Thrive

November is usually a pretty busy month for me on a personal level because I have preparations for my grandparents’ Christmas suppers, I now participate in Nanowrimo (where I have to write 50 000 words in a month) and I generally start panicking about all of my resolutions for the year that I am nowhere near completing. This year, I had all of those things, plus I was actually going out and doing things with people, and working at my two very awesome Thrival Jobs. Even I usually refer to them as Survival Jobs, as in the things you have to do to make money until your dream job starts paying, but I am absolutely loving being a reader, and have a newfound appreciation for McGill, which has always been awesome, but is now a little more so.

I have been meaning to write a post on Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes book, because I find it amazing, and it really got to work on the seeds planted when I read Lean In. The whole time I was in London, I was doing all the things that scared me, but I was also in London, at a new school, with new people. And it was really baby steps. It’s a whole new ballgame trying to incorporate this into a setting where I have pre-established behaviors. Lately, I have been trying to not just do the big things that make me nervous, but to constantly be living outside of my comfort zone. For example, at McGill, I used to know the names of pretty much everyone who worked there, because I would sit there with a book and listen to all the conversations, maybe nodding or smiling, but rarely actually participating. It hit me one day that most of those people probably had no idea who I was. This was confirmed when some of them came to audition where I was their reader and they had absolutely no recollection that they had ever met me before. It’s the kind of thing that stings until I realized that I never made myself memorable. I never really contributed.

Now, I make it a point to put the book away and to start conversations. To ask questions. To introduce myself. To get to know people. Not only does this greatly reduce the amount of nerves I used to have when going up to talk to these people, but in general, most of them are pretty awesome and really nice to get to know. I have also been working on saying yes to going out or helping people with things or having coffee or…almost every offer that I would normally be too nervous to say yes to. Not to mention inviting people to do those things, so I also have the added fear of rejection. But I don’t care. Not as in I don’t care whether they say yes or no, but I am trying not to let the possibility of them saying no stop me from possibly enjoying spending time with people. (And I mean saying no as in them having no interest in hanging out with me, not saying no because they’re busy. Which is huge because it means not assuming they’re trying to let me down easy rather than legitimately have things to do)

file-2016-11-24-9-55-18-am

As far as Suzanna’s class, it is wonderful, as always. Last week Bobby and I did a scene from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, where I got to play a lawyer again, but this time in a comedy. I am really enjoying comedies lately, and had a really fun time with the scene, where I got to be polite, offended, excited, uncomfortable, apologetic, grossed out…I ran the gamut of emotions with the facial expressions to boot!

This week, I worked until 7 across town, and class starts at 6:30. Normally, I would have seen this as an excuse to not go, because I would be an hour late. However, I recently decided that I wanted to be so prepared and ready for class or auditions or whatever that I would no longer see things like this as excuses, but would want to do everything in my power to get there, even if I was late. So, I drove across town and ran in, late, but I think they also started late. Jen wasn’t there again, so I cheated a bit and did her scene as my audition. Really, I think I just wanted to prove that I could get that first line out properly 😉 Which I did. At the end, Suzanna said I hit all the levels, I listened well, I was strong and authoritative where I needed to be at the end…I was proud of it.

file-2016-11-24-9-55-42-am

For the cold read audition, I got a short scene where I am the police sketch artist who is shown disturbing images that need to both shock me and reignite my determination by reminding me why I do this. We did a lot of takes, but it was different and interesting to be working so hard on something non-verbal, but so crucial to the scene.

“You can’t outwit fate by trying to stand on the sidelines and place little side bets about the outcome of life. Either you wade in and risk everything to play the game, or you don’t play at all. And if you don’t play, you can’t win.”

-Judith McNaught

 

Rehearsals and Plays


Last week we had no classes, just rehearsals, which meant lots of downtime to work on lines and see some theatre 🙂 There was a discount code on today tix for Easter weekend, so I had bought tickets to The Play That Goes Wrong (possibly the funniest play I have ever seen), Phantom of the Opera and Hand to God. The first plays went off without a hitch, but then when I went to see Hand to God on Wednesday, there was an announcement that Harry Melling would not be performing that night.

I know it’s bad of me and I should be going to see plays regardless of who is in them, for the story or the art and such, but most of the time, I still choose my plays according to the actors that I know who happen to be in them. This was a play I chose because of Dudley Dursley being in it, so I managed to change my ticket and saw it on Thursday night instead 🙂 I am sure the understudy was amazing and talented as well, but I was in awe of how seamlessly he went from being Jason to being Tyrone (the puppet), which involved changing his accent, the tone of his voice, his emotions…It was incredible. And, the actors that I saw at the stage door didn’t come out like celebrities waiting for their fans, they both seemed surprised that we were waiting there and were really nice about signing stuff and taking pictures with us.

On Wednesday, I didn’t want to go home after walking almost 2 hours to get there, so I queued for returns and got to see the Painkiller, which was at the top of my list. It was really funny, but also had a lot of heart.
To round out my plays, I saw the dress rehearsals for The Ritual Slaughter of George Mastromous and Goodnight Children Everywhere. Both LAMDA shows. I really enjoyed the first one, especially the weird way in which his life story is told. Both plays were disturbing, in their own way, but I would probably still recommend seeing them if you have the chance.
As for rehearsals, we have now done every scene twice with Rodney, except for one of the banquets. I often feel like once I know my lines, I’ll be good, but I am quickly realizing that there is so much more to it, and I maybe just never got past step one. The play is Shakespeare and my lines are in verse, so that there is already a big challenge, and then I have an emotional progression that leads to a breakdown where I will have to cry. In our rehearsals, we have been working a lot on how to occupy the audience so they are too busy listening to you to do anything else, how to use the words and sounds in the text to convey ideas…then a whole lot on being grounded and speaking from the gut instead of from the head. It is no longer just a technical voice thing, but an unlocking emotions thing. Still really intimidated by Rodney, as well as nervous and slightly terrified about my first ‘performance’ of Shakespeare, but I am also really excited to see how it all comes together. We have our first full run-through today. I often don’t put the time and effort into things I think I might fail at, so I can use that as an excuse, but this time I really want to give it my all, and work on it so much that there are no excuses.
 

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”

-William Shakespeare