Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Night, Starving Artist Style

You realize your already open bottle of wine won't keep during the coming week, (the week you had vaguely resolved to abstain from all alcohol - you know, to cleanse), but since you like to economize and hate to waste foodstuffs of any kind, you decide you can't just throw away that open bottle. That's disrespectful, you know, to the starving kids in those remote places in the world you hear so much about. Once it's gone, THEN you can cleanse. Yeah, you could offer it to your roommate...but...reasons not to...

So, you pour a glass of wine or two for yourself whilst cleaning your room. It's Friday, after all, and shenanigans are in order. You deserve it and that's how you roll because you're a young vigorous beast. You're gonna clean that room cleaner than clean has ever felt before. Brace yourself, world.

As things progressively get more wild and crazy with you and your room, you're filling up that bag for goodwill like a boss and rocking out to Christmas music like a LEGEND, you suddenly realize that all of your belongings have either holes, wine stains, or both holes and wine stains.

This isn't surprising, really. If you are honest with yourself, you sensed the truth deep in the core of your being and felt it coming. Somehow, though, halfway through the second mason jar of wine and elbow deep in your t-shirt drawer, it becomes distressing. My god, everyone in the world must know you're covered in holes and wine stains all the time. Why haven't your friends told you before? Do they secretly laugh at your holes and wine stains after you leave parties? Yes, your work uniform is all black, but SURELY they can all see the wine stains. How can you face them again? THEY KNOW.

You must fix this. You can't remove the stains because that requires practical homemaking skills and some serious hand-eye coordination.

There is only one way out. You must shop. Yes, shop.

But you can't. It's too late for you even though there are technically 15 minutes of Black Friday left, because even the online Black Friday deals don't change the fact that you already spent your potential shopping money on wine. You already spent two hours online canceling an order because you couldn't afford it. You already spent your day not trampling people to death in BestBuy because, let's face it, you don't know how to use an iPad yet.

You need another glass of wine. was something you had decided about finish the bottle tonight? Right?


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Feeling All the Feelings

The Cherry Orchard at Horace Mann Theater
Oh boy, it's been a fall, y'all. Last time I remember knowing what day it was, it was definitely August 21st. Or 22nd? A Tuesday?

I am always thankful for the busy. Sure, I cry into my whiskey in the shower out of sheer exhaustion sometimes. I definitely drink whiskey in the shower, yes. I know because there's probably still a cup in there. And as the weeks go by and I sleep less and forget to eat, I end up having to wear children's shirts at work because I forgot my uniform, and I start making questionable decisions about who to bark back at on the subway...sure...but all in all, busy and sleep deprived are the bread and butter of any working actor. We like it when we can't feel our faces because we rehearsed until midnight and had to get up at 6 for our dayjob. We like it when we have to cram for an audition after our brunch shift and before tech. We'll be the first ones to tell you that, and simultaneously complain.
The Weirdest Tree I've ever climbed.

But really, I can't complain. I don't know if you remember this one day in August, but I do. I was such a mess that I had to blog about it, but the friendly fellow I auditioned for sans shoes or make-up made the surprising decision to go ahead and cast me in TWO of his plays anyway. So, I've been doing that. I got to work with wonderful, talented, insane people on The Weird Tree, a devised and very physical play based on an Eastern European fairy tale, as well as a notably non-traditional rendition of The Cherry Orchard. See the balloons? The snow drifts? It was pretty magical. And, while all that was happening, I also shot two short films and went to Los Angeles for a week. Because reasons.

It always happens at once, and you have to just go ahead and feel all the feelings and get it done.

Varya doesn't care anymore.
At the beginning of the year, my former roommate and I declared that 2013 would be the Year of Awesomeness. We had said 2012 was the Year of Men, so, 2013 definitely had to be something else. Various 20-something problems aside, I think our prophecy has come rather close to the truth. It was the first year I got very specific and clear with myself about what I wanted. I wrote a list of professional goals, all of which are neatly checked off even though it's only November. It's kind of amazing, actually, and humbling in the sense that many of the goals came about through channels other than my own pursuit. Some of my goals came and found me. After they roughed me up a little bit, we got along great.

Perhaps it was simply a matter of confessing that I wanted them, that I was willing to risk failure for the sake of saying their names out loud. LA, for example. I have been thinking of scouting out the town every since finishing acting school, but it was always a little scary to find the money or the time. So, finally, with a little help from my friends, I just went and did it. I forced myself to make some uncomfortable but right choices personally. I asked for what I needed, and mostly got it. But I had to ask. I had to own it. And now I grow less afraid with each whirlwind.  There will be valleys and peaks, and I now know better how to navigate myself in them. It's not so much navigating the changing landscape of my career, I am finding, but how to craft and navigate myself. 
You have to ask for what you want, Lopahkin!

And I can't skip any steps. It's all connected. I have tried so many times in the past to skip steps. I've so wanted to fast forward to the money days, the married days, the champagne in a slipper days. But you just can't. First you have to grow. You have to go through the whole process, from excitement to disappointment to joy to brutal teeth-gritting to drudgery to joy. The ending never comes first.

I am always in such a hurry to get to what I consider to be the good stuff. But how the heck do I know what the good stuff is? When I look back over the last few years, I realize that my perspective at the time was a little muddled, and I can only assume my perspective now is equally muddled. Only later can I really see how the decisions, work, and time were building up toward something new. Now we see through a glass darkly...And I really do think it will all come together when it most needs to, in the way that is best. Cheesy, but yeah. I am actually having this moment of realizing that something very cliche is true. Not in a tie-dye and crystal kind of way, but in a frustrating, painstaking, reality way. Blah blah blah.

So, with all of my latest projects winding down, I am feeling all the feelings. Pride, elation, thankfulness, and the inevitable post-show-slump. And I am not avoiding any of it, because I want to feel all the feelings. Preferably through a buffer of whiskey. Then, and only then, can I press onward and forward.
I got to wear my glasses onstage! It's the little things.