Monday, August 31, 2009


Let me make this very VERY clear. I am a theatre and psychology double major. The theatre requires all of their majors, minors, and scholarship holders to audition for all of their shows. THEATRE IS NOT ALL ABOUT ACTING! Is that clear? IT ISN'T ALL ABOUT DANCE! Theatre is about making art, not matter how you do it. Yes, acting is an aspect of theatre. So is dance. But behind the scenes, there are designers. What is an actor without his stage? What is an actor without the lights to support his emotions? Powerful things can be conveyed through these things. And what about the director? He or she plays a key role in the production of a play.
I am what they call a technical student. I am a designer in training. I have REALLY bad stage fright, which is kind of funny since I was in several MCT plays as a child. That said, I cannot possibly begin to convey how much I hate auditions. I get there, nervous that I won't be able to remember the words of one of my monologues, and the more I practice, the more my hands shake. The more my hands shake, the more I forget. And then the production managers call my name and I'm sure that I'm going to pass out after I forget the beginning of my piece. The production manager would lead me upstairs, and I would stand outside the door briefly trying to calm myself, and take deep breaths, both attempts failing miserably. Resigning myself to fate, I would let myself into the acting lab, letting the door swing shut behind me, overly conscious of the clank of wood against metal, and thinking maybe I should have stood by the door and closed it slowly. Taking a deep breath, I would greet the panel of professors/directors for this season's shows, and they would ask me a few questions about myself, and I would give the answers awkwardly, maybe stuttering some. Then they would ask if I was ready, and I would shakily say yes, even though I am SO not ready, and I would turn around, take a couple deep breaths, and launch into my monologue after I remembered the starting words. Not three words in, I would forget the next phrase, turn to the panel, announce that I was starting over, and re-begin, even more shaky and nervous than last time. After making it through the two standard pieces, they might ask me a couple more questions, and I would finally escape, glad to be done and hoping against all hope not to be cast. And I would nervously check the call-backs list over the next few days and find that I wasn't called back, and be relieved that I never have to public speak again.
Now, since last night, I have been trying to get out of this hell that they call auditions. I've emailed the panel, and the production managers, and finally resorted to a made-up excuse that I had to fill in for someone who got sick at work until an hour before auditions ended. The excuse wasn't necessary. I got out of auditions through an email saying that I was excused an hour before auditions started. Thank God.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fire Her Up!

I know, I know... this is something like the millionth time I've said I'm going to start this blog up again, and I just never get around to it after the fact, but this year is proving to be very difficult, and I suspect it will continue to be very difficult, and in the past, this has been a good steam blower for me, so it's here to stay for the next year at least.
Allow me to enlighten you on my life for the past five months (and some things from about a year ago). I started dating the love of my life a year ago on Sept. 10th, which makes this the longest relationship I have ever had. The poem that was entered here on Oct. 6th is about him. There's a few catches though. Even though I'm Truly Madly Deeply in love with him, he lives in California, exactly 632 miles (that's ten hours and twelve minutes of driving time) away from my house, with chronic bloodclots, and that makes him a little hard to see, because his parents (the other catch) are so controlling that they wont let him take anything but a plane to come and see me, and because I go to a private college where they take bits of my skin and muscle to pay for my tuition when I don't have the money (which is quite often, you would be surprised). And the logical thing would be for him to move here and go to school (he goes to a community college) his parents wont let him do that either. "Why do you stay with him? Distance is a big issue!" you say. Yeah, you're right. It is. But I stay with him because I love him, because he treats me right, because he's the first guy my mother has actually liked, because my father doesn't like him (because he's half-black, half-Iranian), because he knows more about me than my girlfriends, because he is my best friend, and because he got me through a deep bout of depression last spring.
Intro: my ex-best friends. Meet A.K. He's from LA. Sweet, smart, funny, I can always count on him for advice or for him to make me laugh. He was my first co-host for the radio show that I started and the rest of them commandeered. This isn't chronologically how I met these friends, but A.K. is a key player in the depression story. I worked with him in the theatre, and we always had fun making fun of each other, until it got to be too much for me. That's how it was with the whole group. We loved each other because we could joke with each other and make fun of everyone else's attributes. Before I get too far ahead of myself, there are some more names you need to know. I met M.Z. through my first calculus class in college. Multi-variable. I had passed the AP test with flying colors, so I was advanced, and I can't really tell you why she was there. All I know is that she proceeded to sit next to me on the first day, and then every day after that, and talk my ear off, day after day. I thought she was really weird at first, but then I warmed up to her because I didn't have anyone else to hang out with yet. I guess you could call her my first close friend. We went to a concert at Riverfront Park together, and then after that, I guess you could say we were attached at the hip. I invited her to eat dinner with me and A.H. once, and that's how our group was unofficially formed. A.H. I met in Opening Days. He was the only person in my group I felt somewhat connected with. He actually talked to me without looking at me like I was weird. We had things in common, we made each other laugh. He's extremely smart, and studies hard. I met A.K. through him. They were roommates during first year (lucky that they got along so well) and have been for every subsequent year after. In fact, they're going to be roommates in the apartment that they all just rented together (without me, I might add, but that part comes later). L.B. was in A.K.'s OD group, and they are really good friends. I don't see how though because in my opinion, she has a worse character than I do. She complains ALL THE TIME, whines and lies to get her way, she's somewhat of a hypochondriac, and she only talks about herself and her sisters. You guessed it, folks! She joined a sorority during freshmen year! So we don't see much of her anymore. It's ironic with a capital I that she's the first person I turned to after The Incedent. And finally J.B.: J.B. lived across the hall from A.K. and A.H. who we politely nicknamed the A's because they have the same first name, and do practically everything else the same way. The parts that aren't alike about them compliment the attributes in the other. Anyways, J.B. is really sweet. She's never mean, unless she's joking, she MAKES (hand draws, sketches, cuts out, glues, ect, ect) her own cards for every birthday she has in her datebook, and personalizes every gift. She agrees with everything you say, and if she disagrees, she disagrees passively. If anyone could kill you with kindness, it's this blonde-haired, blue-eyed, innocent who couldn't kill a fly, and had to catch and release all the spiders in our room (second year) instead of just squash them with a shoe (I would have done it, but I'm terrified of spiders). We all lived in different halls during our freshmen year (except the A's and J.B.) and all hung out in each other's halls depending on the night. In sophomore year, we had this brilliant plan to all live in the same hall. That worked out well. Stress + PMS = J (that's me) becomes a bear, and my "friends" couldn't take it. I found out about all this through a phone conversation that J.B. was having just before I walked into the room. I stopped and listened and what I heard did not please me. Apparently, they had been talking about me behind my back. They didn't want me to live with them because of "the way [I am]". "All the kindness that [A.K.] had shown to me was purely fake at this point". They didn't like me anymore. My best friends were kicking me out of our group. Well, maybe that's a little dramatic because when I found out, I was so hurt that I chose to leave. J.B. felt sorry for me because she knew that they were the only friends I had at school, and the only reason she sided with them is because there were more of them, but she didn't want to tell me what was going on because she didn't want it to be awkward. I cried myself to sleep on the phone with A.S., the long distance lover, for three nights in a row before J.B. said anything. When I told her I knew everything, she denied that she knew what I was talking about, and that it wasn't true, and how could I think that, ect, ect. I stopped going to dinner at the usual time, and when I got hungry, I would go out. I couldn't stand eating by myself in the crowded cafeteria, so I found alternatives. When asked why I wasn't eating, and why I seemed so down by M.Z. I confronted her. I told her everything I knew, but not how I got the information. The look on her face confirmed it, and needless to say, I'm no longer with them. As a result of having no friends, I had so much time on my hands, but I spent so much of it sleeping, and very little of it doing actual work. I started skipping my independant study class, and I rarely went into the theatre building at all, unless I had J.C.'s class, in which my grade dropped because I wouldn't talk. I was ashamed, because I had stopped going to work and I didn't want my boss to confront me about it. In retrospect, she should have fired me. A.S. got me through that time. When he came for Spring Break, she thought that the reason I had been slacking was because I was so happy. Then I confessed what had happened to my advisor, and I think he told her. They're pretty close, you see. I think everyone in the theatre department is close, except for me because now that Anya has graduated, I'm the only design student left.
Anyway, this fall out has led me to the place where I am now. When I found out that my "friends" perjurers of everything good and wonderful in this world, the most of these friendship, I started looking for a new place to live on the campus ad boards, and on craigslist, where I had previously found many apartments that would have worked for the five of us (Lily was living in her sorority house). It took a few weeks of searching, but I finally found an ad that applied to me. "Wanted: a single woman to receive free room and board in exchange for taking care of an elderly woman during the evenings. You get the loft, and share the kitchen and bathrooms. Schedules are flexible." This sounded like a REALLY sweet deal, so I emailed the woman who had posted the ad, and set up an interview. When I met with the two women, they seemed pretty down-to-earth, laid back kind of people. The elder is 86 and the younger is her daughter. Nice people, really nice people. The problem was that K.S. couldn't live with/take care of her mother because it was interfering with her work and her home life, and the last person quit, I was told, because her brother had some sort of cancer. So they checked my references and offered me a job. I made the decision to go home and stay with my parents over the summer, but that turned sour really fast because my mom and I only get along when we aren't living together, and it took the numerous fights for me to see that. I decided to move back to Salem and take the job earlier than expected, and moved back on July sixth. So much better than living with my mom, right? Wrong! Out of everything that has happened so far (the "adjustment" period, my mother calls it), this old woman has made me cry four times since I've been here, and I've only been here for a month and a half. The latest happening? Well, first of all, everything MUST be done her way. If it isn't done her way? It's wrong, of course. I challenged this this morning when I served her breakfast. I accidentally set the polished spoon on the right side of the plate instead of the left, and put the fork where the spoon was supposed to go. I was in a rush to get it done. When she reminded me (like she ALWAYS does) that I did it wrong, and that I better get used to the way that she does things because the world does it like that, I said (nicely, jokingly, like an observation) "The world is kind of silly then because most people eat with their right hand." But no. Once again my employer is right because she went to high school with Jesus and I'm not quite that old. You want to know what her great comeback was? "Some people eat with their left hands." Very true, you're highness, I'll keep doing it your way because it's your house, and I will just disregard the fact that left-handedness is a recessive gene. That means that only 13% of the world population is left-handed, according to
Before this next anecdote, please understand that I do not cope well with being yelled at. M.S. (the old woman) and I have some communication problems. Many times, I don't understand exactly what she wants, and when I don't understand what she wants, she treats me like I'm stupid and raises her voice to me. Not. Cool. I was making her lunch today, and it wasn't done the way she wanted it, so she raised her voice. "No no no, I don't want it done that way, I want it just like this!" Commence ten minutes of unclear instructions.
What I hear: "I want one piece of bread with cheese on it, put into the microwave until it melts, with another piece of bread on top."
What she said (allegedly): "I want one piece of bread with cheese on top, put into the microwave until the cheese melts, and that's it."
It's really hard to believe her when she repeats what she said when I heard something different, because she says thank you for the fork that I put next to her plate, and then ten minutes later asks for a fork and then says that I snuck it in when she wasn't watching. Hmmm... something wrong with this picture? So she proceeds to yell at me, making me more flustered, so I cut the single piece of bread in half and make it into a sandwich. That still isn't what she wants, so she yells at me more exasperated and louder than before. When I finally get the "sandwich" in front of her, I'm on the verge of tears.
I can't do this job. I can't. But I have to stay until next year at least. I have no place else to live, and tuition is higher than I thought it would be. Not only that, but I would have had the money for a place of my own and for tuition if I had just stayed home and worked my butt off, as was my original plan. This is the part where I curse my ability to make the wrong kind of friends, but I suppose I'll spare you, and keep that bit to myself. If you're still awake, or even made it to the end, thanks for paying attention.