Sometimes I start to blog and then ask myself “what do I really have to say?” Narcissism can be the historian’s curse (Gag!) I know that sounds self-inflating, but hear me out: I journal/blog/what-have-you because I’m obsessed about history and my own place in it. I want a legacy. (as if a blog is a legacy, hah!)
I’m not sure if this is healthy or not, but it keeps me motivated and I don’t see any direct harm in it.
However it means I often feel the need to fill silence with my own voice, and it’s a habit I don’t always admire. It’s nervous chatter most time, adding nothing to the conversation or the matter at hand. I want to experiment in allowing silence to be natural. So this next week I’m going to focus on active listening and observing. I’m curious to see what, if any, changes occur.
Interrobang Theatre Project‘s The Pitchfork Disney is a triumph. British playwright Philip Ridley’s “gothic fairy tale” centers around two siblings who after years in hiding meet a sinister couple, Cosmo Disney and Pitchfork Cavalier. Treading a the waters between a dream and a nightmare, Interrobang’s production has earned praise from audiences and critics throughout Chicago – including a Jeff recommendation. To put it plainly, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not seeing this show.
Aislinn Kerchaert and Fred Geyer are flawless as Haley and Presley. (Photo by Emily Schwartz)
It is the highest compliment I can give this production to say that it almost made me sick. Everything is so uniquely unsettling. Haley (Aislinn Kerchaert) and Presley (Fred Geyer) are two halves of a whole – twins playing off each other with kenetic energy that reminded me of Newton’s Cradle with it’s give and take nature.
Technically, the show is perfectly balanced – credit going to director Jeffry Stanton’s extreme eye for detail. Nothing and everything seems out of place in this surreal play. I was particularly impressed with choices of Lighting Designer, Claire Chrzan and Sound Designer, Christopher M. LaPorte – not forgetting Scenic Designer, Stephen Carmody’s playground of texture.
Costume Designer, Noel Huntzinger creates a brilliant look for Hayley and Presley, but really impresses with the chilling costumes for Cosmo Disney and Pitchfork Cavaliere, played by the talented Kevin Webb and Mark Lancaster respectively. Lancaster’s harrowing howl was particularly memorable – and Webb commands the space with a brilliant confidence. It is difficult to pry your eyes off of him at times, but when you do you are thrilled to be met with Geyer’s performance as Presley – who commands his own sort of child-like power in his struggle to regain control of the fever-dream script.
The Pitchfork Disney plays from Feb 6th to March 2nd. Tickets are $10-20 and are available for purchase at http://www.athenaeumtheatre.org/ or by calling the Anhenaeum’s Box Office at 773-935-6875.
In the interest of my own sanity, I present the following. I felt like I would like to share the following thoughts I’ve been pressed with. Allison et. al. would tag this post as one of my many debbie-downer moments, but I don’t think anyone I know/love would discount wanting to voice the following concerns.
I sat with a girl on the rush-hour bus who looked EXACTLY like Dallas, a high-school friend who died after a drunk driver hit her car many, many years ago. This woman could have been her twin, it was strange to be reminded of my old friend and come face-to-face with her memory after all these years. What would she be doing now, I wondered, where would her life take her if it weren’t for that awful accident? And then, a deep seeded guilt came to me – who am I to consider these things? What am I doing to make my own life worthwhile?
I won’t go too much into the gory details but the silver lining about thoughts like this is that they have the power to motivate me to correct past behavior and really do something.
It starts with me cleaning/organizing – which is the best way to procrastinate in my opinion, because afterwards you get a feeling you actually accomplished something and you have a happy work space to complete other goals. So then you work a little on your resume, while simultaneously responding to job postings and writing cover letters. Send a few out, look for more postings, send out a few more, look for more postings… Being unemployed is a full time job if you’re doing it right. Pound the pavement, bring in more applications, rinse and repeat. Take a yoga break every now and then and then make more coffee.
After it all is said and done, what else can you do?
I just remind myself to be thankful that I’m still alive. What are the odds that I was even born in the first place? It is okay to feel small sometimes when reminded of the sheer impossibility of our existence, but you cannot allow that feeling of insignificance to make you retreat – then you just assure the feelings of futility. And here’s a secret, everyone feels that way every now and then.
But I am here, world. I’m not dead (yet) and I’m happy to be here for as long as I possibly can. I’m happy you’re here with me too.
It is the first day of a new year, which is always celebrated in twofold – both by looking back and reflecting on lessons the last year taught me and by looking forward to lessons the new one will bring. I’d like to start by writing an open letter to the year two thousand and thirteen. You can read last year’s reflections if you need a catch-up.
2013, we became fast friends. I started the year with directing a production of William Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost at Clark Youth Theatre. The cast amused and amazed me every night at rehearsals, and I looked forward to every moment spent working with the text, cast, and crew. As I locked up the building each night I would pinch myself to remind myself that it was real. What an enjoyable experience. I also spent the late winter/spring working with students of the performing arts at Henthorne, with all kinds of kids that had creativity that I envied and encouraged. I think of them often.
As spring came to a close, Max and I prepared for a big move: Chicago. Ah, Chicago – a city that can be both romantic and gritty, often at the same time. The move was the hard, I’ll admit. I don’t need to tell you how sentimental I can be, and I had grown very attached to my life in Tulsa. While packing one of what felt like a million boxes, I would think to myself “what am I doing? This is it. I have a dream-job, a wonderful support group of friends and family, why the hell am I leaving it behind?!” To be honest, sometimes I still think those things. I would stop and take a deep breath and try to capture the moment I was in, the way the sunlight felt on the balcony overlooking the river or the shave-and-a-haircut knock that meant someone loved me. We tried to fit it all in, every place that we called our own. We flew into town for two days in June, hoping to find a home and start a lease on July 1st. It was a whirlwind, something that excited me and terrified me alone… but with Max it never was never overwhelming. We worked as a team, made things happen for ourselves, and all the puzzle pieces seemed to fall into place. It was a ballet.
We came home to Chicago on Sunday, June 30th, with a motley crew of movers we call our friends. Let me just say that we wouldn’t have been able to move without the help of our friends. They helped us pack and load the cars and trailers. Some even drove with us overnight to Chicago to arrive just as the sun was rising to unpack it all. We had a week with the gang in the city, celebrating our arrival in the city in the best way possible. I wish I would have taken more pictures, but we were so concerned with making the most of our time that I didn’t want to waste the time.
Max asked me to marry him on July 3rd. We had spent the evening at Revolution Brewery, playing shuffleboard, taking a tour of the brewery, and having a great dinner. We came back to the apartment to continue celebrations. Max was suspicious but I didn’t really expect it and when the moment came and he asked the question, I couldn’t see him because I was crying so hard and I could hardly answer. Well, you must know by now that I said yes – and we are so happy to spend our life together.
Chicago sang a love song throughout the Summer and Fall. We had bright fireworks at night in July, music from the street festivals reaching our ears from the open windows, delicious foods and wonderful beers. When we weren’t busy being in love we looked for employment and learned the CTA. Max was hired with P.F. Changs (symmetrically – he was also working for them in Tulsa when we first started dating… you know how sentimental I am!) and I found employment with the agency City Staffing. I’m currently on assignment at Groupon’s customer service, and I enjoy my work there.
I finished the year by directing another show, Deck Your Own Friggin’ Halls, which was only a little removed from The Bard’s work I did in January. It was presented by Hobo Junction and was a member of a fantastic new-work 10-minute-play festival they do annually called Hobo Robo. I was honored to be invited to participate and extremely happy with the process with my fantastic cast! I hope to work with them all again in 2014 and beyond.
I thought that my return to Tulsa for the holidays would quench my homesickness. It did to some degree, but it was all too familiar and different at the same time. It was amazing to see the city in person again after being there in my dreams ever so often. We’ll be returning soon to look at wedding venues (!) and begin some sort of planning towards our day.
Can I just say how thankful I am that I knew you, 2013? You were amazing to me, and I’ll never forget you.
And now we find ourselves in 2014. I have high hopes, but above all I’m just so grateful. I mean, gosh… Yeah.
Rehearsals begin today for Deck Your Own Friggin’ Halls, a show that will make it’s premier in HOBO ROBO 6:Hobos Roasting on an Open Fire at the Greenhouse Theatre Center. I’ll be the first to admit that it has been a while since I’ve directed adults, but I have come to the conclusion that I direct children in the same way I direct adults. Maybe I tame down my language, but I can’t bring myself to talk down to anyone, no matter the age. If you’re in a show that I’m directing then you’re getting the same amount of respect as everyone else. We’re all peers in this room, we’re all working to create the best show we can.
I just got a message confirming some great news. By the time I’m 26 I will have directed a show in Chicago. (How is that FUTURE for you? PERFECT?!? Get it…? Future perfect! …Guys?)
I’m pleased to announce that I am directing a 10-minute show for Hobo Junction‘s HOBO ROBO 6: Hobos Roasting on an Open Fire. Every year playwrights from all over the world submit 10-minute scripts to be produced at Chicago’s own Greenhouse Theater in a short-play festival. This year’s festival is December 2nd, 3rd, and 4th – a three night love affair with holiday-themed comedy.
There are a lot of things I’ll need to get together concerning this project – I’m still working on securing a rehearsal space that isn’t my own living room. I think I have the right one, I’m just negotiating with the owners and setting up a tentative schedule. I’m putting feelers out for my lovely actors. Starting November 2nd we will rehearse and polish a new work – and everything else is top secret because we’re gunning to win this festival, and get our playwright a $100 prize!
In case you haven’t noticed (and I hope you did) all of my posts are titled from showtunes that are applicable to the post. Shows like Victor/Victoria or Book of Mormon can bring me creative ideas for posts. I put a lot of thought into it, and until now I haven’t acknowledged it. ALL OF THAT ENDS TODAY.
I have now created, and will continue to maintain, a spotify playlist of those songs. I find the collection interesting, and I hope you do too. You can listen to it here, or in the player below.
To say that I love it here is an understatement. My soul just feels good here. Everyplace we go is a brand new adventure. The people we meet are beautiful. The sounds of the city are music.
This feeling is not new to me, really. I felt this way when I started college at Southeastern. It’s the feeling that the possibilities are endless and I can shape my own future. I ascribe to the school of thought that says life is all about the gathering of knowledge. So in a way I’m continuing my education in the city of Chicago. This is a list of what I’ve learned so far in no particular order:
1st Unitarian in Hyde Park
The state of Illinois does not require food handlers classes or permits for waiters. Only for managers and food prep.
Illinois doesn’t call it the DMV, they prefer SOS. This one is so efficient, organized, and up to date – took me no time at all to get a new license. I also would like to brag that I passed my written test without missing a question.
For the first time in my adult life, I can say that my congressman really does represent my interests.
You don’t declare party affiliation when you register to vote in Illinois.
On the Ferris wheel at Fiesta Del Sol.
More exciting updates on the horizon. Everyday is a gift, I hope I make the most of my time here – and I don’t mean here as in Chicago specifically so much as I mean hereon this earth.
I’m living a dream that is years in the making. Getting to Chicago was half the trouble. A move like this can drive most people crazy. It almost drove me crazy.
I’ve been here a month and each day brings a new lesson. But winter is coming (I finished Dance With Dragons yesterday, and I’m still mourning the loss of the series until Winds of Winter arrives) and we are sweet summer children. I’m trying to prepare myself, really I am, but I’m not rushing myself. It makes me feel like I’m wasting some of my time, but honestly I can’t imagine looking back on this month and regretting it.
August is the month of employment.
You ever look at a job listing and think “Oh sweet wounded Jesus, this job is so perfect for me!” It doesn’t happen too often, but when it does – boy it’s a good feeling. Submit the resume and cover letter and pray for an interview. A follow up call or visit helps, I’m told. I could try to convince you, reader, that I know the secret – but I don’t. It’s a little bit of luck, a little bit of confidence, and some natural spin. The only thing you might have complete control over is your resume.
My resume is polished and primed for an education-based arts position, with the right balance of teacher meets theatrical artist. Every job I’ve ever had has lead me to this fantastic career – where I get to spend each day working with children to achieve their hearts desire. Chicago will further my own ambitions to create a dynamic children’s show. I wake up every day inspired to learn and create, and Chicago is the right environment for me to achieve my goals. Everything I need is at my fingertips, I just have to go and get it.
I love Tulsa, and I always will – but I belong here in Chicago. I know it in my soul. So goodbye for now, Tulsa. I’ll see you in my dreams.
We’ll see how I feel after the job market has it’s way with me.
It has been difficult to put my thoughts to paper recently.
I have this overwhelming sense of urgency. I’m anxious about moving. It’s a good feeling, though a bit stressful. A little bit of anxiety keeps me on my toes and moving in a forward.
I’ve been playing more ukulele in a feeble attempt to escape to my own personal island. Thinking about the sun and the waves, strumming some sweet major chords, closing my eyes and smiling.
Aside from the pressure of moving – Love’s Labour’s Lost has been an absolute pleasure to work on. I’ve got some very defined talent in the cast, a supportive crew and production team who challenges me, and a passion for the Bard. I think my cutting is good, and I’m going to keep it in my back pocket for next time this show rolls around. Eric Strauss, our music director, is a life-saver and I couldn’t do it without him. The sound is wonderfully balanced. Elyse Norman (SM) and The Clark Council have been so supportive to the production too – I couldn’t imagine this show without their help.
The long and short of it is that a lot of people are giving this show priority – and I can’t wait for you to see the finished result.