You’ll never walk alone

I have a lot on my plate, and I feel alive again. Production meetings, rehearsals, classes – I’m creating something new every single day. I have a wonderful family that cares for me and inspires me. It is well, it is well, it is well with my soul.

One day I feel like I’m going to look back on these days and think how did I do that? When I look back on it – every twist in the metaphorical road I’m walking makes sense, but I could have never predicted the turns.

We are all just so lucky to be alive.

Just wanted to share that with you. Be well.

Putting it Together

Well, I think it’s about time for another installment of the Rebecca Show. This week’s episode brought to you by 8 o’clock coffee, good at any time – day or night. Find it in your local grocery store today.
Many chores to be done this week, including but not limited to the following; laundry, sewing, grocery shopping (I’m out of coffee), reading, and organizing. Many preach of spring cleaning, but in the spring I would much rather be outside enjoying the weather. This week, with it’s 111 (elevnty-one) temperatures, I will lock myself inside and focus on getting things in order. Thus, summer cleaning has been born. Tell your friends.
It’s all about increasing productivity, really. Winter is coming (you’re welcome Jessie/Allison) and I have to be prepared for anything. My calendar is filling up and I need some sort of order in my life. When I was in college, I took on too much and I would become overwhelmed. Now I can prioritize and focus. I hate to say “no” but sometimes, for my own sanity, I must.
The stressful thing is the choosing. “The choice may have been mistaken, the choosing was not,” says Dot in Sunday in the Park with George. It frustrates me to no end to waste time on making a decision. Sometimes you just have to stop fretting over which decision is right and just choose. In situations like these, I don’t flip a coin, but go with my gut instinct. I don’t want to say that I’ve never been wrong, but I usually don’t regret the choice I made.
Stay tuned for more good news. I’m in talks to do something magical this fall. Should it come through, I’ll do a back flip. I don’t want to drop too many hints, but I’ve been told there are giants in the sky.

Hard Candy Christmas

It’s Christmas in July! I’m pleased as punch to announce that I will be directing The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson at Clark Theatre in December. Merry Christmas!

This play holds special significance for me. It was the second show I was ever in (behind rave reviews for Billy Goats Gruff at my elementary school) and I was in it for nine years in a row. I know this show forwards, backwards, and sideways. I’ve been a baby angel, I’ve been Mom. I’ve spent hours with that little blue script in my hand. I’ve got the t-shirts to prove it. Sure, they were made into a quilt. Why would I need nine of the same t-shirt anyway?

When I first auditioned for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, I made a fool of myself. I spent all day prepping for auditions and I went over the top. I came to auditions in a white turtleneck and white corduroy overalls with snow boots. I sang Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer at the top of my lungs when my name was called. No one told me how freaking ridiculous I wasIt wasn’t until after my audition that I even noticed the other kids in the room who, by the way, were not dressed nearly as festively as I was. I remember being really embarrassed for myself afterwards, but the audition was over with and the cast list went up. I was a baby angel. I think I even got a line.

I want to make one thing clear, real quick. I was never Beth. I was never a Herdman. I was never a lead. But it never discouraged me. I always felt like an important piece of the puzzle in whatever role. It taught me humility and pride, all at the same time. I mean, I did the show for nine years and never once landed Beth, Imogene, or even Alice? That’ll knock you down a peg. But I did the show for nine years and I was the best Baby Angel/Maxine/Ensemble/Laura/fireman/Mrs. Clark/Mom I could be every year.

It was always the same place, always the same lines, but always a different show each year. Doug directed, then Judy, then Allison… the list has many names on it – and now I’m thrilled to add mine.

This is my tenth Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and I’m going to do what I can to make it the best Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I’m looking forward to meeting you all at auditions! White corduroy overalls optional.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
By Barbara Robinson
A Clark Youth Theatre Production
November 30, December 1, 7, 8 at 7:30 p.m. Sundays, December 2, 9 at 2 p.m.

The Herdmans never go to church. So how did they end up with the lead roles in the Christmas play? Chance, intimidation, and maybe a little Christmas magic help bring the Herdmans, as well as the rest of the town, to a new understanding of the holiday season.

An annual Clark Youth Theatre tradition. Auditions: Saturday, October 6 at 3 p.m.

Old Friends

Hey old friend! What do you say, old friend?

I hope to see you at ‘Night Mother. Tickets went on sale today. Rehearsals for ‘Night Mother are off the hook. Amber is fantastic, Carly is awesome, Justice is the best stage manager that money can buy, and I’m not too shabby. It’s really difficult though. On a personal level, I don’t know if I’m ready for it yet.

St. Pat's 2010 with Amber

I scoured the facebooks to find the only picture of us, apparently. Come see our faces in Night Mother! And for the love of horehounds, Amber, we need to take more pictures. 

To put it simply, this show is about suicide. It’s a show that I have always been drawn to. This is the third time I’ve returned to it, and I think it might be the last (until I can play Mama). The problem is, as Carly so brilliantly pointed out, I don’t know what this show means to people who are struggling with depression.

“Wouldn’t you like to do some light summer comedy?”

As a matter of fact I have an audition tomorrow for American Theatre Company’s Comedy of Errors. Like Taming of the Shrew last summer, Comedy of Errors will be played on the front lawn of the Philbrook Museum. Did I mention it’s in August? I don’t know about you but I know I certainly am looking forward to wearing drapery fabric and in 110° humid Oklahoma. Where do I sign up? Honestly, the weather is miserable. But the work! The work is worth the heat. It makes me a better actor and a better person.

‘Night Mother is the same way. This show is making me work hard for the money. I’m trying to make more interesting choices. I’m building a dynamic character. I’m dedicated to the work. And most of all – I’m grateful that I have this opportunity. Everyday I wake up and I create. I have food, shelter, good health, a great support system in my friends and family, and a feeling that I’m worth it. Today is a gift. Make the most of it, won’t you?

I Can Do Better Than That

I’ve been thinking about something recently. And I hope to share it with you, and the google-bot that goes through blog posts. (Hello, google bot! How is California?)

I recently subscribed to this service that pulls all my social networking feed a year ago to the date, then sends me a personal daily email so I know where I was a year ago. It’s called TimeHop, and you should check it out. Michael recommended it to me while we were in Winston-Salem. It’s nice to see what a difference a year makes.

I look back a year and realize how much things have truly changed. Most of the time it’s small personal victories that I find. For instance the other week was a year ago to the date from my audition at UPTAS. It’s amazing to me that I have gone from being a secretary for the union, bored with my life and wanting to do more with my talent, to working for a theatre company dedicated to fostering my talent and rewarding me for my hard work. Truly, time is precious. If I can do that in a year – imagine what five years can bring!

It’s necessary motivation for me to build up my self image. Sounds egotistical, but it actually stems from a lack of self worth. Reminds me that I have control over my own life and I can shape it into what I want it to be. I can “be the change I wish to see in the world” and actually make a difference. I feel like its hard to remember that I matter sometimes. Most of the time I feel my problems are so small compared to others… And they are relatively small, but they influence me greatly.

Like my damn knee.

I’ve had knee pain for quite some time. I first noticed it at SETC dance call, when I over extended my left leg during a tap routine, trying to impress, and then I walked it off and thought things were fine. It’s was on and off hurting after that, usually after a particularly active day I would feel some pain. In a rehearsal for Taming of the Shrew, a small stair unit collapsed underneath Petruchio and me, and I remember that evening I was in a lot of pain. At the beginning of last summer, when I started exercising more regularly, I began to notice the pain was more frequent and more intense. So I stopped doing treadmills, but it seemed like the pain was more or less constant by that point.

On the road trip to end all road trips (last July), I was in so much pain. But I had places to explore, so I sucked it up and wore a knee brace and vowed to check it out soon. But then it was tour and holidays and another tour and that brings us up to speed.

I’ve been visiting a doctor. It’s been frustrating. My MRI came back clear, so I got a shot of cortisone in my knee – which has actually helped about 70%. It’s only been a week though, so we still have a long road to go perhaps. Having less pain in my knee has helped me tremendously, and I feel dumb for not addressing the issue earlier. I just go to the place where I was living with the pain and dealing with it. Eventually it became just part of my routine. I looked pretty foolish limping around on it, I bet.

Anyway – the point is I’m working towards making a better life for myself and those around me. See you on the other side, where the grass is greener. Thanks for your help so far.

 

Move On

Move On

Pst. Hey, pst. Come o’er here, I got somethin’ for you.

Okay, I trust you now – don’t mess with me. And whatever you do, don’t tell Chicago. You know how he is – all about the family…. Can I trust you?

Okay, here goes.

ImCheatingOnChicagoWithLosAngeles.

Los Angeles

Whew. It feels good to get that off my chest. You don’t even know – I’ve been carrying that around for a while.

It’s just that Los Angeles could give me things Chicago couldn’t. Then again, Chicago gives me thrills I can’t even define. But Los Angeles is exotic. But Chicago is passion. Oh! I’m just so confused!

Max and I are trying to decide between the two. I have obvious love for Chicago, but I’ve never been to L.A.. So we’re planning a small trip to scope it out soon, so I could have a more unbiased opinion.

Right now the pro/con list isn’t making the choice any easier. It looks like this: One one blackboard we have Chicago. Windy City, Second City. On the other blackboard we have Los Angeles. The City of Angels. You can see my dilemma.

Chic Chicago

I shouldn’t have even said anything.

What do you think though? Do Los Angeles and I have a chance? Or will Chicago be my one and only? Time will tell, or as my good friend Angela McBurleson of the McBurleson clan would say, “Only Tim will tile.”

Started comparing job listings for myself this week, so that will help with the decision. Took a gander at the cost of living analysis between the two. It’s a big decision, and although I’m scared to make it – I have to. Dot says it best in Sunday in the Park with George, “The choice may have been mistaken, the choosing was not.” – I have to move on.

We’ve got time to do more research, of course – but I’m torn. What would you choose? What are some things I should analyse? What are things you thought about when moving to a new city? Feel free to leave feedback anonymously in the comments.

Back in Business

Back in Business

A whole lot of stuff has happened since last we left our heroes – get ready for lots of exposition.

The first Trivia Night at Finnegan's Wake in Winston-Salem.

Firstly, Winston-Salem shenanigans.

Well, we didn’t do as well in Trivia as we thought we would. On the first trivia night, Michael and I came in third with the grand score of 9. On that night we were 1/6 teams, the only ones competing as a pair instead of a group of four or more. We thought we could simply take the gold if our team was larger, but unfortunately it was not the case. 1, there were more teams competing that week, and B, adding Andy, Tiffani, and her friend Crista actually made it more difficult to decide on answers. But since when do I play to win? NEVER (read: all the time) Seriously though I play to have a good time, unless I don’t win.

Trivia night redux, with Meagan and Michelle!

No really, but in all seriousness, though – it really was a good time. Meagan joined our group after her rehearsal in Greensboro – and when her shift was nearly over our new favorite server in the entire state of North Carolina joined us. Her name is Michelle, and watch out world – because she’s working hard and is going to be freaking fantastic.

Towards the end of the week, Andy and I were torn back towards the mountains once more and ran into a familiar face and his new tour partner in Jonesville, NC. Joe and Dan joined us for a Saint Patrick’s Day Eve Eve celebretions at a small little wine and beer bar called “Fiddle’s Pub” that was full of older gentlemen chess players that may or may all not have owned the now appropriate public house. Afterwards we all enjoyed a Double Ukulele and Melodica jam session in the pool room. And with that, we said goodbye to North Carolina.

Marilyn is about to get pinched for not wearing green.

Hello, Chicago. It’s me again. I told you I would be back in the spring, now didn’t I? No, shh… don’t cry. We don’t have much time – let’s just get down and dirty.

We rolled into town in time to make the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Andy went to carouse with newly successful grown-up Bill, and I sought out everyone’s favorite Michael. No, not Fox. No, not Bolton. No, not Jackson. Venske, people, Venske. Stay with me, kids. We caught the tail end of the parade, and explored the rest of the city. I may or may not have had an anxiety attack, my knee felt like it was gonna blow, and we had a delicious fish sandwich at a thankfully quiet lunch counter before heading back to the hustle and bustle of it all.

Even the river got the memo.

You wouldn’t believe it. There were gingers everywhere and everyone was wearing green and stumbling. I felt like I was in an episode of the Walking Dead by the end of the day. We travelled to Wrigleyville, where the sea of green was just as large but remarkably younger. One such zombie in that sea was offered a drink of water from my water bottle after stumbling into me. She poured half of it down her throat before I could tell her to take it slow. She brought the bottle back down and looked for a moment or two like she might get sick. How can being this drunk in public possibly be glamorous? I know I’m the pot calling the kettle drunk, but cha’mon mon – get it together! I can hold my own with the big leagues in Wrigley Field!

Tourists, amirite?!

We split ways before sundown and I went to join Travis and Kristi for Commedia Beauregard‘s Bard Fiction at the Greenhouse Theatre Center. Words can’t express how funny it was. And I know it was a holiday, but they had an unreasonably small house. Take a look at the trailer, and tell me you don’t want to go see Bard Fiction! I dare you! I double dare you vile Oedipus! A spectacular cast made this show – I couldn’t believe the work I was seeing. Hope I can work on their level in the near future.

Afterwards, wine and dining at a Mexican restaurant then couch crashing with the Barnharts.

So now I’m in between a rock and a hard place. I love you, Chicago. I want to be with you. I really do. But I gotta go right now. We’ll catch up again soon, okay? I’ll hurry back. xoxo

A beautiful sunset ride through Wisconsin later and we’re in Minneapolis unloading the tour vehicle and popping champagne and hugging new friends. The people I have met during my time on tour have shaped me for the rest of my life. I’ll never forget it – truly… And I can’t help but wonder where I’m bound. But for now, I’ll take some time for friends and family at the city I will always call home, whether I live there or not – Tulsa.

Say It Somehow

I’m rarely at a loss for words. But in the last few weeks I have been speechless.

Lunch at Oceanic comes with a view of the beach in Wilmington, NC

I returned to tour, happy to be back teaching, educating, and inspiring as my uniform proudly states. But I know I am taught more, I am inspired more by the people I meet. The smallest child who tells me how he feels about his parents fighting while I try to remind him to eat his lunch. The vast ocean that makes me feel so small and powerless. The words of a all-too-poignant service on fear at a Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Winston Salem. All these things, they take my words away from me – and I am left searching for something to say.

“So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive.” A Litany for Survival, Andre Lorde.

Q: Where am I? A: Breakfast, Of Course! *

My weekend in Wilmington was refreshing. I think it’s safe to say the bed and breakfast I stayed at was a five star resort. Uncle Mark hooked me up with delicious eats and treats during my stay. I can’t rave about it enough. Wilmington is a dream come true. Every time I return I fall deeper in love.

An unfortunate candid shot *

This weekend had some great memories too. Michael joined us in Winston Salem to paint the town. To be honest; Winston Salem may never be the same. Great people, good conversations, and sweet drinks. So many good times were had that on Sunday we went to church. Services were on fear – a topic that has overwhelmed me recently.

The beginning of the evening. *

It’s difficult for me to remember sometimes how absolutely lucky I am to be alive and on this amazing journey. In spite of, or maybe even because of my fear, I will make it a point to celebrate each day as a gift.

* Photos courtesy of the great Michael Venske

Flying Home

Flying Home

It has been a very strange turn of events that found me here, 30,000 feet above the ground. It was a long journey home to celebrate the life and grieve the loss of our very own Martha Blackmore. Her entire family was there to go through this difficult time together.

I return to North Carolina with a cross to bear, but I don’t bear it alone. I will tell her story early and often. If you’re the praying type – send some words upstairs for Roy, Phil, Tim, and Mark. Thoughts for the rest of the Blackmore Clan wouldn’t hurt either. We’re all doing the best we can, but we need some help.

Don’t Give In

Don’t Give In

I don’t recommend getting sick on the road. It’s not fun.

Andy and I have caught some sort of cold – probably from (and I say this as lovingly as possible) a snotty-nosed kid that offered us an innocent high-five. Thursday evening we both admitted to having a sore throat. I immediately hit the Emergen-C, but as the night went on my throat became worse. No amount of water or steamy shower was helping. We woke up and muddled through on Friday, trying as best as we could to keep our energy up and getting pep-talks from Halls cough drops. My throat started to feel better, but my sinuses were stopped up. Today I gave in an started hitting the hard stuff: Dayquil. Hopefully I’ll be 100% soon.

Not a great way to spend a weekend, but I’m happy that I have the weekend to deal with it. If this sickness had hit me at the beginning of the week it would have been miserable.

I’m gonna go get some rest. I have one more day to get over it – send me some good vibes, would you?