You Are Enough.

I had a bad voice lesson yesterday.  We’ve all had those days: you’re sick or just getting over it; you’re exhausted; you have too many other things on the brain; you’re stressed…and so on.  Most of the time, I just work through all the crap and come out feeling happier with my sounds, and the work that I did.

Not yesterday.

Yesterday, songs that sounded good before sounded like crap.  Persnickety vowels that I thought I had perfected made a comeback.  No matter how hard I worked, the sounds just were not happening the way I wanted them to.  And making all of that worse was the lingering, terrifying thought: I have an audition tomorrow.

So, I cried.  Obviously.  My first time crying in a voice lesson here at school (which is actually terribly surprising, considering I am usually a veritable fountain when I become stressed).

My voice teacher was, I think, a little perplexed. She apologized if she was pushing me too hard, and I said no, that wasn’t it.  I was crying because I knew how it was supposed to sound, where it was supposed to be…and I. Could. Not. Do. It

After being in a bad mood for a couple of hours, I came to a realization that I’m going to keep in my brain for the rest of my performing career:

Be easier on yourself. You’re enough.

This sounds so simple on paper, but I think it’s the hardest thing for my mind to understand about performing. I don’t want it to be GOOD.  I want it to be the most spectacular thing I’ve ever performed in my life.  I want every audition to be perfect, and when I feel like that isn’t happening/isn’t going to happen, I panic.  Like, fluttery stomach, shaky hands, no-way-out panic. Not conducive to a good audition in itself, right?

So when I go to the practice rooms today, I’m going to hope that whatever was wrong has magically gone away due to the gallons of water I’ve been drinking and a good night’s sleep.  But if it doesn’t? Okay. I am presenting these people with the best “me” that I can give.  I will act the hell out of my piece, and I will NOT apologize or agonize if I didn’t make my “o” vowel as “oo” as I wanted it. 

I’m enough.

Hopefully this gives you a little inspiration to keep going today.

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Spring Musical Auditions

Spring Musical Auditions
Ah, it’s that time of year again. Spring means auditioning in BFA land, as we all struggle to find summer work  that is theatrically fulfilling and pays (a lot of the time, it seems like you have to pick one of those options).  I’m auditioning for a lot of stuff, on both ends of the spectrum, and seeing what happens.  Auditioning is success in itself–it means you’re getting yourself out there!  Tonight I have my first music theatre audition, and I’m a fan of dressing it up: cute dress, solid nude heels, some statement jewelry, and you’ve got yourself a look.  NOTE: this is NOT what I would wear to a theatre audition. Ever. In a million years.  I’ll post about the differences later!
Woof. Deep breath.  Wish me break legs!

Sugar Rush

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I have a very serious problem. And that problem is my sweet tooth.  I have developed huge reserves of willpower during a long and arduous weight loss journey (try five years and 90 pounds!), but all of that seems to crumble to the ground when I’m faced with something ooey, gooey, and oh so sweet. Especially lately.

Salt? I can do without it. I haven’t had a real potato chip in about a year.  Fried food? Despite the occasional French fry indulgence, I’m not about it.  But sugar? Ah, sugar.  I find myself craving it all the time.  Like, constantly.  These past two weeks have been absolutely riddled with the stuff.  In an average day, I’d wake up and have a few chocolate chips out of the open bag in my pantry I just can’t get rid of.  When I got back from class, I’d sneak a few redvines out of the HUGE bag my mom sent me (those things are my kryptonite).  Then after dinner, it would be one piece of Godiva dark chocolate from my Valentine’s set.  And then at rehearsal, whatever sweet treats the cast brought (cookies, brownies…you can’t get a group of thirty women together and not expect them to bake).  And, to put the sugar-coated cherry on top, Liz and I started eating marshmallows to help our sore throats.  And they did.  But five of them each night? Yea, might have been overkill.

Basically, I need to stop it with the sugar thing.  And it’s so hard, because all of this delicious sugar stuff is RIGHT THERE! Sitting in my pantry, lounging on the dessert table in the caf, proffered by a loving friend.  It’s ridiculous! My body needs real nutrients, especially when I’m as sick as I am right now (horrible coughing.  Be glad you’re not in classes with me. It sucks.)  So, for the next three days, I am going on a complete sugar detox.  I’m not talking about the sugar found inherently in most food–I need to have fruit and juice right now!–but all those extra yummy little goodies that have been helping my emotional release? They gotta go.

I’ll let you know how this one turns out.

 

Top Ten Ways to Relax and Reset

After dating the Boyfriend (aka Navy Boy) for a year, I have come to realize that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who can relax, and those who can’t.  He rests comfortably in the former.  I languish in the latter.

Exhibit A: A Hypothetical Situation.  The Boyfriend and I both decide to have a chill day sitting in the living room reading.  We have no due dates, no assignments, nowhere to be…the perfect moment to take a deep breath and recharge our batteries.  

His day looks like this: sit and read for two hours.  Break for food. Sit and read some more.

Mine looks like this: sit and read for half an hour. Remember how messy the bedroom is.  Clean bedroom.  Read a little more. Fidget. Remember that scholarship due in August.  Is it really due in August? Go look up due date. It’s due in August. Return to couch. Remember I was going to bake cookies. Bake cookies. Get frustrated with how long cookies are taking. Return to couch. Read a little more. Think about all of the other things I could be doing. Initiate feelings of guilt and remorse for “wasting” the day.

 

And so on. Yikes.  I have gotten into the horrible habit of not being able to relax.  As in, I do not know how to do it. So this afternoon into evening, I’m going to attempt it.  A complete night of doing nothing but relaxing. After I clean my room, that is.  Here is a top ten list of ways that I like to relax:

1. Bubble baths. That comes as no surprise.

2. Painting my nails.

3. Reading.

4. Watching a great movie that I won’t get distracted from.

5. Taking a walk while listening to good music.

6. Baking or cooking.

7. Assembling collages from magazines of pictures and fashion that inspire me.

8. Writing stories or poetry.

9. Playing the piano.

10. Napping. Oh, how I love napping.

Anyone else have this issue? Tips to combat the constant need to be “doing something?”

Hail, Caesar!

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And thus we bid farewell to another show.  Going to college for theatre is strange.  Even stranger than high school.  There is a constant ebb and flow to life here: audition, get cast, do a show, audition for more shows, get cast, first show closes, on to the next…and so on. Never a dull moment.

My parting thoughts on Caesar: I will certainly never do this show, quite this way, ever again.  At first, everyone was a bit confused about the concept would work (“All women? All tribal women? Whaaaa–?”), but work it did. We were left with a show full of exhilarating combat, an amazing concept, that featured women far outside their sometimes cloistered roles in Shakespeare plays.  I’ll look back on it with some fond memories, lots of stress, and a healthy dose of appreciation for doing something brand new.

My favorite moments in this show:

-Dancing down the stairs in our thrust theatre at the beginning.  We all wore Maenad masks (covering half the face), and danced to Purity Ring’s “The Cartographist” while chasing a deer…and then tearing it to shreds.  Terrifying. Terrifyingly awesome.  The hush that that dance put over the theatre will live in my head for a long time.

-Working with Liz.  Having a best friend in a show with you is awesome.  Being in a cohesive ensemble together? Even better.  Liz and I created huge character arcs for our moments as “random crowd persons numbers 3 and 4,” deciding exactly what we were doing and why.  That’s the only way to do an ensemble scene, in my opinion.

-Fights!

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Our production of Caesar.  Credits to OCU Theatre.

I am a fight choreography queen.   I absolutely love it.  In fact, I want to pursue it in my future, and possibly get a certificate to choreograph fights.  The precision it requires is incredible, and you have to have the perfect physicality for the moves…it’s like a different form of working out! Obsessed.  

This show has been my life for the past month and a half, and I can’t quiet wrap my head around the fact that it’s done. But now…on to the next!  Emotional Creature rehearsals start next week.  Never a dull moment, I tell you.

 

Five Things…Chill Edition

Thus week has been insanity.  I finished and turned in 70 pages of paperwork on one character and one play (Uncle Vanya), had tech week and opened Caesar last night (it was amazing! Such a good audience, and a very good flow and pacing of the show.  Only downside–we missed free movie night.  Again. Le sigh).  And now I’m looking forward to  a weekend of three more shows, an audition Sunday morning, and studying for a math test. Woo.

In there somewhere, I am going to fit a lot of relaxation and down time, because my body is currently hating me.  I am sore all over, I have huge bruises down my arms and legs from all the stage combat in the show (I get stabbed in the stomach and fall down, which, coupled with my proclivity to bruise like a banana, does not the happiest body make), and this morning I woke up almost unable to talk. Joy.

So, here are five relaxing, me-time things I’m planning on getting done.

1. Bubble Baths.

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It literally cannot get any better than a bubble bath with this stuff.  There’s nothing like coming home from a show and showering off all the makeup and hairspray before slipping into a bath. Sigh.

2. Freebirds!

We got this new burrito place a little while ago, and I’ve heard rave reviews.  So I am going with Liz after strike on Sunday and stuffing my face. Healthy? No. Delicious? Yes.

3. Vegging with a magazine.

I adore magazines.  I would love to write for one someday! There’s just something about the glossy pages that gets me every time.  My mom sent me about four in my Valentine’s package, and I might just demolish them all this weekend.

4. Coffee.

There is nothing like sleeping in late on the weekends and waking up to a fabulous cup of coffee.  I finally figured out how to get it for cheap with my Keurig (buy one of the little multiple use filter things and a HUGE vat of black roast Folgers, and go crazy!)

5. SLEEP.

I am not the kind of person who can subsist on six hours of sleep every night for a week.  Especially at the rate we are continually moving at this school, sleep has become sacred to me.  Naturally, since this week is insane, I haven’t been getting a lot…and I think that’s a major reason my body is rebelling.  So this weekend, I am sleeping in. I am taking naps.  And I am making the most of the time I spend in my cosy, awesome bed.  

Can’t wait.  

I’ll post more about Caesar soon…like pictures!

Making It Work

 

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This is my original draft of my tribal Julius Caesar look.  Believe it or not, it’s gotten even crazier since then.  I’ll be posting more pictures later!

This is a short post dedicated to the art of Making It Work. I find, at least for myself, that a few days before tech week and the beginning of tech week itself is where my work goes to die.  Especially as a member of a large ensemble.  I think this is true for a lot of actors.  We spend so much time getting our stuff together in rehearsal and coming up with cool ideas and staging and plots for our characters…and then we burn out.  It feels like the director isn’t watching us anymore, these rehearsals are taking forever, my legs hurt, I bruised my elbow in that fight, and when, dear God, WHEN do I get to eat???  

And so on.

I have been guilty of being pessimistic during the first three days of tech and not putting out as much work as I should have.  It can be so easy to screw around with your ensemble members on stage while the “real action” is going on in front of you.  But in the long run, this only makes you more negative about the show itself, and leads to a really disorganized picture for the audience.  Just because the director isn’t watching you isn’t a license to screw around! 

So last night, Liz and I decided to give it our all.  No matter what the other ensemble members were doing, we were going to go for it like it was opening night in every scene we took part in.  Did that make us look stupid in some scenes where other people weren’t expending any effort?

Sure did.

Did that matter to me? Not at all.

The truth to longevity in acting is that you have to work through whatever other shit is happening.  Having a bad day doesn’t mean I don’t go on, or do subpar work.  If anything, I just channel it in to whatever emotion is riling inside my character.

And the ensemble is just as important as the leads, because it takes everyone to make the world of the play.  What you do matters.
And sometimes…you just gotta make it work.

 

TECH WEEK!

I am writing you from the bowels of tech week, also known as “hell week” to some pessimistic performers.  Though I’m actually starting to feel the inferno aspect of it, to tell the truth.  I have a HUGE Chekhov midterm due Thursday, algebra due tomorrow, assorted other monologues and songs to be preparing…and rehearsal from 6-12 every night. Oof.

This show is very exhausting, since we are running around fighting and dancing and being generally tribal for two and a half hours.  But as much as I’d love to just fall into bed and never get up…there’s work to be done!

I’ll give you updates on opening night coming soon, and what else this crazy week has thrown at me!

Happy Valentine’s Day, World!

ImageI will be spending my day waiting for Valentine’s packages from the family and the Boyfriend (aka Navy Boy), working on a Chekhov scene, and rehearsing for Caesar.  So romantic.  But hopefully at some point I will fit in a long, hilarious phone conversation with the guy (we’re getting really good at those…long distance probs), and watching a rom-com with a good friend after rehearsal.

No so secretly, I am obsessed with Valentine’s Day.  I believe in showing people you love them and care about them every day of the year, but when is it ever more prevelant than this special day? So I’m wearing pink, wishing everyone well, and sending lots of love into the universe.  Especially to my fellow BFAs, who I think sometimes need to know that they are worth it, that they are talented, and that they are beautiful…even more than regular people.

Sending love to you all, along with one of my favorite quotes on love from one of my favorite movies.