Busy Busy Theatre Bee

Though I’ve been quiet on here, I’ve been busy. It’s funny how creative things seem to spawn more creative things.

I’ve had a ridiculous number of offers and invitations to audition, participate in a reading of a new play to be presented to a professional theatre company, participate in a staged reading of Macbeth (as Macduff!), to be in a show later this summer . . . even an offer of a role that I had to turn down because of other theatre conflicts.

Being in a position to turn down a role sounds like a pretty fantastic humble-brag – especially when even getting cast just doesn’t happen much – but it’s stupidly stressful.

It’s been more than a little frenetic when I stop to think about it, so I try not to. But I’ve made new friends and new theatre connections. We’ll see where they take me! And it’s also an amazing ego boost to be offered so many opportunities.

At the most frantic point, I did three auditions in a week and a half. Because that’s what everyone does when four months pregnant. (At least first trimester exhaustion had relaxed its grip by then.) One of those an open call for a professional theatre, which is something that has terrified me.

The experience was absolutely terrifying. But now that I’ve done it once, maybe it won’t intimidate me so much to try it again.

It doesn’t feel possible that all this has happened in the span of three months. While attempting to negotiate the reality of a first pregnancy.

My Silence Comes In Waves

When I fall into radio silence for an extended time, you know something’s going on with me. That something could be good or bad, or just many somethings all at once.

I haven’t posted here since I found out I’m pregnant.

EEEEEE!!!! OMG!!!!!!! (Finally!)

I’ve known a solid three months now. It took me ages to tell the closest friends and family. A week or so ago, I made it Facebook-official.

Speaking about it, getting excited about it, feels like I’m going to jinx everything. Nothing is guaranteed so I don’t dare take this for granted. Our families are ecstatic, but we’re slower to join the party.

Maybe once I actually feel the little one kicking and moving I’ll stop waiting quite so much for the other shoe to drop (though we’ll still have to contend with juggling the as-yet unmet reality of life-with-baby and how that will change absolutely everything).

This whole not-taking-it-for-granted thing seems fairly uncommon, just based on what I see from friends and family. Maybe I have an oddly skewed sample population, or maybe it’s one of those things no one ever talks about.

Because not talking about things makes everything better, right?

Related note: when will we get a sarcasm font?

But if a worst case scenario happens, I don’t want it to catch me completely by surprise. The lack of surprise wouldn’t make it hurt any less, but it would help my ability to cope.

And this post has now taken a turn for the depressing when it was supposed to be happy. I am happy! We are. More than happy. My point is that this latest round of blog-silence came from many places, for many reasons.

Here’s hoping the next wave comes from negotiating life with a screaming newborn!

Mixing Extremes

Saturday was crazy! An awesome sort of crazy, even if it totally kicked my ass. (Yeah, it did.)

My day started with a workshop. A local theatre offers occasional master classes, and that day they held an audition boot camp. Which was exactly as advertised. Intense and amazing, and I was more than a little discouraged when I left.

I chose Puck’s final monologue in Midsummer Night’s Dream because I’ve had it memorized since my sophomore year of high school and I’ve always adored the character of Puck.

You know how plans and intentions in your head tend to fall apart when you go to carry them out? Yeah, that’s pretty much how this went. And up on a stage, in front of a roomful of people is not how I would have chosen to find out that I still have a whole bunch of hangups and fears in relation to physicality.

I was terrible. No, really, I was.

If I make it out when the theatre has its next open audition call, that is not a monologue I will use. Puck is what I would like to achieve as an actor, but I am not there.

To get there, I have to learn how to get out of my head and into my body.

Then immediately after the class, I drove out to a video shoot. (As I said: crazy day!) A local aspiring filmmaker needed actors for a montage. Two takes and I was done, and it might amount to ten seconds of screen time if it doesn’t end up on the cutting room floor. But for less than an hour, including just waiting and gabbing, I got paid almost as much as a full day at the day job.

The best part is that now I can say I’ve been paid for acting. So that’s a milestone.

Social Magic of Storytelling

Let me tell you a story. (that’s why you’re here, after all.)

I went to a party. It was a Friday after a long, crazy day at work that joined two weeks’ worth of long, crazy days. I went alone. I went with nerves and doubts.

See, I was afraid I wouldn’t know anyone at the party except the host. Sometimes I hate being right.

Like most of us, I’m not always comfortable in social situations, even with my occasional extroverted tendencies. So it began with the awkward standing, offers to help to make myself useful and give me something to do, feeling brave when I smiled at strangers. Just not quite brave enough to introduce myself.

Then my host introduced me to someone with an auspicious, “You both do theatre!” And the conversation went from there.

In fact, every conversation that night ended up coming back to theatre, or writing, or both. Most often both. And I made new friends!

No, I will never grow out of how awesome it is to make friends.

And that’s a lot of why I went. See, our host was Carrie Jones, who in addition to being an amazing writer is quite possible the kindest and most caring person I have ever met. Her friends were bound to be awesome.

When I came home, I was bouncing off the walls and talking a mile a minute. My poor husband. I tried to blame the punch, but we both knew it was just my extroverted tendencies acting up.

Thanks to those fantastic conversations, I finally read Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, which had been in my to-read pile for years. (Yes, it was every bit as great as the hype.) They also propelled and inspired me to write more, helping to sustain the awesome creative productivity that has so far defined this year.

So my whole long, rambling point: stories are social magic. Also, that was a great party and I’m so glad I went, rather than letting nerves and fears win.

New Year 2017

Goodbye, 2016. I will not miss you.

Last year (I do not have words to say how thrilled I am that 2016 is officially past) was so bad, it was all I saw, much of the time. The negative things. The death toll. The election. Stress. My own mental shutdown.

But it had its bright moments.

Although I only acted in one show this year and it burned me out badly (despite having just a couple minor roles), it taught me the importance of picking shows I’m passionate about. Shows that click with me in a way I can’t explain, even if I’ve only seen the audition sides.

Tigers be Still, the show I stage managed, was one. What little I knew about the show going into auditions didn’t excite me much, but the pieces we read just clicked. So when I didn’t get cast, I kept my fingers crossed that I could still find a way to be involved in the production. And I did.

Stage managing brought out many of the very best parts of me. I loved it. I kicked ass. I would totally do it again (with a show I’m passionate about).

We visited my grandmother-in-law in Florida. It was an excellent visit. She passed away a few months later, and I’m so thankful we made it down when we did.

Since about September, I’ve been extra (for me) extroverted. I get so much energy from being around people. Though not all people, so maybe I’ve just been better about who I spend time with.

I’ve written. Not as much or as good as I would have like, but I did write. As of last night, I submitted more stories than I did in 2015. (Not difficult, considering I only sent one in 2015, but an important and huge improvement all the same.)

Best of all? 2016 is over. Done. A new year, a new slate.

Dear 2017, you have one goal: be better than last year. The bar is low. Don’t disappoint me.

Promises Kept

2016 hasn’t ended yet, so I’m keeping my promise from the last post!

I let myself go radio silent in order to focus on stage managing (and not sucking at it), but the silence grew. I’ve started at least a dozen posts, but the silence was too heavy. I didn’t know – or, rather, I forgot – how to break it.

Sounds about right, doesn’t it?

So now I’m back! At least for a moment. Just in time to audition for another show in a couple of weeks.

Stage managing, by the way? Was awesome.

And the extroverted phase has stuck! I’ve enjoyed it. A lot. Though of course now it bites me in the ass. I have a submission deadline looming in the next few days and a ton of work to do on the story (this post is procrastination – can you tell?), but I really want to spend more time with family and friends.

. . . Well, this post has been manic. Brought to you by my absent attention span and should-be-doing-something-else syndrome.

What Is This Year?

I like to assign themes to things like years. And this year has so far shaped up to be my Year of Being Introverted. With so much going on, I’ve been largely in shut down mode.

But now things seem to be turning around. A writer-friend came up for a long weekend of awesome, which kicked my ass into gear on so many things. I managed a beautiful amount of editing, even with everything we did. This past week, I took vacation time, ran around like a chicken with its head cut off, and went to a gorgeous wedding at Mont-Tremblant, Quebec for two of my husband’s university friends. Another writer-friend and I are finally getting back in the swing of quasi-regular Writing Bitch Sessions. I have three anthologies I want to submit short stories to by the end of this year (and dear lord, it has been a stupidly long time since I submitted anything).

In addition, I’m attempting the tech side of theatre and am stage managing (for the first time) a production of Tigers Be Still. I’ve always been firmly an actor, even in high school when a fair number of my friends were techies. I married a techie, and we adore Q2Q comics. It’s been frustrating/hilarious to see the stereotypes play out and become truth. All before the first production meeting!

And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, please go check out the comic. It’s amazing.

So the rest of this year looks like a crazy wild ride in all the best ways. Wish me luck! (Especially when my husband and I have overlapping production weeks.)

Don’t worry – I’ll be updating again before the end of the year. Promise!