Thursday, December 10, 2015

By the Sea, By the Sea

Blue is my favorite color - and I rarely try to properly verbalize such undying visual devotion to its many shades; I can only let myself be eternally drawn to it like a Swan to a blue flame. There’s just something about blue that exudes a sense of transmutation unlike other tones (excepting gray & black, the other two sisters that make up the family of my wardrobe palette) among things like elements, eyes, and music to name a few forms. It works on so many sensory levels and can reach me near the deepest of depths.

Today, our film crew for Gehenna traveled to the island of Tinian, a smaller neighbor of Saipan, in order to shoot a transitory scene filled with Chamorran lore, latte stones from the days of King Taga and snare-vine terrain. Tinian is also rich in war history, playing a pivotal role in the terror and defeat of Japan. Once taken by the Americans, Tinian was transformed into the world’s largest air base and indeed, was the loading / launching ground for Little Boy onto the Enola Gay, leading us to red, white, and blue victory.  

My cast-mates and I were given an option to travel by small commuter plane (a ten minute excursion) or by boat (about 1250% longer). I chose the boat. I knew the water would be healing in some way and damn, was I absolutely correct. It wasn’t until 2014 that I remained no longer a virgin to sailing – and to surfing, for that matter. My relationship to the ocean has been virtually non-existent despite living in Los Angeles for nearly five years. What can I say? We foolishly stay away from such beauty at times only because we are not conscious of the ways it can change us. And how can we become conscious unless we go and do and see and learn? As my director and friend, Hiroshi Katagiri, was saying to me yesterday - we cannot do what we do not know; the simplicity of this message being as full as its truth. By not acquiring more knowledge, we will remain where we are instead of progressing forward and expanding ourselves. 

But there I am on the Nombei, a smallish vessel with Captain Don at the helm, various crew / cast / equipment in tow, and an invisible rope from my soul to the vast layers of blue. The twine was already loosely in place, quite thickly so, and the tension was only to strengthen as we pulled away from our port at 7am from Saipan.  

I do not think you, dear Reader, are quite aware of the natural phenomenons that occur around this island life, both breathtakingly astounding and absolutely common among the natives and their smack-dab Pacific position. For example, one can see rain coming from mere minutes away – these (mostly) harmless, wandering showers traverse oft like cloud bandits alongside maritime tracks.  Did you ever imagine such things happening at all times of the day when you live a mainland life? Maybe you had a clue if you’ve been to the Rain Room at LACMA.

Regardless, it was a slow, spiritual burn for me on this trip to Tinian – beginning with an internal warning that Dramamine seemed not strong enough to dispel as my insides turned a tad here, there. Then, a light rain hit us as the sweet sun simultaneously met with the water, brightening the world and breaking the moody gray skyscape.  Humidity be damned because my curly noggin loves a greeting rain. It was as sweet as sugar pie made by my Granny Iona back in the days of Kentucky. Plus - I was armored with a headscarf and hat and sunglasses AND sunblock soooooo…needless to say I was rather prepared.  In the not-too-far distance, there laid a handful of barges – massive, vaulted hunks of metal transporting god-knows-what and helmed by an assembly of (probably) men that harken back to the days of Anna Christie. I prefer to think of them all as Liam Neeson types, their stances more grounded than an ancient Mole god, deeply equipped with a physical earthiness and seamlessly dancing with the tempestuous ocean. I, myself, tried to adopt this sensibility as I moved forward to the bow, where I would remain for the next 90 minutes of the trip. Thank you, Yoga, and other balancing exercises for my liquidity of joints and flexibility of energetic motion. Once I found myself so near to the water – one could neither pry me away with a crowbar nor tempt me with a jar of peanut butter-filled pretzels. I was hooked as if the sea were fishing me.

Thus I see why blue moves me so. Always, the sky and the sea are connected, almost blurred and mistaken for one another, a pair of conjoined twins – one air, one marine; both blue, both vast, both immersive, both rife with mystery; both garnished with white froth that ever evolves and disappears; both caught in a mystically-designed elemental thought cycle, that twin mentality where one knows the other through and through; telepathically tied. 

Eventually I sat, cradled in the life-raft ring on the bow, feet dangling, hat shading, and body rocking like a child to the impassioned sway and churning shush-break of the waves. The intensity of silent words hanged about us all as we sat or stood, contemplative and still, now floating fixtures and attendants to the universe; our thoughts holding tightly to the corners of our minds. When my lids were not shut, I glanced above to see diaphanous wisps of cloud, threads in freehand stripes that mirrored the mellifluous smile resting upon my lips.  Suddenly to my right, a rainbow appeared, complete in the water from end to end. I do not know if I have ever seen one in its entirety and indeed, I wondered if it continued underwater in a full spectrum circle, perhaps as a portal to a parallel world. Maybe a version of me is on the other side - one that is closer to my dreams. Ha! I do not know if I could be closer to my dreams than this – so I am instantly reminded.

Peace. This is truly what peace is.  White Fairy Terns diving and weaving above the surface – they are like doves with sprigs and I am like Noah, ready to start again; a rebirth. The New Year approaches and I am ready to shed skins of all sorts; slyly, obviously, passionately – in all ways that fit all circumstances, but mainly that just fit me and serve me. The ocean, the sky, my dreams, and my loved ones – all tell me that I am on the verge of something new, and I feel it through to the marrow.

Those that I love and are not with me – please know that you ARE with me, carved deeply into my heart and held steady by the glowing life-energy of these magical places.

Once we finished filming at Tinian, we rode back upon the Nombei once again, some newcomers aboard. The resonance of such an experience marked me indelibly and exhaustingly, for I think my soul has not undergone such a laundering in quite awhile. Spirits were higher than Bill and Ted on an excellent adventure.  With a can of cheap, celebratory beer in each hand, our cast and crew all distantly witnessed an incredible block of cloudy gray dominating the sky – and in Mad Max-like fashion, storms churned, blazed and poured just miles away while we safely gazed on.  The elements, the elements. Being so free in the elements is an unmatched thing and I am wildly in love with the world at this time.

Back to Saipan - my fugacious, tropical reality. I have the day off this Friday. I will need it to recover from this painful hug of the universe. We all will.

Looking forward to what comes of Gehenna – so should you be as well. Much love to you as a weekend approaches and the holidays loom closer. Be open, be knowledgeable and be well.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Two Hearts

The other night I was convinced I had two hearts – paired like lungs in my chest cavity.  They are connected, in tandem, both large; yet the heart on my right side is not fully realized. Rather, it is more of a phantom heart – one that can still affect and be affected, but lives mostly from my imagination; present in a Tim Burtonesque way. This is because for two weeks I have had a small space within my right chest cavity – something that I can only akin to a tiny, plastic bubble, not unlike the one you’d obtain with a quarter and inside was a sticky hand to throw on a wall somewhere (or simply gather lint and disgusting debris much to your parents’ chagrin).  This bubble is real, in terms of feeling, and it presses me internally – a hollow nodule mirrored with my true heart. But it lives as if an empty, pulsing space; a kind of teeny, travelling star eeping molasses-like along from the middle of my muscle/bone now toward the back of my shoulder blade as if there were an exit sign flashing above. It reminds me of a veteran stab wound that sometimes acts up, even years after the incident. I was never in such an incident, but I imagine the similarity is quite uncanny.

Am I channeling someone’s pain? Whose? Yet there is something reminiscent of love and of death here. Figuratively here and literally here – as I am in Saipan; an island that has its own heartache from WWII, when the US battled and won it from the stronghold of the Japanese. Another heart, another wound; something purple for war or for when you open me up and see the color that surprises you. An old haunt of the emotional and romantic nature, but also of survival. Is love something one sometimes feel they are surviving? I can relate to that. Most of us can when we think of family, not just of relationships. The double-edged swords that fly during Thanksgiving conversation or simply on the phone. Maybe my second heart is faux for this purpose – so that anyone who wishes to hurt it can unknowingly affect the dummy version – and I am left unscathed. I like that. For when you are clawing through the trenches of Los Angeles industry, there are many aiming for your heart, despite how unprofessional - not to mention wildly unfair - that is.

Saipan certainly has its ghosts. This island, where I am to finish filming Gehenna, has both mystically untainted and extremely dilapidated beauty. Crooked, peeling storefronts, letters and lights missing like teeth, leprosy peppering building after building – yet all surrounded by the fullest, unavoidable glory of nature; the beastly sea, the throne of clouds, the unshakeable sun and endless, endless sky. I have touched upon it all only a little, but the greatness and the history cuts me like a laser-point.  And my hollow nodule pulses as if another spirit rises alongside me, pressing a finger so deep it is tendon-struck through my ribcage; a guide to point out the resonation and to remind me of respect for those dead and gone and brave.

Travel certainly brings out that resonance. (And resonation is defined as "the process by which the basic product of phonation is enhanced in timbre and/or intensity by the air-filled cavities through which it passes on its way to the outside air" - apropos to my living air bubble, no?) And I think, that is what I live for; that feeling. When something reaches you on a cellular level and some Avatar-like worship or inner ceremony begins to stir – complete with electricity of light and warmth of rosewater. It is 5:30am and the sky has not an inch of light, but will crack in a moment. Bells are ringing from a crumbling steeple somewhere. The ocean continues to wave and roar. I am in the middle of absolutely nowhere and yet this is the only place that makes sense for me to be. Here. Now. 

Blessings to this island and its people, to the tumultuous past, to the joyous future and to the rain that so lightly visits like a sweet neighbor who needs a cup of sugar here and there. Let us think of how we can give, rather than take, when within a foreign presence - so that we may disarm it and banner our approach of love and kindness. Let us appreciate, let us absorb and let us find wisdom and beauty among the ruins.  

Here I go down the ramshackle sidewalk and I will let you know the result later on. For now, let the peace of the sea wash over your mind in a meditation - and I pray you find that resonation in your day as well. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

On the 10th Day...

Day 10 of filming my feature, Gehenna: Where Death Lives. I am not allowed to paint many pictures for you, but I can always give a subjective point of view which, I promise, will not compromise or reveal the pertinently protected things and stuff.

Early in this day and late in this night, I sit at home looking at my script, which is toothpaste blue. I could easily fix a scuffed robin egg with the hue of this page. Every day I work long hours, trying to find the most natural and sensical way to live within the circumstances of the moment. It's a beautiful thing to try and obtain, when one has truly found the apex sling to rest into. Not that I do that that often, but it is a challenge and I try vehemently because I like challenges. I like to prove things to myself and sometimes that takes the impetus of others, sometimes not.

It's been a wonder to abide by this particular schedule of life. I definitely prefer it, despite it taking up so much time. Normal life feels neglected at the moment - but that's only because my normal life is not exactly acting all day long. I mean, it is NOW, at least until the film ends; a career tease that I would like to water-into-wine industry-wise. Or water-into-blood is more appropriate, deeming the horrific content of this current story.

The interesting part about a horror film is to try and capture the psychological effect on my character so that I may interpret this (for the camera) in a journey and way that makes sense while also feeling quite palpable. Did I mention also while filming out of sequence? Yes. Yes, there is that too. Also quite normal, but relies heavily on the clarity of the actor for where they've been before this moment and where they end up.  Where is the dot on that line from Minute One to Minute One Hundred? And which dot are you looking at - the Emotional Dot, the Spiritual Dot, the Physical or Psychological Dots?

All of these elements belong inside a person that is experiencing things to the extreme. Films and plots contain extremity; stakes are about extremity. And we have to think of how we may actually respond to those conditions of extremity. I am learning ways to access myself as an actress / emotional human that require expediency and great change. I just hope whatever I'm cultivating reads on the big screen. Or at least your iPad. There have been many laps, push-ups, burpies, soundtracks and other assists utilized while in my private dark portion of the warehouse where no crew needs to go. 

Regardless of the fulfilling character work, the crew and other cast members are of stellar work mind and the experience thus far could not be more delightful. All work together to reduce the stress and alleviate the pressure of the environment that is viced by time and money. This is movie-making, people, and the process is arduous on top of fast on top of complex on top of Dear God Please Let Us Know What We're Doing. The last bit is not a problem for most - and that gives me great relief. It also gives me great permission to play which, indeed. I. Do. My cackle echoes nicely in this warehouse each day and I am not judged by its frequency or volume. I thank everyone for that. It feels good to laugh with one's whole body numerous times a day. I swear my soul gets a little younger with each tiny pressed step of the crow's foot. 

Lastly, there is nothing - NOTHING - that I'd rather attach to such crisp, fall La-La days than driving down to the outskirts of the city under a bright California sun, windows down, beloved beanie and Ray Bans donned, and tunes a-blasting while I gage to encounter the edge of the Gehenna forest. My character is full and my internal life is roaring much like my engine down the I-110. Talk about an acceleration into the holiday seasons as time simply races by. Yet, each day, all I can do during such speedy transit is marvel at the frothing puffs of cloud on the horizon, still and stoic and magical. How strange that such planes of time can exist together, passing through us all peacefully; well, hopefully peacefully.

More later - I've got to go fight for my life now.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Underwater Tied

I woke up underwater today. If you were at the edge of the pond, you would see me lying there, just under the clear surface, starkly ivory and hair weaving gently within the weeds that wave to no tide. If you peer more closely, you can see three small pronged openings just below my left ear. Let me blink and bend my long neck in a slow turn, mocking a lazed palm for your viewing understanding and hypnotic pleasure. Those pulsing black points are something like gills because I, as most of you already know or carry an inkling of, am not quite of this earth. I'm rather in between worlds, depending on my waking; depending on who's asking; depending on the strength of my word.  Some, though, just have too widely grated belief vents and all kinds of things go falling through their cracks. A fine filter is hard to obtain. I understand and cannot completely help you with that. Especially since with each opening of my mouth, bubbles and gurgles seem to escape rather than words. 

I think in the night I was dry and on land. That is, until my dreams welled and rose and foamed, never calming - much like a sea of champagne eventually pouring from my eyes and mouth in a sparkling, spilling fantasia. My mattress melted into the wooden floor, mixing into mud on which I would still lay. The soft click of my lids, back and forth, back and forth, churned falling threads that soaked my pillow into disintegration. The touch of water turned all things bedroom to sandman cove complete with floor-skimming bobby pin minnows (so fleeting!), a comforter of fluffy lotus blossoms , and tiny torn paper frogs with ribbits of acting tidbits upon them.

Black, beady, piercéd grains roll around with liquid gravity, boba-like and matching the dark tones and shadows that angle strangely in an element such as this; in the calm, gray light of morning with the eventual sword-like ray slicing through my magic water box. My slip, well, does just that - off a shoulder, up a thigh, hugging me like a child and just as wont to be invisible. Curious fringe peeks here and there. Lashes blink with full serenity and I tell you - with these eyes - that this is all a display. It's a partial dream halfway happening in a pure imagination. A blend to be unsolved and relished within. Go on. Dip a toe in and do tell me when it hits this warm, languid, neutral perfection; when it disturbs the surface or is disturbed. You'll have an entire foot in before you know it or can acknowledge it. Mark my words, you can be unknowingly immersed.

But what is this thick syrup layered atop my emotional tank? I "awoke" and found everything stirring below with slow, frenzied intensity - yet unable to break through via word, tongue or cord. Kind of....sperm and egg, if you will. It sometimes takes forever to conceive or birth a thought healthfully into the world; or just outside of oneself. Somedays it all stays just behind the eyes, does it not?  The eyes - which are rich, wet, mysterious ecosystems of their own. This is what comes across in film. This is not what people often look for in life. Every once in a while someone will turn to look at me (as I normally have addressed them) and their gaze is so resonant that I feel both sonically blown and pulled; almost stuck, as if plastered on the outskirts of their inner universe, and possibly totally unprepared to sustain myself if I fall in to their mind. The last time I experienced this, I darted my energy away from the heat of this burning bush, fearful that I would be...seen too deeply for my current comfort. But is that a choice I am to be concerned with? Is that something to turn from? To shorten one's breath near? Does it matter?

I wish we were more willing to take on that mutual risk. Enter my world and I will enter yours - perhaps we can even draw two bridges and cross them with binoculars and tin cans, remaining visible, audible and childlike to one another; trusting and curious in every step.  Unafraid. For even if I am different and dark, so may be you. It is a keen piece of sight to see the dark with the light - a quality to be embraced and rejoiced, not hidden from as if only exuding hints of eau de shame. 

It's perfectly okay to remain and stew in your own tank for a day. Bump into those corners and eat up that introspective algae. Look at everything consciously outside of yourself. Just remember to resist temptation toward the safety of the cave. Find ways to expose yourself - happily, beautifully and mutually. With my 51% introversion, I am often of both land and sea. It does not always lessen my fear to leave one for the other, but it must be done - for who knows what I will discover. Joseph Campbell it up, kid, so that little by little we shed our old selves and thinking, only to glisten in the sun. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Value of Pollen

Roughly three years ago, I decided that I no longer have to subject myself to the mercy of devils. 

In case you were wondering, a devil's mercy runs as thin as the second-cousin ghost of a shred of wax paper. 

Thus, people in the industry that I meet or that scurry across my path (or that try to inject themselves into my bloodstream) are thoroughly measured and/or pricked with a device that actively susses out and determines the temperature of hot, red flags - if indeed one or more is present. Pink flags are of less concern - they are everywhere and on everyone - so those are only considered when a situation is suddenly "strength in numbers" and such. They are more... discolorations of the flesh than anything else; harder to distinguish between human flaw and streak of darkness. Though I will say, a Queen of Deceit will know exactly how to paint her roses pink, so it is always wise to carry that bit of salt in your pocket (and in La La, perhaps around your neck - borrow a tiny bottle from Alice and etsy it up for the safety of your soul). 

Ladies and Gents, know the climate of a conversation and you can eventually tell what should and shouldn't be growing in the garden. I've seen enough fake plants in boys' apartments to know a synthetic leaf when I see one. F is for Fake, Orson Welles said.  This is not an attempt, but a lifelong mission to dismiss and eradicate the boll weevils running amuck; to diminish their presence in my field of happiness, health, and thriving creativity. I am telling you - yes, you - to develop some allergies while out in the wild. 

Because there are so many vulnerable little eggs just DYING to hatch in Los Angeles (especially among the Actress variety), the raptors circle oft with tongues quivering and beaks tacking. I am no longer one of these eggs, a thing blind to / not safe from the harshness of the world. I will not take the warmth of ANYTHING in order to cultivate my career. I am already a bird - a full grown Swan to be exact - and I refuse to remain in the crook of a crooked arm, especially if that arm needs deodorant and the cheap cologne just exacerbates the stench. 

I am recalled to the sour, rotten peach breath of a past "mentor" assigned to me at school. As fascinating as his depth of Eastern culture knowledge was, my olfactory strength would collapse faster than Sampson with hair shorn. 

Look, wherever my career may be (and it is in various places via the eyes of myself, my family, high school FB comrades, close friends, fans, and the seeming Sauron of IMDB), I will not accept, much less declare loyalty to, a hand that scatters crumbs before me, as if it is assumed I am starving for any kind of satiation in order to survive.  I survive perfectly well on my own, thank you - and that is NOT without the power to ask people for help because I have learned to wear a fair shade of pride, one that compliments rather than washes out. Do not mistake this for stubbornness, though I have been known to ride that bull here and there; who has not? 

Recently, I had a meeting with a seemingly prominent producer. Oh his praises were sung by a choir I didn't know, but the tune was right familiar - and filled with dissonant promise. But what do you do when in the land of opportunity? You take the meeting. You show up. From there, decide if you stroll, Uber, or marathon-sprint home. He happened to catch me as I was attempting to settle into a rival of my batcave - the beach. But yes, of course, I will stop by your studio before you leave for the day. That won't be a problem and I thank you and I will see you this afternoon.

Leaving a mild trail of sandsmoke, I promptly returned from whence I came to "paint the barn" (as a woman named Charlda used to say).  To my credit, I did not rudely leave the sun and ocean hanging for I laid courteously before them round the better part of an hour, then made way to traffic hell. Also to my credit, I didn't wash my hair so NYEH (tongue sticks out here). The seasoned mentality I have slowly acquired allowed me to somewhat relax and not immediately mar my personal plans for the day. Yes, that's as far as I've gotten in this life - to the "somewhat". But hey, that's a big deal for me, maybe small potatoes for you. I've known for a while I will never live in Venice. 

Fast forward to my sitting in this dude's office, across from him all patience, manners, denim, Crema warmth and full absorbance yet in that panhandler way. I suppose this is because I was expecting fool's gold, if anything. I have come NOT to expect, but experience and observe that experience. Thus, 25 minutes into our banter absolutely nothing has risen topic-wise concerning acting or a path to.  And I am now not unlike a cheetah with Nikes on a treadmill - this conversation could go on forever toward nothing and I would simply be robbed of all energy come endpoint.

But then it happened - the pivotal point of our meeting, the moment I had been waiting for that truly called a spade a spade and erased any hint of rose-color: 

So... are you dating anyone? 

Aaaah. Yes. I see. As the scales were already tipping this way, I see the weight of your belt and it is light and may I say, also gross. I am not Eva Swan here in this office. I am not an actress that has upped her game in the last year so much so that she has surprised herself in the pushing of limitations - mentally, physically, emotionally. I am not, here, who I wish to be; who I am. 

Nonetheless, I remained immune to his inappropriate and contradictory conversation - his Mitt Romney flip-flopping and asinine questioning of my love life. I found myself simply stating truths, not without additionally asserting cocks of the head upon each further and more ridiculous probe:

Are you a virgin? (nervous laughter)

(blink, beat) No. No, I am not. 

Being from the Midwest you must go CRAZY with all the hot guys out here. 

(polite laughter) Um, well, no. There are certainly very attractive and beautiful people here in Los Angeles, but that does not phase me in some unusual way. 

Don't you get lonely at night? - WELL, that's none of my...

Right. Right, no. That IS none of YOUR. 

Trust me, if it came down to having your company as an option, I would 100% choose to be "alone at night".  And Mr. Producer, despite the fact that this meeting is hinged upon the status of my love life - allow me to explain some very real things. I want to write and act for a living. I am not yet in a pair of successful shoes, so I spend my time exploring my own creativity and skills while I sometimes schedule navigation of dating waters.  I want to (and do) value myself - but because of people like you, I have to fight to do so because suddenly you turn on me while we lay intimately in the benefit-of-the-doubt-ditch.  You think I'm afraid; I'm unprotected and vulnerable. The word "incapable" is reflected in the glass of your eye. And guess what, sir?  I'm not those things. I have a grenade that will blow at least one smithereen of you from here to Timbuktu and I will ALWAYS pull the key on those that pathetically prey and betray.

P.S. For the love of God stop dying your hair.

I share this precious memory with you because being targeted under the guise of some industry tarp is all too common in this industry. "Luckily" for me, I'm well-trained in this arena via years of experience. I went into that meeting with this mantra: I do not need anything from this person. You know why? Because I don't. And you don't. This is wonderfully and simply true. If someone wants to work with you, to work FOR you, to do you a favor? So be it. Do it! Do it then! Don't entice me with falsities. Don't blow hot air into the atmosphere when its already 100 degrees in the Valley. Follow up those words with some matching behavior. Someone of authenticity will act out of combined good heart and good mind to propel somebody forward. Rarely does this happen because rare is that person. So please, PLEASE keep your eyes peeled for the claptrap, the riff-raff and the Execs that think with their....well, not their brains. You do not have to pander to them, you do not have to be polite, you do not have to sit/stand there and absorb the blows.  Do not be available for abuse - it is YOUR choice. You. Yours. One person will likely not make you or break you. 

Please, Ladies and Germs, let respect for yourself be the number one rule from now on. You don't have to answer certain questions, you don't have to carry out certain tasks; you only need to be your beautiful, hard-working self. Goodness attracts goodness. Let your light attract and shine upon those of like mind. Know the value of YOU and know that when people don't seem to recognize it, you have every right to inform them. Or to make a fast getaway and get back to your own life. 

Listening to Aerial Ballett, Harry Nilsson. Talk about creativity. Versatility. Genius. Heart. There's a doc on HBO about him I've gotta see. But let me delve a bit more into his repertoire. Love to you on this night and in memory of those fallen on this fateful date. Love to Oliver Sacks too, who is resting on an indigo cloud somewhere. You'd be wise to pick up a book of his.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fool for Adler

I'm in love.
I'm in love with my studio.
My acting studio.
I tell people about my love.
And they say Hey gimme the information.
And they feign to come.

Finals day yesterday in the Master Class off of theatre row in Hollywierd. There it was, our tiny little black stage, the flooring beaten to death by a myriad of heels - spiked, spurred or period-driven; the thick black strips of marley slowly parting from each other into new continents and the struggling chaperones of tape curling into competition with a wig from "Amadeus".  It is here that my bare feet leave blackened, looking as though I've been parkouring up chimneys all day. (Trust me, I will not miss a good chance to mimic a certain classic Cockney number from Mary Poppins if called upon.) But hey, scenework among my peers at the A/M is not far from watching them draw a chalkboard outline, grab our hand, then jump into a magical (though sometimes terrifying) world, together traipsing suddenly through this sphere of another realm, time and character. Another geographic location. Another socioeconomic period. Another earth.

We work on one 15 (ish) minute scene for six weeks, with three total "rehearsals" not meant to be performance driven. But WE, the students, are allowed to be as driven as we like, for we are driving ourselves. Then we have a bit of critique and talk about obstacles, observations and odds 'n' ends of study. 

As I was discussing with another class member tonight, that carefully strained quality of cold brew acting happening around me is what friggin' wakes ME up in the morning. No, for reals. Nine total scenes went up this round. I am turned into salt and blown away by watching my peers grow - and even astound - via their hard work and blooming creativity. Validation is granted for the weeks of solitary confinement from which we've eventually emerged, battered playbook in one hand, mad scribing in the other. Oh and let's not forget the public shamings we host of our own accord upon that meager platform - the eyes that question all that just proceeded, unconvinced and burning for either death of this work OR... another chance!!! Put me in, Coach, put me IN! AGAIN!  

I mean, that's MY interpretation of how people approach class. I'm sure I am completely wrong and I alone torture myself repeatedly for six weeks in Toluca Woods. ;) But it is difficult to wrap one's head around a real technique of acting, something I have never adopted due to a hodgepodge education (ahem, code for: many teachers that don't know what they're talking about). Adler is what I speak of. The only technique I have ever really enjoyed and find works with my other quirky Eva ways of creation and development. I marry them each semester and indeed there is bickering, fighting, some domestic violence (my neighbors probably think I'm nutso) but there's also Really. Great. Sex.

I have truly, TRULY enjoyed revisiting and settling next to the Sea of Theatre Works. Since September last, I have had the pleasure of swimming inside such plays as CRIMES OF THE HEART (poor Lenny, her hair is fallin' out!), STOP KISS (dude, Callie is a part of my soul and the love story kills me),  PROOF (bring on the cold-hearted shame machine), THE HEIDI CHRONICLES (Wasserstein's themes ring just as poignantly and true today for me as a woman in this world), and most recently, FOOL FOR LOVE by the existential cowboy himself, Sam Shepard.

Sam Shepard is unlike any playwright I have studied thus far, less interested in naturalism than others and a-leanin' toward the affect of the moment - the thing happening now, and how it will translate the emotional states of the characters, usually in matrix-like fashion. The staging is a specific tool used often for this purpose, which is unusual to really pay attention to in class because "blocking" is a somewhat dated term and almost concept. Believe you me, I love a fantastic composition on the stage - as well as on film - but that receives the least focus when in a rehearsal space / learning ground. The acting is the thing and the play is the thing we use to sharpen it with! Anywho, Shepard is SO specific in his stage direction for FOOL that it seemed a bit of an obstacle for my little acting brain to work through. I mean, if I'm supposed to crawl along this wall during this monologue - how do I make that a REAL choice by this character in REAL time? I don't. I do what I can by diluting the stylized feel of his play and filling it with the truthful bugle call of Adler. 

What is this, a fox hunt? Well, yeah. There are a lot of elusive little foxes within a scene you have to discover and conquer, in the form of sly beats, furry objectives and such. And if your Adler beagles are unhealthy pups, they won't sniff out shit. It'll be like people I see on hikes carrying their dogs who doth protest too much against the heat so .. PEACE! - collapsed they are on the mountainside awaiting your removal. 

But FOOL FOR LOVE is, admittedly by Shepard, not his best work - yet a fun piece for women who wish to wallow in a tour de force kind of role - albeit oxymoronically. It is a dark ill-fated incestuous love story that culminates in one long relentless exchange out of a lone mojave desert motel room. The surroundings are bare and so are the personality traits of his characters, Eddie and May. Little is said ABOUT them outside of what they've "experienced". There are memories and speeches, but there aren't a lot of statements about who these people ARE outside of vague things like "She likes movies." His writing rather focuses on the communication - in body and word - thus the relationship is identified more strongly than the individual. Also, the feeling is what Shepard is striving to capture, not the personality. 

Thus it was a kind of a bitch to work on. I mean, May is the victim of cyclical infidelity for a number of years with the love of her life, her half-brother. Unfortunately, they fell in love before they knew of their blood share, found out quickly thereafter, and then it was just too late. The love had fallen on them both like a sickness, complete with paralytic yearnings and pinings that left them on the floor when apart and worried all those around them. But the infidelity...four years of an affair with another woman - a woman who seemingly has money, education, EVERYTHING the upper class could provide and May does not represent. Four years of denial from Eddie; four years of secrecy, of anxiety, of waiting in a trailer alone, of time passing in stagnant hours, of questions, of diminishment of worth, of being mortared and pestled into a mash of self-hatred and blame despite it not being her fault - all of this cradled in the hammock of desperate co-dependency. 

Oy. Vay. Dude.

All I can surmise about May comes from how she feels and also how she is different from this "other woman".  The latter is a more guesswork arena to the Adler approach, but hey, I gots little to go from. I will say this, though: this scene kicked my motherlovin' ass. And I have Shepard to thank for it. May ended up as switchy and twitchy as an epileptic fencer. Child-like in her emotional intelligence because there was no room within or model from which to develop it. Probably bi-polar, but I didn't choose to study it. 

Sadly, I will not be within the next two rounds of Master Class (that's 3 months that will sadly go by - one quarter of a year!!!!!!!!!!!! I may be in a coma at that time). But hopefully, I will be filming GEHENNA come October and acting in front of a camera, not my peers. And on a tropical island. Hells to the yizzah. 

In the meantime, I will be working on shorter scenes in Monday night's excellent Hybrid class. So the pencils will get sharpened little by little still.  I have RED LIGHT WINTER and OTHER DESERT CITIES to tackle.  I am determined to discipline myself within Adler and to apply it one day with just the tools of my imagination. Some of them come into play more naturally already - almost archeologically, as the bones of my colorful mind emerge and shake off their dust, then proceed to do a Disneyesque dance that seems all wild, dark and hilarious. 

Enough! Off to rehearsal...Let a little 39 into your life.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


This morning I was cackling like a madwoman at a million different silly things.
This afternoon I was holding my steering wheel, sobbing at the beauty of such voluptuous, volcanic cloud formations on which were these long, misplaced slits of steely blue - like God had taken a knife and stabbed them carelessly into existence.

Anyone else feeling strongly today? 

So fitting is this parallel as I, this very afternoon, auditioned for a commercial that required some wailing, sniffling ridiculousness paired with a separate moment of raucous, side-splitting laughter. You could say I was rather prepared.

Today has definitely been a day of emotional bats flying around the internal cave. I have undoubtedly measured the depths of certain cavernous corners and they are not only vast, but filled with both jagged and soft angles. The forming of which come from the carpentry of my dreaming heart, my talking head, and the people that drift in and out of my life like spectres....or banshees - depending on if and when they choose to haunt me. 

Driving, I looked up at this apocalyptic cloud and wished to geyser-dive into its massive, white, roiling purity. The fluff would disintegrate against my body like meringue on a hot, wet tongue and I would see nothing, as my eyes remain shut and my mouth beams blissfully and nothing at all can touch me in this sky. Can we not disappear here from time to time? I can. And I will. 

But I have things to do. Things and stuff. Lists to be checked and errands to run. Can bravery be awarded for our everyday tasks? What, for the normalcy? Sounds vain, sounds unfair. Sounds like an instagram-ridden society wanting applause for their latest crop-filter-manipulation. I'm thinking all we will be left with is a caption upon our grave. A meme, if we're lucky. What will we be remembered for? Certainly not cleaning our kitchen floor. Ridding oneself of dog hair for the day. A feat to one may be a marathon while to another it is a shower. This is not particular to me, yet it is not free of attachment to me. 

The urge to capture the sky, the clouds, the caverns, the swellings - it runs under me like a river. I want it any way and every way - in a photo, a painting, a background, a poem, a script, a status and a novel. I will take it and I will soften into the memory of Sonora, California - where I was for four months of 2013; where I drove often the curved road and treaded merrily through the thick air. Sonora - where the wildfires showed up from your balcony's view at night; ah, that sobering marmalade haze. Sonora - where the blackest tarantulas cross concrete amidst waves of wheatened hills. Sonora - where the morning mist sirens you to a walk, only to gag, cough, and take cover.  Sonora - where a hospitably brown-eyed gaze turns to a cold, dead plank of a stare and you know you need to move along. You know. When the pupil blends seamlessly into a blubbery Brannon filter of eye and all you see is a dead whale on the beach. And you ask, How did I not see it before? 

I must get back to my script - my tale of Sonora. I must forgive myself for time that has passed, then move forward into the paradigm that is this place, filtered through Eva's imagination. If this filter had a name, it would be Lynchang. The film will visually strike with an Ang Lee "Brokeback" essence while story is tugged by a strange, heightened yet twistedly relatable Lynchian arm. My only obstacle here is not over-laying, as I am wont to do. I layer and layer and layer with creation, only to find I have made it too hard to swallow - or even bite! No, no baklava. No triple malt. Leave simple things alone that remain beautiful as they are. Or profound, as they are. 

Same is true with the people in my life. Leave them alone to be as they are. Love them, polish them, admire them, and sometimes put them aside or out of view. We can only ingest so much every day, hm? We can only allow so much into our perspective lest we collapse from the pain or beauty of it all. 

I urge YOU to lie in the cradle of your imagination. To let it seep and slide down to the creviced corners of your most secret caves. Then? Well...keep a pen handy. And paper. Paper is good. 

More to come on Classwork. A blue moon on Friday, btw. Not another until 2018. Take advantage, take a look, take a gander and take a seat. Ciao for now.