A Merry Christmas to All!

Ariel and I are so surprised and excited! Mostly because our hair is staying in place.

I know it’s a little early for most of you, but here at BFAbulous, we are in the Christmas spirit!  My annual dose of Christmas cheer started way early this year…like, in October, with the arrival of A Christmas Carol rehearsals.  I love doing this show.  Not only do I get to spread holiday cheer around the community; I get to work with some of the most talented people in the school!  And have I mentioned, my costume is freaking gorgeous?? Cause…it’s beautiful.  I’ll have to post a picture of it later, cause it’s one of the most gorgeous things I’ve ever had the priviledge to wear.

Also, it’s really pretty.  Like, seriously.

We began our run with a matinee, which is always kind of an awkward start.  I am so used to rehearsing at night time that waking up to do my hair in pretty Victorian curls and getting cinched into my corset-style dress was a bit of a trip.  It’s kind of nice though; a bit like an invited dress!

Another interesting thing about this show–it runs for years.  Just kidding.  But it feels like it.  Literally 10 shows, two weekends of awesome Christmas-y fun!  Of course, this means that I will be getting about 0% of my homework done on the weekends, since I’ll be running around getting pretty for the show.  We have one week till finals, and the Christmas Carol cast is going to be hard pressed to find time for studying.

So what will I  be doing tonight, my first night off in forever? That would be homework.  And cleaning my room because my parents arrive tomorrow! Ah, live as a BFA.

Crunch Time

Annnnd we are back.  These next two weeks (and three odd days.  Not that I’m counting).  Basically what’s pulling me through is the fact that we have 12 shows of A Christmas Carol to do.  That is an extremely long run for a college show, if you didn’t know.  Most of our shows here have about four performances?  But we have matinees on Thursday and Friday, Friday and Saturday night shows, and a later Sunday matinee.

Jeez.

Good news: I love the show, my costume is gorgeous, and I can do homework!

Bad news: I probably won’t do homework.  And boy, do I ever have it.  At least two huge projects, plus plenty of little papers.

This is tech week, which means rehearsals from 7-11 each night.  Tonight I have a rehearsal for a directing scene at midnight…someone come poke me and keep me awake?  Tomorrow, I have an audition for the musicals and operas of next semester after rehearsal.  So I’ll be singing my face off at approximately 11:30.  Sweet.  All in the life of a BFA!

Finally, at some point in there, I have to do Christmas presents for my sorority family, and love on my actual family, who are coming into town this weekend to see the show! How much do they rock?  I’m super excited to see them…and super excited for the Cheesecake Factory dinner that is going to be my reward for a job well done.

Today, I’m excited by two things:
1) I’m wearing a sparkly sweater.

$10 at Target.  Yes, I will take that.

2) I am going to paint my toes red tonight, and no one can stop me! Except perhaps sleep deprivation.

All of this pales in comparison to the fact that in 17 days, I will be enjoying a month of cosying up in front of the fire, writing and reading and working on acting, while making time to be with family and friends.  Oh, and The Boyfriend.  So I can get through these weeks, darn it!  If you’re a fellow college student…I know you’re feeling my pain. Maybe not quite as scheduled, but still stressed.  Time to go memorize some lines.

How I Spent My Thanksgiving Vacation

Here are a few highlights:

This is Kiwi.  She’s hunting squirrels and contemplating the gorgeous day.

1) Seeing my dogs and my family, obviously.  But especially my twin brother, who I haven’t seen since July! He’s at a military academy, and doing an amazing job…but I seriously miss him!  It was so fun to jump right back into our traditions: obsessive movie quoting, cooking for each other, bugging each other during movies.  Perfect.  Sending him back to school was sad, but I’m cheered that I’ll see him in less than a  month!

2) The friends! Nothing like siting and catching up with some of my best friends in the world. It’s so weird to go home from college, because on the one hand, you feel like everything has changed, but on the other, you jump right back into friendships.  I also got to meet the baby of one of my dear friends, which was precious. I’m only slightly obsessed.

3) Vistin The Boyfriend’s (a.k.a Navy Boy) family! I have been best friends with his sister for like…nine years now?  So I love just being with their family. So warm and cosy! Slightly sad to not have the Boyfriend there, but I’ll see him in a little more than a month so I guess I can deal.

4) Eating.  I am a sucker for home cooked food, and the food of my hometown. Highlights included Thanksgiving (obviously) where I ate my weight in turkey, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and apple pie with praline.  I’m going to post some of those recipes soon, because they are incredible!  I also ate at Noodles and Company, which is possibly my favorite restaurant at home. I just die for their penne rosa or pad thai…gah.  Mouth watering already.

Unfortunately now I have to try to work off all that deliciousness before Christmas break.  It was worth it.

5) Going Christmas Shopping with Mom.  And I don’t mean for presents.  We are obsessed with decorating, so we visited a holiday superstore and Hallmark, and just looked.  I love doing stuff like this with my mom!  Found this tree that I’m convinced will be in my house one day:

It’s an owl tree!

It was a lovely break.  Now I just have to get through the next two weeks and three days…le sigh.

Happy Thanksgiving to All

I have had a beautiful Thanksgiving filled with family, the thoughts of friends, and incredibly copious amount of food.  What a blessed year this has been! Please remember to send your prayers, thanks, good vibes, happy mojo,,,whatever, to the members of our armed forces who are only able to celebrate this holiday in their hearts with their families.  I know I’ve missed the Boyfriend (a.k.a. Navy Boy) spectacularly today, so I can’t imagine how it must feel for a family with their loved one overseas.  I’m so thankful for my wonderful, BFAbulous life! 

I’ll leave you with a picture of our amazing Thanksgiving spread…prepared with help from me!Image

Home Again, Home Again!

My Schedule to Prep for Going Home!

8:00 am: Wake up.  Roll over.  Fall back asleep.  Wake up again.  Wish I hadn’t stayed up so late.

8:10 am: Realize I can print boarding pass! Do so.  It is a struggle.  $25 for a suitcase? I bought the freaking ticket, isn’t that enough?? Consider packing carry on.  Consider the fact that a) I don’t know how and b) I don’t have time to downsize my conditioner, shampoo, hair goo, and all that other girlie stuff. Oi. Check layover to see if I have enough time for Starbucks.  A little doubtful, but love will find a way.

8:15-9:15 am: Shower, fight with my hair.  Drink coffee and eat oatmeal while watching the Today Show and catching up on Twitter. Think about how little I want to get dressed.  Get dressed.  Run around searching for Uggs while Shelby comes in so we can walk to…

9:30 am: Acting III: Improv.  Today we did sensation stuff, which was fun.  Except having my eyes closed for so long freaked me out a little.

10:45 am: Go to the library.  Pick out a couple of books for the trip because I am poor and can’t get what I want at Barnes and Noble.  Cry inside.

11:00 am-1:30 pm: Go to work.  Work.  Slash do this.  Slash go get lunch.  Slash a thousand other things…and possibly homework.

1:30 pm: Rush home to do laundry…we’ll see how that goes.  Probably shouldn’t have left it off till the day of?  Eh whatever.  Casually think about packing, probably toss a few things in the suitcase without rhyme or reason.  

2:30 pm: Stage Management.  Try to focus while thinking about turkey and stuffing and green bean casserole and pie.  Lots of pie.

4:00 pm: Vocal Production, where we will be doing jaw work.  I have a feeling I’ll be vacillating between frustration with my jaw and tongue (we have to try to loosen them.  Mine hate me and don’t like to cooperate) and imagining that in an hour and fifteen minutes, I will be on Thanksgiving break!!

5:15 pm: I AM ON BREAK!!!! Now time to go home and pack.  Woops.

6:00 pm: Hopefully finish last minute packing?  Head to dad’s and drive while listening to Christmas music…might be the highlight of the day.

6:30-10:00 pm: Eat a home cooked meal.  Play with the puppies.  Talk with dad.  And try to go to sleep early beeeecause…

Day Two:

3:45 am: Wake up.  Die.  Get coffee.  Live again.  Stumble through getting dressed and some semblance of makeup.  

4:15 am: Leave for the airport

4:45-6:00 am: Anxiously check in, wait in line for security…this is the part of flying I don’t like.  But then I am going to get a big ass coffee, buy the Christmas issue of Real Simple Magazine, and chill before boarding my flight to…

10:05 am: Detroit.  Yea.  Hopefully they have Starbucks.

10:25 am: Arrive at home! Woo!  Beautiful moments.

 

 

Letting Go

The worst part of auditioning and callback week is not the actual auditioning.  Nor is it the callbacks.  I actually like all those (if I do well.  And if I don’t get cut.  And if I can tell they like me. Eek).  It’s the waiting.  Unfortunately, I think most actors leave callbacks and auditions thinking about what could have gone better.  I know that I often do.  Unless I have the perfect callback/audition (which are rare!), I’m usually walking out of there going, “Damn, why didn’t I just go a little bit farther? Maybe I didn’t do what she was looking for!! Ah!!! LET ME DO IT AGAIN!!!!”  

I had my last callback yesterday, and I should have felt a surge of relief.  The craziness of running to callbacks to rehearsals to homework was mostly done!  I had done well! And I actually got callbacks, which is no mean feat.  Instead, I started getting anxious about what I should have done, with the anxiety of the cast lists being posted probably tomorrow or Wednesday. Then I had a long talk with a friend, and realized that I have to work on letting it go.

Seriously, just saying: “It’s done, it’s over, and I did what I did.  Time to move on to all of the other craziness I have to do.”

I’m going to try and work on the zen of letting go, because worrying changes nothing!

Five Things…A Theatre Filled Weekend

This weekend is going to be absolutely insane.  In the best way possible.  Here are a few things I’m excited about!

1) 10 of 12!

ImageFor the uninitiated, a “ten of twelve” is a rehearsal that is the maximum number of equity hours performers can work–we rehearse ten hours out of a twelve hour day, with a two hour dinner break (we aren’t equity, obviously, but our school follows their rehearsal guidelines).  So tomorrow I will be spending 10 awesome hours with the Christmas Carol cast, trying to do homework, but more likely fooling around.  And using my dinner break to eat atrociously (my money right now is on either Taco Bell or Panda Express).  The photo above is from last year…I’m looking forward to another amazing run! (ps..can you spot me?  I’m in the middle looking ridiculous in a muffin cap).

2) Julius Caesar…aka a Shakespeare Callback!

All the callbacks from this round of auditions have been posted, and I had the great good fortune to be called back for three amazing shows!  Yay!  I’m super excited for my callback on Sunday evening for an all female version of Julius Caesar.  I have no idea how the director is going to play that, but I’m sure it’s going to be epic! Also, I just absolutely love Shakespeare callbacks with all my heart.  Nothing better than being able to perform that beautiful poetry with other people!

3) Christmas Music

Image

I know, I know, it’s only November 16th, I’m skipping Thanksgiving, blah blah blah.  I start listening to Christmas music basically after Halloween.  I absolutely love it! There’s a different style for every mood, and it just cheers me up so much.  Also it’s the perfect homework background music.  My current obsession is Noel by Josh Groban, and the song Joseph’s Lullaby from MercyMe’s Christmas album.  If you haven’t heard it, go find it right now! Incredible!

4) Scene Work!

Some people wonder how I could go to rehearsal at 11:30 on a Sunday night.  I say, how could you not want to?  I am in a good friend’s directing scene, and all of our rehearsals are going to be late at night.  In high school, I might have made excuses about sleep or homework.  Now I realize: what am I here for, if not to play and do good scene work with some amazing people?  I’m super excited!

5) Dreaming about Thanksgiving…

On Wednesday morning, I will be boarding a plane at 5:30 and beginning the longish trip back to my hometown up north.  Thank. God.  I can’t even begin to describe the relief that washes over me when I think about going home for a little while.  I think as much as we love being at school, we all need some rejuvenation every once in awhile.  I can’t wait to help my mom cook our amazing Thanksgiving feast, to see my awesome twin brother, to hang out with friends, to feel cold weather again, to cuddle with my dogs…and just to not worry for five days! I’m also super lucky, because I get to come back and jump right back into a wonderful show.  So much to be thankful for.

Also, I get to eat my weight in amazing food. Nothing better than that.  Did I mention all fitness goals go out the window on holidays?

Happiness Project: Novelty is the Spice of Life

I’m kind of jumping around my happiness project a little bit, but I learned something yesterday that I just had to share!  (Note: if you haven’t read my earlier happiness project post detailing the whole shebang, click here: http://wp.me/p2ypFx-3v)  Gretchen’s third chapter details happiness at work, which came at a fitting time for me, given all my post-audition angst.  I’ll work harder on many of the aspects later in my project, but one thing really stuck with me: Happiness doesn’t come from sticking to the same old routine.  Happiness comes from novelty, from having new experiences that move you, scare you, and generally make you feel something.  Sometimes I get so stuck in the same old rut (hey! I like it! It’s comfy here!) that I forget I need to do something that freaks me out a little.

So today, I did somersaults. 

For some reason, they absolutely terrify me.  In theory, it’s so simple: head on the ground, kick your legs over, gently roll, and poof! Somersault!  But I’ve always been freaked out my neck is going to snap, or I’m going to crunch my back weird…my mother and I once had a two-hour screaming match in middle school because I absolutely refused to do a somersault for my gymnastics class.  Awesome.

Tonight, however, I have a callback as a pirate in Treasure Island.  One of my friends mentioned that I might need to do some gymnastics for the movement section…a pronouncement that struck fear into my heart.  I decided that, since I didn’t have time to practice a lot of things, I would get a really good hold on a simple squatting to standing somersault.  

Here’s the scene: Me squatting on the floor, head cushioned by a pillow and tucked under, as I count slowly to ten.  And then count again.  And then count again.  It took me a solid five minutes before I could work up the courage to kick my feet over my head.  But finally, I sat on the floor with a huff, and imagined the worse that could happen–which was basically that I would twinge my neck a little, or run into the bookshelf.  Not a catastrophe.  

So one more deep breath, one more count of ten, and I flicked my feet off the floor, rolled, and landed in an ungainly crouch.  But the point is: I did a somersault.  And then I did another.  After about fifteen, I felt like they were pretty, graceful, maybe even pirate-y.  And I have conquered a fear that I’ve had since I was about five years old.

The moral of the story: Stop thinking, start doing.  Reaching beyond what your used to has the potential to make you happier than you would have thought!

Stop Thinking, Start Doing

Image

 

I think every once in awhile we need to remember why we are doing this career.  I have been so caught up this past week with being good enough, getting into a show, getting a callback, being on everyone else’s level…and how much has that actually helped me?  Not a lot.  In fact, it might have done me some harm, because that way, literally, lies madness.  But it’s also one of the impossibilities of being a performer.  I don’t know if there will ever truly be a moment that I can be 100% chill in an audition and okay with not getting the part.  Because I really, really want it.  But there gets to be a point where that is disruptive to your audition, and you shoot yourself in the foot.

Eek.

So how do you deal with this?  There are a few tactics I’ve learned.

1) You are you.  And that is your best asset.  No one else can really play a part better than you; they can just play it differently.  So don’t waste your time worrying about what everyone else is doing.  This is especially helpful with monologue auditions, because someone will always be doing your monologue.  You have to realize what you have to offer and keep on keeping on.

2) Don’t think about the people in the audition room.  Come in, introduce yourself, and then do your monologue for you.  Because you have something you have to say.  Because there is someone you have to move.  The person you’re talking to isn’t at the audition table, so don’t worry about them.

3) Don’t think, just do.  I really have to work on this one in all aspects of my life.  There comes a point where you have done all you can do.  The work is solid, the intent is there, and you need to just go for it.  

4) Once you’re done, you’re done.  Seriously.  I am a horrible worrier and analyzer.  After I audition, I want to go back over every detail, and I can waffle in the same thought between “I was amazing!” and “I suck, I’m never getting back onstage!” But the only thing this worrying does is make me freak out and cost me sleep.  Once I’ve finished, it’s time to start looking forward to the next audition.  Or, please please please, callbacks.

 

Just some good things to remember in the wake of a stressful audition season.  Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle!