Three Blog Entries #3: Pinterest
I initially clicked on someone's "Pinterest" link in Facebook because I (silly, silly theatre person) thought it might have something to do with Pinter, as in, Harold Pinter, well-known (and recently deceased) British playwright famous (infamous?) for writing in long pauses.
NOPE. Didn't have anything to do with Pinter, but in fact is yet ANOTHER new social networking site that has to do with PINNING. This sort of made me cringe. ANOTHER ONE? Shit. And because I'm in PR, I have to keep up with the kids, so I can't exactly ignore it. SHIT.
So, I asked for an invite. Not sure what that whole thing is about...are they trying to make it feel exclusive? I dunno. They sent me an email saying I was on the waiting list, then a couple hours later, I got an invite, and I joined. I haven't entirely figured out what it's about yet, but so far, I'm thinking it might actually be a useful site for an artist, especially a visual one, but helpful for theatre projects as well. Basically, all you do is put a "Pin It" button on your bookmarks bar and any cool picture or page you find anywhere online, you can pin, and it will put it in a specific bulletin board you can categorize. I have these categories so far: Foood!, Horror, Books Worth Reading, Mythology & Folklore, Spaces and Places, Typography and I am Dead of Cute. Predictably, I've put more pins on Fooood! and Books Worth Reading, so far. Also, haven't had much time to think about it, truthfully - this has been one HELL of a week - both HELL (tech) week and just a HELL week.
But I can see it being useful for a collage artist such as myself, and one who likes to compile image bases for projects. Not sure it will work for PR purposes, but I guess time will tell. We shall see what we shall see...I will try to continue to keep up with the kids and figure it out. I'm still working on Twitter, have definitely gotten comfortable with Facebook and blogging (HA!), but Google + still hasn't taken off for me.
I suppose I ought to check in soon and see where we're at in the show, so I can go out for curtain call, during which I have more stage time than my whole part! I have to say, it is hard having such a teensy part. And not out of any need to BE A BIG STAR or anything like that, but because I really enjoy acting, and there's really not enough of it for me in this play. Even if I had one meaty scene, that would be fine. But just a few lines without much to do other than get the information across quickly and truthfully...it makes me miss getting to really dig in and be present with another actor. It was especially poignant during the eSe fundraiser the other night - I was reading a love poem with another woman - she read in spanish and I read in english, and we did it as though we were reading the poem to each other. Midway through, I realized they had just voted for same-sex marriage here in Washington State just one day before, and that somehow hit me and reading through the rest of the poem with that in mind bumped the stakes up that much more! The audience cheered when we were done.
Here for this show, I'm just onstage and out, delivering a message. There's not enough meaty in there for me, and way too much time sitting on a cold floor in the wings, walking around the corner to get on and offstage, and hanging around backstage. Argh. I don't think I ever need to do another tiny role like this again - though the director said some very lovely things in the opening night card she gave me tonight, and everyone in the cast has just been lovely to work with, a REALLY GREAT group - there's just not enough acting in here - don't feel like I really get to flex my muscles. I guess it's a great exercise in humility.
THREE BLOG ENTRIES: #1
Now I have to come up with three to get caught up. What a trying day it was today. What a trying economy we're living in. I miss my job at Cornish College - I was NEVER, EVER stressed out there. As I wait backstage, I am hoping the Universe will see fit to send me a life preserver of some kind. It doesn't have to be huge, I am happy to take my own actions, I'm not lazy, but something I can recognize and grab onto. Whatever that may be. Maybe I just need to dream a little bit...it worries me that I've been too exhausted even to dream. Between the job, the rehearsals, the shows, the eight hats I wear at work, the boyfriend, the kitty, the paying of all the bills...there's just not much time in there for me, whereas at one point, there was copious time.
I feel envious of people who just quit everything and travel the world. I don't think I could do that. Or could I? Could I just drop everything and take off? I'd have to figure out someplace to leave the kitty, for one thing, and either sell off nearly everything I own or find a place to store it. There's the idea of applying for a Fullbright...don't know if I could do that as a student anymore, since I'm now 4 years out of grad school. Don't know if any of these are necessarily the answer, either. I just know I need more time to rest and dream. I need more time to cultivate my own projects. I need time to freaking EXERCISE REGULARLY again! Something's gotta give around here, and really, I know what it needs to be, I just can't financially do it right now without some kind of lifeline. Are you listening, Universe? Please. Anything recognizable would be AWESOME!
With the 16 minutes left in Valentine's Day, I just have to gush for awhile about the fundraiser I was part of this evening with eSe Teatro: eSe Amor: Great Works of Love.
For starters, I wore ALL RED. I usually wear black on Valentine's Day, but I went for red this year. It's my 2nd Valentine with a Valentine, and my Valentine came to the fundraiser to celebrate with me as I did double-duty as a performer for the event.
They went ALL OUT, it was a smashing success - congrats to all involved - it really was an extravaganza. As someone who's gotten used to the "toothpicks and duct-tape" approach of Stone Soup, it was nice to be part of something that pulled out all the stops to begin with, and exceeded its own expectations because of it. The Bullitt Cabaret at ACT was transformed into a sultry speakeasy with food art on naked bodies, seductive South American dance numbers, singing sirens and erotic literature and poetry. We were all dressed to the nines in floor-length gowns and glittery jewels. (and I MUST give a shout-out here to Kaitie for loaning me that Curly Girl book - I did the whole "leaving my hair in the gel cast" thing all day, and when I shook it out as I was getting into costume for the performance, it behaved EXACTLY as I was hoping it would!)
It was SO much fun! And it was inclusive. That's something I've loved about eSe from the beginning - they've never felt cliquey or exclusive to me - I've always felt very welcomed, which is not a natural state for me, as the weird kid not many people liked during school years, and I still feel a measure of that in Seattle's uber-icy and too-cool-for-school theatre scene. But not when I'm working with eSe. Which makes me want to work with them more, not to mention the interesting projects they're continuing to do. I guess I am a Seattle Latina taking stage tonight.
Also, to mi amor, hell has frozen over with this serial spinster celebrating a SECOND non-single Valentine's Day. Thanks for the duck eggs and everything else. <3<3<3
I've always felt a little sheepish calling myself "Hispanic" or "Latina". I'm mostly a whitey - my ancestors all came from Europe - it's just that some of them came by way of South America afterwards. In high school, probably because my Dad wrote that we sometimes spoke Spanish in the home on some form, I was invited, along with all the other hispanic students, to a special field trip away from school. I decided to go - what better than an excused absence from the daily routine of classes?
In Boulder, Colorado, "hispanic" meant mostly "Mexican", and there I was, surrounded by a sea of Mexican Americans and probably a few illegal immigrants, and the folks leading the assembly were talking about La Rasa and Hispanic Power. Once again, I felt weird and sheepish, like some kind of imposter - though no one treated me as though I didn't belong, and there were a few other classmates at the rally who I'd known in some cases since elementary school and hadn't known they were hispanic, because they, also, did not "look" the part. But I also secretly liked feeling included as someone a little different from the other Boulder whiteys.
Since then, I've put "Caucasian" and "Hispanic" on forms where it was allowed, most often feeling a little sheepish and a charlatan. It wasn't until graduate school, a few years ago, that I started to really consider what this all meant. I was working on an oral presentation for my dramaturgy class that focused on "Pan-American" playwrights. I began researching several contemporary playwrights who self-identified as Latino and discovered that many of them had similar backgrounds to mine - one North American parent and one South American, brought up in the USA, etc. Also, there is a stereotype about Latino and Latin American playwrights that I realized holds very true for my own work as a playwright - the focus on Magic Realism. In short, if these playwrights could proudly call themselves Latinas, why couldn't I?
Fast forward a couple of years later when, out of grad school for awhile, I was invited to perform in Luis Alfaro's Electricidad (a barrio take on the Greek Electra) with a budding new Seattle company called eSe Teatro, made up of a group of mostly American Latinos. Were this company in Boulder, or San Diego, it would likely be made up, again, of Latinos of mostly Mexican descent. But here in Seattle, I performed with folks of Peruvian, Cuban, Nicaraguan and Ecuadoran descent, to name a few, in addition to Chicanos. The striking thing was that, oddly, more than with any other theatre company or group I'd ever worked or socialized with, I actually felt like I belonged. They were not cliquey, and it didn't matter that I didn't "look" hispanic. I speak some Spanish and I've got a Uruguayan background, that was good enough for them.
The more work I do with eSe and the more they invite me to events and readings, the less weird and sheepish I feel about calling myself a Latina and the more I feel like there's a place for me in that rich patchwork.
Tomorrow night, I get to take a brief break from Young Man From Atlanta tech madness and go perform in both English and Spanish at eSe Teatro's fundraiser, eSe Amour: Great Works of Love. This is the 2nd time I've had the privilege of performing with eSe, and they've invited me to read in two or three readings as well.
Some folks might not know about me that I'm a first generation American on my mom's side: she and my father met while he was doing a stint teaching basketball for the Peace Corps in her country, Uruguay. Half of my family lives here in the States and speak English; the other half live in Uruguay and Argentina and speak Spanish. Though we always spoke English at home, I am bilingual, as a consequence of living in Spain when I was three, and attending a Spanish pre-school there. Apparently, I came home one day speaking Spanish, and that was all she wrote. It has been in my head ever since. The only chance I've mostly gotten to speak it, however, has been during visits to my relatives in Uruguay, and occasional vacations in Mexico and Spain.
Once we got back to this country and I was a teenager, however, it was not cool to speak Spanish. My parents tried to persuade me to take Spanish language classes so I could learn to read and write in Spanish - they said it would be an easy A. I rebelled and took French. They would parade me in front of their friends and ask me questions in Spanish. I would answer in English. And so on.
By the time I was an adult, I figured any fluency I had was pretty much gone, since I never really spoke Spanish all that much, and even when I went to Uruguay for a visit, my parents and siblings were with me and I talked to them in English.
One Christmas while I was in college, after visiting my immediate family in South Africa, where they were posted, I flew back via Uruguay for a week. This time, I had no one to speak English to and I had to dig back into those language centers of my brain and dig out that fluency...and it was the strangest thing when, after a week of speaking only in Spanish, I was starting to think in Spanish. My mother phone me from South Africa the day before I was to fly back to the States to check up - she spoke to me in English...and it took me a moment to switch back. What an odd experience! It really hit home that once you have a fluency in a language, it never really goes away - you just have to take it out and dust it off for a few days and it's forever in those language centers of your brain. I've since visited Uruguay twice more without immediate family, and had this same experience of my Spanish returning after a day or so of constant use.
There ARE no small parts...
This copious amount of time to sit around and wait makes me realize it's been quite a long time since I've had a really tiny part in a play. Meaning less than a minute of stage time total. My first role back in Jr. High when the bug first bit was such a part - I had lost out to Laura Culberson the role of Dagmar in I Remember Mama (John Van Druten) after a series of callbacks where the director couldn't make up her mind. As a consolation, the director created a small, one-line walk-on role for me in the second act: "Hotel Guest Child".
The next thankless role was my first year at Colorado State University in Brecht's Mother Courage, when I played "Scene 8 Woman". I got to wear old-age makeup and collapse from hunger after saying my one line, which I still remember: "There's nothing doing here either. Let's go". In a German accent no less. It was actually an important role for me at that point in my college career, however, as I got to meet and bond with other folks in the theatre department that I wouldn't have otherwise met. I ended up winning a department award for that role - can't remember award's title, but it had something to do with fulfilling your tiny duties and having a good attitude about them.
Other small roles occurred. I had several with no lines but way more stage time and movement. A non-speaking fairy in A Midsummer Night's Dream; an non-speaking attendant in Antigone...and several small roles in Romeo and Juliet. I took up crossword puzzles during this run.
That was in 2002. 35 shows under my belt since then and all of them either leading or meatily supporting. And here we are at the Young Man From Atlanta with a four-line role and not much else to do but sit backstage and write in my blog! The director mentioned it'd be pretty thankless, but I DO still get to be part of this ensemble. I still get to speak some Horton Foote, however little. I don't make a habit of accepting tiny roles, because they're usually not offered to me. And there's something about getting to ride through the journey of a character through the a whole production of transformation that is extremely satisfying as an artist. I likely won't do it again unless there is some exci
So I was given the topic of "Sasquatch" by a fellow castmate, as something to muse on for this next blog entry. I don't actually know a whole lot about Sasquatch, not even enough to be able to expound, but it brings up another interesting topic, THAT being the whole canon of fodder they used as research for The X-Files. Not only Sasquatch, but the Loch Ness monster. The Yeti. Aliens in general. Yes. Aliens. Inexplicable phenomena.
Aliens, I guess, would be the closest to my heart - well, after ghosts and demons - but that's a whole separate blog entry or forty. The year Star Wars came out, all the kids were being Luke and Leia on the playground, but I was obsessed with another blockbuster that summer: Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind. I was 9 and I wanted to be an astronomer. My parents were excited, because they assumed they had a budding little genius on their hands with a scientific mind, but really what interested me about astronomy was all about being able to find life on other planets. My best friend Barbara and I would tell our classmates that we were sisters from the Andromeda galaxy and had gotten separated when our spaceship crashed to Earth. They would quiz us trying to find holes in our story
I remember sitting outside that summer in the backyard, looking with longing towards the sky at dusk, wishing the aliens would come down and take me away. I felt jealous of the Richard Dreyfuss character in Close Encounters because he got to go off in the alien craft at the end of the film.
Fast forward to adulthood, on the other side of plenty of sci-fi films, books and of course, my beloved X-Files. I was taking a clairvoyant class w/a group of women. One night, our teacher had us take a "journey to our ancestors". Her teachers had a shamanistic and Native American focus, but always had room for everything that wanted to enter the circle. After doing this journey, I found out some interesting things. We went around the circle afterwards, sharing our experiences. Each of the women seemed to have some wise old Native American guide or ancestor who spoke to them - Eagle Bird Man and Red Corn Woman...etc. And then there was ME, whose weird ancestors came from a little further away, namely the Pleiades. As in, the star system Pleiades. Yeah - that's where my journey led me - across the damn stars to a whole other planet. And as farfetched as it sounds, things started to click into place. It all makes a crazy kind of sense.
Yes, I totally sound like a FROOT LOOP, but the thing is, I believe it. "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio..."
As an adult, it was the movie Contact, adapted from the Carl Sagan novel that makes the most sense - the notion that perhaps the Earth is not necessarily the be-all and end-all of human origin. Perhaps we came from somewhere else first. Perhaps, sparked by a little alien assistance, the primordial ooze evolved with the union of primate and alien DNA. Yeah, it sounds like a sci-fi movie, and most flks think I have an overactive imagination...but how much crazier is it, really, than to assume there is a god in the sky with a white beard who lives amongst cherubim and a devil with horns and a pitchfork living underfoot?
WHOOPS. This is embarrassing.
So, I haven't write in this blog for 4 consecutive nights, after "making it so" and saying I was going to do it for 30 consecutive days. And the thing is, it isn't that I sheepishly skipped it, but rather I am so out of practice that I JUST PLUM FORGOT. Coming home after a long rehearsal each night, I've found myself so tired when i get home that all I want to do is cuddle m kitty, grab a bite, take a hot shower and go to BED. Hence, forgetting to write altogether.
I've then gone on, each corresponding day, to remember and feel guilty and sheepish, thinking "Tonight, I have to write TWO blog entries." And the next day, "Tonight, I have to write THREE". And so on.
And, well, here it is, the 5th day, and I find myself with 2 things glaring: 1.) I have to write 5 entries to catch up and 2.) I have copious amounts of time to sit and wait here backstage, as we run the Young Man From Atlanta twice each night remaining in rehearsal. So, tonight, conveniently having brought my laptop with me to execute just this very task, I will attempt 5 blog entries. Because what a perfect opportunity to complete focus on writing? I don't have to go back onstage after I finish my 4 lines, all I have to keep an eye out for is the curtain call at the end. And this play runs for FOUR WEEKS. By the time it's done, the habit should be back and integ
Teatime in the Afterlife
It occurred to me today that the only possible way to have another Wednesday Tea Ladies afternoon with all members present would be in the hereafter. Unless we should happen to go there in a dream. I have sometimes met with the dead in dreams. What would we say to each other at this fantastical tea party? One person completely non-corporeal, residing in the realms beyond, the other just visiting. Also, what kind of tea would we have?
I guess I'd ask what it felt like - that moment of passing out of your body for good. I'd ask what it felt like to know you were going and if there was fear or if it was just release. And how did you come to be here and what was next...and who was in charge, or did it even work that way and what do you understand now that you didn't understand when you were limited by the confines of this finite human brain?
I look forward to this tea party, whether it's sooner or later. Whether it's in a dream or after my own death. What a journey that will be.
Day to day thoughts, rants and mental detritus.