Month: July 2017

TimeHop: 2016

Facebook strikes again, always punching me in the gut with their “On This Day” app. All of my memories that are currently popping up from 2016 are theatre related. Every day from May 13, 2016 until July 3, 2016 I was at the theatre. After July 3rd, I was five and six days a week on, one or two off until mid-September. I was bouncing between four different shows in varying capacities. I was leaving the house at 8am and not returning until midnight, hoping for a few furtive hours sleep before starting again, desperate to fit in line and music memorization. For an actor, a dream come true, right?

Wrong.

Last summer destroyed relationships. I’m not exaggerating.  DESTROYED.  There are people who no longer speak because of the nonsense that was our shared theatrical experiences. I’ve lost a best friend, a long-time partner in the arts, and all sense that the more casual friendships and acquaintanceships will ever again result in creative collaboration. I’m not claiming to be a  victim here, either. My mouth and my personality get in my way sometimes. I can’t let things go. I can’t just let someone off the hook when I perceive their behavior to be bad or lacking. I demand an often-times ridiculously high level of quality, particularly given my geography. I get insanely frustrated when every member of a cast or crew isn’t pulling their weight.  That’s not exactly a recipe for interpersonal success.  

I am also much harder on myself than anyone else can be. I beat myself up for my perceived wrong-doings. I don’t forgive myself. I retreat to a place inside myself, sometimes as a sort of “time out”, sometimes as self-preservation, oftentimes to evaluate the scenario from other perspectives. I always try to make things right. I’ve tried with these broken relationships, too.  I’ve not been successful, rather, ignored.

I really miss doing theatre this summer. I feel a profound void to have been away from the stage this long. As with anything,however, there are plenty of upsides. I adore having so much time to enjoy my life. Joe and I are better than ever, spending tons of really good time together. I’m enjoying the amenities in my community for the first time in maybe forever. I’ve had summer experiences that I haven’t had since I was a teenager- pool visits, lake time, tennis, golf, all of it. It’s remarkable how rested and happy I am.  People constantly comment on how good I look, on how nice it is to see me out and about.  It’s the “Summer of George.”

But Facebook continues to rub my face in my relationship failures, I’m actually fairly upset. I can’t let go of some of the loss, and- it bears mentioning AGAIN- I’m sad to not be doing theatre work this summer. When I sat down to write this, always writing as therapy, I intended to introduce you to the characters, summarize the rise and fall within the confines of last summer, and leave the story for you to interpret. Then I started to get way too detailed, way too bogged down in minutiae that means nothing to anyone who wasn’t part of the day-to-day of Summer 2016. Suddenly it popped in my head:

 

They don’t care.

 

I can’t get past these splintered relationships because I care so intensely. They don’t.  I’m making myself crazy, indulging in painful musings that revisit five months of me putting every bit of myself into a job that resulted in…..nothing.  Absolutely nothing. Well, I guess according to TimeHop it’s something.  My answer arrived over the holiday weekend:  less Facebook. 

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Summer Stock: A Fictitious Journey

Summer Stock: Drama in Drama

Working through an idea….part one

 

There’s always more drama off-stage than on, when working in theatre.  Why not have a little fun with it…..  I’m building a smarmy, perhaps snarky little script….maybe you’d like to join me on the journey?  I know that many of you recognize the characters….I can’t wait to see how they evolve into Murder! Mystery! Mahem! Or just another blog post.

 

Cast of Characters:

Katie: A potentially lovely person who wants attention, love, and acceptance. Her mean-girl moments are largely secret: not inviting certain members of the “crew” to an all-nighter at her house, cuddling up to the “hot at the moment” newbie for love and adoration, then forgetting they exist when they’ve served their purpose to her ego. She’s talented, but one-note. She’s not overly ambitious, posing no threat to most of the theatre world in which she dwells.  She can be seen literally walking from group to group gossiping. She will harvest information from group”A”, then saunter to group “B” and dish it all.  By the time she arrives at group “C”, she’s chock-full of tidbits to use as power and gain acceptance.  

Regina: The self-appointed queen bee of the Summer of 2017, she dazzles with bullshit. She’s not particularly talented, but she keeps showing up, so many are legitimately convinced.  I mean, you can’t get a job if you don’t have the chops, right?  Wrong. Telling outright lies for personal gain is her MO, and when backed into a corner about said falsehoods, she places the blame elsewhere. There’s always someone to blame so she always comes up smelling like a rose. She’s cognizant of the fact that people talk about her, but it fuels her in a near Shakespearean way. She may actually view herself as Coriolanus.  

Taylor: Legitimately talented and seemingly nice, this young girl takes zero responsibility for the chaos around her. She’s always the victim, she’s always put-upon. She views herself as hardworking, but those around her feel as though they need the proverbial kid gloves. Her product is lovely; her process is tiresome. Perhaps she’s capable of greatness, but we’ll never know: her ego is in her way at every turn.  

Justin: A young man with infectious enthusiasm, he also believes that he is more talented than he actually is. His base-knowledge of theatre is sophomoric, but he’s male. He continues to get gigs for that fact alone. Desperately lacking in self-esteem, this player needs to be loved. He needs to have a large group around him. Even if this group doesn’t know his name, they are THERE.  They are HIS.  Proximity is everything. The superficial nature of his relationships makes him utterly average.   

Paul: A two-faced hack: hugs and kisses you, compliments your dress, then turns to the next person and makes fun of your fashion, rolling his eyes. Claims to love theatre, but never goes to see anything. Has great ideas, but does not execute them. He relies on others to do hard, good work so he can reap glory and credit. His working knowledge of theatre and resume are both strong, particularly given his age. Stunting his growth and success, however, is profound laziness. He will actually start a sentence with the most endearing, intelligent quip and lose it halfway through, ending the sentiment with, “Or something like that. Fuck it.” He relies on charm and after-party schmoozing to pad his circle of friends. He commands attention and generally speaking gets people to respond. “Phoning it in” is his default mode. His tunnel vision is dangerous, and once you’ve been sworn as his enemy, you’re marked for life.   

Kim: The most pathetic, and probably most poisonous person during summer of 2017. Kim is emotionally needy, untrustworthy, and a complete opportunist. She complains, she manipulates, she cheats. A compulsive liar, most of the time she’s convinced of her own fabrications. The greatest lie she tells is that of her moral fiber. [Spoiler alert: she doesn’t have one.] Watch carefully when you’re around her: she will coerce you into offering sympathy, use your moment of weakness to get what she wants, and then accuse you of murder. That’s a slight exaggeration, but only slight. She’s trash.

Gary: Also a liar, but not as superficially as Kim. Gary is sociopathic. Gary often boasts about being a “chameleon” or having a “heightened ability to empathize” when in fact Gary does not possess a personality of his own. Gary is usually morphing into whatever an opportunity calls for:  doting boyfriend, concerned friend, talented actor, zealous set-mover, novice mediator. Gary longs for respect, talks about all the reasons folks should respect him, but never actually does anything to earn respect. Gary is a master of disguises, usually donning a mask of concern and care when he’s trying to figure out if your pockets can be picked.   

Flying Monkeys: These ten or so folks are the backup singers of Summer 2017. They are, on the surface, doing their jobs happily. They like the shows, the space, the casts, the crew. They march along chanting their pleasure but then, one-on-one, confide a desperate need to be rescued. They, with tears in their eyes, beg, “Is this really what it’s like?” The Monkeys don’t want to make waves, but they don’t like the ocean either. They hope for a change and are the undercurrent to others’ wave-making. They never go as far as standing up for themselves or others, but they also don’t buy the nonsense of the crazy-makers.

 

This might be fun……