Tuesday, April 23, 2013

It's all in your point of view

Perspective. For an actor we call this Point of View and one’s point of view is built on your given circumstances. Last Thursday I attended a really great production of Neil Simon’s “Rumors” performed by the students at Wheaton College in Norton, MA. My nephew Alex Butcher-Nesbitt (remember that name, btw - you heard it here first) was in the cast and I must say he did a stellar job. Their timing was like greased lightning, the way great comedy must be played. On the whole the cast’s connection to each other was genuine and their understanding of the jokes was deep enough to make this play shine again. 

Juxtaposed against the events of that day; the brutal and fatal violence and on going manhunt just 30 miles away in Boston. It was a mind bender, and I must give credit to the director and young actors for knowing that their jobs that night were, in part, to give us a two hour break from the trauma of the bombings and ensuing tragedies. And the playwright deserves his due for illuminating our hypocrisy. In the first act, all the characters are claiming a knowledge that “something’s afoot” and spin tales based in small observations that they hold to be true, because, well... it’s fun to make up tales, isn’t it, even at the expense of another? In the second act, when it becomes clear that some characters may be harmed by their association to the events in the play, they suddenly deny any knowledge of anything, at all. In the end of course, the truth is so fantastical that no one could have ever dreamed it up, except Neil Simon, who blesses us all with a glimpse into our own personal need to know things if they serve us, and to deny all knowledge if they implicate us. 

On my long westbound drive back to Albany the following day, with emergency vehicles flying eastbound toward Boston, I had a good long think about the importance of our work as actors. How else can our society see it’s foibles and pitfalls in such easily digested forms like a silly comedy about silly people?

Hope to see you in the studio soon - Come tell your story with us. 


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Welcome Spring... Have I mentioned recently how much I love my life? I am sitting here in my office at Sol Acting Academy listening to my new instructor Jessica Quindlen teach the new spring session of youth acting classes. It's amazing to hear the creative ideas pouring out into the space.

It's been a year since John and I bought Sol Acting Academy and we're coming up on a year in our new digs. As you enter the studio there is a wall of hand prints that students have been adding over the year. I did it because I thought it would look festive and give folks a sense of ownership. But today one of our young students was having a hard time seeing how she fit in to the group.  So she and I took a moment to visit the wall to see if we could find a handprint that was just the size of her hand. She tried on my handprint too, which let her see how much she was going to grow. It was so fun to see her then join the class, knowing that she had a place here. So often we have that sense of "where do I fit in this big picture" and it can make us want to shrink away from diving in fully. Now I know that all I have to do is look for the handprint of those who have come before to find my place and where I need to grow.

I took three months off from teaching to focus on my own performance work, as I felt like I was so busy teaching the craft that my own was slipping. What a beautiful and rewarding journey I've been on in the first quarter of 2013. Our shows were really well received in both NYC, Saratoga Springs and Albuquerque. Full houses in all locations and great feedback has led me to think that a longer run is in our future. Applications are in for the All For One Theater Festival  - an amazing festival in NYC that not only presents solo shows but supports the artists through out the year with help booking performances nationwide. So look for The Bark & The Tree in a theater near you later in the year!

And more great news is that I booked a day on the new film Things People Do starring Wes Bentley, directed by Saar Klein. I've really admired Saar's editing work for a very long time. Can't wait to see what he brings to directing of this movie.

Looking forward to starting the production meetings for a short film I wrote - planning to shoot this summer. A romantic comedy called Leverage about a public defender from NYC that moves to Santa Fe to start over after losing her husband to a sudden heart attack, starring, you guessed it... moi. Stay tuned!