Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Please. For the Sake of the People Around You, DO NOT be QUIET.

I stole the following quote from one of my best friend's blogs mostly because this is something I think about constantly when I am watching & or doing theatre. 

"With theater, I always, always, as an audience member, want to leap onstage and fuck things up. Just get up there and start talking to the actors. I fantasize about running up onstage and peeing on someone’s foot. It would be so amazing. It would change the play. How would they deal with me? How could I incorporate myself into the play until the authorities arrived to take me away? Honestly, it’s amazing that more people don’t actually do that. But that’s why theater is so crazy and electric—we’re all sitting there in the dark, and this story is unfolding in front of us, and if we wanted to we could get up there and fuck everything up but we don’t. We just breathe and sigh and laugh (and occasionally shout “WHO WRITES THIS STUFF??!!). And actors really do coast on audience reactions, particularly laughter—they kind of ride it like a wave. That’s so interesting to me, when that happens. And it’s all a kind of dialogue."

Annie Baker

The difference between going to the theatre & to the movies, the reason I believe you should choose to see theatre over a movie, is because it is LIVE. It is different every time it's done [however slightly] and being in the audience affects what happens on stage. Every actor will tell you, the audience changes the show. [cue power trip.]

My problem is. 

Ok. I have 2 problems.

1st is - I don't think the audience realizes this. The civilian (non-theatre making people) audience has never been taught that they are the final piece to our impossible puzzle. That there reactions, or normally lack there of, tops the proverbial theatrical sundae with the proverbial cherry. How as a theatre making community can we pass along this information to our guests, our final collaborators that, that is in fact what they are? We are all artists. Together we make a performance happen.

2nd is - At what point in our civilization did theatre become something you come to & sit through silently? As far as I know since the dawn of time theatre was an interactive story telling event. Yet, we have been trained at some point in our lives that the theatre is a place to go to be quiet. 


Why? When an actor thrives off of reaction do we quelch our natural human response to yelp, cheer or cry when we see a fellow human being experience something to which we connect. I ask again, is that not the point? To feel something. To experience humanity.  

There is something an actor gets to experience every so often if they are lucky. It's called many things but I refer to it as the 'actor's high.' It is a moment, that lasts for however long, where while on stage you experience the world as another human being. As the character you are. It is a feeling indescribable and incomparable  to any other human experience I have had to date (on drugs or otherwise). 

My dream, in the theatre that I make for you, the world, is that we can open up a similar experience to you. That the audience can once again become a part of the process. That they are able to feel & react without fear of being 'shhhhhhh-ed'. That instead of being kept outside the 4th wall your being permeates the world we've created. I want you to be the final artist. I want to give you an 'audience high.' And I want you to get addicted.


I had the privilege of seeing Mary Poppins with 2000 elementary aged children while volunteering with the Young Audience Program at the Center Theater Group. An entire audience of uninhibited minds, feelings & reactions, untainted by the social stigma of 'shhhh-ed' theatre. I did not have to be on stage to know that their influence as an audience was unmatchable. I couldn't keep my eyes from welling [nor did I want to] as I watched child after child stand up & reach toward Mary Poppins as she flew away. 

And I realized. 

Isn't that how we should leave our audiences? 



Reaching for more.

So. Do audience. Feel. Yell. Gasp. Laugh. Snort. Move. React. Be apart of it. I promise to do whatever I can in my lifetime to make sure you don't get shhhhhhhh-ed. And when you hear that girl in the back of your black box feeling [out loud] way more than 'normal.' Come say hi. It's probably me.  

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Unexpected Inspirations

On my 10 minute break during my barista shift this early morn I stumbled across a newspaper strewn across the back desk.

What is that I said? Paper with words on it? About current events? Well, sort of current. Yesterday's events anyway. I haven't held one of these in a while.

And then, before I could go on any longer teasing the newspaper's continued struggled existence,  I was struck. Headline. BEDBUGS. BEDBUGS BEDBUGS. [that was the gist anyway].

Tid Bit #4666 - Not many people know, except for EVERYONE who was in my life about a 10 months ago. But I had a horrible incident with a bedbug outbreak in my [not so] lovely K-Town apartment right after I moved into [completely ruining my return to LA.] it in August [2009]. I was eaten alive. My building ignored us. I woke up next to a bedbug. The exterminator/inspector came. Claimed he found no proof of bedbugs. I cried. I started ripping off my clothes in a hysterical fit to show him the tell-tale bedbug biting patterns all over every bit of my body [apparently not enough evidence]. I cried more. We finally began the extermination process. Which includes drying [laundry dryer] everything made of cloth in your life. Then bagging it along with everything else you own. Throwing out your mattress. Proceeding to live out of said bags for 6 weeks (3 treatments every 2 weeks) because my building refused to put us up anywhere. Still having to pay rent there even though I spent most of my time staying with friends. And when I had to stay there, STILL being eaten alive. After the 3rd treatment we were recommended/I demanded a 4th [after finding a full grown bedbug on my PILLOW]. And when our building refused to give us any sort of accommodation [refuge] or compensation [I'd estimate damages at approx. $3000 for me & my roommate] we demanded to have our lease broken so we could leave this infested hell hole [what hell would be like. constant torment. always afraid. no way out.] and after much threatening of getting lawyers involved they let us go. They let us walk out of hell. Well stumble. Run & stumble. With only 6 days to get out. Never once letting other people in the building know that about 5 apartments were currently infested & being treated for bedbugs.

I digress. After reading this article. Seeing the pictures. The diagrams. My Vietnam like flashbacks ran spiders [bedbugs] up and down my spine. And when I got home. I cleaned. I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned my [not so] new apartment [that I've lived in since November 2009, that's never had bedbugs]. Never had I been so inspired to have the entirety of my life clean. clean. clean. [except for maybe when I had bedbugs].


Later today. Post Cleaning. I saw the Expendables.

I LOVE action movies. And this was Sylvester's homage to what action movies currently lack. 1990s style. And I loved every knife throwing, head removing, shotgun blasted moment.

While walking the [foster] dogs I turn to my boyfriend and say. "I know it was not the intention of the Expendables to make me think. But..." "Uh huh..." he waits expectantly for my ridiculous tirade about, well, anything. "But. They were the best you know. They were the best in the world at what they did. It may not be the best thing to be the best at, but, like, no one is better than them. And that. Is amazing."

To be the best at something. To be able to say you are better than everyone else in the world. To have competitors come knocking only to take them down. To simply have such great a passion about anything to do whatever it takes to be unsurpassable in doing it. That. Whether as an assassin or a psychologist or a president or a dog trainer or an artist or an anything is inspiring.

I truly believe that to be the best at something. THE BEST. Paramount. You have to love whatever it is you are doing. You have to enjoy it. You have to wake up dreaming about it to head out and do it. Love. Passion. Success. Tenacity. Fun. Life. Laughing. They are all intertwined.

So. Who doesn't want to be the best?

Expendables. You didn't mean to. But you sure made me want to be.

[ok. you may have also made me want to learn to box again, but, that's another post...]

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I Love the Smell of Libraries.

I have so many books on my bookcase that I have never read.




Unread. Unabsorbed. Unloved. Unopened [since the 1st time I skimmed it pre-purchase].

Books. Knowledge. Stories. Opinions. That I've never had the time taken the time to read.

I consider myself fairly literate. Excelling at English throughout high school. Pursuing & attaining a degree in something [theatre/greek classics] that involved constant reading & viewing of the written word performed. Having a minor major meltdown post-college that involved me consuming copious amounts of books & plays I'd never read and even writing up mini-essays [for myself] as I felt my mind melting so quickly after the end of college, class & required contemplation.

The melt-down came to end [sort of] & with it so did the overwhelming need for me to read. I wish it hadn't. I now put 'READ' on my daily to-do lists. It is often left alone, uncrossed, waiting to be added to tomorrow's list.

When I begin a book & don't finish it I have moments where I think about the characters paused in the passage where I left them. Unable to move forward. Unable to go back. Left wondering why I would leave them. What they had done wrong. Would they ever get to finish the story they were meant to tell?


I am Ridden with Guilt. For fictional characters. For facts. For narratives. For books.

I am fairly literate. But I am not. A favorite activity of mine is wandering into bookstores. I walk the tables. NEW IN PAPERBACK. CLASSICS. MYSTERY. SUMMER MUST READS. ETC. I then stop & count the number of books I've read. If I'm with another person it becomes both a competition [because everything is] & a wonderful conversation starter [try it on a first or second date - you'll learn WONDERS about the person...]. I did this recently & found myself lacking. I would be the person on the date being judged for my lack of literacy. I was sad.

The Pee Wee Scouts would have been disappointed in me.


I had a hard time learning to read when I was a kid. I don't think I even liked it. But in 2nd Grade Mr. Anderson [my favorite teacher of all time] introduced me to THE PEE WEE SCOUTS. I read one and that was it. I read them all before 2nd grade was through. And from there I never stopped. Reading series after series, completing list after list of recommended reading. Graduating 5th grade with a 12th grade reading level. I had become an official reader. A bibliophile.


Unbent binding.  Crisp cut pages. New book smell on novels years old.

They wait patiently. The stories. The thoughts. The characters. The noted moments. More patiently than I with myself. Constantly pushing to be better. To be more literate because "it'll help my work". I think I'm realizing it's the wrong approach. To put that pressure on passion. On that which at such a young age, changed my life. I've ruined it by making it work.

I've begun to think that about a lot of things I've been doing lately. Trying to turn what I loved to do into what I'm paid to do.

It's taken me a beat to realize it but I'm finding if you're not careful it turns what you love to do into another thing on the to do list. That won't get done. That gets moved to tomorrow.

Unread. Unabsorbed. Unloved. Unopened.

That is not what I want my life to be.

Today. I read. For fun.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wasn't Lost but Found it Anyway.

I haven't used the 'stickies' application on my computer since the end of college. Today. I needed a 'stickie' so I pulled it up. What memories I had left sitting so close to me everyday that I had forgotten to remember.

Like finding a time capsule I didn't know I buried.

Besides 'stickies' upon 'stickies' of to do lists, goals, quotes & info I wanted to remember (some I do some I don't) I discovered a real diamond in the ruff.

My Life List to Do.

The most amazing thing reading it was, I could actually cross a couple things off I hadn't been able to before. Below I post my Life List to do with a few things newly crossed off & updated with things I've realized I want to do. Mostly for me so I have it safely stored somewhere besides my desktop but perhaps in reading it you discover there's something you never realized you wanted to do.

It's amazing what you miss when it's staring at you every day.

Take a beat [as director Rachel likes to say].

We I spend so much time planning for the future - don't forget it's ok to remember & reminisce in the wonderful moments of the past. For me, this list is a combination of both.


Life List To Do: 

Run a HALF-Marathon

Run a Marathon

Get Scubadiving Certification

Visit all 7 Continents

Bungee Jump

Sky Dive

Go to the Superbowl

Swim with Dolphins

Swim with Sharks

Eat Pizza in Italy

Eat Baklava in Greece - Multiple Times. Yummy. Study Abroad in Athens August - December 2006

Sing in the Rain

Kiss in the Rain

Ride in a Hot Air Balloon

Live in Europe - Study Abroad in Athens August - December 2006

Float in the Dead Sea

Perform on Broadway

Direct on Brodway

Go on an African Safari

Sleep under the Stars - On the Beach in Malibu with Kelly Combs Fall 2008.

Make Homemade Ice Cream

Go to the Olympics

Go to the World Cup

Go to the La Brea Tar Pits

Go to SeaWorld

Go to an Airport with a Bag, Passport & Take the 1st Flight Available.

Share Spaghetti Lady & the Tramp Style

Visit 7 Wonders of the World

Buy a New Car 

Have my Portrait Painted

Go to Oktoberfest

Walk the Great Wall of China

Sing in the Mountains  [Sound of Music Style]

Sleep in a Hammock - Summer 2009 @ O'Neill Theatre Center

Drive on the Autobahn

Learn to say Cheers in every country I visit

Go through a Toll Booth & Pay for You & the Car Behind You

Learn to Drive a Stick Shift...Just in Case

Go White Water Rafting

Go Real Camping

Be on the Cover of a Magazine

Invent Something 

Write a Book

Write a Play - May 2008 : Playwrighting Class Final Project = Write a Full Length Play

Go to a Runway Show 

Run the Athens Marathon

Live Alone - November 2009 - Current. I <3 My Studio!

Host a Poker Night

Drink Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity

Visit 10 of the Biggest Things in the World
               - #1 Visited World's Biggest Thermometer March 2008 w/Alex Lubischer

Go to the Macy's Day Parade

Go Kayaking 

Shave my Head

Be a Maid of Honor - IN PROGRESS for my best friends Mike & Olivia getting married May 2011

Run/Swim/Cycle in a Triathalon

Catch Fireflies

Buy a House

Go to Europe without a plan

Love Epically 

Have a Pet Hedgehog

Have a Pet Turtle

Write a Song on the Guitar

Host a Murder Mystery Party - Leslie's Bday Party November 2008

Cliff Jump in Hawaii

Be Serenaded

Get Married to 'The One'

Be a Mom

Work with an Animal Shelter - February 2010 - Current :: Social Media Manager & Foster Mama with Life4paws (life4paws.org or twitter.com/life4paws)

Go to a Sumo Match in Japan

Become a Certified Yoga Instructor

Place a $1000 Bet

Gondola Ride around Venice

Get in a Fist Fight (for a good reason)

Make my own Sushi

Go to the Rocky Horror Picture Show

Go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras

Perform an Act of Guerilla Theatre

To Be Continued... 

I happened to say this earlier today before this 'Stickie' situation even arose. But...


I'm not normally this overtly optimistic. 

I think I may like it.

[insert sarcastic comment here].