Saturday, May 26, 2007

Lingerie and Combat Boots

Dear List,
Thank you for being done.


I wish that I could bottle the feeling you have when opening night is over and there were no major catastrophes and it went much better than you thought it would go. I wish I could bottle it and market it and make a hefty profit. Though I'm not entirely sure who I would sell such a potion to. The artists. The directors. The deranged.

I once said that if I were a doll (or a bell jar) the accessories that would come with me would be a piece of lingerie and combat boots. Of course, at the time, I was traveling down the thrilling road of infertility and it seemed that those pieces of clothing were a metaphorical necessity. It's just hit me that you really need a negligee and some combat boots when you do theatre. Symbolically speaking, of course, because if I really showed up to direct high schoolers in a nightie and military boots I think, and by that I mean I know, I'd be committed. But you need the boots to stomp all over the essentials; the technical, the "list" if you will. And the lingerie to get into the heart of the really vulnerable scenes, to rip open the script and consume the blood and the sweat and the tears and the laughter of every character. I really like wearing lingerie with combat boots. I'm glad my action figure comes complete with such essential items.

When I get to be an actor, I feel somehow at peace with the world around me. I love to take a character and dissect her until I know what makes her tick. I thought I would never love anything more. And then I had the opportunity to take an entire cast of characters and dissect them, and discover how they work together, and force them to explore the script and jive with one another. It is the vision realized that I am so enjoying. And it's really no wonder that my mother used to call me the cruise director. I thrive on crossing things off the list. I'm so thankful to God for the opportunity and the forum to take a swig from the bottle of opening night jitters. So thrilled to lace up the boots and slip into something a little more comfortable.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Dear List

One thing is for CERTAIN. I should not be blogging. I should not be blogging because my house looks like I have neither dusted nor vacuumed since the first of the year. We are coexisting with a layer of clutter that has asserted its residence so successfully it may as well pay the mortgage. This morning I have finished the Little Women program, made a ticket sales sheet so that Playscripts doesn't sue me, made a Costco shopping list for concessions, added more things to my To Do List than I crossed off (would someone explain why that always happens?) Emailed the Ramona Sentinel who is covering the show for free (YAY for free). Listened to the Wicked and Godspell soundtracks in their entirity--while I worked, mind you. Coordinated some set piece delivery situations, and contemplated, on more than one occasion how crud hard this is--being director and producer. The past two nights I have not been able to fall asleep until well after one because I lay there and 62 billion thoughts cross my mind about how to do this or that, how to have so and so say such and such, what to do about situation one, situation two, situation three and how to avoid situation four altogether.

It's really perplexing how this theatre business gets in your blood. I feel exhausted and overwhelmed and stressed and at the same time energized in ways that only drama can provide. As I sat at the computer I contemplated throwing my actors out the window because COME ON AND MEMORIZE YOUR LINES ALREADY. But then, the finale on the Godspell soundtrack came on. And when those "Long live God" repetitions come on, I remember every reason I do this. And I thought about Beth's dying scene and how if everything comes together, if a set gets built, if the lines get memorized, if the lights--which are currently deciding to have a neat lightning effect where lightning is NOT wanted--actually's going to be a moving scene. Oh shoot, that reminds me, I need to go check the script because there's a logistical error and we may have a VERY quick change on our hands. Ashby...I need you. I have to go...

Dear My List,
Please Stop Getting Longer. The end.

The One Who Is Going Crazy

Friday, May 11, 2007

To My Mom

Last year, on May 11, I posted a blog about Mother's Day and how a comment had been made in my general direction about how I would be a mother this year. I'd like to say, for the record, one year later, that I honestly don't really feel like any more of a mother than I did then. I loved that baby with every inch of my life a year's just become an intensified, excessive, and sometimes arduous love. Last year I loved my mother. Last year she was the best mother I could have ever wished for. In past years she has been my friend, my confidant, my guidance, my protector.

I do not, personally, feel as though I have changed drastically over this last year. I adore my son in ways that I imagined I would before he was born. When they laid him on my chest, he stared up at me and I felt, in a way, that we were both old souls, and I'd been on a long journey to find those eyes. I had literally wanted him for as long as I could remember so to take him home felt, for the most part, very natural. So while I don't feel as though I have changed, I recognize tremendous growth in my mother. And by that, of course, I mean in my perception of my mother.

Last year she was my friend. This year, she is my hero. Sometimes, when Garrett is growing weary, he will sit, very still, in my arms. I say sometimes because, if you know my son, who is rapidly barreling toward his first birthday, you know that he is perpetual motion. So, on the rare occasion that he rests in my arms, I try to soak in his smallness. Yesterday, I was privileged to have one such incident. I looked down and his tiny hand was in my palm. And I felt, suddenly, very sorry. I wished, momentarily, that we could stay like this forever. In that minute, before he wiggled to keep himself awake, I thought of my own mother holding my tiny hand and wishing, just for a second, that we could stay like that. We couldn't. It's how life works and we know that. It's impractical and ridiculous and eventually, even if I'd complied, she would have had to get a drink or use the restroom. But I remember the day Garrett was born as if it was yesterday and something tells me that many of these memories do not truly fade. And if my mother's memory serves as well as mine, she can recall my tiny hand in her palm and sometimes, just maybe, those memories make her a little nostalgic. For to see your child is to watch, with very little control, your heart walking around outside your body. And that is the difference between this year and last.

So here is to my mom. For losing sleep all those nights. For changing a gazillion diapers. (Which, by the way, were not disposable). For getting barf on her clothes and baby food in her hair. For never throwing me out the window when I would not stop crying. And for all the things I am yet to be truly thankful for. Things like science projects and prom and taking care of me when I had the stomach flu and catching the chicken pox from me and not holding it against me. And now, for watching Garrett when I have work or dropping everything to ride down to Kaiser with me when he bashes his head open. For staying with me the night he was born so that Troy could get some sleep. For almost single handedly supplying Garrett's wardrobe. For being there, at the drop of a hat, then and now. While I believe that motherhood begins at conception, I also believe it's like a fine wine, it becomes more valuable with age and longevity.

Thanks, Mom. And happy Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Unfortunate Events

I'm having an unfortunate event kind of morning. It all began when I awoke from a dream in which Idina Menzel's mother presented me with a check for 10,000 dollars because I had been such a tremendous camp counselor to Taye and Idina's son and, since money was no object, they wanted me to have a large tip. I should have known this was a dream because the son was white as a marshmellow, gangly, and shy, I'm not a camp counselor, and I was wearing a Wicked fan club shirt to go out to breakfast with Idina Menzel's mother. I do not believe that Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel could make a blond haired, blue eyed child being that one half of them is an equisite African-American. I certainly know that, even if they could, he would not be gangly. And while, if Idina Menzel's mother took me to breakfast I would certainly want to scream out that I am quite a fan, I wouldn't wear it written on a t-shirt. But, you see, my dream tricked me because I said to myself while at breakfast, "Self, this is a dream. You don't get 10,000 dollar tips from people. Even rich people." But then, in the middle of the dream, I went to sleep and woke up...and I still had the 10,000 dollars. I hate tricky dreams like that.

So, I woke up very sad that I had lost my money. It was almost as though I had gambled it away simply by opening my eyes. Unfortunate.

So, Garrett is sleeping and I've been thinking about my show (IN 2 WEEKS-AHHH) and one thing led to another in my mind and I started thinking about graduate programs in directing. I really like directing. Who knew, really, when I was all starry-eyed and idealistic and "I'm going to be an actor" that one day I would actually come to love directing. Love it so much, in fact, that I found myself on UCSD's website for their program. And thus the series of unfortunate events continued.

Here was my thought process, "Wahoo, no GRE requirement for the directing program. It's in San Diego. They only accept 2 applicants a year. Hmmm, that's...not good. But what if the stars aligned, and by that I mean that God ordained it, and I got in? I'd be working, yes, working, side by side with Des McAnuff and Michael Greif and etc. There's the possibility of being accepted to assistant direct on world premiers in London and France and South Africa. Oh but, we can't really afford it. Well, 2007 is closed, I'd have to wait until the fall of 2008, maybe I could, you know, rob a bank...or ask Idina Menzel for a ten thousand dollar tip--a couple times. Then, armed with my degree I could get a job at a college making not alot but more than I make now, much more. Or, being that I would now be best friends with Des McAnuff and, well, Idina Menzel, I could go to New York. The program only takes three years. By the time I'm 30 I'll be carving a niche for myself on Broadw--And then it hit me. Um, Lori, honey, you have a, you know, nine month old."

I know what you're thinking. I've decided that Garrett is unfortunate because he's standing in the way of my directoral debut on Broadway. That's where you'd be wrong. I LOVE being a mom more than I love pita chips and I wouldn't trade my son for all the master's degrees in all the world. I do not regret for one second that I had him when I did because I really value being able to be young with my son. I never wanted to put a career or a paycheck or a play before my children. What is unfortunate is that if I'd had this dream snowball quickly before my eyes and I were a would be a completely different story. And it's not that I want Troy to stay home so that I could do this, it's that our country is so backward it's disgusting. Should there not be a program where a mother can get a master's degree without ignoring her children for three years? Would it not be acceptable for me to say, "Thanks for making me one of the two directors you've accepted in to your program, my son is just going to play at my feet during your lecture and then chill in the back row while I direct rehearsal for three hours. You'll see how great I am at multi-tasking." And, of course, I realize that's not fair for Garrett and my request is ludicrous, and that, actually, the whole idea would be achievable if I lived two minutes from campus and wanted my son to grow up in day care and robbed a bank. And, truthfully, I'd love a world where I didn't have to work at all because being his mom is fulfilling enough for me. But, it's all unfortunate, nonetheless...that mothers run out of options because they put a value on family.

And then I remembered. I remembered that the other afternoon, when I got home from work, Garrett and I sat outside and ate a popsicle together. And it was warm and special and he slurped happily and I wanted to catch the moment of perfection forever. I'm not a rat racer. It would be incredible if there were two of me. And one of me could go with Des to direct some premier in South Africa and the other could watch Garrett while he breathes.

But there aren't two of me. So I will watch Garrett breathe. And I will direct high schoolers. If I close my eyes tight enough, if I imagine deep enough, just maybe I can pretend that one of them is Idina Menzel and my cave of a theatre that I can't get into until the last minute is somewhere on Broadway...