Graphic Design by Carolynne Wilcox
So we arrive at the end of Double (XX) Fest 2.0: WEEK TWO. Last night, in particular, was electric...sort of ridiculously irreverent in that despite the fact that I was fired, it was STILL my night. The "theatre" decided to have a "party" after the show for "week two participants". Coincidentally, this was the night when all "my" people decided to come. Also the night MM decided to come. I didn't know this until after the show, though - and funny, I had spent each preceding night steeled for the possibility of coming face to face with her. I'm not a person who loves confrontation but I won't back down from one either if it needs to happen. At any rate - I didn't even need to dismiss or tell her off - my posse's actions, apparently, did that for me before the show was even out. They told me after the fact. After the show, I stood out front, talking not only with "my" people, but with people who wanted to congratulate me: not only on the two shows I was in, but on the festival selections themselves, among other things! I was in a flurry of chatting with visiting playwrights and other well-wishers when MM walked out the door and slunk past me and didn't even bother to make eye contact, much less attempt to make nice. I was in conversation and didn't pause to acknowledge her anyway. Honestly, I'm not sure she even has the self-awareness to realize my people were dissing her.
It was kind of an eye-opener for me, really, as someone who has always had to FIGHT DOGGEDLY for every inch of anything. It was so nice to have people in my corner without my even having to ask. That was a luxury I didn't expect, and it warms my heart. Whatever happens with my unemployment claim, that felt like its own little victory. Truly, creating good art and having people who love me are the best revenge. I feel bad for her, honestly: I get to walk away and never set foot in SST after next Sunday. She still has to be herself for the rest of her life, and that's a hard, hard thing.
ONTO WEEK THREE!!!
It is really perverse that something that is bringing me such joy daily, that I will miss tremendously when it's over is also paradoxically giving me pause. I'm speaking, of course, of my former baby, the Double (XX) Fest.
I'm acting in three short plays for the festival, and I love them ALL. Wonderful to be able to dig into each one without much of a distraction. In certain respects, I'm blowing myself away as an actor, particularly in the fact that I'm seemingly able to
"go there" multiple times in succession, and get there each time, making new discoveries along the way. I'm starting to really notice my weird actor habits...don't know if I'm able to correct them, really, but at least I'm noticing them. And starting to notice that I'm a little bit lazy, and could totally bust out of that, and sometimes DO.
First, The Bridge (Kate McCamy), directed by Glynis Mitchell, costarring Pearl Klein. Ultimately, this character is probably the closest to who I am though still quite removed as a materialistic, Wall Street executive who's just lost her job. She's about to commit suicide by jumping off the Brooklyn bridge, when God, possessing the body of a homeless woman, stops her. It's quite existential, and I am surprised each time we run it that it hits me so hard each time. Ha ha, and it certainly isn't without its parallels to my own life, although ironically, she talks about having gone to art school and having wanted to be an artist. Funny for me, since I chose that path for myself, and yet, you still find yourself with heartless bosses who'll throw you under the bus. That is not limited to Wall Street NOR to finance.
Second, The Cleaners (Lindsay Joy Murphy) directed by Lenore Bensinger; costarring Curtis Eastwood. I get to don a very large, white plastic HazMat suit, which in and of itself is totally comedy GOLD. After putting it on, I really don't have to work very hard, in terms of the funny. The suit just brings it. All I have to do is show up and remember my lines. Had so much fun last night at rehearsal - collapsed into helpless giggles last night, when we first started working with the suit. The fun comes in that my scene partner is hitting on me the whole time I am cleaning brain in this totally unsexy, shapeless costume. It's supposed to kinda turn his character (Jerry) on even more than my character (Rita) already does with her firecracker, ballbuster personality. And then there's this knee-buckling kiss, also in The Suit (which I think has become the 4th character in the show, behind the Dead Guy we're cleaning up). Physical intimacy onstage is always so bizarre, especially at first. We're comfortable with it now, but it was totally awkward at first. Boundaries are always interesting, and of course the niggling thoughts about *actual* significant others and how they're potentially going to deal with it. I am lucky that Ian and I haven't had any issues with this so far, and he's seen me smooch plenty of other boys onstage at this point!
Which brings me to the third play, It's Not Really Suicide, Is It? (Persephone Vandegrift) directed by Julianne Christie, costarring Michael Mitchell(John) and Chris Allen(Brian). There's another smooch in this one, though it was never quite as awkward to work into as the former...but it's also not as intimate a circumstance, I suppose. My character (Nicole) is grieving her boyfriend, Brian an Iraq war vet, who just committed suicide. They are at his wake, and his ghost has appeared to his brother, John, but Nicole can't see him. Nicole is at that messed up burnt-out matchstick place where you've done all your crying and you're just spent and can't cry anymore...and the weird emotions that lie just beyond that. She kisses John, because she knows he loves her, because she's grasping at any straw she can to make herself feel okay again. Boy was it ever interesting to muster that end-of-road place for THREE RUNS tonight. I'm glad I have the whole first part of the play where it's just the two of them talking, to immerse myself in those circumstances. By the time I come out for my entrance, I have to be done bawling. I managed to do it each time tonight, but boy am I exhausted. Impressed with myself, I must say, but exhausted.
So, next week, presenting the first two to audiences, and the week beyond, the third. We'll see if performance anxiety comes by, or if I manage to ground myself enough to keep it mostly at bay...or maybe even work with it. Usually, if I can manage to stay present, it's not an issue. We shall see. I think all three of these plays are some of the best work I've ever done. And it's a pity I feel so ambivalent about recommending Double (XX) Fest 2.0 to people, which is entirely to do with not wanting Stone Soup Theatre and the woman at its helm to make any more money off my talents. It's hard for me to get beyond that.
Come and see it if you wish - it will be the last show I ever do with Stone Soup.
Far, far away and
Dreams of falling sounds of cloud
roaring in my ears as I fall out,
shadow of the Boeing above me
wings suddenly melting
ground below rushing closer, panorama of
I’m not falling, I’m flying towards the rain
skimming rooftops and
I don’t fall
I never fall
Just speed through time
Solid and stoic
Where’s the plane? My security, my grasp
Illusions of solidity
A tin can hurtling through space
the universe I cling to
all a fake
sweet, sticky nothingness
just a quick sugar-rush
My tongue closes on air
air rushing, still rushing
Where’s my place?
Put me back; I can’t find
A space needle in a haystack
Things I never told you, like
Sound and Mighty Olympians
Glittering Emerald, Cascades, concrete
…and a Troll keeping watch under a bridge.
Falling away from you
In my little car on I-5
Up and Eastward
Through the overcast
Falling up and sideways and out
But always away, far, far away
My ghostly footprints remain
Wraithlike trails of a life
A universe of
Waking dreams upon slumbering dreams
All left behind
To fly closer
To the sun?
This is your new blog post. Click here and start typing, or drag in elements from the top bar.
This is the next chapter of my life,
Comfortingly familiar yet so, so wrong.
It is miraculous and at the same time just plain truth:
The dead pester me with their attentions
There might be any opportunity one could dream about
The wine has made me courageous and bold
I float inside the spaces between molecules
Am I a ghost?
The night listens
There is surrender
I have done nothing to forgive.
Dreams aren’t logical the way real life is
I am wind, and I uncover things – I stir things up.
What is the essence of purple?
He tries to cajole me from within my block of ice
the dead are all around him
Is he merely hiding?
I thought if his wings were big enough, he could fly high enough
It was nothing like that at all
I cannot help but follow the breadcrumbs dropped for me into this mystery
It swallows every other tiny tragedy:
Forced to swing back and forth, like a demi-goddess pendulum
All I have to do is surrender:
There are pieces of his shrapnel embedded throughout my body.
I have survived him.
I just want to be a part of life.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
So, I took the day off from "getting things accomplished" today and after dutifully updating my blog (well, I guess I got THAT accomplished), went out with the Ian for a looong walk in the sunshine and surf. We parked at Carkeek Park and walked along the shore all the way to Golden Gardens and back. It was low tide, about a -4. We talked to crows and seagulls, picked up seashells and beach glass, took photos of sand (at left)! We got windblown, sun kissed and got our feet wet! Haven't done something like this in awhile, it felt REALLY GOOD.
Let me just say here, and I'm sorry if it sounds woo-woo or corny, but I just LOVE water. Obviously, humans need it for survival and are made up of 80% of it and all, but there's something about being submerged in water or being next to a large body of it that is SO nourishing and healing to my soul. This long walk yesterday by the Puget Sound was really cleansing - washed away several years' worth of psychic grime. I woke up today feeling like a much clearer channel.
Anyway, I had thrown together a small picnic of snacks (which I SO wished I'd brought with me on the walk!) that I left back in the car, and we feasted in the soft, fragrant grass back at Carkeek Park while watching all the little kidlets run around. Bubble Man was there and we watched his show from afar. It was nice to just lay there, eat, soak up the much-needed vitamin D.
After that was the weekly trip to Groc Out for the week's sustenance. Salmon and asparagus this week for CHEAP! And then back to Ian's barge where we laid on the roof and soaked in MORE sun. I don't really burn easily, but Ian was a little pink. We were laying there thinking how great it'd be if there was a crab shack under the Aurora Bridge, and decided to get off our asses and try the new Fremont BBQ Joint, Pete's Fremont Fire Pit.
There was a giant sandwich board of a pig on fire outside the joint (see photo, bottom rt). So, there was the creepy fun of that. When we sat, they brought us water with no ice, so that was bonus number two. And then there was the food. Ian got some sammitch monstrosity with beef brisket and chicken. I got a simple pulled pork sandwich. It was bigger than my head. DELICOUS. I highly recommend eating here if you like meat and bbq. Relatively inexpensive, too. We shared an order of waffle fries which were done to perfection as well - slightly spiced and perfectly deep fried with little crispy bits.
As we were finishing up our meal, there was HUGE COMMOTION going on outside. Fire trucks, paramedics, the whole nine. Apparently, that self-immolating pig created some fiery destruction: a brush fire had spread to a martial arts studio. Firefighters were trying to put it out while also protect the neighboring Fremont Coffee House. Yikes!
A great day off.
Friday, April 6, 2012
Saturday, April 7, 2012
With graphic design work, it's so easy to get sucked in and work for hours. It's interesting and creative and I just get absorbed. Started working around 9am and when I finally came up for air, it was 2 and ready to get dressed (sweats! again!) for Diablos rehearsal.
I've been rehearsing, with eSe Teatro, to be a diablo at the Seattle Center on May 5. This means learning an Afro-Perfuvian devil dance, which I've been learning for the last 3 weekends now.We will be wearing devil masks (see image). There are parts of it that are really similar to tap and jazz, other forms I've studied before. But mind you, I am NOT a dancer. I've always kinda sucked at dance. I'm not graceful, for one thing. For another, I've always had a problem picking up steps. They have to be broken down to the most rudimentary of levels for me, and I have to do them a lot verrrrry slowwwwly before I can get anything close to the actual time they're supposed to be in.
I took Jazz dance at Westlake Dance Center (WDC) for about 3 years back in the 90's. I was never really any good at it, but with perseverance, I *did* get better. Plus, one of the teachers I learned from, Sheri Lewis, was a really patient instructor with me, and I learned a LOT from her. Also, I felt like she actually LIKED me. I usually think all teachers dislike me, so I thrived as much as I was able in this environment. Towards the end of my time there, I finally started to get to the point where I didn't have to THINK about the steps as much but was just able to trust my body to a degree. Still not a pretty or graceful dancer, but at least I could get the combinations much faster.
So, fast forward 15 years to 2012, and eSe Teatro. Haven't really done any dancing since the three years of Jazz. I've done lots of theatrical movement, even choreography, but none of it was very complicated, nor did I have to be graceful. However, it is a similarly welcoming environment...and considering the abuse I've dealt with at my day job for the past 2.5 years, it has been nice to have this place where people welcome me in at least in some corner of my life! But back to the dancing, I've picked it up at a surprisingly quick rate. For ME, anyway. I thought I'd be struggling with everything and far, far behind, but I'm not only keeping up, I'm actually towards the top of the pack of devils, in terms of picking it up, which NEVER happens. I've noticed that that thing I had started to acquire at the end of my time at WDC has actually persisted, despite years away from dancing. I don't have to THINK about the steps so much, I just listen to the rhythm and my body kinda GETS it. Mostly. The switch got flipped back then, and I guess it's like riding a bicycle: you don't forget.
Things Accomplished since Day of Firing
Friday, March 30:
Saturday, March 31:
Sunday, April 1:
Monday, April 2:
Tuesday, April 3:
Wednesday, April 4:
Thursday, April 5:
Wow - it's good to see an itemized list - proving I really have been quite productive over the past 7 days. I vow to continue doing so from today onward, and opening myself up to opportunity and possibility however it decides to present itself. I am so blessed now, as compared with last time around (unemployment circa 2008/9): the network of people in my life is so much larger, the job market itself is healthier, I have a greater variety of skills to draw on and now there's a crazy cat and an intense boy in my life. And most important of all, my brain is in a better place...I no longer feel inadequate and useless. There is some floundering in my absence.
This actually occurred exactly a week ago, last Thursday, 3/29/12. Best day of my life. The moment I walked out of the building, I felt like an oily veil of fear, doubt and chaos was lifted and I could see more clearly than I'd been able to in a LOOOONG time.
But of course, now I'm unemployed, and have to figure out what to do with that. I'll be okay for a little while, and an even longer while if I am able to collect unemployment (which may be an uphill battle, but I have smoking guns and am prepared).
Of course, I remember being unemployed last time, for over a year. It was really hard. Specifically on the psyche and spirit. No one could come out to play, and many days morale was so low that I didn't ever make it out of my pajamas. The job market was so bad I just got discouraged and at points, just stopped submitting my resume because it felt like it was just getting lost in the email void, never a "We've received your resume, thank you" or a call for an interview or...NOTHING. During that time, I sent over 150 resumes/cover letters out and got TWO interviews. One led to a 2nd interview. But otherwise, nothing.
This was where it started - my devaluing of myself, that is. I had just come back from grad school where I had excelled - 4.0 for three years straight, while consistently meeting all my assistantship hours and participating in a variety of theatrical productions in multidisciplinary capacities - and an outside job to boot. Then I got back to Seattle and suddenly, I was nothing. No one would hire me. Many in my previous theatrical network had left town. The economy tanked.
Finally, I got hired at a small theatre, mostly because I'd designed brochures for the AD before grad school. So desperate was I to have gainful employment at that point that I accepted the low salary and dove in with both feet, despite knowing the AD was a "challenging personality".
I did okay for the first year and a half or so. But then the AD got sick and things started to go downhill, in terms of everything got piled on me and the Education Director. Lots of work, but no more compensation. And by the time she returned, I was dancing perilously close to complete burnout. I hung around through the summer with a bad attitude, and things seemed to get a little better in the fall - interesting projects to publicize, fun outside people to work with. But despite hiring an assistant, new and more complicated work got piled on...but still - no added compensation, no word of how I was doing, nothing. There was never any catching up - I was always a hamster in a stationary wheel.
In the month preceding my dismissal, things had started to come to a head...and the funny thing is, my getting canned had more to do with getting OTHER artists at the theatre some kind of small budget than anything to do with my own salary.
Now that I'm gone, I see how I've allowed my love of theatre to be taken advantage of and how I've allowed myself to be devalued and more importantly to FEEL less than or mediocre...something which started while I was unemployed and persisted through this roller coaster employment situation.
Well...no more. I'm hanging up my gloves in the Carolynne vs Carolynne fight. I have some mad skills. There are a ton of things I'm actually quite GOOD at! And instead of wasting all this energy feeling like I suck at everything, am going to expend the energy celebrating those skills and honing them even more. GO ME!
As I was driving home from Olympia this afternoon, it occurred to me I could use my unemployment as a great jumping-off point for this blog that keeps stalling. Make a commitment to myself to either get out of the house at least once each day or do something significant at home that has to do with honing these skills. And now that I actually have the time to write...here we go!
Day to day thoughts, rants and mental detritus.