Tuesday, April 15, 2008



Since posting about money, two funny things have happened.

1) I have successfully bargained my way into ADing Amadeus this summer at NJ Shakes for a month. Free housing is included, and, better yet, I get to keep my job when I get back here, thusly rendering it unnecessary to look for another job whilst trying to be artistic. I'm so excited. I'm going to treat it like an artistic retreat. I won't have to worry about patrons or working at all. I'll just go to rehearsal, do dramaturgical research on Mozart, and read plays in preparation for my intent to direct one this here summer. Plus hopefully use the free gym and a practice room!!

2) I lost my debit card and realized how much I miss it. So eat that, o money-bashing self. :)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Money dearest.

To make an extensive story somewhat brief, I had to turn down NJ Shakes' very nice offer, largely for fiscal reasons. This was an odd sensation for me, disorienting and annoying, like a time-change or something. I am not entirely used to making decisions based entirely on money. That is to say, my money, and not my parents' money. Usually, when an artistic opportunity presents itself, I'd prefer to run at it, arms outstretched, oblivious to the fact that I might have to eat oatmeal more often than I'd like to for a few weeks. I gave up my actual job twice just this calendar year for assistant directing gigs that payed next to nothing, and always managed to pay the next month's rent. As Tim Gunn would say, I "made it work".

So, naturally, I thought I could do the same with NJ Shakes and their four month long no pay no income buy your own food offer. I had a preliminary deal with Emily Peters' brother to sublet up in here for June and July and I figured that since they couldn't house me until May 5, it would be worth paying May's rent just to have somewhere to live for those 5 days where I tried to pack up my entire life and leave town. Well. They later rescinded May 5 and let me know that April 28th was really my only option, and that it was quite the dealbreaker. I hemmed and I hawed about various things one and the other for about four days before I decided that I could not sign that contract.

There are a few reasons, I suppose. The first and most off topic is that for 2 days before they made their offer, I had been coming to a series of realizations about my performance career. A year ago today, I was singing every single day for several hours, analyzing music poorly, and learning lines for Into the Woods. Today, I listen and think more than I sing, and I am losing my voice in the sense that its endurance is greatly lessened by the break I've given it over these past few months. It's still lovely and colorful, but for only about 20 minutes. Imagine that. Oy. Anyway, I never stopped and realized what was going on last summer. I needed money and I had none, so rather than fight the law and have the law win, I decided to get a job at a theatre in the Berkshires like all my friends were doing. While there, I decided that I would settle in Boston just in case I, ya know, wanted to go to that prestigious grad school that wanted me to join them in the Fall. I learned some music over the summer, but that's when the lessening of my voice really began. In the fall, without a voice teacher or even an apartment, I decided it was time to get a church job at which, I of course, sucked and was a total wreck. Going to a first paid rehearsal while one is in the process of moving one's entire life is never fun! So I quit that and decided that that was "it". I had a few other paid gigs in the early fall but decided that largely I just didn't cut it.

Whoa whoa whoa whoa. I never stopped and said, "I am scared shitless of this amazing early music city with all its wonderful early music singers." I rationalized an awful lot to get out of feeling shitty about the fact that I did not feel ready to attend the holy grail of the kind of Voice I want to do in Boston. I mean, one could look at it like this even: Girl sings at college and elsewhere, girl gets into grad school, girl has no money so takes day job, girl is unaccustomed to doing things for money that aren't in her artistic field, girl arrives in Boston wanting to sing, girl gets scared shitless, girl quits.

Anyway, that's a very one-sided life story, but the realization at least convinced me that I asbolutely need to find a voice teacher her. I can't keep just letting my voice go to crap. It's too important to me. I suck at theory and I still have nightmares about singing Gesualdo with my ESTEEMED bcf colleagues who were about ready to eat me alive for the first two weeks, but I also learn a lot with each challenge I put myself through. Just by moving here and becoming involved through the back door, I have learned that there is a vibrant community of people who don't necessarily want fame, but want to sing and play emotional and intelligent music.

Therefore, I am glad that I will around here for most or all of the summer. I said I'd get a voice teacher out in the Berks last summer and never did, and I do regret it. The second reason for turning the whole thing down was that I also did the very objective math and would have had negative 540 dollars in my checking account (all the money I have to my name) at the end of teh summer. There's no point in destroying your entire life for the sake of being creative so that you have to come back and work an intense desk job just to be able to live somewhere again.

That being said, I want to always make authentic choices. I want to find, and be able to do that thing that I would do if I could not fail. That, I think, would be singing. However, I'm also sick of being treated as if I have the I.Q. of a toaster oven by patrons on the phone. I want to get the highest degree I possibly can in something so that I can spend my days with smart and creative people all the time. Do I want to make money while doing this?

I honestly only want *enough* money to feel creatively fulfilled.

Some people have so much money that it makes me laugh at myself when I feel "luxurious" during pay week when I buy two pairs of shoes and Once on DVD and say "I like having some money!" But then again, what IS "some money"?

Where do you all stand on money at our age? It's one of those horrible little things that can define who we are, but is also a gauche topic at a dinner party. How much do you see yourself having? What do you want to do with it? Not do with it? Do you think our society has become increasingly materialistic since we watched commercials and read magazines when we were 13? Can someone survive in American if their primary motivations are neither love nor money?

Maybe it's just a sneaky way of finding out who actually reads this thing .... but it's something I've been thinking about a lot lately.


Sometimes I feel like a salad, shaken up with some new dressing in the to-go box of Kenyon, and then dumped out on the big white plate o' life. Don't you??

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Indecision Pt. II 2008

It's somehow comforting to give this entry that title, seeing as how I eventually resolved Indecision 2008 Pt. I and someday, too, will see the resolution to this.


I have been offered a Directing Internship at the New Jersey Shakespeare Theatre .


Being that my goal is to be a super-cool theatre professor one of these days, something like this would be a great opportunity. I would, specifically, be assisting Joe Discher, the Associate Artistic Director and an avocational singer like me, with his production of Amadeus (!!) and then spend the rest of the summer (May 22-August 11) preparing a few scenes and short projects with the acting apprentices, sitting in on classes, other rehearsals, doing dramaturgical research and masterclasses, Q & As with artists .... blah blah. Great opportunity.

However ....

They want me there on April 29th and would release me on August 11. That's in about 20 days, for those of you fluent in calendar. The internship will cost me nothing, with the exception of $925.00 for housing and the inability to make money for 3 months. By my shoddy-like calculations, living on a budget of $40/wk (some weeks more, some weeks less), I would emerge with approximately $500.00, assuming I have to swallow May's rent and utilities, which I probs do. The good news on the money front is that my parents have offered to pay for housing, so I definitely can't ask them for help with the May rent. As for June and July, I have a pending pending offer from Emily Peters' brother, and that may work out, depending on a number of things.

April 29th!!

I don't know though. That's how this business is. And if I can't handle the heat, I'd better get out of the kitchen. Into ... what other kitchen I don't know. Lately I've been deluding myself with the fact that I should make myself pick some art form that allows for steady, one-place work until success finally hits big some day. Ha. Although I've been unsure about careers before, I'm pretty sure that the fact that I like to read novels does not make me a novelist.

Reality is that I want to be a professor with a Doing focus. I could go to grad school for dramaturgy or whatever and teach history for the rest of my life, but I think I would start to question, in about 8 years of it, why exactly I was spending my life with all this Stuff if not to profit from it artistically myself. And I guess that's a good sign that Lifestyle only takes on so far, and that I shouldn't be afraid of the slightly tenuous first five years of this lifestyle, because I think ... I think I know ... that it will lead to what I want out of life.

I still plan on using NJ Shakes, as lovely as it is, as leverage for urging Williamstown to get its ass into gear, so that could be exciting too. That starts on June 12, and it's in the Berkshires, and it's $500 cheaper, so I could just die ....

So it will be an exciting week, but not as exciting as the next one, if it turns out that I'm quitting my job, cleaning out my room, and heading to New Jersey.

In other news, I was so very happy to hear about the results of the drama honors day awards:
Newman: Drew Schad and James Miller for Godot
Woodward: Cait for 3 Days (yay!!)
James E. Michael Playwrighting: Knud, who's play combined structure and imagination in a very advanced way.
Ashford: Marielle Ebersole, without whom Turgeon basically wouldn't have been able to finish up his last show at Kenyon.

All in all excellent, almost Fair-based choices, which never happens. Bravi. :)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Non-earth shattering revelations that everyone and their mother comes to.

My parents are moving out of my childhood abode in Medfield to pursue more urban pastures in JP. Coincidentally, their new condo is on the same street as the one on which Margaret's mother currently resides. This really produced few emotions in me, to be honest, other than being glad for my parents since they hate the suburbs, and a slight tinge of sadness that there would no longer be somewhere that I could go to sort of escape my current life and retreat back 12 years into my former self.

Well, last night kind of took care of that, as I realized that, even if we continue to own 62 High St., such was no longer possible. It really was, though, up until about Christmas I'd say, a place where I could go and kind of pretend that doing nothing but using an eliptical bike machine, eating hummus, and watching reruns of Top Chef was an acceptable way to live my life.... that I had no future goals or aspirations, jobs, papers, or anyone in my life that needed me for any reason. A calming, incubator-like way to live one's life for four days, a maddening, cosmology-shaking way to live it for twenty-four (i.e. winter break). Nonetheless, I remember mostly the former, and so when I was feeling a little fed up with getting run half-run-over by minivan taxis, the sound of the T horn, the creepy guy in College Convenience who undresses me with his eyes when I buy vitamin water, and symphony patron after symphony patron, I decided that a trip back to Medfield would be the quickest fix toward my much-needed Vacationland.

My mother picked me up at 6:30 outside my apartment, but we didn't get back to suburbia until about an hour later. My mother was hungry, and when my mother was hungry she is not quite from this planet. So we stopped at Thai world and split some appetizers and curries, and by the time we got back to my house, it was too dark for the anticipated nature walk, and my father was getting ready for bed so no voice practicing. So, I was able to watch a few episodes of Top Chef with my mother which was fun, as was going to dinner with her, but these activities are not quite site-specific. Furthermore, my room looked like a community theatre props and costumes storage closet. The last people to stay in there were actually Sally and Kaitlyn from Chamber Singers. Their thank-you card, apparently forgotten by my parents, was left on the floor next to the trundlebed, and I took a moment to feel bad that Sally had to sleep with her head one inch away from a broken air-conditioning unit. There are these three baskets in the corner of my room that contain pretty much everything I ever did in high school, from jazz choir to one-act directing to English projects to Amnesty International. I have a funny little habit of picking a thing out of the basket randomly, as if it were a big sloppy deck of cards, and jokingly deciding that the nature of said object is what I should do with my life. Sort of akin to the "where should I go on vacation?" game which involves the spinning globe. (Last night it was the sheet music for "I could have danced all night". I prefer to think that the answer to my dilemma was thusly dancing all night, and not playing Eliza Doolittle).

Anyhoo, I then settled down into my oddly dressed twin bed and did what I did what I always do when I'm home for a time ... reread some of my old diaries. After all, why else would I write them if not to provide myself with sensational reading, a la Ms. Gwendolyn Fairfax. Lately, I've been pouring through them for things that strike me as common themes and things that might help me decide what I should attempt to devote my life to at this point. Last night's leafings were no help. The diaries are consistently broken down into about 4 subjects: 1) Boys 2) Whatever theatre-type thing I was doing at the time 3) My weight/various diet issues 4) General angst at my parents and other children. So, among other observations, I noted that when I am singing I "control my experience", but also that "4 years ago I was too young to understand the symbolism of the fiddler in fidder on the roof [apparently by 8th grade I had gotten the hang of that] and that I needed to find more people that understood the quote, "If Wokoma came back now, he'd be so pissed off" by Sherman Alexie. It's pretty much the same now.

I realized that it was useless to go searching for the things I most enjoyed in my past. I enjoyed and was privileged enough to do many things. But I was never pressed and I never pressed myself to try to figure out which of these things might translate into a career and which would stay better as a hobby. Watching Top Chef last night, I found it funny that so many Americans cook but watch professionals do it on TV, so many Americans also play football, but watch professionals do it on TV. How does one in high school or college know how what one is doing will translate into a career, unless one goes to a career-focused college like Emerson or Northeastern .... who knows. I didn't. So here I am, realizing that the decision is up to me now, and I'll only become more confused if I rifle through the annals of my innermost thought from 8th grade.

Most of all, I realized that my Life is no longer something I can Escape. Which I think, ultimately, is good. I own it, and it has enough bells and whistles, however mildly pathetic, to constitute as My Own. I am invested in it and would be sad to see it go, ultimately. I can Relax, but I can't escape My Life.