and I hope you don't mind that par-can shining in your face.

Luckily for me, through all this mental stress of reality knocking on my door with a batteringram, escapism only costs about $11.75 in Manhattan. Consequently, I've been able to catch the new Pixar movie, Wall-E, a couple times, at a minimal cost. And for the second viewing, my ticket was bought for me. W00t!

I should take a moment and say: I love Pixar. It is one of the few production companies I would love to work for in any capacity (Though that may not be completely true, considering the above revelation re: backstage work. I'm too glory hungry.). Any company that holds contests for dressing up the ugliest and whose executives have offices that are full of toys sounds like the place for me.

Wall-E is all around great for lots of reasons (I could seriously go on FOR-E-VER), but chief amongst them are the elements of classical clown the lead character has about him. Watching this little robot is like watching a Charlie Chaplin movie. The discovery and curiousity, the physical specificity, the optimism--it's all there. And of course there's nothing like watching something that isn't human experience things like love and self-sacrifice, to remind you what's best about your species and (you hope) your own existence. That's the whole point of Ariel recognizing that Prospero should show the royals mercy at the end of The Tempest, right? (Ln. 23) I wonder if I'll be able to create something like that while at school, something to remind people of their own humanity. We shall see.

Other than that, work has been a little crazy, I start training my replacement today, and I have (of course) been neglecting my TT homework. And I move out most of my things this coming Sunday, so that's...stressful. And I'm not packed of all. Of course.

Help, please.

Friday, July 11, 2008

"Our time is running out/You can't push it underground/You can't stop it screaming out"

So I know I had all these great ambitions regarding "backlogging" my blog. It hasn't worked out (obviously). I'll briefly update you re: my doings around town over the past couple of weeks, but first, here's a bunch of pictures from Suzuki taken by one of my classmate's boyfriend:

En masse slow tempo.
(I don't know if it serves to have SO MANY bodies on stage at once doing this--I think you may lose some of the dynamic nature of the action, as there are so many people working at once the water may get a little muddy...does that make sense?)

Discovering the objects, after a tragedy.
I like this one--I traded that umbrella for that basket. It is full of eggs.
(They were made of wood, and I think I'd really like to have some of those actually around my house in real life. I know that sounds queer, but whatevs.)

This one's great because of Heath and the frakkin' umbrella!
(PS: Umbrellas are
Awful Hard to open in slow tempo.)

Warming up.
(Do you like that the girl in the center and I have identical outfits on?)
The above is the sculpture-dance exercise in process.
Okay, so this was really cool--using the discipline of weight sharing, we basically learned how to bring our partners to standing without them pushing themselves up, simply by walking backwards and holding their hand. It's all done by the balance achieved by both people throwing their weight.<--that's worded terribly, and if I ever teach how to do this, I'll figure out a better way to say it.
We also learned how to be set down by the partner we brought up.

Okay. That's enough of that. More updates above!