🎼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˜‚

🎼Just Let Go, Let It Flow, Let It Flow, Let It Flow, Just Let It Go…🎢

Hello Gentle Reader!!

Wow! June and half of July flew by and I didn’t realize how intense it would be. Between the last post and now, I got offered an incredible new job, had a family vacation for the first time EVER, and had a birthday. Then I saw In The Heights three times. πŸ˜‚. That gave me all sorts of feels and things to think about that I froze up from writing because it was a lot of personal things that I realized I wasn’t dealing with or hadn’t admit that I haven’t dealt with.

But this particular post is a review of the Celadon published book, Love People Use Things: Because the Opposite Never Works. I love books that talk about creativity, like where it comes from and such.

What intrigued me was that this was a book about “minimalizism” not creativity. However, it did have a chapter on how it can influence creativity and it did not disappoint.

This book immediately drew me in. For something that seems like such a dry topic, the book is filled with not only useful information, but shared the emotional and psychological attachments that come with letting go of things that clutter up not only your home but your mind. It even talks about the not so obvious clutter distractions, like technology. There were so many nuggets of gold that I mined from these pages.

The minimizing of the clutter itself is obviously a big part of the book but the other chapters speak to the different aspects that get freed up if we were to remove all of those distractions, like our relationships with others, our perception of what we value, money, and facing our personal truths (no matter how hard it can be.) The experience is never quite the same for people because we are “… three dimensional beings living in a world of two dimensional expectations.”

What I loved about the book was that it challenged my idea of what creativity was. To me, creativity is the making of something new out of something that already exists or out of nothing at all. They propose that creativity is the asking and answering of questions presented by a problem or concern that needs to be addressed. Up until this point, I would have only considered that problem solving. But, what do you need to solve problems? Ideas!

It also made me rethink about the types/amount of work I do. I tend to try and do a little bit of everything and make little progress on each of them, which makes me discouraged and eventually end up creating things that are way, WAY below the quality that I had hoped they would be. “It is not enough to be busy; so is everyone else. What are you focused on?”* I would take on different work projects in addition to all the theatre stuff I would do and find that I would say ‘I’m too busy’ to friends or family inviting me to do stuff. I love the notion that I can say no to stuff and focus on only what makes me super happy to work on. This would allow for a more healthy work/life balance as well.

While the main reason I was interested this book was the creativity aspect, I took away so much from each of the different sections. Someday, I would LOVE to do the project where you pack up your entire home like you are moving and only unpack the things you need as you need them (including furniture) for a month then donate the rest of the stuff. I don’t think that Perry would let me. πŸ˜‚

Anyone that feels like they can/want simplify their lives more will definitely find this book useful. I hesitate to say to go minimalist because that isn’t quite necessary. But hey if you want to give it a shot, by all means… I know I will still have a lot of things as I get rid of stuff but I am prepared to toss or donate a lot of things that I was keeping because I thought I could repurpose them. To jump back to that busy versus focus point the book made, I know I won’t be doing any repurposing anytime soon, so I can focus on doing other projects. So all that repurpose stuff is just clutter. Thanks to the authors, collectively known as “The Minimalists”, I am looking forward to this project and all the great things that will be a by product of it.

Have you ever wanted to declutter your home? Or have you decluttered already? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments below! Give the projects in this book a try! Once I get to actually do the projects, I will definitely post about the whole process.

Big thank you’s to Celadon Books for sending me this book!

*Millburn & Nicodemus. p. 228

🎼I Will Be Right Here Waiting For You🎢…

Hello Gentle Reader!

The other day I was driving home from work. Usually I have my music on my phone playing on random for all the tracks on the device and I have about 30 gigs of just music downloaded onto the SD card. Imagine my surprise when a non-song begins to play.

By non-song, I mean something that is not played on the radio, an audiobook chapter, or even a YouTube video. What began playing was the first run through of music from our production of Little Shop of Horrors last year, (technically, 2 years ago because we premiered on NYE 2019 before the chime of midnight, I guess.) For those that are unfamiliar, when you work on a musical, there comes a point when you try to sing through all of the music for the show in one rehearsal to see what needs some fine tuning or clarification.

Anywho, it made me really miss the cast and the theatre something fierce. Then my eyes decided that it was the perfect time to start burning so I had to blink a lot to make the burning go away. I happened to catch some lady staring at me while we were waiting for the light to turn green. Her face read as “WTF?” so I can only imagine the faces I was making. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

As the country continues our tortoise-like pace to herd-immunity (I really don’t like that term,) I can’t help but to be so excited for all the projects that I am seeing audition notices for. Even the shows that I know I am not interested in doing, I am just thrilled that the show is happening. It’s like me being excited for you to eat a delicious dinner that I am not invited to. I am just being a cheerleader on the side.

Can I just say, Dear Reader, that while I can’t mention the show, I recently just had something offered to me for later this year? I am over the moon to have SOMETHING on the books for 2021. Now, I just have to be practice a little patience and wait for rehearsals to begin in a few months. Hopefully then I can say what I will be working on.

I think what I can say is from reading the script is that no two performances are going to be the same! πŸ˜„ However, one thing that I do know is that even if everyone is vaccinated, some people will continue to stay away from crowded areas and events, so I am really intrigued on how this is all going to work out. Will the show have a live audience or will it be live-streamed? Will an audience even want to come to a theatre to see it? What happens if the ticket sales are hindered by the people that are wary of live events still? I get it. I can’t do it, but I get it. I have so many questions and worries for the theatre companies, but I am still super optimistic about the great return!

I already let anxiety and fear prevent me from doing things I would have loved to do before the pandemic and it has given me a different outlook on what I missed from just that, so I won’t be secluding myself from getting back on that stage or mingling with casts and friends. I am really looking forward to hugging my friends. A LOT! πŸ˜‚

Getting my second dose on Thursday and then I wait. I will sit in the corner of the room and clock watch until the time I can meet my new cast mates and we get to play! Or until I can go out brunching with friends. πŸ₯“πŸ³πŸ₯‚ What? I love to brunch! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

What is something that you can’t wait for once things return to normal-ish? Is it something that is done in big events, or is it something as simple as hugging a friend?

Until next time, Kind Reader, stay safe and alert, check up on your friends, and practice kindness. We are all in this together…

❀️