The Misbegotten Adventures of Terry and Shanan on their Quest to Create Art

Sooooo, Terry and I got kicked out of my hotel the other day for daring to rehearse on sacred Council Room ground. To de-aggerate my exaggeration: we had been furtively exploring the other floors of my hotel in search of rehearsal space as the weather got colder and parks became less attractive. However, students living here– and Terry isn’t even that– are strictly not allowed on any floors except the student housing floors, the lobby, and the basement which has the gym and laundry room. But the hotel has four levels of conference rooms, full of nice open spaces, and they are almost never used in the evening… We had gotten away with it a couple of times last week, sketchily rehearsing in the hallways down on those floors– most of the staff that wandered through thought we were a hoot, actually, but one guy had told us to get out of there so we had–  Anyway, the other day we found a conference room with the door open, and we checked the schedule and it had already been used for the evening, so, furtively checking for cameras all the while, we went in and started rehearsing. After about five minutes the same to-good-at-his-job guy came in and in an annoyed-approching-pissed-off voice told us we were not allowed to be there, and he had already told us that…. So we left fast before he called security and found that Terry was not even allowed to be in the hotel at all (I sneak him in through the service stairs– foolproof!).

Foiled out of our cozy hotel plan, we wandered through the surprisingly warm October night until we found a nice park. We did the first full run-through of the first half of our piece in this possibly private park at night– when the security guard walked towards us I thought he had seen Terry knock me to the ground (he was just doing rounds), and a couple got seriously alarmed when I had my panic attack. Ohhh public theater.

We realized that the first third/half (somewhere in there) of our piece is over 75% silence, and of what speech there is over half of it is recorded. I fall twice– we have been rehearsing on sidewalks; I have all of the nice scrapes–, have a panic attack, and talk to my soup. There is an extremely uncoordinated dance section, and an extremely coordinated subway section. Its “rul wiurd,” we decided; much more stylized than we envisioned. We are both happy with where it is at though, so power ahead!

Im considering just asking the hotel for permission to use those rooms when they are not in use. The worst they can do is say no, right? Shame I probably would not book it though the security guys, though. I’ve made friends with all of them in a carefully orchestrated campaign to get them to know me: everyone has to show their cards when they go into the elevators, and for most people its a habit, but I just don’t get my card out unless they specifically ask for it, and as the weeks have gone by they have less and less. And they all know me as the crazy girl who takes the stairs, and I make a point to chat with them briefly when I have time. Anyway, there has got to be a way of putting all of this ingratiating to good use!

Though tis never easy, we must valiantly plunge ahead, into the rapids, onto the ramparts, under the “keep out” signs, to fulfill those deepest needs and desires that come upon us: to create that most magnificent of art forms, to create theatre. Keep doing.

Fall Is Showing

Suddenly it is chilly here. We need more than sweatshirts if we are outside for any amount of time, and hats and gloves are starting to appear. I bought a pair of second hand Ugg boots a few days ago, though, so I’m ready! Bring it on, winter!

My birthday was Sunday. I spend it mostly in rehearsal with my friend Terry Fletcher. Since he is very busy during the week we have to cram on the weekends– its fun! We started off in Central Park– he made me fall backwards and then scramble on my butt during character work, and when I got back up and broke character I realized he had had me fall in the only dirt/mud patch in the whole grassy area. Jerk. It started raining harder so we re-located to my hotel, where we broke all of the rules and explored the floors I’m not supposed to be on. The ball room was empty, so we had a great few hours of rehearsal in there. Staff members came through a few times, but far from kicking us out they were enthusiastic and then would try and make me break character by commenting. Ahhh rehearsal in public spaces! Finally in the evening we got a few hours in at the rehearsal space at the Bushwick Starr, my theater, which we are welcome to use any time its not in use… its just almost never open. Anyway, the piece is coming along excitingly– the first part is a lot more abstract than we first envisioned it; beyond a few obscure monologues it is almost all choreography. We have a whole subway routine… and we practice it sometimes on subways… it is very amusing.

This afternoon my roommates and I spent some time in Washington Park, a small park in the Villages. There was a clown-type-performer/possibly just insane man in a red and white stripped man’s one-piece bathing suit type thing running around with his props, which was entertaining for a while, and then I caught on that part of the reason he wasn’t freezing was that he was being extremely active, so I got really hyper and started running and dancing and cartwheeling around the empty fountain– its both much more fun and warmer being the person everyone else is looking at than one of the lookers! Cheers to being a performer.

I have worked as a figure drawing model before, and when I met LC theater major graduate Heather and she mentioned she does modeling in the city, I jumped on her for contacts. It would be a great resume builder and also… you get payed very well! Anyhow, I contacted a few artists. Two of them I haven’t heard back from, but Blue Sky Studios– the producers of Ice Age– got back to me right away. They were all set to book me for January or December, as their fall slots are already all filled up… and I had to break the news that I’m only here until November. If they have any cancelations they will contact me though. But yeah, producers of Ice Age… no big deal!

I also met with Stepan on Wednesday. I want to do more acting while I am here, and Stepan and I are both currently in New York and I, at least, am less busy than I ever am at school… so I asked him to coach me, and he said yes. So we met on Wednesday at the rehearsal space at my theater. He had me read Sonnet 73 about fifty times, but at the end of it he said I had “made progress.” Three cheers! We also worked on a monologue from Rosencrants and Guildenstern are Dead, and now I have memorization homework for next week, which I generally do on the subway because I am trying to fit in with everyone else who is dismissed as either crazy or a theater person in this city!

My roommates and I just saw Chicago. We went to the box office earlier today and got “standing tickets” (we literally stood at the back of the orchestra section) for $27. It was freaking amazing! I am in a state of being totally blown away by the dancing. I danced my way back through the subway station, with timely “And all that Jazz”s thrown in at appropriate intervals.

Hitting the big time!

 

forever and a day

Thank you Friday for appearing at last! The last week has been crazy, I almost felt like I was back on an LC schedule. It was kind of fun being that busy again, actually, but when Friday afternoon happens, and you realize all of your essays have been turned in and you have a nearly free weekend… its a good feeling. And yes, we actually had mini essays due in each of our classes last week! We have to write ten journal entries on plays we have seen for Stepan over the course of the semester, as well as three more formal reviews. Of the nine plays we have seen, I have written journal entries for six, and not done any reviews yet. I’m feeling pretty good about where I am though. In art we have to write a summary/response to each week’s class and related reading, and then write two more formal art reviews (one of which was due yesterday). And finally in architecture we have to write two essays, one of which was due Thursday. (And by essays, I mean the first one was a 750 word, mainly observation based paper… so, ya know, not to rough…) But yes, homework that wasn’t reading was a thing again.

The show that I’ve been working on, Blood Play, opened last night. I got promoted to assistant costume/crew position for it, but I am sharing the job with one of the other interns so we can both have evening lives at least some of the time. Yay resume builders! I can now say that I am an assistant costume/crew for the Debate Society, and an intern at Bushwick Starr, and the two are essentially one and the same.

We went to a baseball game Monday night– my first one. I am now a real American: cap, hotdog, and all. It was a Yankee vs. Red Socks game, and it was rather dull as the Yankees won without breaking a sweat… but Stepan got up on the big screen! It was crazy!

There was the New York 2012 Black and Orange Alumni Party a few nights ago. Since we were in the area, my group was invited to crash it. We spent a very pleasant evening in an upstairs reserved room of a bar, eating free fried food and mingling with Lewis & Clark alums. The oldest alum I talked to was class of ’65, while many there, including my friend Terry, I knew as they had only just graduated last year. It was a surprisingly fun event– chatting with these total strangers but bonded by the experience of going/having gone to LC. Apparently we used to be on a trimester; I had no idea. And I got to wax eloquent six different times about the new dorm, Holmes, of which the alums had been getting emails about but obviously never seen.

The weather is holding up! Yesterday it was in the high seventies, and today it looks sunny as well. I am planning on a sun filled afternoon of doing absolutely nothing in Central Park later. Yesterday after art class got out, my roommate and I decided to walk from the lower west side of Manhattan to Brooklyn. Starting near the twin towers site, we wove our way through the financial district, stopped and watched some street performers, and then headed over the Brooklyn Bridge. It was on the bucket list for the trip, so now we can check that off, although I wouldn’t be opposed to doing it again. Aside from the fact that like half of New York’s tourists seemed to have the same idea it was absolutely lovely. I should make it down to the financial district more often– the water front is beautiful, and just being able to see over the water for a few miles lets you get out of the city a little. Anyway, once in Brooklyn we went to the Middle Eastern section and I spend way to much money on baclava and halva and things. SO GOOD. I’ve been spending way under the budget the trip allotted us in general, though, so I feel okay indulging once in a while.

So long, all ye readers of the words! Cheers and thanks

 

Speciously humble galavanting

Right-o, so if I were an incredibly shallow person, and if I thought you all would want to hear about it, and if I had nothing better to write about, I would talk about how I fell deeply and superficially in love with one of actors in the show we saw tonight. Since, obviously, non of the above are true… moving on.

The show tonight was really cool though, if only because it was devised by a group of young people not much older than me, who are obviously “making it” in the theater world in New York. They just took their show on tour in Europe! (And he was really cute. Ahem!)

Today at my internship I had a thoroughly entertaining morning working with the props manager on trying to make convincing-looking liquors out of tea. It was a very contradictory experience feeling so very yogi and healthy drinking tea– that we drank in shots from liquor bottles, which just made me feel like a drunk. A very healthy drunk, I guess. Who had to pee A LOT! Later I got sent on a mission to retrieve an antique camera from a special affects shop where I had dropped it off last week. They weren’t playing around with the machine-gun simulator this time, I knew where I was going, and I found free books on the way there, so all in all a better trip than the previous one. Yesterday at the theater I glued fake dirt to the set. Its rubber, no joke. Super weird. The set is awesome, though! It only barely fits in the theater, and the whole thing slides forward… Yep, good stuff!

We saw a play last night, Detroit, by Lisa D’amour (D’Amour?) that featured David Schwimmer from Friends. I was in the second row– it was pretty great. Although I was kind of disturbed by the fact that his character, Ben, talked exactly like his character in Friends, Ross. I always thought Ross’ intonation was a character choice, but now I think not. Sad. Anyway, it was first sighting of a famous person (or at least one that I know. I could have bumped Robert DeNero in the street and I never would have known. [I just got his name from my roommate– no idea]) and it was pretty exciting. Irene, another girl on my trip, was almost hyperventilating she was so excited.

Homework is starting to accumulate. I have essays for theater, art and architecture all due next week. And I have to write a monologue for my character for Terry and my devised piece so we can start working on my voice cadences. But before we can really do that I need to hear back from my boss, Noel, about whether we can use my theater’s rehearsal space when its empty. Because that would make things suddenly all work! Terry and I have been rehearsing our devised piece in his apartment and in Central Park, and while that is entertaining…. it is only possibly to a certain extent. Also, I asked my professor, Stepan, if he would put some time in as an acting coach while we are here, and he told me to find a space… So fingers crossed that Noel says yes!

Lastly, its getting cold here! Alright, so I’m still wearing shorts most days… but I have to wear a sweatshirt too!

“Autumn is upon us, and winter is coming!”  (dun dun dun!!!!) Blackout

mmmm, tea!

My roommate, Erin, had her electric kettle shipped, and since then our room (which includes our third roommate, Andrea) has become a room of constant tea drinking. It is very delicious, and much cheaper than my previous coffee addiction. (Though that still exists, it is just more manageable now.)

Aaaaaanyway…..

My first week at the Starr has gone great. My first day was on Sunday, which incidentally was the Debate Society’s first day of rehearsal, so it worked out perfectly in that I will have been a member of the team since the beginning.

I feel like I should clarify: I am interning at the Bushwick Starr Theater, but the Starr itself does not put on performances. They are a theater that companies who need a space can rehearse and perform their plays in. In October, the theatre company The Debate Society will be performing their original play Blood Play, and in the meantime have started rehearsal in the rehearsal space upstairs. And so my first two months here– September and October– will pretty much be spent working with the Debate Society on Blood Play. 

All right, clarification done. So yes, my first four days of my internship have been spent in the rehearsal room with the Debate Society. I help the stage manager with things like making coffee, keep the space clean, take notes on the discussion (the details of the script are still being set, so there is a lot to take notes on…), run errands across town to pick up tape orders, give input when I dare… its a fun time, though six hour rehearsals are long, especially when I am sitting and watching the whole time. Even after only these four days though, I do feel like this play is somehow my project too. I’m invested in it and excited about it and already quoting inside jokes to my roommates (they give me very blank looks). So yes, the internship is going well.

I have also started working on a devised piece with my friend Terry, who graduated last year from L&C and is now teaching small and troublesome children here in the city. We met in Central Park today to rehearse, and probably perplexed many of the nice families and couples who were out enjoying the sunny lawn with our very physical character work. The theme of the piece was inspired by the paradox of this city of a million souls in which no one ever sees each other. I am very excited for it, though at some point we will have to find a space other than Central Park… we will worry about it when we get there!

Friday night was interesting. First we all went and saw a play called Hot Box over in Queens. It was a very weird and much too long piece of performance art (I’m sorry guy who conceived of and was in it, I’m not calling it a play) in which the two actors got very drunk and exercised for two hours before the play, and then spent almost an hour staring into projectors (that we then saw) while fog and crazy lights and loud music happened. Very strange. After that my roommates and I went over to Columbia University, and Terry (through a co-worker) got us into the equivalent of L&C’s Fall Ball. It was great rest of the night full of wild dancing.

Tomorrow I go back to work at the Starr, and after rehearsal I am going to help set up and then stay for a play reading that the theater is hosting.

Life in New York for the win!

Rest easy all, the future is assured!

Sooooo……

I will be interning with Bushwick Starr Theater in Brooklyn! I am very excited and eager to start ASAP and will hopefully be overworked because honesty, I have been getting bored. You can only take so much of the city before you need some down time, and I’m ashamed to say I have watched more movies in the two weeks I’ve been here than I did all summer. (I just did a mental rack-up of all the movies I watched this summer and came up with The Hours, and I fell asleep halfway through it…. so my comparison isn’t worth much…. but still!) I miss the improv and rehearsal I do in my free time at college and the games and frisbee I do at  home. I did play some frisbee in the park with some random guys today though, so that was fun!

But yes, I have an internship!

I would like to say that it was a tough decision, that all of the theaters wanted me and I had to choose… but, well, it wouldn’t be the case. NYTW said “they didn’t think my skill set was well suited for the position” and Terra Nova said they found another intern. Kind of disappointing…  but also relieving in a way, because I was not looking forward to the decision between hands-on/great vibe vs good on a resume. So I have no regrets!

I just realized I should maybe mention that I have not been spending all my time watching movies! I have been spending a lot of time in the East Village– it is very close to NYU, so there are hoards of college kids running around. Its a little more laid back there, and everyone is my age so its a good escape from the frenzy of midtown. I decided what I needed to do to meet people was to establish myself in a coffee shop, so to become familiar with all the other locals in the coffee shop… so I have been spending time in a coffee shop called MUD, introduced to me by my friend Brooklyn when she was passing though on her way back to college in Maine.

If anyone reading this has any suggestions for places I should check out, they should let me know. I’m always up for wandering new parts of the city in search of food and such! You can comment on this thing you know! Oh. I just had the horrible thought that there might be nobody reading this. NOOOOOO!!!!! Fiends! The indignity!!!!    (Falls back from her computer, a look of abject horror on her face. Looking wildly about she grabs the nearest item at hand, a–ummm– phone, and with a savage intensity that belays her timid and gentle nature she–……)

Wow, I am bored. *sigh.

Anyhow, peace, love and the number 42. (A very wise person once quoted to me that it is “the secret to life, the universe, and everything”).

One Week This Morning

Exactly a week ago, except at 5 in the morning instead of the more reasonable 9:30, I was arriving in NYC. Time flys, and yet there is also the feeling that I’ve been here forever, that this is all I’ve known. In terms of internships, when I arrived all of my summer work was proving essentially fruitless, and I was very wary of meeting up with Stepan and having to respond to his “Aand do you have an iinternshiip?”

A week later, and its looking like I will have to do some serious choosing. (knock on wood!). Stepan had put me in touch with his friend Edward who is doing a collaboration project with one Kevin of Lone Wolfe Tribe Theater. I went out to Brooklyn to meet with them, and ended up taking notes and being on book while Kevin did an impromptu run through of his piece about God proving humanity. It included a stuffed monkey, plastic intestines, and a very large loogie. They are currently my backup; I would prefer to work with a company, rather than help one artist develop his work– creative though it was(!).

My roommate, Andrea, had contacts with Terra Nova Theater through her brother, and so she took me to go see them. It is staffed by about 6 women, who all seem very cool and on top of their shit, and they have a crazy season coming up; like 4 + plays in the coming semester if I remember correctly. They need someone at the rehearsal space, and to help with tech and strike and whatever else needs doing… They also have a Sunday script reading session that I could probably get in on; read stage directions, or something. They said they would get back to me early next week and be more specific on what they would have me be doing.

Stepan is also friends with Jim Nicola, artistic director of New York Theater Workshop, and he told me to get in touch with him even though their application deadline had already passed. So I did… and he sent my email on to the internship coordinators… and lucky me, they just re-opened their search for a few positions they didn’t manage to fill! So I sent in a formal application, and we’ll see what happens. I requested that they get back to me ASAP either way as I have other theaters waiting on me, and I really have no expectations either way. Yep, so I’m waiting to see if they even call me in for an interview on this one. (NYTW is the most well- established of the 4 theaters I am currently looking at. Like, they would look good on my resume. So we’ll see)

Last but not least is the Bushwick Starr theater. A theater prof at L&C, Rebecca, put me in touch with Noel, Artistic Director of Bushwick Starr, and he got in touch with me extremely quickly saying he needed someone ASAP. I went out and met with him yesterday and am totally convinced I would have great time working at his theater if all the other staff are near as cool as he is. (He wears hipster glasses, Portland friends– I mean, come on!) In this case I would be doing similar stuff to what I would do with Terra Nova. Namely, helping them get The Debate Society’s show Blood Play on its feet and run with it. Good stuff.

And so now… I am waiting. (To hear back from Terra Nova and NYTW, in case that wasn’t clear.)

Oh, other non-internshipy-but-still-program-related-things are that we started classes last week. Should be fun. We spent an hour staring out the window of our classroom and discussing the building across the street in Architecture class, and wandered around the Whitney art museum all afternoon in Art class. We saw the play One Man, Two Governors last Wednesday, a take off of Servant of Two Masters, and it was hilarious. Like no joke, solid two hours of laughing. So that was great!

And today the hotel RA’s are putting on a free laundry party! So much to look forward too!

Cheers