Monday, February 16, 2009

-ACTF- The Spirit is spoken on Stage!

Another week has gone by full of chaos and humor and I thought I'd take a moment to kind of catch my breath and write down all of the proceedings of what went down. As most of you probably know if you've been caught up with me at all or read the last blog, this last week I spent down in Fullerton California @ the American College Theatre Festival. Five days of workshops, plays, competing and sweet sweet theatre.

MON: We all headed out early Monday morning, ended up leaving around 4:15am so it was good that we decided to meet so early. The weather driving down was crazy!! I kept falling asleep and waking up in an entirely new climate. I woke up just before Baker at one point and we were at a standstill in a complete snow storm. Finally as that afternoon rolled around we arrive in Anaheim and went to DISNEYLAND! It was rather cold and raining during periods but it was nice to have this slow day with so many of my friends. I went on a lot of rides I hadn't been able to for a while, like all the story book ones...I got pixie dust sprinkled on me, got to go on Small World again, first time in like 5 years, and it was just a really nice day.

TUES: Most of this day was registering, and prepping for the first round of the Irene Ryans. Alex & I performed @ 1pm and it went really well... we got great audience reaction...they even laughed at parts that usually you shouldn't laugh at, and then kept laughing and then were like...wait...that shouldn't be funny but it is. Ed Trujillo was our respondant and I knew something was going on because he had really nit-picky things to say about a lot of the performers in our round, but really liked ours. He said we took a risk with that piece and was really proud with how we were able to connect with each other in such a disjointed scene. For those who are curious, Alex and I did a scene from Neil Labute's Land of the Dead, a short 10min play about two people, man & woman remembering a day that "they'll never forget". In truth our scene is basically two monologues overlapping each other, the same day from a different perspective. Myself going to get an abortion and his account of re-thinking it, and leaving me a message, telling me to not go through with it. My reactions of..."You're too're too late I've already done it." And then missing him.."missing both of them" after he dies later that day during 9/11. yeah...real family piece. But I really love it, I love Neil Labute and how he creates these 'condemned characters' that if you look close enough are really saturated in redemption.

WED: This was probably my favorite day at the festival. Low key, low stress and I got to see a lot of plays! I got to see Diablo Valley College's production of Jesus Hopped the A Train. This production had a lot of language, but I really enjoyed this play. It focused on two inmates, one (Angel) just there temporarily awaiting trial after shooting a cult leader in the butt, who later suffered a heart attack from stress and Lucius on death row after killing 8 people but finding reform & God in prison. Who really learned reformation? Who deserved to die. Great statements were made in this show.
"God is a God of convienence. Any day you want to repent and reform yourself, God will be there...He is very convenient."
"I'm gonna die, and they're gonna still be angry!" The play screamed to me that reform and redemption is available to anyone, anyone. Just say your sorry, and learn from something. That afternoon we saw Fullerton's WONDERFUL production of Shakespeare's As You Like It, which I had actually never seen or read before. I loved it so much! It was such a strong production. Their articulation, understanding of the words and their journey was so on point. (Must be for doing two weeks of table work- just understanding the language). The rest was up to par too, the set & costuming was very impressive. As You Like It quickly rose to my number 3 slot of Shakespeare plays, and that was a student production even. It doesn't happen that often to go to a play and feel all girly and twitterpaited but that's exactly how all the girls and I felt sitting on the first row as Rosalind spoke this to us:

It is not the fashion to see the lady the epilogue;
but it is no more unhandsome than to see the lord
the prologue..
.... O women, for the love
you bear to men, to like as much of this play as
please you: and I charge you, O men, for the love
you bear to women--as I perceive by your simpering,
none of you hates them--that between you and the
women the play may please. If I were a woman I
would kiss as many of you as had beards that pleased
me, complexions that liked me and breaths that I
defied not: and, I am sure, as many as have good
beards or good faces or sweet breaths will, for my
kind offer, when I make curtsy, bid me farewell.

After that we hurried over to UVU's production of Nosferatu which I had been anticipating for quite some time. This was by far my favorite production I saw at the festival. I had never seen anything like it. Inspired by London theatre and the growing number of mixed/multi-media productions and inventions being created over there, Nosferatu came along. Basically, we saw all the bones. The audience comes in and see's three random set back drops, cords everywhere, camera's, and one large screen hanging over top. There's no dialogue only the words projected on the screen overhead. The play/movie begins and the actors act out the movie in real time with the techies running everywhere, people holding lights, prepping scenery, filming, and everyone was the performer...everyone was on stage, costumers, prop people, sound board was just buzzing, actors holding up lights and was incredible. Not only were they re-creating a classic 1922 vampire film before your very eyes, they're also splicing live action performance with footage from the original! It's a mind-bending enterprise, with multiple camera angles and multiple sets being utilized simultaneously to create something I'd never seen before. I went everywhere with my theatre journal of course, and some of the things I wrote down were often it seems like there's a stigma...actors vs. techies, or even stage vs. film...but in this production, film was the weapon. Everything about this was a live stage performance but it was delivered and sustained through a completely new medium. As soon as it was over, I went outside and got in line again, saw it was so incredible. I was amazed that though they were working within a new medium, it still sustained the vital role of what theatre is supposed to do, which is: inspire discussion, create a catharsis, and carving a path. I fell in love with classical theatre, but more and more ever since London, I am being woo'd by the vast frontier that is the contemporary world.

THURS: Woke up with the text from Alex.
"Congratulations. We're moving on." WHAT?!?
Alex and I were lucky enough to make it to the semi-finals. Out of 350 Irene Ryan Competitors, 33 were chosen and we were part of the lucky few. I was so nervous. I did not expect to move on, the whole thing is a dog show anyway and I didn't want to have to deal with the stress. I was honored though, and after I calmed down a bit was excited to have a chance to perform again. That afternoon we saw Fire in the Bones from Weber State all about the life, work & death of William Tynsdale who translated the bible to english from latin, and Don Coyote by Arizona State University, about immigrant coyote's, an interesting play. To finish off the night we watched a production of Life without Parole from Vanguard University of Southern Cali. This play focused on the true stories of five women, victims of domestic abuse who were living out sentences for killing at a correctional institute in Chino. The play in itself kind of had a Vagina Monologue feel with their stories, such sad stories of warning and confusion, overlapping each other. This created an interesting discussion on the way home, but my stomache was already beginning to tie knots.

FRI: I was so nervous. Alex and I were to perform in the first half of the semi-finals and we were loaded into the back of this 'Little Theatre' going to Fullerton made me so jealous of some of the facilites they had there. Their performing Arts building was huge, they had so many black boxes, and beautiful thrusts, proceniums, and arena theatre's...I was very very envious. We performed in the 'Little Theatre' and spent about an hour fretting and working ourselves up with the rest of the semi-finalists. Man...did I learn some interesting warm ups to say the least. Dang theatre kids, trying to get comfortable, touching each other and what not. Anyway it's gonna make for some funny impressions. Alex and I could do nothing but stare at most of them. We peformed, not quite as great as our first time, our rhythm was a little different, but I am still very proud of our performance and how it landed. We went to the performance of the play Heartland from MiraCosta College, a student written submission that was...alright. The set was pretty cool, based on true stories from World War II, “Heartland” deals with an often-forgotten aspect of the war: the mistreatment of and prejudice against German-American immigrants. To finnish the night Meggan, Tasha, Katilin, Jen & I went out to the Spaghetti factory got some dinner, and spent the rest of the night thawing out at the hotel's hot tub.

SAT: This was a nice low key day, stared off the day late...packed and got some things wrapped up. That afternoon we went to California State East Bay University's production of Tongues by Sam Shepard, this was another theatre experience (if you could call it "theatre") that I had ever seen before. It was more in the performance art genre, a mix between poetry "long verse"/theatre/ and dance. It spoke different things to different people, but the audience/performer line was very thin. As we were lining up to see the show, about 8 performers, of diverse ethnicities, diverse abilities, line up (some being pushed in wheelchairs) and started to march, playing drums, banjo's, trombones...dusty, dirty, in browns & creams- they were the dead.
"Who will be the voice of the dead?" Random chairs in the audience were reserved and empty with a picture of a deceased love one. Poetry was spoken at times, along with made me think of the scripture, 2 Nephi 2:25 "...and men are that they might have joy." Except I kept thinking, "that they might find joy." Heavenly Father has certainly blessed me enough with the courage and support to find my joy. The play kept reminding me about how we came down to this earth in part to gain a body...about what happens with his bag of skin when we die...and if it was to come with us, be nothing but body & spirit, how sometimes all it could do would be to dance for for confusion? Dance just to dance. The play had lines like:
"You are dead. Everything that you left unfinnished, will now remain permanantly unfinnished. You are entirely dead."
"They kept telling me, I'm gonna find peace. It's gonna get better."
Some of the poetry was full of peace, some despair, some just confusion.
"Today the tree bloomed without a word," he says. "Tonight I'm learning its language."
Here are to clips so you can kind of get an idea of what I'm talking about...the wheelchair performer's themselves were pretty amazing:


It was incredible. After that we got a bite to eat @ In-n-Out burger and went to watch the Finalists (16) of them perform. 3 of the Fullerton 'As You Like It' students made it in to the finals, surprise surprise, but over all they were some good and some "how the heck did they get there" performances. I wasn't really paying much attention to their performances however, as we were sitting (on purpose) right behind the judges, which included TONY HALE, a.k.a. BUSTER of Arrested Development fame, and we were freaking out! He was so nice, during intermissoin we got to speak to him, and he was more than nice- he was really outgoing and friendly even.

We got pictures with him and I kind of stole his water bottle....some friends and I are going to drink it...maybe this time we'll get the Arrested Development-aids instead of disney-aids from when we drank the water of the pirates of the Caribbean ride.

I was gonna finish the week with my friend Ammon in San Diego but things didn't line up very well and it would have turned into just a hassle so I headed home with the rest of them. Now that ACTF is over, its time for me to slow down, catch my breath, and get caught back up.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

And when you thought I had died...

I know! I know!
I'm sorry, I should be punished but here you are, finally an update.
I will try to be better about this kind of thing I will, but I've barely been treading water these days with school and everything. It's been a month everyone is already swamped... Hussling to get everything accomplished. I've been really busy getting ready for ACTF. That's the American College Theatre Festival that's going on at CAL State in Fullerton California this year. Been preparing for about two months for it and it's finally arrived. ACTF will take place Tues-Sat. and I'm quite excited for it. Especially since tomorrow, Monday, a group of us are going to Disneyland! Disneyland in itself is fun and excited but going with so many of your friends is enough to make anyone happy. Tuesday we check in, and the rest of the week is full of plays, workshops, and competitions. Those nominated for an Irene Ryan (which this year include myself) are responsible for choosing partners, and selecting three scenes...well, perform. On tuesday my friend Alex & I will be performing our first scene, Neil Labute's Land of the Dead. It's a really good scene, we've worked hard on it and I'm excited that we have the chance to do it even. We're also singing a song from Jason Robert Brown's 'I'd Give it All for You' from 'Songs for a New World', and then I'm performing a monologue from Taming of the Shrew. I'm playing the monologue a bit like I saw this last summer when I saw Taming in Stratford-- relying on just the text and performing it-- at as slightly sexist view of Shakespeare. So that's all kept me hopping....we had Night of Absurdism last week where some friends and I performed Beckett's Play, which is a favorite of mine....ever since I've seen it, I've loved the piece and I'm excited to do it. I play the wife.

So I'll be doing that till Saturday and then might join up with my friend Ammon and go to San Diego-- I've never been to San Diego and I wann go. Nothing much new to report, just doing all my course work, (THREE HISTORY classes!) And rehearsals for the show Closer that I'm in. Nothing much else to report, but I'm going to be happy with I can start checking these things off my list.

On a random note....and mostly because I want to store it somewhere it won't get lost, I'm posting this little list of things about me.......It's something that was going around facebook for a while "25 Random Things about Self" and I did it...I'm gonna post it up. On another note, slightly relating to that note-- my friend Hye Soo has asked myself and a bunch of my girlfriends to participate in her piece for Directing II, called Origins. Where the woman rights down things about herself, in particular a defining moment that changed her life...I need to start pondering about mine.

2. I cannot easily put into words how much music has a role in my life. People know I'm always listening to it but- the reason I adore it so much is that I value the connections I have with people, you know 'those moments', more than anything...and with me, music, fits into my world, into my head, into me, everytime. It's addicting, rarely does anyone fill that space.
3. I miss my father every single day. Everything that happened, with that situation, I will be forever grateful for.
4. Is my absolute favorite number. I like the way it looks, how it sounds, I was one of four children, my mom was one of four children, her sister had four children, her brother had four children, and her other brother had four children. I want four children....?
5. I'm always talking. In my head, I'm always going. I never stop.
6. Few people know that when I was young, I had a complete group of people. I would draw them all the time. They had names, hobbies, a world, houses, neighbors, best friends, a school...everything. I had problems sleeping when I was little and I would go through cartoons of them in my head. I draw them every once in a while, but I need to draw them more.
7. When I was in the 5th grade, I submitted a drawing to the Seattle Children's Theatre of a favorite play I'd seen, (Alice through the Looking Glass), it and three other pieces were chosen and woven into a giant tapestry that to this day hangs in the lobby of the Seattle Children's Theatre.
8. My dog saved me. I love that Keemo.
9. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to reckless decisions. Even if I'd want to, my head would follow through and realize it's not the best choice, I just wanna be dumb.
10. I've never been in a position to deal out an ultimatum. I really wish I could once.
11. Coldplay has a song about returning to a place just to burn it down. I hope one day to return to my house in Washington, buy it back, and fill it with love.
12. Favorite scripture: D&C 88:11
13. I hate the word produce. hate it. hate it. I also never want to live in Texas ever. I really don't hate Texas, there's nothing wrong with it Shani...I just ...can't live there......I rarely hate anything to be honest. Movies especially. I can always see where they're coming from.
14. For the most part, I don't lie anymore.
15. I want to name two of my sons Atticus, and Jonas from 'The Giver' (my favorite book).
16. I don't think I'm very smart. Don't get me wrong, one of the reasons I think I make a fairly good actress is because I know I see things differently "learn differently" whatever. But I know I'm not smart, not about stuff most people are.
17. I am so thankful that my family, my mom especially, made it a priority for our family to always be connected, my cousins are so close to me, thanks to Grandma Lil & Grandpa Holly, Canada, and floats.
18. London changed my life. Especially the moment I had with a pigeon. Ask if you're curious. Aren't you curious!?! Every part of me just pulls everyday to go back. I will go back, it's where I want to act. I wanna be Damed.
19. The colors for my wedding are inspired from Lord of the Rings, which changed my life.
20. Two of the best compliments/hopes I was ever given, that I've always thought about and laid upon were given to me by my father and by a guy stoned out of his mind.
21. I don't act to escape from myself, I act to understand myself more. I think trying to escape from who you are is one of the saddest things.
22. A young boy (7) at camp I worked at told me that I'd marry a nice guy, but he'd get bored with me. yikes.
23. I have fear of mental illness, dark windy country roads, and being forgotten. I am so happy I met you.
24. My favorite place in the world is a rusty swing in Southern Alberta.
25. I have a family video (the erf angull bideo) that I value so much. One of those things that you'd grab like in a burning building right? It's what I'd imagine heaven will be like, including the ABBA.
26. I wanna be chosen. Just once.
27. For the most part, I have a lot of peace in my life. I'm really thankful for that. I know everything will be alright for me and for whom I love. My Heavenly Father gave me that peace. When things get hard, I float in that peace. I'm an optimist and a realist....same thing.

This may have been the most boring post I've ever put up here, but at least its something of an update right? And like I said, my head is barely above water these days.
Love to all of you!
Talk to you soon!