🎼Do You See What I See, Do You See What I See…🎢

Hello Dear Reader,

Happy All Of The Things! I hope however you celebrated with your families and friends, it was filled with joy, love, and kindness.

Last week, the family play I worked on had its final bow on Saturday. It was a fun run with a wonderful cast. Looking back, I can say there was a lesson in this production. And it was something I learned from the audience. It was a first for me.

I tried to get very comfortable in the skin of someone that was so unlike me. I mean, I have my little quirks, which could very well be undiagnosed OCD. I am not, however, self absorbed or oblivious to other people. I like to think that I did a decent job inhabiting that life though.

I am always looking for lessons to learn or what I could take away from each project. This time around, with this being the first time back on stage in 2 years, what will I learn, I wondered. 2 years is a long time to not put into practice what you know.

Now my Gentle Reader, you might be thinking “there are/were ways to participate with online performances.” To this, yes, I agree and I tried it. My experience doing an online or Zoom performance, while enjoyable in the meeting of people and working with them, was not as fulfilling as an in-person experience. I felt like I was expending way more energy just trying to maintain this sort of distanced connection with my cast mates. Not only that, I was never sure if I was reading my cast mates’ motivations properly because I couldn’t see their whole body, just whatever their head, neck and shoulders were telling me. It was draining. The people were great, but it was draining. I knew it wasn’t the thing for me. And that’s okay!

This time around, I learned that while I was getting comfy in Michael’s skin, I may have been getting a little careless with it too. As this was my very first time working on a thrust stage, (if you are unfamiliar, it is when the stage sticks out a bit and the audience sits on 3 sides instead of just one as in a traditional theater) I was hyper aware that my motions needed to be clear so no matter where one sat, my actions would be understood. This also means that at any given time, the actors on stage will have their backs to the audience at some point. Man, this was hard. It was an awesome challenge though.

Being comfortable with Michael’s mannerisms and actions were what brought he and I together. As long as I understood my motivations behind my actions, I could use those with everything on the stage if it felt right. And I did change what I interacted with… often! You know how they say the show can never be the same each night because of the various factors, like audience participation (their reactions), accidental (or intentional) walking pattern adjustment, forgotten words, costume malfunction, but mostly because of the first thing? I think I was to blame each night. πŸ™ƒ

During the rehearsal process, as I mentioned in previous posts, I would always make adjustments based on how it felt. I could never recall exactly what I did because I was trying to simply stay in the moment. This meant that I didn’t have a defined track that is set and is always identical to the night before. There were points that I had to hit, but everything else was kind of fluid.

Early in the run, one of those points was called into question and after I reflected on it, I made an adjustment. There is a point in the show that Michael apologizes to his wife for accusing her of only coming back to him because she wants his money. Right after they reconcile, Michael says with hope of upcoming fatherhood and relief that Jill does love him, not his money, that he hopes they don’t have an “Uncle Bob” baby. Bob happens to be the alcoholic uncle who says inappropriate things. The line doesn’t feel like an announcement to the world but rather a secret hope between the couple. Well, I went with how it feels without thinking about the element of the thrust. This meant that the people behind me wouldn’t be able to clearly hear what I was saying. I actually heard someone ask what was said and it hit me that my intention and motivation may be appropriate but delivery needs to be adjusted so it can be heard by the audience clearly. So this point was adjusted and I made sure that I was louder and more clear with that line through the rest of the run. We didn’t have mics and it was a very intimate setting, meaning the audience was practically on the stage with us.

Later in the run, a great actor friend was in the audience and asked why I was pointing to my brother during a point when Uncle Bob says he has a confession for anyone who is keeping score of our contest. One of the reveals later in the show was that the brother was documenting the whole night. 🀭Oops sorry, SPOILERS! πŸ˜‚! Well, my action is that I am actually pointing to Mom, but because of how I do it, sort of dismissively nonchalant which ends up looking like a hand imitating a fish out of water, the action was unclear. Also, dependent on where people sit, I will look like I am pointing to a different person on the stage. From that performance on, I made sure to keep the intention but to acknowledge Mom in a more focused manner.

So my Kind Reader, for this lesson, I learned that staying in the moment and understanding motivations and intentions are all important, but when audience perspective is shifted to almost all around you, clarity and focus in those things is even more useful to help deliver a more enjoyable performance for the audience.

As this posts, I shall be enjoying the final Sunday Brunch of the year. I eagerly look forward to the opportunities 2022 will bring and hope that you are too. That being said, until next time, Gentle Reader, I hope you are safe and alert and don’t forget to treat people with kindness. Including yourselves.

❀️

🎼I Don’t Want A Lot For Christmas, There Is Just One Thing I Need…🎢

Hello Gentle Reader,

How has your week gone so far? Hopefully, it has been productive and low stress.

I am genuinely a curious person. To an extent.

I never realized it until this past Monday. During my workday, I attended an online COVID 19 meeting that was about the vaccines and what the federal guidelines are for my company. Before I get people all riled up, I understand this is a very personal decision and I accept people are entitled to make their own decisions. But…. to be fair, if the nation can decide that abortions are illegal, it is perfectly acceptable for it to decide that you have to get vaccinated. OH!!😳 Did I just make a controversial statement? That depends on how you take it. Stop and look at it factually before you message me about it making you feel a certain way. Stop and think about it.

One of the great things about the meeting that I learned was something called Constructive Conflict. The best way to describe it is thusly: “any discussion where participants talk openly and respectfully about these disagreements in a mutual attempt to understand each other’s perspectives.” Everyone has a perspective and sometimes those views differ even if you are looking at the same thing. We all know this. Don’t assume your point of view is the correct one. Be curious about why the other person believes what they do. Unless you are a certified expert in a field of study, you probably don’t know all the minutiae on a subject or if the thing you are studying is in a constant state of flux. You can even start the conversation with “I know we disagree on — but I would honestly like to understand your point of view.” The key thing is you have to be sincere.

Over the weekend, while sitting at a meal, my friends and I were talking about tv shows. I find a lot of them hard to swallow lately because they don’t make sense emotionally or logically to me. Instead of being curious about why my friends liked certain shows, I stubbornly held to my feelings and was dismissive about their arguement about it and just sat back and listened to them switch topics without engaging much.

That isn’t how I normally operate, Dear Reader. I should hope by now, you would know this. I try to ask questions when we talk about stuff but for some reason, I just don’t like to talk about tv or music with them. And these are my closest and most dear friends talking about things that are so big in our individual lives.

If I had known about this concept, I think the conversation would have been a lot more substantial and interesting. Now that I do know about this, I am curious to see what the next opportunity will be to use this. Not only that, but I am curious how this will influence the next time I am building a character for a show!

What if my personal beliefs are opposite to the beliefs of the character I am to play? This can be such a great tool for research to find those small nuances to add to the inner life of that person.

It is amazing the things I am finding in my work life that translate so well to the theatre. I am so friggin’ lucky!

In performance news, we close A Nice Family Christmas this weekend to a sold out audience. Woo hoo! What a super fun production! Only two more chances to enjoy the company of these lovely people on stage. Then, it is sheer and utter freedom until January 3rd. Whatever shall I do with myself? I know that I have some coffee “dates” set up with people that I haven’t seen in a while, so I am looking forward to that.

OH! and getting some knitting done! πŸ˜„

I also wanted to practice some filming techniques and computer skills that I have recently acquired… Nevermind, I guess I know what I will be up to. πŸ˜‚

Until next time, Kind Reader, stay safe and aware. Be kind to others and yourself.

❀️

🎼”Kindness Is What You Showed To Me, It Holds Me ‘Til I Ache, Overflow And Start To Break…”🎢

Hello Gentle Reader!

A happy colder weather season!πŸ₯Ά It is my favorite time of the year. As someone who burns a lot of energy doing anything, this time of year always seems to make me feel like I am sorta normal. πŸ˜‚

Since the last post, “A Nice Family ChristmasπŸŽ„” has opened and has very nearly sold out! That is exciting. I think it just goes to show how much people wanted to have shared experiences and how important they are as well as how important theatre is for something like that. The show is a funny look at a dysfunctional family Christmas gathering. While it does have some true life grounded moments, this is still a comedy and the over the tops characters make me laugh, yes, even while on stage. The great thing is that I am reacting to what they are saying, so it isn’t like I am breaking character. I mean, not like this guy:

The end result though is that we want you to have a good laugh and remember to care for those that mean something to you. There is a line that Mom says near the end about how important it is to do good things for others. I really love that line. I think it is my favorite in the script. But if you can’t do good things, at least be kind.

I try my best to be a giving person if I have the means and most importantly a kind person, because it literally costs you nothing to do so. A friend of mine posted the calendar above on her instagram feed and I loved it. So, I am giving it a go this year. You better believe I am going to repost this every Thanksgiving from here on out, unless a new one is created. 😊

What I have noticed since starting this advent calendar, Dear Reader, is that things that would typically annoy me have had little effect. I have been in a great mood all month… so far. Now, I may have been confused at some points, but you can still be in a good mood and confused. Trust me. I haven’t brooded on anything like I normally do plus it helps you build some relationships a little stronger.

Even when I was journaling today, I was giving myself a bit of a talk down about something but I noticed it right in the middle of the entry and took a breath and changed my mindset. It was really very interesting to see it, acknowledge it, and take action in such a small amount of time. It was literally seconds.

I don’t want to say that this sort of shift is uncommon because that is what we do each time we are on the stage. We are reacting to one another and should someone deliver a line in a different manner, we see it, acknowledge it, and respond appropriately. OH, and mega shout-outs to my cast mates because this particular show makes me really aware of the energies I am getting and giving, so my delivery is NOT always they way we rehearsed (not even in rehearsal). I think it may be because this is a relatively small cast and we are all interacting with each other throughout most of the show. I have been in small casts before, but there would be scenes when I had no stage time with another actor(s). This, however, has been a blast. These talented people are so genuine, kind, and funny, it is really a pleasure to be around them.

I will try my best to get another post up about any insights that I had learned during the run of this show as we close on December 18. If I don’t get the chance to share another post until the new year, my Kindest Reader, I wish for you a loving and warm ending to 2021 and a bright shiny start to 2022.

Until the next time, thank you for letting me bend your ear. Stay safe and alert. Be kind to others and to yourself. ❀️

🎼 Tell Me A Piece Of Your History That You’re Proud To Call Your Own… πŸŽΆ

My dad and his brothers and someone that one is dating

Hello Gentle Reader!

I hope you had a really fun Halloween!

It is my most favorite time of the year! Rehearsal time! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I am sorta kidding.

I know it has been a while, but I wanted to write a post tying in my recent trip to see family with my latest project. First though, I had to make sure that my day job was staying on track and we had a lot to do! I am learning a TON of stuff and sometimes my head swims with all the information but then my brain dries out and I have to refill it again. LOL. It is a pretty great problem to have.

Early October, I took my dad to go and see his siblings. It was a really fun road trip! I hadn’t seen him so animated and smiley in a really long time. His memory is going and he is totally aware of it. I think that makes it harder when you know you aren’t going to remember what you used to know. I stress about that all the time. Seriously, I worry because I forget stuff more often than I think I should. If it happens to be important, it will stick. Everything else? Slides away like it was on a non-stick pan.

My dad was worried that he wouldn’t get to see his brothers and sisters before he couldn’t remember them anymore. I had the time and I haven’t seen them myself in over 35+ years so I planned it out with my mom; and off we went!

My Dear Reader, I cannot express how incredible the transformation in him was. His walking pace quickened and he used his cane a little less. His speech was less halted. He literally brightened. I don’t know if it was because he was smiling all the time or what, but it was contagious. He still fumbled on his words because sometimes he forgets what things are called, or he can’t get the word to travel from his brain to his mouth.

One of the things that I noticed was that he had a lot of stories to share and he was a Talkie Thomas (I hate that only women’s names were used for talkative people.) Even when he couldn’t get right words out or he repeated phrases, my aunts and uncles paid attention. He is a natural born story teller, and to be honest, my whole family is. I learned so many things in that one weekend that I never knew. It wasn’t because I had forgotten them, which was shocking. I laughed so much hearing about parties they had while they were young. I was saddened learning about those that have passed not only recently, due to Covid-19 but in the past.

It wasn’t just the stories they told, but how they told them. The pitch in the voice when something funny was supposed to land. The sighs that broke through sentences that showed how deeply they still hurt or the senselessness for the loss. The excitement they had sharing something that was unbelievable.

I think that is a lot of what my dad is missing now. With everyone working and him being stuck at home because he might get lost or have a seizure or something, he doesn’t have someone to talk to or do things with. I try to go over when I can but I forgot how much time you surrender to rehearsals and research for shows.

The other thing I noticed was how similar the communication dynamics are at my immediate family functions as well as extended. Did my siblings and I learn this from our parents and their siblings?

In my current project, A Nice family Christmas by Phil Olson, this family unit is all about avoiding emotions, and their communication skills are pretty terrible. Is it a learned thing handed down from parents to children? I don’t think it is just about them wanting to avoid issues, but the complexities of life and time that prevents them from communicating and bonding more.

My character is the oldest and favorite son, a doctor, self sabotages, loves his mother but keeps her at an arm’s length so she doesn’t see his faults, has an addictive personality, 5 months sober after 2 stints in rehab, prone to emotional outbursts, in the middle of a separation and may or may not have OCD.

He’s has a lot going on, AND this is a comedy, so finding out how to bring all of that together has been challenging! It is a great challenge but I am struggling to find that perfect balance of being able to be funny while maintaining all of those other layers bubbling under just enough to show through. So, as you can imagine, writing this all out had to sit on the back burner for a hot week or six. 😳😳

So, My Lovely Reader, I look back on that family visit and try to recall all that my dad was working through. Joy, camaraderie, excitement, sadness, forgetfulness, hope, love, avoidance, and anger. He went through so many feelings but it always came back to that happiness and contentment.

Our opening night is the Friday after Thanksgiving! I just hope I found the right formula for this character by then. He is the most complicated character whose story I have the privilege of sharing. I don’t want to look back at him and say, “sorry buddy, you were not as fully realized as I wanted to make you.” That would make me really stop and question my skills as a storyteller…πŸ˜”I would wonder if it was just because this was the first show back after so long. Or could it be that there were issues of my own that I haven’t resolved yet, so it is preventing me from accessing those feelings out of self preservation.

But to dwell on that now may only solidify the future and bring that to fruition. So I banish those thoughts and say bring me my challenge!

Until the next time, Kind Reader, stay safe and alert. Treat your self and other with kindness… AND WISH ME LUCK!!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

🎼 Get It Cracking If You Like, Must Be A Full Moon, Feel Like One Of Those Nights…🎢

It kind of looks like a backdrop with a large spotlight shining thought the fabric. She so pretty!😊

Hello Gentle Reader!πŸ˜ƒ

Last night, there was a big beautiful full moon!πŸŒ• (Does that ⬅️ look like a ball of cheese to anyone else?) I have always had a bond with her. I don’t know why. I always greet her with a “Hello, Bright Lady” when I see her in the skies.

Sunday night, I had the hardest time getting to sleep. I don’t know if it was subconscious energy that kept me awake for all but three hours of the night but when I got out of bed this morning, I wasn’t tired. I am not saying that there is any thing to tie the two together, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that I wondered if there were.

To me, a full moon is a perfect time for reflecting. I think of it like the moon is a big spotlight in the night sky asking you to share your thoughts about what’s happened since the last time you were in that light. The moon isn’t going to tell anyone. Your secrets and plans that you are too afraid to tell people are safe with her. In sharing those parts of yourself you may not feel comfortable sharing with people, you kind of let go of that energy that was bottled up. This is a great thing! Think of that energy as a sparkling water. Over time, all those bubbles eventually leave even if the can or bottle was never opened. The drink was never tasted and enjoyed. Now, my Dear Reader, think of the enjoyment that happens when you get to take that drink. Maybe even finish it. And who knows, perhaps restock with another?

I did a sort of meditation today for no reason whatsoever with all of this in mind. I really do think it was spurred on by the lack of sleep, because I don’t really meditate, although I always say I should. πŸ˜‚ As I laid in my bed waiting for sleep, I began to read a book called Milagros by Helen Thompson. One of the big take aways she has written about so far (since I haven’t finished reading it) was that when something is bothering you pay attention to that thing. Then it talked about charms, but that is a little more involved and it tied those things together… Anyway, I am getting off the topic…

When you have a headache, you try to figure out why. Stress, dehydration, hunger, iron deficiency, caffeine addiction… you go through the check list to see why your head is bothering you. If these aren’t the culprits, you keep digging. This is like a total DUH! moment, right? Well, I decided why not try and go through the same process with insomnia? Where did this energy come from when not an hour earlier I was falling asleep on the couch? I wasn’t stressed. I definitely wasn’t dehydrated. I wasn’t uncomfortable with the room temperature or the bed. I didn’t have anything on my mind. Or so I thought.

My Sweet Reader, I had looked up when the full moon was going to be at it’s maximum just before I went to sleep. I don’t know why. I get these random urges and energy spurts occasionally and just have to go with the flow. If I don’t, I become cranky. Like I am fighting a prime objective or something. I got in bed and turned to my routine of looking up YouTube ASMR videos to mellow out my brain. As I watched, I began to fall asleep. Once I took off the headphones and prepared to fall into dreamland, I couldn’t keep my eyes closed. I noticed that my heart rate had quickened slightly, so I tried to adjust my breathing to get it back to normal. It seemed to have worked, but by that time, my body felt like it was awake. So I laid there for hours waiting.

After what felt like forever, I had began to read, got up and walked around the apartment, tried to knit and scrolled through social media (which I know is a bad thing because of the blue light in the screen) I decided that I was going to place my stones to get charged by the light of the full moon. I began to think about the moon and watched the moonlight on my floor under the window. Somehow, watching the slow movement of the light finally got me back to feeling like I would be able to rest. I thanked the moon for her help and finally began to fade away.

Don’t know why I have this fascination with her.

Today, I wrote out a promise to myself with the moon watching overhead what I wanted to do during this next moon cycle and once I finished it, I felt a very real shift in my energy. I am much calmer. MUCH calmer. I have more focus. I was able to complete another project that I kept procrastinating with. I began my character development on the next show I am going to be working on. I can’t say that writing the promise and the energy shift are linked, but again, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I wonder…

I mean, we all know that the moon affects the tides and the ocean and since our bodies are mostly water, it makes sense to consider that the all mighty moon just may be that influence that helps you to reach out to those stars in the sky.

What a nice thought to ponder as I lay my head down for the night.