Sunday, July 01, 2007

crack the blogwhip

I have been a really inconsistent blogger lately, which is funny because I think I've been particularly reflective and ponderous as well - but I just haven't felt the desire to express any of those thoughts in this particular medium.

Let's see, here's what's of interest (at least to me), in no particular (but something roughly approximating chronological, by default) order:

1) the foolsFURYans are still here; but the run of The Devil on All Sides ends today.

It's been an interesting experience to play this sort of tangential, support role. The show has been fairly successful in terms of audience, press, and so forth; and certainly successful in terms of raising the company's profile on the east coast. Perhaps all my foolsFURY credits will be a bit more recognizable to people in NYC now? I hope that Devil is the first of many foolsFURY shows to be produced on this side of the country (and beyond? cue dramatic music).

Ben, Deborah, Brian, and I may take a little excursion to the Catskills this week to hang with the folks at North American Cultural Laboratory in Highland Lake.

This jaunt would fulfill a great many desires:

1) to meet the NACL folks, about whom I've heard and read a good deal
2) to have some more hang-time with my fF family before they return to SF
3) to get me back upstate (I had a callback for, but then didn't book, the US premiere of Byrony Lavery's A Wedding Story at Hudson Stageworks in Hudson, NY - I had such wild and marvelous fantasies of spending the summer riding my bike, doing yoga, and performing in a converted warehouse in the country)
---> the article in this week's Time Out about whitewater rafting in the Adirondacks has only added to my urge to frolic in the woods

2) I recently took a fantastic class with the positively, inestimably talented and generous Vicki Clark. The class was extraordinary - she really helped me to assess (and re-assess*!) my voice - what roles I'm capable of singing now, where I am technically, what I want to cultivate. *And, much like Connie Lisec from the North Bay Opera said to me during my Sweeney Todd run, Vicki doesn't think I'm a mezzo. I may make a career out of singing mezzo character roles; but, if anything, I'm a lyric mezzo or more likely, a lyric coloratura. So we've been working my soprano a lot and making sure that no matter how much Adelaide/Gooch/fill-in-the-blank I sing, I'm still nourishing my entire voice. And it's just so great and vulnerable and joyous and scary all at the same time to be singing so high!

The other people in the class were wonderful to learn from and with, especially my friend Liz Stanton (whom I met through the SITI Co), who is returning to musical theater after focusing her energies and numerous talents elsewhere for a while.

I've also learned the Vicki will be performing with Tom Nelis (of SITI) in Iphigenia 2.0 at the The Signature Theatre, the first in the season of plays by Chuck Mee. Kim Weild, who directed one of the pieces in the Women's Project commission at the World Financial Center, and recently graduated from Columbia is ADing with Tina Landau directing. I am very excited to see this show.

3) I had a blast meeting with Sheila Callaghan to work with her, Daniella Topol, and William Cusick on Water at HERE Arts.

A couple of days later foolsFURY met with Sheila at New Dramatists to begin the process of collaborating on a new piece for the company.

4) Continuing the theme of merging my SF and NY worlds, I had a massive party sponsored by the letter "M". The party was a reminder of how rad my friends are and how full of absolute garbage (in this case, quite literally, as truly epic quantities of alcohol and food were consumed) Manhattan co-op boards can be. The Manhattan Co-Cop Board is the most oxymoronic, ass-backwards manifestation of the notion of "cooperative living" I've ever encountered.

5) A couple of days in Miami to visit my family and catch, by fiat, Miami City Theatre's Summer Shorts Festival in a cavernous, beautifully equipped performing arts complex, gradually going bankrupt, in deserted downtown Miami.

I saw program A:

96 Stitches by Sarah Hammond
What I Learned From Grizzly Bears by Jessica Lind
Ron Bobby Had Too Big A Heart by Rolin Jones
Suspension by William Orem
The Sons of Mickey by Jim Fitzmorris
Uprising by Susan Westfall
Foul Territory by Craig Wright

except I DIDN'T get to see 96 Stitches, to my great disappointment, due to a snafu involving my friend's car and the fact that the theater, astonishingly, actually started on time (if not early). This level of punctuality (we were there at 3:01 for a 3 pm curtain) is remarkable in any context, but especially so in Miami where everyone is late and old (or young and hungover). There were a good 10 or so other people who weren't admitted to the theater until after the first play had ended. My friend and I, as well as several other people, were actually on line picking up our tickets when the show began (without any announcement or, more expectedly, holding the curtain). I was bummed to have missed 96 Stitches because Sarah Hammond is a friend of Enrique and she and I had met several days earlier at the launch party for issue 3 of Play, a Journal of Plays, where I volunteered to be charming and sell things. Plus, I wore a really fierce black and gold ensemble to match the evening's theme. Never mind the plays, right, just look at the actor and her clothes. *cough*

6) I do not understand how I have lived this long without having seen The Civilians' work. Okay, actually, I do: they were founded in 2001, which is the same year I left NYC. I saw GONE MISSING at the Barrow Street on Friday. Oh. My. God. I don't know if I could possibly have loved it more.

7) I also saw Grey Gardens this weekend. So that's two shows this weekend during which I cried through the curtain calls. Not because I was particularly sad; but because I was blown away. Without any other appropriate means to experience the depth of my awe, excitement, the extent to which I had been awakened by what I just saw - no other means but tears, laughter, the desire to launch myself out of my seat, thank every person connected to realizing the theater I'd just experienced, and have that feeling - the feeling that I cannot precisely articulate - that I was having never end.

Unfortunately, after Grey Gardens I had to ride home through Times Square and someone stepped off the curb in my path without looking first and I found myself shouting, "Excuse me, excuse me, HELLO! MOVE!" which took me out of my seemingly transcendent bliss. But only for, like, 30 seconds. Then I was back. Back to remember why I am here, why I am in NY right now. Why I am doing what I am doing. Why I cannot be casual or dilletantish or impatient about it.

I am going to quote from And Then, You Act, Anne Bogart's latest book that has become like a seventh limb (you know, counting the tail and head) for me. I lent it to Brian, but I keep needing to refer to it and demanding it back from him.

It may be true that everyone needs a person in the world to model him- or herself after. As a director, Ariane Mnouckine has been this person for me. For years I attended her productions, usually at the immense Cartoucherie in Vincennes just outside Paris. Her international company is an inspiration to me, her collaborative methods instructive, and her international reach remarkable. I could always look to Mnouchkine for encouragement, simply by example. Her productions are often very long, engulfing an entire evening or sometimes several days. The plays are investigations into subjects that clearly intrigue her and her company. I always manage to find Mnouchkine somewhere in the theater at intermissions. I walk up to her, grasp her hand, and thank her. What I mean to say is, "That you for years of inspiration. Thank you for being the person I think about when I lose courage. Thank you for giving me courage by example." But all that I usually manage is a simple "thank you."

Add being a blubbering mess to that description and you have me in the face of a growing handful of artists and teachers who have blessed my life with their presence and work.

Now, I've got to go because I'm going to hear my college friend (and co-founder with me of The New York Abortion Access Fund), Lauren, sing in a concert version of Gounod's Faust.

What a weekend.


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