Perfect is Boring

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So! When we last talked, I was fast and furiously preparing for sophomore juries, which are sort of the capstone of your first two years in the BFA acting program.  You go in, perform three monologues in four minutes, and leave.  And the next night, you sit in a room with four members of the acting faculty for ten minutes, and they tell you all of the things that you need to work on/are doing well. A little nerve wracking.

Or, if you’re me, a lot nerve wracking.

I am a perfectionist.  I like things that are “in my control” to go perfectly.  Which is odd, because in so many other things in life, I’m a go with the flow, happy-go-lucky kind of person.  This year I’ve developed pretty severe anxiety about things “not going right.” Which is unfortunate, because acting is a live art form.  Meaning that things usually do not go how you expect them to.  I know all this, and it’s finally starting to seep into my brain, and yet anxiety issues are not something you can simply switch on and off.

 

But in the midst of my worrying, I realized something: it’s cliche, but I AM ENOUGH.  So I’m not perfect all the time.  I wouldn’t be in college if I was.  I’m here to learn, not to be the perfect student.  I get so worried about my teachers thinking I’m doing a good job that I sometimes forget how much I love what I do–and really, why act if you don’t love it?  There are so many easier things.  So no matter what they said, I would come out of there and still be Lauren. I’d still have an incredible group of friends and family, the most amazing boyfriend, great writing skills, a solid sense of humour, and a talent with making fatty delicious desserts. 

This might shock you: but my talkback was great.  Mostly positive things were said, all of which made my heart glow.  The biggest critiques were my unwillingness to forgive myself and my fear of losing control and letting it all go–both of which are necessary to good acting.  I cried through the whole thing (poor teachers!), but I felt so much release.  I know the faculty loves me and cares about me as a performer and as a person.  They believe in me and my work, which is an incredible feeling.

So.  Woof.  What a weekend.  My project this summer is going to be work on lessening my anxiety, learning to let go and have fun in the work, and gaining some self-confidence.  All difficult for me, but I am so pumped to take the next step in this amazing journey.

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Spring Accesories

Spring Accesories
At this time of year, I always start craving a new catch all purse and some adorable wedges to match everything I throw on! I’m also loving the new style of bib necklaces–and luckily, Forever 21 has great options at a college-student price point.  I’ll probably be rewarding myself with one in the near future.  In the meantime, I’m going to day dream about these fabulous options.  Gotta have a style for every mood!

Five Things…Jury Weeked!

I feel like the Jaws theme song plays every time someone around here mentions Sophomore Acting Juries.  These are like the capstone to our first two years of BFA Acting training.  You go in front of the school of theatre faculty members, and perform three monologues in four minutes. For me, that means a 1:30 Shakespeare, a 1:30 Chekhov, and a one minute contemporary piece.  Woo! Talk about intense.  That all happens Sunday.

On Monday, we go in to have a ten minute sit down discussion with the faculty.  They talk about anything and everything: how your pieces went, yes, but also what they’ve seen in the past two years, what you do great at, what you could improve upon, any behavioral issues, things they’d like to see next year…and so on.  That part is the most nerve racking to me, because I can’t control it at all!

In the midst of this jury craziness, there’s also a weekend. Go figure.  Here’s what I’m most excited about.

1) Performing my monologues.  I’m not really even nervous for this part.  I truly love all of my pieces, and I’m so excited to finally perform what I’ve been working on for the past few weeks! Especially my Shakespeare…cause that thing is just such a jam.  Love it to pieces.

2) The post-jury party.

Heaven in a cup.

After juries, a bunch of the BFAts (that’s my sophomore class buddies) and I are going out for a big margherita pizza and some fro yo.  It will be the unhealthiest that I have eaten in weeks…and I cannot, cannot wait.  Sometimes, you gotta live a little.  After that, I will be coming home to a good book and an amazing bubble bath. And hopefully, some stress free sleep!

3) Lazing about! If you haven’t been able to tell from my last months’ worth of posts, I don’t get a large amount of down time here at school.  Full disclosure: I pretty much get none.  So this weekend, I’m looking forward to sleeping in.  To watching episodes of wedding shows.  To maybe even indulging in a movie.  I’m looking forward to having ample time to get my homework done–how sad is that?? I’m so ready to have a little bit of de-stress time before we launch into the craziness that is last week and finals week (and boy, is it ever crazy).  Fact: I am currently lounging in yoga pants with a huge glass of water and a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, and intend on finding a new Netflix show as soon as I finish this post.  Let’s see if I can remind myself how to relax!

4) Jeans!  Okay.  This is a tiny one.  And it’s a little sad how excited I am.  But I bought the most amazing jeans for my jury, and the world must know! They’re American Eagle Artist cut, super stretch.  All the comfort of a jegging, but with a look stylish and tailored enough to wear to an audition.  I’m in love. I want all the pairs!

American Eagle Outfitters Artist Jean

Wimpy pic, I know.  More incentive to go look for them in store!
Or find them online
here.

5) Foods!  I have a tradition of splurging for the last two weeks of the semester and getting “Lauren Level Comfort Food.”  For me, that means:

-Honeycrisp apples (so expensive, so worth it.  The agony and the ecstasy)
-Strawberries! Or another kind of fruit I usually pass up with a laugh of “Ha, I’m poor.”
-TWO kinds of cereal.  That’s right, y’all.  It’s getting crazy in here. (for the record, today it was cheerios and cinnamon Life, aka Lauren’s crack).
-Original Goldfish. Just one bag.  A little salty indulgence.
-Raisins.  What, whole fruit and dried fruit??? The world is a remarkable place.
-Creamy chicken ramen noodles.  For those last two nights of school that I just really, really need it. Sorry, sodium content gods.
-Salad! Because the lettuce is sad here.
-The end all be all: a bag of Dove dark chocolate.  I mean…how could I not?  I usually try to keep this one at one piece per day…but who knows how my mind will hold up in these last two weeks? My math skills have never been exemplary.

 

Hope your weekend is just as exciting!

 

La Vie en Paris

I’ve been needing some escape these past few weeks.  And since I am currently still finishing up my sophomore year in a landlocked state, the opportunities for gorgeous escape destinations are rather few and far between.  So I’ve been using my favorite (and least expensive!) travel option: reading a book.

Cue that reading rainbow song.  I’m every kindergarten English teacher’s dream.

Seriously, though.  There is nothing better than finishing up a long day, running a bubble bath, and just soaking while reading a good book.  It’s my time to destress, forget about the worries that I’ve been carrying with me, and finally breathe a sigh of relief.

This therapy, plus some hard core running workouts while watching Say Yes to the Dress, have been protecting my sanity for the past two weeks, and will probably continue to do so up until I get into my car and drive back home.

Currently, my reading list has been filled with trips to far away lands.  More specifically, to Paris.  The list of “one year in Paris” memoirs is surprisingly long, and they all provide a sweet and decadent trip across the Pond, without the thousand dollar price tag.  Here are my current favorites!

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Find it here

This sweet little memoir details a year spent in Paris searching for the best sweets, en francaise.  Amy Thomas details her adventures as a reporter searching for the perfect macarons and chocolats while also giving a glimpse into a life of a 20-something expat in a new country.  It’s an absolute dream job, and I can’t help but read the book and wish I was living it! Paris plus sweets.  My two favorite things.

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Find it here

Eloisa James is the best romance novel author there is (yes, I’ve read a few. Sue me).  But she branches out into her real life in this wonderful memoir.  As a Shakespeare professor (hello, dream job!), Eloisa is allowed to take sabbatical.  And after a bout with breast cancer leaves her searching for meaning, she decides to take a year abroad in Paris…with her teenager, tween, and husband in tow.  This book is a collection of her Facebook and email entries, edited and fleshed out.  They’re beautiful little nougats of Parisian goodness, with all the history, personality, and yes, food, that you could wish for.  This was the greatest spring break read ever!

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Find it here

This memoir is the stuff of a romantic comedy: Elizabeth Bard, witty and pithy classic American beauty, falls head over heels for a debonair French PhD student.  And they continue talking. And emailing. And visiting.  And finally, she decides to move to Paris to be with him…and great soul searching and hilarity ensues.  What really makes this memoir special, however, are the recipes interspersed and tied in with her stories.  Whether it’s a hearty noodle dish made for a late dinner after a morning spent in bed, or a delicious dessert straight out of a French picnic, reading these recipes of love makes my mouth water.  And makes me wish The Boyfriend (aka Navy Boy) had a secret flat in the 10th Arrondissement.

If you need a vacation, head to your nearest Barnes and Noble and pick one of these up! You will not be disappointed, je promets.

Bonne journee!

Love the Art in Yourself

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Such a great thing to remember.  As important as all the technique is, you have to remember why you get up in the morning and do what you do.  I’ve had a difficult time this year with worrying so much about if I’m doing a good job technically performing that I forget how much I love to just act.  There comes a point where you have to let it all go and just live in the joy of performing.  I’m going to work on getting that back in my life.  It’s the most important thing, after all: if you’re not passionate about this work, there are a billion other things you could be doing!

My Favourite…Places to Eat!

Fave Restaurants
I need a fun post in this crazy stressful week, so today I’m going to talk about my absolute favorite restaurants and type of foods, and how I make healthier choices!…some of the time. I love to eat out and try new restaurants.  I usually don’t have the money to go out, so when I do, I like to plan ahead and make it really special!  Here are some of my favorites.
Quickie Lunch:
1. Panera Bread: I love this place! It’s cheap, it’s quick, and they let you sit and do acting homework for hours! Not that I’ve tried. Ahem.
-When I Want to Indulge: You Pick Two with half a chicken caesar sandwich and a bowl of French onion soup.  Sigh. So good.
-When I’m Being Good: A bowl of chicken noodle soup with a whole grain baguette!
Don’t Miss: the lemonade! My fave.
2. Jason’s Deli: My dad and my’s go to spot!
-When I Want to Indulge: nothing beats the chicken pot pie soup in the middle of winter.  Warms your belly and heart!
-When I’m Being Good: they have the best Turkey Wrap here I’ve ever had! So refreshing.  Get it with a side of fruit to really boost your health benefits.
3. Noodles and Company: I could eat here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Seriously. So good.
-When I Want to Indulge: I almost never get it…so bad for you.  But if I’m going for it, I get the Wisconsin Mac and Cheese.  It’s to die for!
-When I’m Being Good: Here’s a twofer, cause they’re both so darn good! I either get the pad thai with chicken, or the penne rosa with parmesan chicken and no mushrooms if I’m feeling spicy.
Tip: Order the small size, not the large! Plenty of food, and friendlier on your waistline and budget.
Dinner Date:
1. Cheesecake Factory: Fun fact–I’ve never had a slice of cheesecake here! I get too full. Here are my go to meals.
-When I Want to Indulge: the white chicken chili is amazing.  And also, bread. Lots of bread.
-When I’m Being Good: the skinnylicious chicken tomato mozzarella pasta is wonderful! And avoid that bread basket. And cheesecake. Sigh.
Don’t Miss: I’d rather have the strawberry lemonade here than a slice of cheesecake.  It’s just that good.
2. Red Rock Canyon Grill: This is my fave restaurant in my town, but my grill selections apply to most steakhouses!
-When I Want to Indulge: filet minon with mashed potatoes.  Cannot go wrong with a good steak, and there’s is perfect/
-When I’m Being Good: they have incredible salmon here! I get it with grilled veggies and carrots instead of my favorite garlic mashed potatoes.
3. Sushi!: this is a new phenomenon in my life.  I have grown to love, and crave, sushi.  It’s just so good! I could eat it all day.
-When I Want to Indulge: I get more than one roll and a cup of egg drop soup.
-When I’m Being Good: I’m obsessed with steamed edamame! So yummy.  And one volcano roll.
Dessert Heaven
Ah, my favourite topic.  I’ve only listed two because I’m not going to give healthy options with this one.  It’s dessert. Live a little!
1. Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt: I think Liz and I should take out stock at this place.  It’s our go to for semi-healthy destressing!
-What I Order: if I’m feeling fruity, I get orange or cotton candy fro yo with gummy worms and fresh fruit.  So good.  If I want to really go for it, I mix some combination of wedding cake, coffee, brownie, or peanut butter fro yo and top with heath bar and chocolate chips. Soooo good.
2. La Brioche: This is a little French bakery and cafe in my home town.  Do some searching and I’m sure you’ll find a similar one near you!
-What I Order: whoever is fortunate enough to be my date is forced to split a creme puff with me.  Imagine fluffy, sweet, perfectly dreamy homemade whipped creme sandwiched between two puffy, air-light pastries that have been coated in chocolate, all surrounded by the freshest strawberries.  That, my friends, is what heaven looks like.

We Are Back, We Are Back!

Life as an acting major sometimes just seems like a continue roll of shows opening and shows closing.  I feel like we just began rehearsals for Emotional Creature, and now we’re done! Craziness.

The tech week for this show was crazy.  Our director had a family emergency, and was only able to attend half of one tech rehearsal (and I cannot thank her enough for her commitment to the show). So on we went, working with each other, trusting the ensemble and our amazing stage manager, and tweeking and finessing without a director! Hard stuff.  I don’t think any of us really knew how the show was going to go over.  We all loved it. We loved the ensemble we had created, and felt a deep and powerful connection to the material we had talked about.  But we also knew that it was long (three hours!), intense, and not everyone’s cup of tea.  We went into performances with a lot of joy, and just a tiny touch of nerves.

Y’all, people LOVED it.

I am so happy to say that.  The audience every night came ready to dance and take a journey with us.  They let themselves be invested in this story of what it’s like to be a girl, no matter if they were younger, older, girl, guy, crazy, shy, whatever.  The laughter and applause was incredible, as were the moments of silent emotion and recognition.

If you play for audience approval in theatre, you’re going to be dissapointed at least some of the time–not everyone likes every kind of play or performance, after all.  And even though I know this, I wanted so badly for this show to go well.  And I am so, so happy that it did!

And now we are back to the regular, non-tech life of a BFA.  Oh, wait.  I forgot to mention: it’s sophomore jury time.

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JURIES?!?!?! Where??

Duh, duh, DUH!!!

Fun stuff. So this week is going to be spent working monologues, memorizing audition pieces, and generally waffling between being nervous and excited.

Tech Week.

You won’t be hearing from me a lot this week because we are in full on tech mode, and our director is out for a family emergency.  Woof.  Talk about the perfect storm.

I’m not terribly worried because I love my cast, and I believe in the work we’re doing.  This show is long, hard, and has been a very intense process, but I’m proud that we will be putting it on stage for people tomorrow night (OOF.  That is terrifying!)

Also, I’m getting no sleep, so my adrenaline is getting me through.  Pump it up.

I’m going to be more excited than this superhero corgi.

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Top Ten Kid’s Quotes While Playing a Disney Character

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Don’t judge my deflated curls. It was a long night.

I had the amazing opportunity to play Merida (from Disney’s Brave) this weekend at Fairytale Ball, a fundraiser that our local Children’s Theatre runs.  Fundraiser doesn’t do it justice; this is a gala event where parents bring their dressed up children to be entertained by the characters, and then feast and drink and dance the night away.

It was a fun, long (opperative word: long) five hours. 

I somehow didn’t realize quite how exhausting it would be to run around with approximately 200 kids, who all want you to dance with them/sing/tell your story/get their mom/ hit you with balloon swords.  

After the night was over, I went home and passed out.  But a few of the quotes from some of the more adorable kids stuck with me.

 

1. Why isn’t your hair red? x1000000 I didn’t have the heart to tell them that it’s natural.  So I said that my mum made me dye it to be less wild and more lady like.  Incredulous faces all around, but I had to stick with it.  And promise I would dye it back immediately upon my return to Scotland.

2. Your hair isn’t red, but I know it’s you cause you talk the same! Thank god.  I worked on my poor man’s Scottish accent for maybe ten minutes before I got to the ball.  I usually pick up accents easily, but this one was turning into some Israeli (my accent in Emotional Creature)/Cockney conglomerate…oof.  As soon as I talked to the kids though, it got better.  It’s being added to my special skills list as we speak.

3. Why do you talk weird?  I’m Scottish, silly child. Haven’t you scene me movie?

4. You were a cartoon in the movie.  Why aren’t you a cartoon in real life? This one was Inception-level confusing.  I think I laughed awkwardly and said, “Well, maybe you’d be a cartoon too if Disney came and filmed your life!!!” She seemed slightly convinced. Maybe it was just my relief at coming up with an answer.


5. You’re my favorite! I know.  I’m an attention lover. But there was one adorable little girl dressed up as Merida, and she followed me around for most of the night.  It’s good to hear that you’re the favorite in a room full of Belles and Ariels.  Okay, attention mongering done.

6. Where are your bow and arrows?  Can I shoot them? These seemed to go hand in hand.  At first I was sad the costume hadn’t come with a bow, and then I realized the utter wisdom of that decision.  We did not need one more thing for kids to hit us with.  Thank you, costume gods.

7. Do you remember in your movie when…? Adorable.  Every kid who talked about my movie asked if I remembered certain moments.  Their excitement was contagious!

8. Do you really live in a castle? Yes.  I sure do.  Castle Dunbroch, with my father King Fergus and my mum Queen Elinor, who is no longer a bear.  (See, I did my research!)

9. Your dress is sooooooo pretty! Pretty, yes.  Yards and yards of green velvet and sparkly gold polyester.  Also 15 pounds.  But who cares?  I love being a medieval princess.

10. You’re just a real person, aren’t you?  Ouch, kid.  That one hurt.  It’s so odd to have a room filled with kids at different states of believing. Some totally get it; others are beginning to notice that the characters aren’t just like what they saw on screen (that they don’t have red hair, for example…oops).  I was happy to smile and calmly reply, “Of course I am.  I’m Merida, princess of Dunbroch from Scotland.  Who are you?”  

 

It was a fun, crazy, tiring, and epic night, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity! Reprisal at Disneyland someday? Who knows.

Five Things…A Theatre Filled Weekend

This weekend is chock full of theatre goodness. And a little baking.  So you know it’s going to be a good one.  Here are five things I’m excited about.

1) Fairytale Ball

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This is an awesome tradition that the Children’s Theatre affiliated with the school puts on each year.  It’s a huge benefit gala for parents and children, so the parents can come and bid on auction items, eat, drink, and generally make merry, while the children play with their favorite characters.  Who are, you guessed it, your friendly neighborhood theatre majors, volunteering.  

I actually got to sign up this year because my five hour rehearsal will be over just in time for me to change and go to the ball.  Ah, life.  But I will be performing as Merida, from the Disney film Brave, which is basically a dream come true.  If I could play her at Disney, I would die happy.  Now I’m just brushing up on a quick overnight Scottish accent, and I should be good to go.  Another plus? The dress is really cute. And I get to rock my curly hair like no one’s business.

2) Cookies and Candies and Treats…

Oh, my! I’m hosting a meeting at our sorority house, and since it’s my last one of the year, I decided to go all out with treats.  Which means the seniors will be getting chocolate dipped strawberries, and the underclassmen will be getting some kind of cookie that I haven’t yet determined.  But this gives me an excuse to bake, which is my happy time in a nutshell. I can’t wait to destress, and get a little sugar high!

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3) Me Time

I have been contained in a room with 19 other girls, every night from 6:30-10:30.  I have come home and done homework before falling into bed an exhausted mess.  So tonight, I am going to get home from rehearsal, and I am going to soak in a bubble bath.  I am going to paint my nails.  I might, and I know I’m dreaming big here, but I might even watch a TV show.  Basically, I’m just excited to chill for a little bit and actually get some sleep.   Nirvana in a nutshell.

4) SUSHI!

I tried to resist the temptation, but now that I like sushi, I crave it all. The. Time.  Oh, how things change.  When Mollie suggested we get some before rehearsal, my mind said no but my mouth said yes.  Now I can’t wait.  Volcano roll, here I come!

5) Monologue Work

We are all in crunch time for Sophomore Juries, which are the capstone of your halfway zone in my BFA program.  I’ll be spending some quality time with my monologues this weekend, curled up with a cup of coffee and a pen, figuring out my life and my choices.  I’m more excited than scared at this point, because I’m proud of the work I’ve been doing–so what have I got to lose?

 

It’s going to be another busy but exciting weekend, and I can’t wait to start it out!