Monday, June 27, 2005

Back in the saddle...

Well, I've returned from my trip to Buffalo and Toronto. I had a really good time with my friend C., with whom I used to work. It's always strange to be out of your environment and routine, but it's healthy as well. For example, it helps you to stop focusing on things in your every day life that you frustrate or worry you. While I was away on vacation and busy, I forgot that I can't get cast, that I've only had two plays (and one was really a monologue, not a play) accepted into festivals, that I don't have a boyfriend, that I have a crappy car (that is okay FOR THE MOMENT) and no money, that I need to find a new therapist, and that my supervisor's last day was Friday and now our department is adrift. Boy, I'm full of cheer, aren't I? I'm sorry that I sound rather negative; I'm just feeling the "going back to work and back to the grind" blues in a big way tonight. I've been off from work for 10 days, and honestly, I haven't missed it at all. That probably isn't a good sign, is it? :-(

During my break, the first extended one since December, I began to sleep far less fitfully, with far fewer nightmares, I felt more rested, and I had a lot of time to walk and take in fresh air. I ate good food, I read The New Yorker and started Nick Hornby's new book, "A Long Way Down" (I like it so far, despite it's theme of suicide), and I just had down time. I feel like I never get down time, even though this is strange, considering that I'm single and am only working one night a week now (for the most part, though with Valerie gone, I'll have to work Monday nights again, along with Tuesday nights, my advising night). I think it's just that I'm always going, going, going, and I worry alot and get too caught up in things that probably aren't that important. I think I need to work on this aspect of my life more than anything. It was just so wonderful to take walks by the Charles River, or have relaxing lunches or dinners in Buffalo and Toronto with C. It was nice to go shopping for fun, to listen to a jazz concert (though it was about 90 degrees out, and I sweated a lot!) in downtown Toronto, to take a cruise around Toronto Harbour, to sit out on the 27th floor deck of the Delta Chelsea hotel, to see a movie ("Crash," which is really intense but extremely well acted and thought-provoking), and to sleep in. I guess I needed a vacation more than I needed!

I couldn't get home until today--the flights yesterday were sold out and I was flying companion fare, which is like stand-by--but that worked out okay, since C. and I got all of Sunday, and I was still home by 1pm today and off to the gym shortly thereafter. Now, though, my vacation is over, and I'm not ready for it to end! (Thankfully, next weekend is July 4th, so I get Monday off.) The weather is also supposed to be iffy for the next few days, so I'm lucky I had sun for nearly the entire break, and it won't bother me as much to be inside on cloudy/rainy days. I think I need to remember to slow down and just relax, to take long walks just for the heck of it (which I did this evening, after it had cooled down a bit), and to try not to get too bothered by things. The reality of my artistic world is that I have a lot more writing to do, and it may be a while until theatres/festivals are interested, and that I may never get cast by any theatre companies (no word from any of the 55 producers from the Stagesource auditions). The reality of my romantic world is that I just don't seem to attract men, and it may be quite a while before I get lucky and find the right (or somewhat right?) man (yes, I know he'll be lucky, too, but it's hard to think that way). The reality of my work world is that it is going to suck without a Registrar and the three of us in the department may have some problems until someone is hired; all I can do is work as hard as I can and not worry too much. And until I find a new therapist (hopefully one who specializes in cognitive behaviorial therapy), I need to see mine when I can (which isn't that often, due to distance and both of our tight schedules) and keep it together otherwise.

I will keep working out (not that I'm concerned about that ;-)), try not to pig out, walk more, and remember to breathe. And who knows: I could get a decent raise this year and actually be able to afford a new car within the near future (God, I cannot wait to kiss this crappy Kia goodbye). I almost bought a chair at Pier One tonight; I have to stay out of stores, unless they are Newbury Comics or Barnes and Noble, where I still have gift certificates to use, keep fighting the stupid condo association that wants to fine me (or actually my poor landlord) $275 (pathetic) for parking in my space after 8am (not true) on Tuesdays/Fridays and blocking the dumpster (absolutely not true), and enjoy as much of the summer as I can (I'm going to my sister's in Western Mass this weekend, to see the nieces and hang out at their country club's pool and their own lovely backyard deck). Summer is short and I don't want to bemoan its passing because I was too busy not to take advantage of it. It will get much busier for me in late July and all through August, but I need to pace myself and get out there when I can. And I will. I have to. Fame is so overrated, anyway. :--P

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Yet another audition...and a new play by me!

Yes, Ms. "I am NEVER GOING TO AUDITION AGAIN AND DON'T LET ME!" Negativity did withstand the agony and ecstasy (actually, I think it should be the other way around) or auditioning today at Stagesource's annual open call. In point of fact, it's not very painful; you arrive at Boston University about 45 minutes early, complete with 55 resumes and headshots (or 50, if you're me and am five short--last year, I was 10 over, so I tried to conserve, and it didn't work out), sign in, and then wait. And wait. And wait, until they call your group (there were six in mine, but one woman had to leave, b/c they didn't realize she was going to sing, and the accompaniest wasn't prepared), you sit in the narrow hallway, Maureen (one of my former theatre teacher's protegees) the Stage Director instructs you on what to do, and you breathe deeply until she leads you into the space. She announces your name, and then you have exactly (and I do mean EXACTLY, b/c she times you with a stopwatch) 2 minutes and 10 seconds to repeat your name (recommended), give your phone number (if you're short headshots, gleep), and state the name of your piece and author (well, I did the latter, b/c I performed my monologue "The Boyfriend" from my one-woman show "Workin' Progress").

It's questionable as to whether performing your own piece is a good idea, I realize, but I know it really well, it feels comfortable to do it (I've done so for a number of auditions now, and it usually goes quite well, as I believe it did this afternoon), no one in the room had probably heard it before (unless they'd been to one of my shows at ImprovBoston, which is unlikely at best), and it wouldn't bore them. The only problem is that it doesn't show a real range; on the other hand, if I'm trying to show that I'm NOT in my 20s and hightly emotional (meaning, much different than most of the other women), this was a good piece to use. I like the piece enough that it makes sense for me to do all of it, and since it is about 1 minute, 55 seconds (I timed it twice today), it's an ideal length, in which there is a beginning, middle, and end. Had I used two monologues, and that is recommended, I admit, I would have had to cut some of it out, and I don't have another piece at the ready. I figure my chances are slim of being called by any of the 55 producers/directors in the room, but if someone liked me, or my writing, or both, I showcased myself in such a way that s/he would know what s/he was getting. That may not be character-wise the smartest way to go, but since I'm focusing on my writing, anyway, and I want to be comfortable on stage--I was far more comfortable this year than at last year's Stagesource auditions, which is good progress, me thinks--I think this monologue works well for me.

Honestly, I would be beside myself with joy if someone called and was interested in my writing and wanted to use me or collaborate. I didn't get a callback from the Devanaughn (shock!!!), though they did send me a nice note, and I was obviously (very) disappointed, though not surprised. They liked my writing, praised it, but were not looking for writers. Maybe someone today WAS. Ans speaking of writing, I am in the process of completing a brand new, hot-off-the-presses play called "Accept This" (I think--for the moment, anyway, and it works), formerly (as in a half hour ago) called "I'm Not Gay (Am I?)." I prefer the latter title, but it gives too much away, and this is a play where it would be fun to have audience discover the premise (that the woman is NOT gay...oh, no, I gave it away b/f you even read it! I'm so baaaad!) simultaneously with the woman realizing her gay scene partner, male, is convinced that she is. It's supposed to be a comedy, a parody of p.c.-dom, and while I'm not sure it works, I'm going for it. It's edgier (by which I mean risque, or risky, rather than dark) than I usually go, but I would like to send it to two short play festivals, one through AYTB and one through Another Country Productions (SLAMBoston), and both like the edgier stuff (and Another Country does some gay-themed plays every season, as far as I can tell; they are very inclusive). I don't know if I would send this to the heartland, but I don't need to.

In addition, it was (is) fun to write, and it's based on a true-life incident (a gay scene partner did in fact insist that I was gay, which caused me to ponder it briefly, ponder why he thought so longer, and resulted in a poem that I think I've lost but which wasn't all that great). I hope it makes for a good play (unlike a good poem--I'm not a strong poet), and I hope to show it to D. and A. tomorrow (D. is working "Take Me Out" at the BCA and A. and I are going to see it) and get some feedback. I can't figure out what to do with the ending, but there's nothing new (I have an ending, but I don't know if it really resonates). It's currently about 9 1/4 pages, and I have at least another page of material, but I'm not sure it's needed. We'll see. It just feels so good to write again--I've been meaning to sit down and write but I've just been too tired and have been waiting for this vacation week to do so--and I'm proud of the fact that I finally sat down and got it DONE. Whether it's successful remains to be seen. If so, and with some minor editing (only, I hope), I will send it out and see how it does.

I feel that the vacation has gone well so far, with some work (therapy, writing, the audition) and some play (working out, if you can call that play, having ice cream with the Registrar's gang at work today and saying goodbye to Valerie, my supervisor--sigh, and strolling by the Esplanade and along Commonwealth Ave in Boston's beautiful Back Bay in lovely early summer weather), and having written the play makes me feel better about going to Buffalo to see Cynthia on Thursday. I am going to try not to think about today's auditions, b/c I realize it's unlikely I will get any calls (only two last year, resulting in nothing), but I know I was far more confident, and I got myself and my writing out there, and that's all I can do. And wait for Another Country Productions' auditions in late August, b/c they remain my best chance of getting cast, particularly with D. being chosen as one of the directors for the Fall (and kudos to her for going for it!).

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Worrying bad...taking action good!

I haven't written again b/c I haven't had much to say. What I'm writing about now isn't entirely relevant to the arts, BUT it is relevant to my life and times. I am quite dependent on my computer; I use it for about 6 hours a day at work and maybe another hour or two a day at home (sometimes less). Obsessive? Perhaps, but it calms me and keeps me informed. I have been quite lucky with my Dell thus far (knock on wood), and after initial trouble with the keyboard and mouse, rectified fairly quickly, everything has gone smoothly. UNTIL TONIGHT. For the first time, I was unable to use my mouse. It wasn't because it was disconnected (of course I checked that first), and it wasn't b/c the keyboard wasn't functioning (b/c I could turn the number lock key on and off by pressing it.

No, it was b/c when the computer started up, it said "keyboard failure," while a buzzing took place, and then...nada. Typically, I would have noticed this right away, but I haven't had to write any emails in the past 24 hours, and I also was still able to use the mouse, so I could access email and the internet. I found out tonight when I tried to type in an URL and couldn't, nor could I use any keyboard functions. I unplugged the keyboard, turned off the computer, and turned it back on. Nothing except the failure notice. I couldn't go to the website (or maybe I could, but I didn't), but instead tried going to the keyboard through Control Panel, and saw that there was no hardware attached! The manuel wasn't helpful, so I called Dell support (panicky; frankly, I still am, and the problem has been resolved!). Happily, a nice and informed technical representative discovered the problem quickly (a key was stuck! duh!). She then gave me a case number, her direct line, and the phone number for the extended warranty line (b/c it's clear I am going to need it b/f my warranty runs out the end of next month).

I am beyond relieved that it was such a simple problem and so easily rectified. The timing would have been horrible if it weren't fixed, since I'm now on vacation until June 28th (though it doesn't feel that way; I'm not at all relaxed and am still having nightmares) and therefore won't be in the office (except briefly on Tuesday, when we take my supervisor out for ice cream sundaes as a goodbye present; her last day is this Friday). What would I have done without email capabilities (well, response capabilities) for that long? I could not have done without them, is the answer, and I would have had to go into work every day (therefore nullifying the idea of vacation). I am going to be in Buffalo Thursday-Sunday, so I will have limited email access then, but besides that, I do intend to be online (and often).

Also, and more importantly, perhaps, I have set a goal of writing one and possibly two (though one is enough for now) short (10-minute) plays during my vacation. I have a couple of ideas: one is about a classmate several years ago who was sure I was gay, due to my short haircut and Doc Martens (I'm not, but he would not be persuaded). The other is dating related, but I can't remember exactly what I wanted to write about, so I guess that one is on hold, anyway. ;-) The former is more original, in any case, and is also a bit more edgy, which should work for either AYTB or SlamBoston's upcoming festivals (if the execution works, anyway). I did send AYTB a couple of monologues and my three-minute play on dating (which I think is cute), along w/ my 30-minute play, but I wanted to send something more contemporary, age-appropriate (their target audience is primarily 20-and early 30-somethings), and comic, and I think this could do the trick. Since I told AYTB I would send them the new play--I did this to put a bit of pressure on myself--I feel compelled to come through.

Sometimes (often) I forget that this is a HOBBY rather than my JOB, and that of course has been the problem from the beginning. I take this all waaaaaay too seriously, and forget that it's supposed to be for fun. That was the problem with improv (as Will at ImprovBoston told me time and time again), with auditions, and with writing. I have to remember that it really doesn't matter if my plays are accepted in the long run, b/c it's only because I want to write that I do, not because I have to, but I feel so defined by my art, and so meaningless in other parts of my life, that it's very difficult to just sluff it off. In addition, I am so insanely bad at just breathing, despite working out every day and yoga, now twice a week, and at just being, that it's as if I have to find things to worry about. I don't believe I do so consciously, and I'm better at finding peace than I once was (I worried about worrying when I was younger!), but I still find it hard to be still, without my mind racing. And 20 minutes later, my heart is still pumping about the computer.

Anyway, I really do want to write the play, b/c I will feel better about having a goal and getting it accomplished during the break (unstructured time is so tough for me), and I am hopeful the piece will be amusing and therefore accepted somewhere. I continue to see plays whenever I can, and know that comedies are typically easier in a short format and that I do have the capability to write comically. I can't forget how excited I was when my plays were accepted by the Arlington Players and Java Theatre festivals, and I want the chance to be that excited again! I am auditioning Tuesday for stagesource at their annual auditions, and I don't expect the outcome to be favorable, judging by last year's response to my monologue (two calls, one sketchy and the other from a serious improv troupe that didn't cast me). I don't WANT to do improv and I do want to act in a real play, so I am trying again. The piece I'm doing, the same monologue I performed for Theatre@First and the Devanaughn--why the Devanaughn is so resistant to using me I may never know--may not showcase my range as well as it could, but it is a decent expression of myself on stage, and I'm certain I'll be more comfortable than I was last year, which is all you can ask for. Also, if there happen to be any theatre reps in the audience who are looking for writers and they like my piece, well, maybe something could come of it. You can only hope.

In the meantime, I need to be disciplined about writing my new play, give it my best on Tuesday, try to enjoy my free time (tomorrow I have the 90 minute yoga class with Jess, followed by Father's Day in Newburyport with my mom and poor dad, who has ligament damage and needs surgery on his hands and possibly foot, though the latter won't occur for a while). We'll also see some of the conclusion of the US Open Golf Tournament (I will aways love watching golf on TV, unlike any of my friends--now THAT'S relaxing), and maybe I can start Nick Hornby's new novel, which I bought today using my gift certificate to Barnes and Noble (thanks to work for the $250 10 year anniversary present; who could have guessed I would be ANYWHERE for 10 years?!). I am also seeing "Take Me Out" at the BCA in the South End with A. on Wednesday night (we have been waiting for weeks to go, and got half-price tickets, 8th row), and may get to Walden Pond. And then there's the trip to Buffalo on Thursday, including an overnight in Toronto.

I definitely have a fun week planned; now I just have to calm myself enough to go to sleep (since yoga is at 9:30 tomorrow morning in Cambridge, 25 minutes away by car) and remind myself that it's okay that I haven't written any of the play yet b/c I WILL begin it on Monday. I really, really will (I am keeping the day open just for that reason; aside from therapy at 9:30am and working out, I have no other day or evening plans and don't intend to make any at this point, though I believe the weather should be sunny and in the 70s or even warmer). My other goal this week is to continue my efforts to resist bingeing--I had a decent week, eating-wise, though I could have done better--and to resist really fattening foods as well, though bingeing has been the cause of my weight gain, as it always is, and no amount of reasonable exercise will compensate for more careful eating. And with that, I am off to bed, and I will try to be better about writing, not waiting for a near-crisis, or one perceived to be, to motivate me to put keyboard to blog.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Maybe I'm just too picky...but maybe not

I've wondered about this for a while, and am increasingly of the mind that I am. I went to a short plays festival on Friday night and didn't really like most of the plays! I had reasons for feeling this way, of course. It wasn't just a vague, "Gee, these suck," sense (and in fact, with the exception of one of the plays, I didn't feel that way at all). I just felt as if they could be so much better, and that I could have written a play equal to or better than any of them. (Of course, it's easy to think that, but if you haven't written the work yet, you're not in any position to make such a claim. You can still think it, but you can't prove it and why should anyone care?) The plays weren't bad, and most had something of interest. The acting was generally good (though not uniformly), and most of the plots had some originality, but I kept thinking, these aren't really working for me.

In one play, about body travel, I felt as if the point was made really early on, and then reiterated and reiterated. There was a slight twist at the end that helped redeem it, but I wanted MORE. I realize that there's only so much you can do in a 10-15 minute play, but I would rather see a playwright put too much in than not enough. (Maybe that's b/c it's what I tend to do...who knows?!) Another play was about someone who predicted another's death, and was poorly acted and conceived, in my opinion, so I won't discuss that. One interesting play was about a woman having a baby in a restroom, while her boyfriend, another woman, and another man revealed their relationships to one another. Perhaps a bit too much was taking place in this one, but I think it might be because the actors needed to slow down and enunciate a bit more; otherwise, I liked the premise and the execution. A play that seemed to generate a very favorable audience response was called "Spam" and was about advertising on the internet. It was extremely well-acted and a lot of it rang true, but it just seemed a bit too easy (cheap laughs), and as someone who is not particularly into The Three Stooges, Abbot and Costello, and slapstick, it just didn't work for me.

One play actually seemed a bit too heavy on the message (though well-acted) about censorship and the Republicans' agenda (not that I disagreed ;-)) and the play about suicide and a relationship that didn't work also seemed too heavy on the message (and had a very, very odd ending that A. and I couldn't figure out). A. thought I would like it, since I write about or allude to suicide in some of my plays, but for some reason I didn't like it. This makes little sense to me--maybe I like what I don't write about. Maybe I'm a total hypocrite. ;-) I can't really tell you. The play that worked best, "Bloom" by Kelly DuMar (also presented at the Arlington Players Festival, where I liked it as a reading), had humor amongst the sadness (it just had a feeling of regret, but wasn't depressing or depressive), and the actors, who had originally done the reading, had a nice chemistry. I voted for it as best play, though I didn't go in thinking I would. I really wonder what my deal is. Am I merely jealous? I don't think so; after all, I loved the Rough and Tumble's play at the Boston Playwrights Theatre Marathon, though I desperately wanted them to cast me in their latest play, "Pieces of Whitey" (and I'm going w/ A. to see it at the BCA this afternoon; air conditioning and a $12 ticket were also factors, as well as a strong cast). I think I am at a hypercritical point right now, and that is probably typical when one is focusing so much on one's own writing.

I think I was like that back in grad school at Emerson College, when I was writing and submitting short stories. I liked some of my colleagues' work but some I didn't like at all, and I tended to have a lot of suggestions. Of course, my hope is that everyone will write scripts (or novels or short stories or screenplays) that I and everyone will enjoy, that won't pander to me, that will challenge me without being too esoteric (as in impossible to decipher, the way I find most poetry). But I did wonder, as I watched the plays in the festival, if my expectations were just too high, and perhaps they were. As I've noted, I cringed when my play was read at the Arlington Players Festival, and I know that it isn't a bad play, so I'm tough on everyone's writing. I am not going to say I gravitate toward comedy rather than tragedy or drama, though I think it's easier to achieve in a short play (anything under 30 minutes, and certainly a 10-minute piece). I don't gravitate toward comedy in many cases (though my one-woman play was mostly funny, or odd-funny or quirky, but not dark and depressing, unlike my plays), but if something is truly funny to me, I am unbelievably appreciative. I think the answer, again, is that I just have to get my own work out there, and then I will be able to be more impartial (and will also feel as if I'm accomplishing something while also being able to appreciate others' efforts).

Trust me, I know it's not easy to write and get a play out there--the hardest thing for me is just starting (for others, it's editing or taking constructive criticism or submitting, and none of these are problemmatic for me)--and I hope to do at least a bit of it next week, when I'm on vacation. And of course, just being on vacation, away from the everyday grind, away from my preoccuaption with theatre, and in touch with a friend I rarely see and areas I rarely visit (in this case Buffalo and Toronto, which I love), should help stimulate me, or so I hope. At least, it should help me gain a bit more perspective and, as with yoga, allow me to breathe. One cannot breathe enough.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Why I said goodbye to YESAnd but not to auditioning

Some people who read this blog are also members of the YESAnd online community, started by Asaf Ronen. It's a website with an active message board for improvisers, sketch writers/performers, and those who are just interested in theatre and/or current events. I joined it about four years ago and left it yesterday. It just became too hard to read about others' successes, particularly in the area of performance. I don't like feeling sorry for myself, despite the fact that I do a lot ;-), and decided that rather than feel sad, rather than happy, for those who were getting to do shows, I would separate myself. If/when I have more success myself, and feel better overall about my situation, I may return there. (One nice thing about the online community, particularly YESAnd--you can come back anytime.)

Not surprisingly, I did NOT get cast by the Hovey Players on Monday night. I attribute that primarily to my sucky audition (at least, I perceive it to have been sucky), but it may have been that others were more 'right' for the parts they were casting (and after all, there were only four female roles available, and probably 10 women there). I wrote to Leigh, the producer, to see if she could help me figure out why I wasn't chosen, but she hasn't been able to find out from the directors, I guess, b/c I haven't heard back from her (and she said she would try to get some information for me, which was nice of her). I just felt terribly off that night; I think part of it was trying to do too much in the day, as I posted, and part of it was just bad luck, I guess (along w/ nerves and having little time to peruse the script I was primarily being considered for). Sometimes I do have strong auditions (although I still don't get cast: see Rough and Tumble Theatre and Theatre@First), so I know it's possible.

I wonder how much longer I should put myself through this hell (well, it's self-made hell), and my sister says I'll do it "til I get it out of my system, like improv." I can't really agree with her. I had hoped to make improv work, but the fact is that I'm not a strong improviser, never once, and no matter how hard I tried, I just didn't get much better. I certainly had good nights, especially under Victoria's tutelage (a theatre group at Mass College of Art I was part of for three terms), probably b/c the setting was so comfortable and the stakes were virtually nonexistant. But in general, I was not a particularly good improviser, as I can't do physical miming work (possibly due to a learning disability) and am not the quickest thinker on my feet. As a writer, I prefer to observe and particularly to revise, and that's not possible in improv.

As for theatre, I do it better, b/c of the ability to correct, to experiment, to PRACTICE and to find the rhythm, the character, the relationships (as is the case with writing, thank God). While I KNOW I'm a better writer than actor, there seems to be no reason I can't do both, and yet neither is coming through for me now. The Brown Coach Theatre in Chicago received 200 (!) submissions for their 10-minute play festival (shocking), and I can only take solace in the fact that my monologues were not about superstition, the festival's theme, so I probably shouldn't have sent them and doubted they would be chosen (though I hoped their quirkiness might be appreciated). The fact remains that, despite what might (might!) be my better judgement, I really do enjoy acting and what to keep doing it. I love seeing plays (last night I was fortunate to see "Laughing Wild" at the Boston Center for the Arts for free with D., and Christopher Durang, the playwright, played "Man," a wonderful experience), love commenting on them, and love ACTING in them as well (not to mention writing them, of course). I do have one in mind that I intend to try this weekend (assuming I'm not too tired) and that makes me happiest.

Getting to play with words and knowing that one's ideas can be appreciated by others is a tremendous privilege and honor and joy. Still, as we all know, writing can be very lonely (so thank God for writing groups like WriteOn, where I'm bringing my 15-minute piece, "Peanut Butter Sandwiches," in July), and I seek collaboration. I spend enough time alone, or grieving being alone, and getting to "play" with others is really healthy for me. At least I get to see many plays for free and with discounted prices through stagesource with D. and A. and even by myself, and tomorrow night I am going to the Playwright Platform's Summer Festival at the BPT at B.U. with A., a great chance to see more short work by local playwrights read. I always, always learn something through the experience, and the more connected I can get (this is a group I'm contemplating joining), the better. I have fantasies about being commissioned to write a play, far more likely than being cast in one of any substance (oh, I do love to moan!), but if I don't write, it ain't gonna happen. I need more source material, I feel, and seeing other works is always useful. But I soooo want to act--I can't help it, it's a passion of mine--and therefore I will continue to put myself through the audition wringer, hoping that someone sees something in me and casts me.

No one has told me to stop auditioning, at any rate (except my sister, and I think she just hates to see me get so hurt and depressed after each rejection), so I have to think I have a modicum of talent (not in improv, but in scripted work) or surely someone would have said, 'Ya know, Sue, writing is a good bet, but acting? Maybe not so much.' D. doesn't feel that way, and she was at the Theatre@First's auditions, casting (not me, but she didn't have a part for me), and I have to believe if she thought I sucked, she would tactfully say so, and she has said otherwise. I also realize that so many local companies cast themselves in their productions (duh, b/c otherwise why start the company if not for you and family and friends?), and I wouldn't mind starting something up with D. and others if D. and others were up for it. In the meantime, well, I will keep seeing plays, writing about plays, writing plays, and auditioning, with the hope that something works out. But reading about others getting cast: that seems to be masiochistic at this point, so I'll refrain from it, for now, anyway. I do hope all of my friends are successful in their endeavors, and when I am, too, I'll be right there, patting their backs as they pat mine. With any luck, that time isn't far in the future.

Monday, June 06, 2005

On risk and rejection, part fourteen

Yes, I haven't written for a while, and I apologize. It's not that I've been too tired or too busy, but rather that I simply had nothing interesting to impart. I'm still not sure I do, but since I had two auditions in two days, I thought I would return to this topic. The auditions were very different, and my feelings come out of them were, too, as I'll explain. I'm beginning to think that the only reason I actually audition is so I'll have something to write about and something to connect to other artists with! I know this isn't entirely true--I do enjoy acting--but knowing that I'm not as strong as many others, not as self-confident, surely, and not nearly nearly as experienced, I still put myself out there, and am not sure (still) that it's worth it. However, in doing so, I can get excited about the prospect of being in a play, can fantasize a bit about it, envision myself in a production (or in a role, if I know what it is ahead of time, which isn't often the case), and can talk about it with people at work or even at Starbucks, like Nessa, the barista who is also a musician.

Anyway, yesterday's audition was for the Devanaugh. I have had absolutely NO luck with this company, either with my acting or my writing, but it's a respected theatre, not too far from home, and I would love to have the opportunity to perform with them, so I keep trying (maybe I won't after this go-round if I don't even get a callback, but we'll see). All I got to do was a two-minute monologue--I chose "The Boyfriend" from "workin' progress"--but I left feeling good about the way I had performed it, and, interestingly, about my writing in general. The two female directors who saw me perform said, "Nice job. So you really wrote that?" when I'd finished. "Yes," I said. "And you performed it at ImprovBoston?" one asked. "Yes, and at the 'Where Eagles Dare' Theatre in NYC," I answered, and both nodded and seemed suitably impressed. Funny, as I wasn't trying for a writing role, but another indicator that I NEED to be writing and that's where my talents truly lie. There were several women at the audition, naturally, most of them in their 20s and thin and perky, through Lyralen, one of the producers of SLAMBoston, was auditioning (after me) as well. I didn't feel badly after the audition, though disappointed that I wasn't asked to read from a side (many didn't get to, as they had 30 people to get to), b/c I was flattered that they liked my writing and I knew I had NAILED my monologue (practice makes more perfect). It was also a simply wonderful day, weather-wise, and I had just finished my first 90 minute yoga class with Jess at the Central Square BSC, so I was feeling energetic and refresthed. Afterwards, I walked the 15 minute trek to the Boston Center for the Arts and saw "Duplex" with Susanna (a friend from ImprovBoston days), and then we sat outside and talked for a couple of hours, and it was really nice.

Contrast that with today. It started with the usual stressful drive to Waltham (not as bad as two Mondays ago, but bad enough), and then the news that Susan would be 10 minutes late due to an accident on 128 (so what's new)? We discussed difficult issues around my anger and inability to open up and cry and grieve in our sessions (which, truth be told, made me frustrated, not the best response). I rushed back to Boston to work, did find parking, and had to run to my car every 2 hours to put in more quarters (fortunately, I did not get a ticket, which rather surprised but certainly pleased me). I sat through two long, draining meetings, finally worked out at 5:30pm but only had 45 minutes on the elliptical (no treadmill or floor work, both of which I NEED), and then rushed off to Waltham (again!) for the Hovey Short Plays festival audition. I think, frankly, that I sucked tonight. I felt really off (tired, a bit headachey) and read two sides but don't think I read either particularly well. The first play in particular really grabbed me--about two women in their 30s with problem pasts re: their husbands and kids--and I read for that before I had had a chance to warm up (I definitely felt nervous). I read alright, not great, and I'm sure part of that was b/c I REALLY would have liked to have been cast in it (I could FEEL the rightness). The second reading was worse, but it's a part many of the women there could have played, so I didn't feel as badly about doing only fair, and then there was a break and only a few were asked to stay. If I get cast I'll be amazed beyond a doubt, but I'm quite certain I won't be, and as always it's disheartening (and yes, I DID say to stop me from doing this and yet here I am, auditioning again). I guess I truly will never learn. Oh, and the yellow light went on again in my Kia, which always means trouble is just a mere days or weeks away, but it's looming (so far the car is driving fine, but I guarantee you it won't for long). And I really cannot think of anything to write about (play-wise), as much as I want to, so that's frustrating, along with the nightmares every single night about not finishing my coursework (or last night being unable to get through an advising appointment). What IS wrong with me?!

I'm just really tired right now, too tired to watch "Six Feet Under" (though I've been waiting months for the series to start up again), too tired to do anything but curl under the covers, maybe do a little reading, and go to sleep. Maybe I'll get lucky and someone will cast me or take one of my plays. Maybe I'll get really lucky and get a decent raise this summer (this is incredibly unlikely) and be able to get rid of my crappy Kia and buy a reliable car. Maybe someday I'll even have a date (this seems most unlikely). But for now, sleep is inevitable.