Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Your Wonderful Body

  I'm in love with us. All of us. Do you understand how incredible the human body is? Oh, you do. Well, no point in reading the rest of this crap, then. Buckle off to lolcats or funnyordie or wherever it is that you kids surf to these days.
  But really, what a wonderful machine! How can something so complex even work? If we were made by Sony or Apple or somebody, we'd freeze up or just quit working within a couple of years. Think of every single fascinating part of your body and how it works in conjunction with itself; how it's fueled, how it processes things, how it reacts. It's astonishing.
  Let's take a tour, shall we?

The fragile scarlet tree within us all.


  My favorite of all the systems. Don't ask me why. Seriously, don't ask me. It pisses me off when you do that. Really, I just find the network of veins, arteries and capillaries fascinating. Red blood cells, white. How blood is transported, regulated, and even fueled by that "other" system, respiratory. It's the oil for the gears, food for the organs. Lifejuice. We can die very quickly if someone pokes a hole in us and it leaks out. It's deceptively simple.
  In a different life, I would have been a cardiovascular surgeon. Sure, everybody thinks the brain is where the real action is, but it's not. It's the heart. The stupid brain just gets people in trouble. The heart is where compassion lies. It's where love radiates, or screams with pain, depending. It's the only part of you that can actually ache with emotion.
  Watch footage of blood flowing through the heart. Watch the valves work. Listen. Incredible.

I'm missing an arm and my guts are hanging out. Time for a tasty apple!


  Pretty awesome. It's all about breaking things down. You chew food up, dissolve it with your saliva, then send it on down to your stomach where you literally leak acid onto it. Then you turn it into poo when you're done with it. All this happens with no conscious thought. Well, except for the chewing part. And the speaking of the words "Nom nom nom," as you eat chocolate chip cookies.




If only it were this easy.


  The kickass cell soldiers of your body. They're like Special Operations Forces. Some wiseass infection tries to get up in your business, these guys go in and take care of it. It's fun to think that there are battles going on inside your body. I picture them overrunning the enemy, taking ground. I picture little airstrikes on insurgent infection camps. Sniper cells drilling some virus from 200 yards out. Well, maybe not that far. 200 yards relative to the microscopic level of activity. It's still a good shot, and one he'll be bragging about to his buddies later at the cell bar.

For God's sake, take care of your skin.


  Your skin, bro. It's a living, breathing organ that covers your entire body. It reproduces and excretes waste. Kinda gross, if you really think about it. It's so fragile, and yet, so durable. It comes in a wide variety of colors and, in the case of Edward James Olmos, textures. You can tear it, cut it, and sew it like cloth. It knits itself back together eventually. How cool is that? It's like having mutant superpowers. Rather slow mutant superpowers, but still. Imagine how much it would suck if the skin never healed. You'd just have to glue or patch the holes in yourself and live with them that way. Uncool.

Don't try this at home. It's awesome, but cancer and such.

Look how casual I am with no skin.

Must find Sarah Connor.


  The glamour! This is Ryan Reynolds' bread and butter. Him and his measley six-pack. That guy in the first picture has a ten pack, Ryan. Ten. I'm impressed by the muscular system- the way the muscles attach to the bones, and the way they flex and extend. I love the way they counter each other for balance and distribution and support. I'm glossing over a slew of things here, just like the rest of this article. I won't even get into skeletal, smooth and cardiac, the processing of creatine and glycogen, muscle teardown and rebuilding. Well, no more than I just did.

What do you mean, nervous?


  I don't like the nervous system as a whole. Sure, it's definitely neccessary. We need nerves for touch, pressure, movement, thinking, reaction. Hmm, come to think of it, I guess the nervous system is pretty sweet. The other good thing about the nervous system, and the spinal cord in particular, is that the more you know about it, the more effective you can be at killing someone. I know this is a big plus for a lot of you, and I highly recommend you read up on "spinal shock." The one thing I don't personally enjoy, though, is pain. Take burns, for instance. They just don't stop hurting except when you actually burn yourself bad enough to destroy the nerves. Then, it's all good. Unless you get infected, of course, in which case, see number four. It has always impressed me how your body will send the signal to your brain to move your hand out of the fire before it sends the "Oh, Dear GOD that's hot" signal. Preservation. Thanks, nervous system. Now, do something about my twitchy eye.

Boys have a penis, girls have a vagina.


  Sadly, we've been taught that the reproductive organs, and the sexual act itself is something to be ashamed of. Quite the contrary. It's beautiful and amazing, and is probably the best thing about being a human being. Two people can come together and create life. I'm sure that some of the significance of that is lost on me since I've never had a kid, but I know people who have. I know a girl right now (Hi Cate!) that's getting ready to pop out tiny person number two. Watching that process of development is truly unique and amazing. A human being lives inside you for nine months and then comes out, grows up, develops characteristics, traits, habits, personality, and then has their own kids. Beauty.

From the Autopsy of Mr. Ed


  Yeah, I went cross-species on you here. Bet you weren't expecting that, were you? Come on, how often do you get to look at horse lungs? You're welcome.
  Breathing. It's pretty important. That could be a slogan for the National Council on Breathing, if there was such a thing. Don't believe me? Go sixty feet underwater and have somebody turn your air off. You'll realize in short order how delicious oxygen is. Or climb to the top of a very, very tall mountain. I've experienced both these extremes, and so to say I'm a fan of the respiratory system is an understatement. Ever since I learned about it as a kid, I've always thought it was scary how we have to have such a specific type of atmosphere in order to survive. It's a type of gas that we don't readily find elsewhere in our universe. That makes breathing pretty precious. Go ahead. Enjoy a nice, deep breath right now.

The sassiest skeleton you will ever see.


  You have a boner. Exactly 206 of them, in fact. Without them, you would be a pile of veiny gelatin, much like Rosie O'Donnell. We all know what our bones are good for, and so there's really no reason for me to try to go in depth about them. They're strong, incredible, and the interior of them is the worst thing I've ever smelled in my life. I think the most amazing bones are found in the spine. They have the most intersting shape, connection, and I dare say, the most important function. You might argue that the skull has the most important function, in that it protects the brain, but ponder this: would you look sillier with no head, or no spine?

The Chinese, setting new standards in public urination.


  It's what you use to go pee. It's also what you use to be annoyed when you have to take breaks every ten minutes because you're drinking too much coffee. It wakes you up in the middle of the night, and sometimes too early in the morning. Sometimes your friend John likes to jokingly punch you in the kidney and shout "Piss blood!" in your ear. This involves not only the excretory systems of the body, but also the circulatory system, and the "I'm going to kick your ass for that" portion of the brain/central nervous system.


  This article, if you can call it that, didn't really explain much. It's not meant to be scientific. It's not even meant to be accurate. There's no moral lesson here. Appreciate your body. Take care of it. Marvel at it. Don't marvel at other people's bodies, though, because that can get you taken off the Metro and ticketed for lewd conduct. Eighty dollars. Ridiculous.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Let's have words

  Shit. Fuck. Son of a bitch. Are you offended yet? Why so? They’re just words, after all.

  Words carry an incredible amount of power. Much more so than I think the average person realizes. By average, I mean the type of person who can walk around a supermarket, happily chatting away on their cell phone, throwing the word “fuck” around as if it were the color of their shirt. It’s not that people mean to be offensive. I really believe they just don’t get it.

  A person’s words can tell you a lot about them in just the first few seconds of meeting them. Choices in language can immediately speak volumes about a person’s culture, education, and yes, even their opinions about themselves and you. Now I’m starting to sound like a sociology textbook.


  “Curse” is a pretty strong way to describe it. Do these words really curse anybody? Maybe calling them “terse words” would be more appropriate. I suppose, if you’re some kind of religious fundamentalist, you might believe you could get sent to Hell for saying such things. You certainly could for taking the Lord’s name in vain. But what does it all mean? What’s the stigma with these words? Why is the word “shit” any worse than “poop” or even the clinical “feces?” It refers to the same thing- something unpleasant; something to be discarded.
  There’s even a term for uncontrolled swearing: “Coprolalia.” It originates with the Greek “copro” (dung) + “lalia” (chatter, babbling). It’s literally “shit talk.”
  Maybe it’s the intent behind the words. Certainly calling somebody an “asshole” conveys so much more than calling them an “anus.” Yet, again, why? It refers to the same anatomical part. Why do some words have such strong qualities while others do not? Why are some words “bad” words that should never be used in “polite” company?


  Likewise, what’s the deal with words we use to degrade people? Ethnic slurs such as “nigger” or “gook,” or terms we might use against people of a different sexuality. “Faggot.” “Dyke.” These are terrible words, to be sure, but I often wonder how these kinds of words are invented, and how they can cement themselves into culture as being so incredibly offensive. It’s no secret to anyone how the dreaded “N-word” got its start, but is it possible to invent new ethnic slurs? How do these things catch on and flare? If I started referring to Chinese as “pons” would it offend somebody? It might. The intent could still come across. Using a term other than the “official” one to describe a race can cause quite a stir. By that same school of thought, could you use an already established word to insult a person’s race? I don’t think you could. The reason a lot of these terms are so derogatory is that they were invented with the sole purpose of being insulting. We, as a society, are offended by these words because we MAKE them offensive.
  When I was just a kid, about five years old, I once used the word “nigger” to describe the color black on a person’s sweater. This happened at school, and it upset and offended a lot of people. My parents got a talking to from the teacher, and they were understandably disturbed that I would say such a thing. I certainly didn’t hear that term at home, and from what I can remember, a kid at school had pushed me to say it. The point is, I didn’t know that was offensive. To me, it was just a word- a combination of letters that, when put together, represented “black.” The true nature of the word was a learned thing, and I find that fascinating about language.


  Words on a page can keep you up at night, too, as I’ve discovered many times from reading Stephen King novels. I’ve always been astounded as to how this is possible. How can somebody think something up, out of the blue, write it on a piece of paper, and then terrify me so much with it that I can’t sleep? It’s ink, on a page. It’s not even something that really happened, and it definitely didn’t happen to me. It’s pure fiction, and yet, with the right combination of words, you can use a person’s imagination against them very effectively.
  Some words can even stand alone with impact. Take the word “terror.” Just reading it isolated on the page, the meaning is clear. An emotion is conveyed. Even more so with the word “rape.” One single word; and yet, reading it, your mind is conjuring up everything that comes with those four letters: Horror. Violation. Shame. Abuse. Hatred. That’s a powerful word, and it stirs things in a deep, dark corner of the soul.


  Now, there’s a flip side to all of this. Not everything is about hate or vulgarity or fear. There are some considerably beautiful words. I’ll take for example another word of singular power: “love.” There’s almost a smile to it. You see that word written by itself somewhere, and it warms you. The very word glows. It feels light, and delicate, yet substantial. Sure, people can use it casually, too- “I love ice cream,” for instance, but you can’t diminish the word itself. There’s so much weight to this word that when we say it to somebody for the first time in regards to how we feel about them, it changes everything. Those two people now become connected in a rare and uniquely wonderful way. All from one little word.


  As a blogger, and as a used-to-be aspiring screenwriter, I’m very aware of the power of words, or sometimes the very lack thereof. Words on a page, with nothing to really say, simply take up space. I once read a quote that said, “Good writing means never having to say ‘I guess you had to be there.’” There’s so much truth in that.
  I like descriptive language. I want the words to take me there. I admit, I tend to get a little flowery with my writing sometimes, but that’s just the way it comes out. I like vocabulary. I like discovering new ways to say things. I like to capture sight, sound, and emotion and communicate that to others. I think I still need to work on editing myself, though. I tend to ramble in the details. Like right now.

  “Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Monday, June 21, 2010

The London Experience - Part Three

  You know that anticlimactic feeling you're having right now, after reading part two of this blog? The whole "The audition's over, so now what?" feeling? Yeah, I had that same feeling on Monday the 14th.
  It took me a while to rouse that morning. I was depressed, exhausted from lack of sleep, and I had no plan for the day. All I knew was that the weather was beautiful, and I didn't want to waste my last day in London feeling sorry for myself. I decided, after looking at a map of the Tube system, that I'd head up to Notting Hill and then see where the wind blew me from there.
  A short while later, I stepped out of the Notting Hill Gate stop into the sunshine. The goal was to find Portabello Road, which runs straight through the middle of the neighborhood and was famously featured in the "Notting Hill" movie.
  The area immediately surrounding Portabello Road is very colorful and chock full of antique shops. Really a feast for the eyes. In the middle of marveling at all of this (one shop featured nothing but antique sewing machines!) I walked into the middle of the big street market. If you've ever seen the movie "Notting Hill," you might remember a scene where Hugh Grant walks through the market, with all its fresh fruit and flowers, to the tune of "Ain't No Sunshine." I thought of this scene right away, and then realized I actually had that song on my iPod. So, I cued it up and did my best Hugh Grant strolling impression. I had the biggest grin on my face walking through that market, and it helped to lift my spirits.

                                Hugh Grant doing his best Hugh Grant

  After I was done exploring those colorful streets, I got on the train and headed further north, where I hopped back off at Baker Street. One of my great literary heroes, Sherlock Holmes, used to call 221b Baker Street home. This address was, of course, pure fiction, never existing in reality, but it was fun to see the neighborhood that Conan Doyle had in mind when he wrote those novels.

                                     Jeremy Brett, the best Holmes ever

  Right around this time, I got incredibly lost. Again, I was operating with no map, so it wasn't a surprise. Never once did this concern me. London is incredibly easy to navigate, and it wasn't too long before I happened upon another Tube stop.
  I decided then that I'd pay the British Museum a little visit. It wasn't too far from where I had ended up, and I found myself standing in front of its grand stone columns about fifteen minutes later.
  Museums are a favorite haunt of mine, and I especially like free museums. Throw in some world famous artifacts, and I'm practically salivating. After entering the building and being totally in awe of the "Great Hall," I was floored to find the first display was the Rosetta Stone. The actual Rosetta Stone. Not a copy. The importance of that piece can't be understated. Seeing it in person made the hair on my neck stand up.

                                                The Rosetta Stone

  The size of the museum was impressive, and the array of artifacts from around the world was mind boggling. Egyptian, Greek, Polynesian, South American, Asian. Room after room. I spent the majority of the afternoon eagerly darting from one exhibit to the next. Next time I'm back, I'll be sure to take my good camera and capture some images of these amazing relics.
  One of the best parts of the whole museum, though, was the library room. It was a massive two-story space, seemingly endless in length, with floor to ceiling books. It had hardwood flooring, dark wooden fixtures, and various busts, statues and cases throughout. Between some of the books on the hundreds of shelves lay artifacts from around the globe. It was like some kind of giant-sized study you might imagine Indiana Jones having. I never wanted to leave that room. You could literally SMELL the history. When I stepped closer to look at the titles on the worn spines of a group of large books, I saw that they were a complete set of Aristotle's writings on history. Amazing. You could probably spend many years of your life reading the books in that place and never see a fraction of what was there.
  By the time I left, the museum was closing. It was pouring rain outside, and I didn't have an umbrella, but I didn't care. I walked a few blocks in the warm English downpour, and reminisced about the past three day's events on the Tube ride back to Hammersmith. What an amazing place. What sights I had seen in such a short amount of time. I even got to act on a London stage. Life is unpredictable.

  And wonderful.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The London Experience - Part Two

                     Crappy web picture of the MacOwan Theatre

  At about 9:30 on Sunday, 13 June, I walked up to the front doors of LAMDA. Just before I ascended the steps, I noticed a penny on the ground, face up. A modestly superstitious lad like myself instantly recognized this as a sign of good luck. I stuck the penny in my shoe and proceeded on my way.
  After signing in, I was led into the student lounge, where I met my fellow applicants. There were about eight of us total, and the group was a mix of English, Irish, Welsh, Italian and French, with two Americans (myself included) thrown in for good measure. It was a warm group, and we all got along pretty well almost immediately.
  None of us knew quite what to expect at 10:00 when we were led into one of the studios. We knew we'd be starting the day with a movement session, followed by some improv, but those are such broad terms anymore. Having taken two movement classes at Studio, I figured I knew what was up. I couldn't have been more wrong.
  Our extremely fiery movement instructor, Donna, cranked up some music in the room and immediately put us into a workout routine that I was sure was going to make a couple of people throw up. Within about two minutes, I was dripping so much sweat that the polished wood floor around me was literally wet. The worst part of it was the 20 minute core session, which included singing while holding ab-stress positions. I thanked my stars that I was in good enough shape to make it through without faltering.
  I was hoping there wouldn't be any kind of dance routines, because that's a horribly weak spot for me, but my worst fears were confirmed shortly. It started out simply enough, but then escalated into a complex routine of right-left coordination. "On the four count, cross the room diagonally, right foot first, each step on the beat. Every fourth beat, make a complete turn to your right. The turn will take exactly four beats." Things like that are probably simple enough for somebody with even remedial dance training, but they're a nightmare for me.
  Nobody was perfect in any of these routines, but I struggled badly. I got right and left mixed up. I moved off beat. Sometimes, during group routines, I lost the beat and had to stop, watch for a moment, and then catch up again. I soon realized I was standing out as "the guy who can't keep up." We were being graded on all of these things, and I felt myself losing points. It was not a heartening way to start the audition process.
  Finally, we moved into the improv portion and were handed off to another instructor. This part of the day, while a lot more entertaining, was also incredibly difficult. There were a lot of "quick reaction" type exercises. A lot of games where you had to remember fifteen different things at the same time and remember them with lightning speed. We also did a fair amount of playing and situational exercises. These were scenes where you'd get called to the floor, given a character and a situation, and then immediately begin playing. There was a lot of laughter, and it was fun, but I really wished I had worked harder and really gone for it. Not my finest work. I consoled myself by thinking about the upcoming acting portion of the audition. I planned to shine.
  We broke for lunch at 1:00, but I didn't eat anything. I didn't want to get bogged down with a full stomach and go into a food coma. Instead, I just fueled up with some vitamin water and rehydrated myself.
  Just before two, we all headed to the Tube and rode a couple of stops down to the MacOwan Theatre, where the panel portion of the audition was to be held. Everybody was suddenly noticeably nervous, and people were pacing the lobby, reciting their monologues. I didn't have long to wait, as I was second in the queue, and at 2:30, they called for me.
  I walked through the double doors into the theatre and saw a panel of twelve department heads seated in front of the stage behind tables. It was an intimidating sight, for sure, but I knew what was coming. I was introduced to each faculty member and then told to take a seat. There was a bit of small talk, and then I was asked what pieces I'd be performing. Then, I was told to take the stage and begin. To give you an idea of the stress I was feeling, my hands are visibly shaking right now as I type this, just thinking about it.
  It was an avalance of performance with no breaks in between pieces. I opened with Petruchio's soliloquouy from "Taming of the Shrew" and unfortunately bombed it, much like I did when I performed it in final scenes at Studio. I instantly regretted not choosing a different piece to go with. Next, I did a monologue from "The Woolgatherer." It went fairly well, but could have been stronger. I rolled right into my song next, which was "Put on a Happy Face." It was flat and uninspired, mostly because I held back the emotion of the piece. This is a common failing to my performance, and something I'm desperately trying to work through. At this point in the audition, I started to feel like I was drowning. My time to shine wasn't shining. At all. I was failing. All this way. All this way, and to have this opportunity offered to me be wasted. I was failing because I was holding back.
  I pressed onward to the next piece, which was a scene I had memorized from three that were assigned by LAMDA. A graduate student I had never met stepped in to play opposite me, and we began. No rehearsal, no read through. Just go. As I expected, it didn't go well. I thought it would be fairly impossible to pull off a decent scene with somebody you had never rehearsed with, and I was right. I didn't go up on my lines, but she played the scene completely differently from how I expected it would go, and it threw me a bit. This caused me to revert again to flattening out the emotion of the scene and just concentrating on remembering the words. No good. I was dying up there.
  Last came the only portion of the auditon that I felt I nailed; the sight read. I was handed a paper with a paragraph of text, which I was to read aloud. This has always been a strength of mine, and the text was an easy read. I didn't fumble, I didn't hesitate. The words rang out loud and clear, and had good tone color and emotion. I got a good reaction from the panel.
  And like that, I was done. I sat in front of the group again and was asked a few more questions about myself and my goals. It was mentioned that I had been offered a spot in the one year program, and we discussed what I might gain from the undergrad two year program. Then, I was out the door.
  Nobody I talked to that day really felt like they had soared in the audition. Everybody was beating themselves up pretty badly. The stakes are incredibly high here. The school is renowned, and is extremely selective. They only take 28 students per year. Those 28 are split amongst the three programs. To know that I was already one of those 28 should have been comforting to me, but it wasn't. I felt like I had really let myself down. My incredibly good audition in New York started to feel like a fluke.

  I didn't sleep much that night.


Part Three: The Last Day

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The London Experience - Part One

  Despite the extreme difficulties of the audition, the trip to London was wonderful, and I fell for the city like a blind roofer. Here's a rundown of my five days in the kingdom, conveniently broken into chapters for your viewing pleasure. I took a lot more pictures than I'm showing here, but none of them came out very good. That's what I get for taking my point-and-shoot instead of the pro-gear.


  Technically, Day 2 is the real Day 1. Day 1 was Friday, the day I arrived, but that day is completely unremarkable and consisted of me checking into my hotel and wandering around the streets of Hammersmith. I also ate a sandwich. Exciting, right?
  Saturday, however, I bought my Oyster Card (reloadable farecard for the Tube) and headed into London proper. A quick ten minutes or so later, I arrived at the Westminster stop, climbed a short flight of steps and walked out into the street. Right in front of me stood a giant behemoth clock tower. "Is that...?" I thought to myself just as Big Ben began to chime the top of the hour. Perfect timing, and an amazing sight to see.
  From then on, I simply wandered around London on foot. No map, no plan. Just to see what I could see. I happened across so many wonderful sights purely by coincidence, but none was greater than when I decided to eat another exciting sandwich in Hyde Park. It was a beautiful, warm day, and I thought a picnic lunch in the park would suit me just fine. Surrounding the park, however, was a wall of spectators lining the street. I assumed there was a parade of some sort, and I made my way along the avenue until I could find a place to cross. Red jacketed Royal Guards with their tall bearskin hats lined both sides, and Bobbies ushered onlookers through the crossing.

  I had my iPod raging in both ears, and right around this time, a string and choir cover version of the Beatles song "Because" began to play. As I stepped out to cross the street, everything literally went into slow motion. The sweet serenity of the violins was playing, the brilliant red of the Royal Guards' jackets was blinding. I turned to look down the boulevard and could see row upon row of Union Jack flags fluidly riding the breeze. Something much bigger than a parade was happening.

  I found a nice tall shade tree and ate my picnic lunch under its branches. The park, which was actually not Hyde Park, but St. James Park, was a lush, beautiful green. The street I had just crossed over turned out to be "The Mall," which, unknown to me at the time, is the main street the leads to Buckingham Palace. As I said, I was operating all day with no map.

  Once I had gotten closer to the palace, and snaked my way through the heavy crowd to see what all the commotion was, I realized where I was. At the same time I was figuring that out, I looked over to see a group of people standing on the balcony of the palace, surrounded by ruffles and flourishes. A woman wearing a white hat raised her arm and waved to the crowd.

  It was the Queen of England.

  Stunning. She left momentarily, and I began to make my way back through the crowd into the park. Suddenly, I heard the approaching roar of jet engines and looked up. Planes from the RAF were flying overhead in formation. I fumbled for my camera and snapped a couple of photos as repeated passes were made. The last pass was flown by six fighter jets trailing red white and blue smoke. Awesome.

  The last thing I did on Saturday was walk back down to the Westminster area, cross the Themes and board the "London Eye." The Eye is a gigantic 443 foot tall ferris wheel overlooking the whole of the city. I had to stand in line for about an hour, but it was totally worth it. The view from the top was breathtaking, and it's where I took the first picture in this post.
  That evening, I returned to my hotel a little early to do some final rehearsal. The next day would be the big audition, and my stomach was tied in about fifty knots.


PART 2 - The Audition

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


  At last, it's finally time to hop the pond and show those Brits a little somethin-somethin. I can't believe it's finally here. It seemed so far away when I was notified of this callback on March 11. Now I'm armed with several monologues, a couple of songs, and a healthy dose of nerves. Funny enough, though, I seem to always do better when the stakes are higher. For me, right now, the stakes don't get much higher than this.
  I keep reminding myself that I'm already in. I HAVE a spot on the postgraduate program. Doing well at this callback will simply give me the freedom to pick the two or three year courses, which, funny enough, are actually undergrad programs. That may seem a little backwards to some, but it's what I want. It certainly doesn't make this callback any less important.
  I fly out of here tomorrow on my way to London's Heathrow aiport via New York's JFK. The callback is Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm, and I'll be returning home on Tuesday. I'll have internet access, but data roaming on my phone will be turned off, so no text messages. I'll try to update as it goes, and hopefully send back a few pics along the way.
  Catch you on the flip-flop.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Sting of Failure

  Anybody who knows me knows that I'm extremely critical of myself, sometimes to ridiculous lengths. I accept this quality, though, because if you don't strive to be perfect, then you're automatically settling for mediocrity. I don't settle. For anything.
  Last night's performance, at Final Scenes, I'm sorry to say, was a complete failure for me. I can't tell you how demoralizing it is to work on something for weeks and weeks and then have it not come to fruition. Worse, we DID have that scene nailed down, and then we lost it when it mattered most. There were a variety of factors at work, and none of them are important. To the casual observer, the scene was probably perfectly acceptable. Here's the problem. I don't like acceptable. I like GOOD. It wasn't good. It wasn't fun. It didn't sparkle. And these are all things that it needed to be. And the only people to blame for this failure to spring to the audience are the actors doing the work.
  This is not a good time to be beating myself up, since I have to kick it up a notch next week in London. I have to snap out of this funk, accept it as a loss, and move on quickly. It's just...painful to see what that could have been, and ultimately wasn't.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Shakespearean Debut

  Well, tonight, months of hard work will pay off in a public performance at DC Studio Theatre. At 8:00 this evening, "Final Scenes" kicks off to what looks to be a packed house. The first two scenes in the rotation are from "The Taming of the Shrew," which stars myself as Petruchio and Chelsey Christensen as Kate. The entire event will run about two-and-a-half hours and will feature scenes from "Romeo & Juliet," "Macbeth," "Hamlet," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," and "Twelfth Night."
  I'm tremendously excited about this, and feel very blessed to have worked with such a talented and amazing group of friends.
  Tomorrow, I'll have to change gears (slightly) and begin preparing for the LAMDA callback. It hasn't quite hit me yet that I'll be flying out next week. A LOT of work to do before then. I've been going at 200 miles an hour since January, and I'll be VERY much looking forward to some rest once I get back from foggy London town.
  But for tonight, time to break a leg!