All hot and bothered

So about a week ago I realized that soon, VERY soon we were going to begin rehearsals. I believe it was the day I went to NY to take photos for the afore mentioned slide show. Mr. Modfab and I were saying goodbye and he said, "see ya a week from Thursday." I was like, "OK yea! SO siked!" But what I really meant was "Oh shit! Really?! That soon huh?" Not that I haven't been working my ass off to get ready for what seems like a Broadway size production on a 12 foot square stage. But, this whole thing got started because I HAD to play Harper. And now it looks like I'm gonna get my wish and haven't really given her any time. Sorry Girl. Of course she'll look great in a "mentally deranged, sex starved, pill-popping housewife" sort of way but, looking good only gets you good reviews in the Miss USA pageant. I ain't gonna win no Oscar lookin' pretty...Just ask Haley.
Anyway, (my point is coming I promise) this show is loooong. And knowing my director friend the way I do, he'll have me standing on my head in the corner while I'm not actually in the scene. Not to mention, I'll bet I'm running from one side of backstage to the other helping with changes and tech. What I'm trying to say is that even when I'm not physically on stage, I am. I'm just sayin' that being that focused for three hours a night 4 nights a week will definitely kick my ass.
I began to consider some things I should do as a performer to get ready. Now, I've done yoga for a long time but never really "practiced" it. Coincidently, they opened a Bikram (hot) yoga place up the street from me so I figured I'd give it a go. Lord have mercy! It's freakin' hot. Like, the room is 105 degrees! Yes, there are ceiling fans but that just moves the hot air around. First thing I thought was NO WAY! I'll never make it and that's when I thought the class was only 50 minutes. No people, it's 90 minutes! And to top it all off, before we begin the instructor announces that if you feel sick or light headed just move to the floor but try not to leave the room. SICK!? LIGHT HEADED am I going to faint!? What the hell, what the hell!? But I can't leave now, I've got my pride. I can do anything...Right?
So, the first section is standing/balancing poses. Now, I try not to ever look in a mirror, even at home, because I just start judging and this was definitely not the place for that. But I caught a glimpse of my big, fat, RED tomato face and wondered how it just hadn't spontaneously combusted as I stood there balancing on one leg with the other someplace behind me and my arms flailing around trying not to take out my neighbor who was probably terrified I would decapitate him. Then finally we were allowed to take a short 15 sec break to take a sip of our water which had heated up to the temperature of piss. Yes, I said piss. Then we did several more impossible poses on the floor and it felt like Christmas when she said we only had 3 more to go. After it was over she suggested we lay there on the floor... Ya know, to meditate, or relax, or bring ourselves back into the room and I was like, "HELL and NO, I'm outta here". OK I lied, I stayed, but only for about 2 minutes MAX!
After it was all over and I was walking home I caught myself trying to figure out when I could make it back and how many times a week I would go. I discovered that what I had just experienced was exactly what I needed and will need. Now, I REALLY hate to get all rainbows and unicorns on ya'll but I've been three times and each time I have discovered something about this exercise that helps me relate how I approach living my life and in turn to Harper and the Angels process. As an example, when I'm in a balancing pose (pick any one, I suck at them all) I find that when I start to wobble I have to tell myself to calm down and relax, even sometimes I move almost out of the pose to save myself from falling instead of just letting go. I get so frustrated that I never get it back. What I should have done is simply let go and approached it again, movin' on sista. Allowing myself permission not to hold the pose. Another example is the heat in the room. I feel like I should be pushing myself harder to get deep into these poses but all I can do is think about how freakin' hot it is and how I can't wait to get to my bottle of piss water. Until last Wednesday's class. I realized that that IS the practice. Truthfully, I've done (or not done) much harder poses but being able accept the struggle of the heat and move through it is the trick. Talk about and exercise in focus!
In my next class, the only thing I'm going to work on is accepting the heat. That it is just a factor that I can't change and that to progress I can't let it let it hold me back. I'm not going to put a time limit on myself and there will be no outward signs of progress but I look forward to the day when all I have to think about is getting by legs up over my head...the hard way. xo

Drag Angels

One might look at this picture of David Gregory, the madly talented actor playing Belize in Angels in America, and worry that our vision of the play has gone horribly, horribly awry. (Weimar Germany by way of Alan Cumming, right?) Sadly, you'd be mistaken. David is indeed all gussied up for our production, but it's merely for our slide and video projections.

To eliminate the need for enormous sets and to keep more in line with Kushner's stage directions (which call for a metaphoric and theatrical atmosphere), we've designed the play using a series of projections on each of the four walls surrounding our in-the-round stage. Anywhere the audience looks, they'll see the world of the play behind the actors.

We're also occasionally using the projections as transitional devices, to get us from one scene to another. This shot will be part of a very quick (like 5-second) montage introducing Belize in Act's one of a series of shots, definitely the most in-your-face. We love David for being such a good sport, and our fab makeup and photo designer, Eddie, for kicking it all up a notch (or three).

Getting Started...

So this is pretty cool. I'm just hangin' out, looking around our new blog. I have to tell you that if you told me last year that I would be here I would have thought you were...and I'm not saying you're not...CRAZY! I remember not too long ago being TOTALLY opposed to even email. OK so enough about my lack of techno knowledge. None the less, I have DEFINITELY bitten off more than I can chew. As you know by now, I have agreed to produce, costume, act in and be all around den mother to a little ditty called Angels In F*^&in' America. What the H E double toothpicks was I thinking. And truthfully I have no one to blame but ModFab himself. He knew I couldn't handle this but he let me talk him into it anyway. Some crap about me and him together and for the love of art...blahblahblah. WELL, I'LL SHOW HIM.

OK, all kidding aside, I can't tell you how numb I feel. I can't really even speak about the process. Something to do with trial and error. If there's one thing I've learned from years of costuming is that all you can do, is all you can do. I just keep my head down and move forward. I had set very lofty goals for myself at the beginning of this so I could really focus on the rehearsal process when we get there. I always enjoy the rehearsal/planning process more than I look forward to the actual performance itself. The journey really turns me on. I guess I feel as though, even as an actor, that my job is done once we open. I've done the work. Did I mention I haven't been this excited about a like...EVER! And I've been apart of some cool a#& sh*t! (sorry about the punctuation I don't know if I can cuss yet) At this point it's not even about the actual play itself. It's about showing the world this really cool thing we've created. xo,s.

Casting a Mr. Bright

We're having some trouble finding just the right actor for The Madness of Lady Bright, the play we've been commissioned to stage a section of for OFF Stage at Peculiar Works in September. Looking for a 40-plus male actor who can be effeminate without heading into caricature. If you're interested in auditioning, or know of a non-Eq actor in the NYC area looking for a great way to showcase their abilities for a three-week run, email us.

What Gets Started

Rehearsals for Angels begin on September 7th...three weeks, and we're in it. I feel barely recovered from the Significant Blur workshop, but there's no breaks in art, right? I'm pre-blocking Act I and II; stunned by the mastery of Kushner's construction. I mean, we always knew he had a flair with words, but he even makes the character entrances and exits make sense for you. It's such a powerful experience, to take this script apart and look at its insides. A glorious machination.

The actress playing our Angel, Tawanda, was on Court TV the other night. Had a part in one of their "Forensic Files". She was on talking for all of seven seconds, covered by the narrator's voice over. Welcome to the business of show.

September 7th. The great work begins.

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