Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Looking for Inspiration

I don't have to look far. Inspiration seems to be everywhere.

An actress I worked with years ago, Jennifer Christa Palmer, inspires me with her consistent sense of forging ahead.

The band, Hippie Cream, whom my brother, Sean, drums for, inspires me with their wild and whacky songs. I particularly love their sense of fun-loving reverence for their elders.

Hippie Cream is actually prepping to do a feature length musical film called Marty's Magnificent Day-Glo Dream-a-Thon about a young man trying to save his grandpa via a dream-a thon. If schedules work out, I may play Marty's mom when he dreams about his childhood. Wouldn't that be cool?

I also saw A Behanding in Spokane with my friend Wayne Henry, from Johnny on a Spot, and that show was such a trip! The writing, the symbolism, the easy unique acting of Christopher Walken, and the dynamic presence of Sam Rockwell. Zoe Kazan and Anthony Mackie were also great, and my jaw was on the floor for most of the show. Such a wild piece of theatre!

Yet still I feel like I'm searching...

I guess that's what art is all about, finding our voice, ourselves in it.

Luckily, inspiration keeps coming! :)

I'm on Josh Pais' email list because I'm going to take his Committed Impulse class, and he sent this inspirational blast today about Patsy Rodenberg's speech about "Why I do Theater."

And that of course took me to Anna Deavere Smith's American Character(s).

She's one of my favorite characters/actresses on Nurse Jackie. And this! WOW!

These ladies take me back to something my husband often asks me with my art: "What do you want to say? What story do you want to tell?"

Man, that's powerful stuff!

And I get to choose that with the material I choose for auditions: the songs, the monologues, even scenes/scripts that are sent to me. I get to choose what story I'm going to tell.

I think we just have to be open to it.

It makes me want to write again. Guess I'm getting a nudge in that direction, eh? ;)

Now I'm off to an audition, and I feel so fortunate to be in NY, auditioning in the heart of Broadway, getting the chance to make some magic. :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Darkest before the Dawn

I am known for my positive attitude. It's where I prefer to keep my head, ya know? But every once in a while, I'll get a challenging day or week, and it feels like moving through a muddy river. Yuck!

Luckily, I had an epiphany this morning about how "negative" experiences can shine the light on what we want to change in our lives. When we know what we
don't want, we can then identify what we do want, and that's an important head-spin. You need that guiding light, that focus of what to move towards, of embracing what makes you happy.

It makes me think of that old phrase, "It's always darkest before the dawn."

I've been in those dark places, but now all I can see are the gorgeous colors of the pink and golden dawn.

When we let go, when we try new things and take a chance, we are able to get out of our own way and enjoy the ride. I see this in acting class all the time, and it's magic! When we are open to it, wonderful things happen.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

People who've paved the way

When I was working on my audition for "Another Part of the Forest," my research of Lillian Hellman's play took me of course to her major hit, The Little Foxes. After reading the play, I started watching the film, and all I can say is.... Bette Davis.

I loved her in All About Eve and she's awesome in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. Her own quotes are priceless. Like, "Old age is no place for sissies!" What a tough cookie!

When I was studying with Karen Kohlhaas, we talked about artists who inspire us, researching them and learning from their progress as they went from young actor to major artist.

I've been delighted to find all sorts of folks who fan the flame of developing my craft.

There are classics like Ms. Davis, and then there are actors of this generation like Peter Facinelli, who has been delighting me as "Coop" on Nurse Jackie.

Something I dig about Peter Facinelli (and all of the actors on "Nurse Jackie" are just sublime!) is that he pursues work that interests him and that he continues to study his craft. That's something I've really been discovering - how important it is to keep taking classes. It creates a sense of discipline and inspires growth.

So grow, baby, grow! And as we look to folks who inspire us, we pave our own way.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Community of Theatre

I wrote about this a few weeks ago, inspired by seeing a production of Rocky Horror in Hemet, CA, and also inspired by the artists who strive to make art happen wherever they are.

Living in the Big Apple, I am so wonderfully surrounded by art. It's literally everywhere! And every time I walk through Times Square to get to an audition, I breathe Broadway in.

As my friend Tina always tells me, I am there! I am making my dreams come true, working as an actor. I've done Off-Off Broadway all over town, and I got to work at two of the most notable Off Broadway theatres in history: Cherry Lane and the Theatre at St. Clement's. I just have to keep on doing my work, making it happen.

Part of this New York experience includes seeing the theatre that's happening here. As I was doing my taxes for last year, I realized I started a great trend in seeing a theatrical piece about once a month. It's something I'm trying to do this year as well, and I feel fortunate to be able be supportive of my fellow artists. We need to support each other, you know?

This was really hammered home to me when a 2-time-Tony Award winning actress came to see a reading I did last Fall and was kind enough to seek me out afterwards to tell me how much she liked my work. That was mind-blowing and inspiring and absolutely thrilling!

Now I have this desire to support art everywhere - from Hemet, CA to the Great White Way.

My friend and fellow actress, Kami Martin (below as the blonde bombshell, Lily St. Regis), recently wrote a post about supporting Community Theatre, and I asked her if I could re-post it here. She gave her thumb's up, so here is part of it. Enjoy!

"As artists we should encourage each other. Because acting is a calling. Some may think that is an odd statement, but its true. Look it up, it was considered sacred. Not any different than a judge on a bench, or a priest at an altar...

Every community theatre in my area is doing relevant work. It is as diverse as it can be. But it is all deserving of recognition... My thought is, let's respect the art in this valley. Let's celebrate and support local theatre. We may be diverse, but we have the same goal. To bring the arts to the valley." - Kami Martin

Rock on, Kami! Shine that light, sister!

And to all you artists out there, wherever you are: Shine your light!


I LOVE this time of year! Manhattan comes alive with nature's colors.

I don't know if it's because I'm an April baby, but man, there is something so rejuvenating about the Spring. Particularly after these cold gray rainy days we've been having!

I love seeing the daffodils planted throughout the city, lifting their heads to the sun.

They were struggling yesterday, but today, they were starting to stand proud.

This morning, I saw a truck full of tulips being unloaded, and I thrilled at the thought of where they'd be planted in the city.

Yup, it's spring! LOVE IT!!!