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GTTP completed the pilot episode of the independent drama television show, FARM STORY, about three New York City forty-somethings who trade the bustle of city life for the gentler pace of rural Chicken, Virginia. Once there they search for happiness, for fulfillment, and for a place to call home. They are currently in the process of selling the show.
GTTP is also in pre-production for HOT FLASH!, A Superhero Story for the Menopausal Age, with filming to begin soon.
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Disclaimer – despite what this may look like from the first paragraph, this is a review for Tongue In Cheek’s production of their original play, Buffalo Heights, and, spoiler alert — I totally loved it…
After/Since Within Arm’s Reach ended, I’ve been thinking a lot — and I mean A LOT — about what we, as GTTP, do and where we fit in the off-off-Broadway landscape. I believe I have mentioned here before that it’s always tricky to get an audience, to get butts in the seats — not just because we’re a small company who can’t afford to hire a big PR firm to get the buzz going but also because we focus on original work. And though we do great stuff, it’s unknown stuff so we don’t have the built in audience of a production of Guys and Dolls, or West Side Story…or, if we’re talking plays, The Glass Menagerie or Our Town. You see, I didn’t start GTTP just for the fun of it, and Molly (now that there’s a Molly) and I aren’t doing it just for the heck of it. Partially we’re doing it because we have no choice — we’re directors. And if we don’t have a project we have trouble functioning in the world but also, we do this because we want this little theater thing we do to become, if not a profitable enterprise, at least a break even enterprise. And, as Annie Savoy says in the film Bull Durham, “baseball may be a religion full of magic, cosmic truth, and the fundamental ontological riddles of our time, but it’s also a job.” And I feel that way about theater and GTTP — theater may be a passion, a necessity, a religion to us practitioners, but it’s also a job. We want it to pay our bills not just our souls. So, when I think about all of this and I think about the complexities of finding an audience and reaching out to the universe (especially the NYC theater-going universe) I inevitably think about competition. I think about other theater companies that are like us, who do similar things to what we do and it’s very easy to tip into jealousy and envy and it can sometimes be hard to enjoy watching what others do (even when it impresses me) if I see them as competition. Then again, as self-centered as it sounds, I always know how impressed I am with a production if my appreciation busts through that mask of jealousy and envy and I walk away from it just loving what I’ve seen…
Which brings me to Tongue In Cheek. As I have mentioned before, Tongue In Cheek Productions is a theater company that I love. In the past few years I’ve seen 3 shows from TIC – Our Town, The Mistakes Madeleine Made, and How I Learned to Drive, and I’ve been impressed by all of them. In many ways, I think of TIC as a sister company to GTTP. TIC is a small company that’s been around for more than a couple years but fewer than ten. TIC was created by and is run by a woman, Jake Lipman. They use a core ensemble of players but also uses outside actors on a by production basis, they also won a Puffin Grant, and, a lot of their set pieces are from Ikea. I also think of Jake as a friend. I love her directing and her acting and I’m always excited to see what she does. However, with all those similarities and more, up until recently the company differed from GTTP in one key way — TIC focused on revivals. That changed with their most recent production, the original piece, commissioned and developed by Tongue in Cheek Theater Productions, Buffalo Heights.
Buffalo Heights is a new comedy which follows new teacher, Fran, on her first semester teaching French at Buffalo Heights High. When controversy erupts at the school, Fran (Jake Lipman) encounters unexpected adversaries and allies.
To be honest, although I always enjoy TIC’s work, I was wary about seeing Buffalo Heights for a couple of reasons — #1) You know, this isn’t what TIC normally does, what if it wasn’t any good and I had to find something to tell Jake after the show — “uh, that was interesting” — without saying, “yeah, stick to what you know.” or more likely #2) What if it’s amazing and it’s better than what GTTP does and it’s incredible and brilliant, and now TIC decides to abandon revivals all together and only do original works and become direct competition for GTTP and what if they do it better than us and what if nobody wants to see GTTP anymore because TIC is doing the same thing but they’re doing it better and what if my jealousy ruins my friendship with Jake and I, and they, and we, and, and, and, after all this is our little pond, what if there isn’t room enough for both of us and, and, and… (as you can see, I can spiral out of control pretty easily).
BUT guess what happened? I saw the show and it was awesome. It was witty and fun and thought provoking and surprising. First off, the show was wonderfully performed (as I’ve come to expect from TIC shows). Jake (as Fran), was terrific as the outsider character entering an unjust community and finding herself in the middle of a fight she hadn’t expected. Shelley Little was hilarious balancing the officiousness of an ambitious school principal with a desire to still be a friend to Fran. Joe Mullen, as the hapless security guard, effortlessly crossed the line between sweet and innocent and totally skeevy (I mean that in the best possible way), and then back again. Nina Leese was fun as the local congresswoman so focused on the politics of her career that she is blind to the behavior of her own daughter. Allison Lemel found a perfect level of obnoxious, self centered teenager when portraying the “running for Class President” Piper. And Matthew Whitfield was fantastic, rebellious and lovable, as the reformed stoner student who dares to enter into competition with Piper. But, of course none of this is a surprise. You see Jake is one of those directors who knows the best way to make her job easier is to cast well — and she always delivers.
And then there was the play itself — devised by the TIC Ensemble cast with playwright Adam Harrell, Buffalo Heights is really funny. Again, as expected from a TIC show, I found myself laughing out loud throughout the show. But, more importantly, as a person who has seen A LOT of theater and film and television, and so is not often surprised by where a plot goes, what I really enjoyed about Buffalo Heights was the fact that during the show there were several moments where I thought to myself, “oh, this is that plot line” or “oh, so if we’re coming from here, we’re going to end up there” and? I was wrong every time — which was awesome, surprising, and downright fun.
So, here’s what it boils down to: #1) Go see Buffalo Heights. #2) Much to my surprise (yes, I’ll admit to my petty jealousies), I hope this is only the first of many original productions from TIC, because seriously, they know what they’re doing! (Again, this is not acutally a surprise, it’s just, wow! Good stuff all around! I love their revivals but it turns out I love their original work too. And, most importantly, #3) It looks like seeing Buffalo Heights set off a little paradigm shift in my mind when it comes to comparing myself and GTTP to other companies of our ilk, to seeing ourselves in competition with them and others, and here it is — you ready? So, not to get all hippy dippy or anything, but… THERE IS NO COMPETITION! I don’t mean that in the sense that one of us is so much better than the other that it blows the other one out of the water but I mean this as an actual, literal — there. Is. No. Competition! It’s so easy in this business to see everything as a competition — “but that’s our money”, “that’s our audience,” “you can’t be good too because then those same people will go see your shows and not mine”. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The sandbox is big enough for us all to play in — especially, when it’s Tongue In Cheek that we’re talking about — and, when it comes to TIC, I’ll even share my shovel and pail…look, Ma. I’m growing.
I know I’ve been a bit silent on the blog lately…the combination of temporarily shifting the blog posts to the Rockethub page and the end of the show itself (followed by the post show depression that always accompanies that) have lead to a real dearth of posts here on our main blog. But, fear not, gentle readers. I’m back and with me so are the blog posts. SO, let me do a little wrap up on Within Arm’s Reach, and then I’ll get to what’s next.
As far as the wrap up is concerned, Within Arm’s Reach was a dream. Despite, a short tech (and a tall projection area), a big stage (and a small budget), too many technical cues (and too few technicians), a large cast (and a tiny dressing room…(I kid, the dressing room was nice sized for the group and had its own bathroom)), but seriously despite a bunch of things that seemed like they would be stumbling blocks to getting the show off the ground, the performances soared. I’m going to take a moment here to pat ourselves on the back (and then I’ll return to the modest, humble, Jess that I know you all love) – Molly and I did a damn fine job with the adaptation – capturing the spirit, mood and characters of the book. And, across the board, the cast was superb. They took these characters and ran with them, creating a moving study of 6 months in the lives of the McLaughlin Family. The designers, again working with very little time, (and even less money), brought the world vividly to life and did so with smiles on their faces. And directing this bunch – cast and crew – was a pleasure from top to bottom. I will also say that though there were stresses (there always are during tech) and though there were a couple of all-nighters (that’s to be expected with a 3 day tech) the tech “week” for Within Arm’s Reach was quite possibly the smoothest and most enjoyable I’ve ever experienced. And, because I can’t resist, I’m just going to mention that this was an all female creative team…short on time and money and absolutely no (zero, zip, zilch) strife…could it be the all female group? I leave it to you to be the judge…
So, yeah, the show went beautifully. We’re putting together a real photo array, but, in the meantime, for those of you who didn’t get a chance to see the show, below is a selection of production stills…
Do I wish we had had larger audiences? Yes, as always, yes. Do I wish we had been able to bring in a bit more money with the show? Again, yes, as always, yes. But I also know the world we’re in. I know that original work on the stage is tough to bring an audience to. I know that low budget means there isn’t always money for the massive publicity push of a larger show and so we’ll keep doing what we’re doing (the slowest of slow builds) and know that if the work is consistently good, eventually the audience will find us, and keep coming back…that and know that our next big payday we’re hiring the marketer of all marketers to get more butts in the seats!
Alas though, now this show is ended. The props have been stowed. The set pieces are safely ensconced in Molly and my apartments. The costumes have been cleaned and stored. The bills have been paid. …and the depression has set in for real…so now what? Now, Molly and I strategize about what’s next. While we are both working on projects separate from GTTP – Molly, on a workshop production of I, Salome by Joseph Samuel Wright and me on The Jane Games, the web series by Jennifer Teska and Laura Riley, that I’m directing (on which I’m about to jump into the editing stage) – we’re also planning what’s next for GTTP. As always, GTTP is moving forward – onward and upward to the next project. And that next theatrical production will most likely be a new movement/theater piece from Molly, hopefully to be performed in June and for me, I will soon be jumping (and taking GTTP with me) completely into Farm Story, GTTP’s first foray into web series production. If all goes according to plan, we will start filming in September. In addition to that, Molly and I are looking to do another round of workshops and hopefully a reading series of new plays. Stay tuned for details!!!
And, once again, because I didn’t say this yet in this specific blog post – THANK YOU, ALL!!! Thank you for supporting GTTP! Thank you for coming out to see our work. Thanks to everyone who made it out for Within Arm’s Reach. Thanks to everyone who donated on RocketHub and directly. Thank you for being a part of the GTTP Family. Without you all, GTTP would be nothing and me? I’d just be directing traffic…and seriously? That’s one thing I have no interest in directing.
Ok, so when you think of Tahiti, you don’t think of trudging through the snow and the cold or of hunkering down around the heat of the computer screen to type your little heart out with numb fingers. No. No you don’t. You think of beaches and tropical breezes, drinks with umbrellas, and palm trees . . . alas, in wintery New York it was definitely more of the former than the latter, including a snowy day of callbacks where we trudged through the show to see a bunch of very talented actors (who also trudged through the snow – THANK YOU AGAIN, those of you who came and read for us on Monday) read. Anywho, as I said in the title of this post, it’s been a busy couple of weeks for Tahiti…
Not only did I just get back from an amazing location-scouting-meet-the-community-Farm-Story-pre-production meeting in Virginia last week, not only am I about to jump back into filming for The Jane Games, but I also just held auditions and callbacks for Within Arm’s Reach and we have cast the show. That’s right folks, we are full steam ahead with WAR (and, yes, that is how I will be abbreviating it because it takes a lot less time to type than the full title and I will be typing it a LOT in the next couple of months. Besides, it’s a family drama so in a way it is about war . . .) So, three updates follow and then I’ll get back to the business of the 3 productions I have going on.
#1) Terri and I, in discussing the logistics of Farm Story, decided that it made sense to film in and around Staunton, Virginia. The script calls for rural and small town locations and Terri, who’s brother lives in VA had seen this wonderful area that offered the promise of everything we need. So, we decided to go down there and check it out. And as I mentioned above, last week I returned from that trip – a four day Virginia visit, during which Terri and I did location scouting, met with some locals and generally got a feel for the area. Check out the last two posts on the Farm Story blog to hear all about what our Virginia trip accomplished and what’s next for Farm Story. It’s really starting to heat up, it’s all very exciting and we can’t wait to have you join us on the web-series-production journey.
#2) This weekend, I jump back into The Jane Games. We have a day of filming on Saturday and then four days of filming next week, and then another few days during February and March . . . and then of course, we go into the editing room. I’m excited to jump back in though by late next week, I might need someone to just shout out the title of the project I’m working on before I step into whatever I’m doing each day, just so I can keep it all straight and not talk about the changing structure of family through the generations when I’m shooting a web series about Jane Austen or launch into a full description of Farm Story themes when we I’m up to my ears in table work on WAR.
. . . which brings me to . . .
#3) Within Arm’s Reach – so, as I mentioned above, we held auditions and callbacks for WAR this past week and I’m THRILLED to announce that we have a cast and a crew. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be doing “Meet theWAR Team” posts but in the meantime, I’ll just get the names out there:
Within Arm’s Reach - Cast
Within Arm’s Reach - Crew
Although Molly and I have been working tirelessly on revisions for the adaptation, we really jump in to production on Thursday of this coming week, when we hold our first read-through. As usual, once we really begin there will be much more to report but, in the meantime, I wanted to do the official release of our production image (see above) and our WAR aviatrix (see below), courtesy, as usual, of the every-amazing Christine Diaz:
Like it says above – Happy New Year, people of the interwebs!
I hope you all had an amazing holiday and are looking forward to jumping in to 2014. Yup, 2014! Still having touble believing it’s 2014 . . . Anywho, now that we at GTTP have taken a nice break (as evidenced by our lack of blog posts for the past couple of weeks), we are hitting the ground running and jumping, feet first, into the new year. And we have an announcement to start off our year with a bang:
We are over-the-moon excited to announce that we have booked a performance space for Within Arm’s Reach and that performance space is . . .
That’s right, after a year and a half of Manhattan performance spaces, GTTP will be returning to The Secret Theatre in Long Island City. We have missed the little (actually not so little) theater across the East River that we consider our 2nd home (the first home of the company of course being the living room of my Brooklyn apartment, which is, quite honestly, not nearly large enough to mount productions), and we are absolutely thrilled to be getting back there. For Within Arm’s Reach we will in The Big Secret, which is a performance space that will be familiar to anyone who saw Skin Flesh Bone. Production load-in will happen on March 17, 2014 and, assuming all goes according to plan, we will open on March 20th (yup, you read that right, a short 3 days of tech…).
Speaking of Within Arm’s Reach, script revisions are moving along (Molly and I are meeting tomorrow for round number 3) and we’re in the process of assembling our crew. . . Stay tuned for more announcements as we move from pre-production into auditions.
So, that’s what GTTP will be up to as we kick 2014 into high gear. We hope the start of your 2014 is equally exhilerating.
So, I know the State of the Union Address usually comes in the beginning of the year, but I figured, (so as not to detract from the president’s speech), I’d jump in now and give everyone the state of things on our little island.
Last week we had our (now annual) ensemble meeting/holiday get together at GTTP. Wine was imbibed, snacks were eaten, and great philosophical discussions about the nature of theater were held (actually we just talked about what the year had brought and what the new year would bring). Regardless, it’s been an exciting and active 2013 for us. Here, are a couple of accomplishments (by the numbers).
3 – number of shows GTTP produced in 2013 (Bella’s Dream, The Sandman’s Coming, and Cat Lady Without a Cat)
18 – number of actors employed in our shows during the year
23 – number of crew members employed in our shows during the year
3 – number of workshops held (directing, improv, audition)
1 – number of managing directors GTTP found to help run the company (yay, Molly!)
So that’s what the past year has held for GTTP. Now it’s time to sit down and ask, “where are we going” (or, as a favorite, canceled-too-soon, TV show would say quo vadamus – if you know the show, mention it in the comments and you’ll get a shout out on Facebook). So, where are we going? I’m glad you asked:
Cabaret – because of holiday travel plans, we’ve decided to move our cabaret from December 20th to a January or February weekend. Stay tuned for updates about our cure for the winter blues, our storytelling cabaret - GTTP Talks…Sex.
Within Arm’s Reach – everything is moving forward with our theatrical adaptation of Within Arm’s Reach, the novel by Ann Napolitano. We’re hoping to announce performance dates and space very soon. We’re currently in the process of holding crew interviews and Molly and I are deep into script revisions. Most likely we’ll be holding auditions in late January and will start rehearsals in early February. It is so exciting to see the play starting to develop…at least on the page, and we’re thrilled to soon be all-in on the production. More (many more) updates to come.
Social Media updates – some of you may have noticed we’ve started a regular Monday theater quote posting on Facebook, we’re getting better about weekly blog posts and we’re starting to run weekly Friday GTTP tweets. That’s right, my peeps, we are all over the interwebs. We’re also hoping to bring back the Tahiti Dispatches (our home grown, locally sourced, podcast), so like us on Facebook, subscribe to our blog, follow us on twitter, and keep a eye out for podcast updates.
Updated website – and, last but not least, speaking of our internet presence, in the next few weeks check back at the website for long awaited updates to the “About Us” and “Past Productions” pages. Molly and I are hunkering down next week to get the website all shiny and new for 2014!
Thanks, all! Stay warm out there.
On November 3rd GTTP completed two kinda big deal things – one personal and one business – but both had an effect on who GTTP is as a company.
The personal first – Yours truly (aka, GTTP Artistic Director, Jessica Ammirati) ran the New York City Marathon. As many of you know, I was supposed to run it last year before Hurricane Sandy put a damper on those plans, and after that experience I wrote about “Art and Sports and the things they Share” and, as my facebook peeps know, I already wrote a blog post about the experience of running it this year which you can see both on my personal FB page and on the ING NYC Marathon page; BUT, in this particular post, I’d like to just mention a word about perserverance. As in: have it, believe in it, keep doing it (whatever “it” may be). You see, #1 – I don’t really like running. No, I swear. I’ve been training off and on for this marathon for 13 years (yes I said years! And, though much of it was the “off” part of off and on, for the past two years it was serious running-5-days-a-week training) and I DON’T ENJOY RUNNING. I enjoy having done the run. I enjoy that when I’m running I can eat pretty much whatever I want and I won’t really gain weight. I enjoy the way my body looks and feels because of the run. But I kinda HATE the actual run. I keep waiting for that runners’ high to kick in…uh, I’m still kinda waiting. And, #2 – I’m a slow runner – I’m from hearty Italian peasant stock so though I can keep going, I can’t really get there fast. At my fastest (which was the middle 2-13 miles of the marathon), I was running about an 11 minute and 26 second mile. So, you know, not nothing but not exactly record breaking speed. And then, after mile 13 I slowed down a bit, and from 13-21 I ran about a 12 minute mile. And then I slowed down A LOT for the last 5.2 miles. The entire thing took me 5 hours and 46 minutes (and 18 seconds) to complete. A long time. I mean, it was under the 6 hour goal I had set for myself but still longer than the 5 hour and 30 minute goal I had really hoped for. But here’s the thing – it was awesome! I mean it. The run, the marathon, the experience? The FIVE HOURS AND FORTY SIX MINUTES (and 18 seconds) OF SUSTAINED PHYSICAL ACTIVITY?!?!? It was amazing. Hands down, freaking awesome, once-in-a-lifetime kinda thing here. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is (and I know it’s been said before much more eloquently than this but here goes): It’s worth it. Persevere. Keep pushing. Go after your dreams or goals or things you forsee for yourself. Or whatever you want to call it because most of the time it’s going to pay off. It can’t not. Not after you’ve put in all that time, work, energy, thought. 13 years ago, I had this wacky idea – “maybe I’ll run the NYC marathon” but more than that I had this thought – “I want to have this experience because I think this experience will mean something to me, will shape me in a certain way, will have an effect on the person I am.” And so I decided to pursue it. And, like I said, it was seriously off and on. There are whole years in there where I didn’t lace up a sneaker…but in the end, I had the experience I did because I wanted to do it, I prepared to do it, I pushed to do it. I persevered. And I did it. I did “___________” (YOU fill in that blank for you) and it was SOOOOOO worth it. When I was 10 years old, I had a similar thought, goal, dream, what have you – “I want to be a director” (it was actually when I was 6 that I first thought it but it wasn’t until I was 10 that I began to understand the thing I wanted to be and do was the job of a director). So, here I am 30 years later. GTTP is fives years strong and I’m doing this thing – this hard, exciting, scary, challenging, wonderful, life-changing thing. So I guess my whole point is…perseverence is cool, and I truly believe that, like gravity, it always works…
…and sometimes, that personal perseverance connects with someone else’s personal perseverance and you end up with a business accomplishment…which, of course, brings me to…
The business thing that happened on November 3rd:
GTTP’s Managing Director, Molly Ballerstein, completed the run of her first GTTP show, The Sandman’s Coming. Slowly this company that I envisioned in my living room 6 years ago is starting to grow into it’s future shape. You see, I never planned for GTTP to stay my baby. I always wanted a partner.
I was always hoping to find someone who would want to direct shows and help guide the company into the future with me. Yes, I want to direct but I want to direct as part of a family of artists, not out there on my own. And, with The Sandman’s Coming, GTTP has taken that first step into a new world. A world of LOTS of people’s ideas instead of just mine. A world of exploration, of partnerships and who knows what else. It’s an exciting step for us to take and an exciting way to do it. Because, guys? Seriously? Sandman was extraordinary. A movement theater piece that explored the nature of addiction, identity and human connection. That looked at addiction not in a sensationalistic way but asked instead, what do we do-how do we deal with additction when it isn’t sensationalistic? When it isn’t glamorous or tragic? When it is just a part of everday life – ugly, complicated, terrifying and banal – ordinary everyday life? Haunting and evocative, beautiful and moving, painful and transformative, this show stays with you long after the lights go down. Take a gander at a couple of the production stills above. We have more that we’ll be posting on the website shortly. The Sandman’s Coming was a truly powerful experience. And proof that GTTP is so lucky to have snatched up Molly as soon as we found her.
So that’s what we’ve just completed. Now, as Jed Barlet would say, “what’s next?” (Y’all knew I was a West Wing fan, right?) Because, in the end, you have to keep moving forward…ALWAYS. And moving forward we are with a couple of rather exciting events.
Cat Lady Without A Cat
That’s right. Once again GTTP is co-producing Carrie Keskinen’s hilarious one woman show - “A hilarious and heartfelt story of one woman’s journey from a painful divorce to her new life in New York. Finding a dead mouse in her apartment is the catalyst for letting go of her past and fears of becoming a crazy cat lady, and discovering her true self.” And this time around GTTP peeps aren’t just on the producing side. This time around, I’m Assistant Directing the show and Molly is Stage Managing. Because the show’s first performance was sold out United Solo Festival, decided to extend and add a second show. Join us on Saturday, November 23rd at 4pm for the additional show. The performance is at The Studio Theatre at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street by 9th Avenue. Details and tickets available here.
December Benefit – GTTP talks SEX!
We’re currently planning our December Benefit – GTTP talks Sex! Ha, ha! Now you’re paying attention? Details to follow but for now, save the date – Before you head out of the city for your holiday festivities, we hope you’ll join us on December 20th at Shetler Studios for an evening of storytelling with the Tahitians.
Within Arm’s Reach in March
Molly and I are currently finishing the stage adaptation of Ann Napolitano’s beautiful novel, Within Arm’s Reach. From Library Journal (Starred Review) – “Narrated in six different voices, this stunning first novel explores the multigenerational dynamics of one Irish American family and exposes misunderstandings and broken relationships… Although this exquisite, skillfully written gem addresses serious issues – e.g., guilt vs. loyalty, the past vs. the present – the narrative remains hopeful and includes ample doses of humor and wit.” In the next few months you’ll be seeing a lot from us about Within Arm’s Reach. We’re settling on a performance space and a crew in the next couple of weeks and will look at holding auditions in January. The plan right now (of course dependent on things like “what space is available?” and “how much money can we raise?”) is for a two week performance run in March. Expect trademark GTTP elements – original storytelling and innovative use of lights, sound, set, projections, costume and movement. More details to come soon. And then more and more and more…
Farm Story filming
GTTP is thrilled to make this announcement: We’re about to move into the world of film and TV production! As a director I love love love theater but from the beginning I’ve also always wanted to direct in the film and tv world as well. So, why haven’t I, you ask. Actually I have a bit – I made a music video for Camilla Ammirati’s awesome song – The Ballad of Chicken McGann (which you can see on our GTTP Youtube Page) and I made a short film of Skin Flesh Bone – but I’ve never made a full length film or television pilot for a couple of reasons. #1) As you know, although theater ain’t exactly cheap, it’s definitely cheaper than film and tv production. In the past, thanks to all of you, we’ve been able to raise the budgets for plays but the starting budget for a television pilot episode is exponentially higher than your average low-budget theater production. So, we haven’t jumped in before. #2) I knew that raising the money for and actually filming a television pilot would take a LOT of my time – as in – all of it. And I didn’t want to abandon theater production while I went off to spend all of my time on a television show. #3) I’m not a writer. Though I’m a decent interpretive artist, I’m not exactly good with the creative writing thing. And so, I’ve never had a script that made sense as the first episode of a television show. BUT NOW – all three of those things have changed. (Actually #3 and #2 changed and that made me willing to jump in and change #1). So #3 changed with the entracnce of Terri Viani, a dear screenwriting friend of mine. She has written an amazing script for the pilot episode of a television series called Farm Story. As you know from previous blog posts we now have Molly on board so there went #2. She will spearhead the theater stuff while I flit off to film Farm Story (see the next paragraph for more details on that). And so, we’re ready to jump into #1 – the money. Going to Tahiti Productions will coproduce the television show with Terri’s company, The Writer, Ink Productions and I will direct Farm Story. All that being said, GTTP’s official involvement in Farm Story won’t really heat up until Within Arm’s Reach is nearing completion but, if you’d like to follow the progress of independent television production (a formerly unheard of field that, with the advent of the internet and inexpensive (but high quality) film/video technology, is now becoming more common), check out our Farm Story blog here. As of right now, (and, of course, dependent on fundraising) we are planning to film in New York and Virginia in late June/early July of 2014. Although we are THRILLED to be taking this step, as I said, this doesn’t mean that GTTP will stop doing theater. While I’m off rehearsing and filming the first episode of Farm Story, Molly will be here running GTTP and working on her own show…
…which brings me to another GTTP first – it’s an exciting 5th Anniversary year for GTTP! For the first time GTTP is commissioning a show. (We’ve hit the big time now, kids!) Molly is currently in discussions with a playwright friend to write a collaborative movement/theater piece that will feature original music and will hopefully run around the same time that I’m off filming Farm Story - so, late June/early July.
Workshops, classes and readings oh my!
And, last but not least – we were so excited about our last round of workshops and classes that we’re going to do it again. Stay tuned in January for class and workshop announcements. We’re also planning to launch our reading series starting in the new year.
We hope to see you at one of the many upcoming events as GTTP heads into the second half of our 5th anniversary season.
Today we have a guest blog post from Molly Ballerstein, director and writer of The Sandman’s Coming. Here’s what she had to say about the process of creating this haunting and beautiful show. Have you bought your tickets yet?
I’m going to be honest with you all, I’ve been trying to write this for weeks. It always starts the same: “I can’t believe it’s been over a year,” as this thought has stayed with me constantly throughout this second incarnation of The Sandman’s Coming. Now that we are half way through the run I’m practically speechless. A year ago I had a form of this story I wanted to share, a choreographer, and acceptance into the Frigid Festival guaranteeing us five shows. The Frigid Festival production yielded one THEASY reviewer to comment:
“The Sandman’s Coming is a highly ambitious and ultimately effective exploration that engages dance, media, sound, and familiar nursery rhymes in its storytelling. Theatrical, unexpected, and vivid, Sandman is important both in its topic and in its ingenuity.”
At the end of the festival I knew the story telling was not complete; I had heard a lot of great feedback from my New York writing premiere and was excited to embark on the refining process…in the future. A small break from The Sandman’s Coming led to me getting involved with Going to Tahiti Productions, which led to Jessica agreeing to co-produce The Sandman’s Coming for the fall and bring me on board GTTP.
limits. This had its successes and failures especially as the time crunch came upon us. It has also proven to me that in order to tell a story effectively everyone’s heart needs to be in it. To have the pleasure of working with artist’s that are invested in the story has been a journey and the longer I work on the show the more personal stories I hear about how addiction has affected the lives of my collaborators. I have worked with many amazing artists along the way and everyone involved in this process will always have a special place in my mind.
The Sandman’s Coming runs until November 3rd at Theatre 54 at Shetler Studios, 244 West 54th Street, 12th Floor. For tickets and further details go to:www.goingtotahitiproductions.com.
Molly Ballerstein is a New York City director, writer, designer and stage manager as well as being the co-Executive Producer/co-Managing Director of GTTP. You can follow Molly on Twitter @FedoraMolly.
Workshops and Seminars and Classes, oh my!
When Molly came on board as GTTP’s Co-Managing Director/Co-Executive Producer, we sat down and started planning the 2013-14 season. We knew that right out of the gate we wanted to do something new, something different, and something that would change the Tahiti Status Quo and one of the first things we talked about were the workshops/classes/seminars I’ve wanted to jump into since I first started this whole theater thing. After all, I’m the daughter of two teachers, there’s no way teaching isn’t in my blood. BUT, the thought of it was a bit daunting – how do you plan a workshop? where would we do it? what if no one showed up? So, we did the only thing we could think of – ignore that “Doubting Thomas Voice” and just jump in. BTW, the answer to those three questions are as follows:
1) You just do it – decide what you want to say and teach, and then plan a curriculum that says and teaches it.
2) We’ll do it at Shetler Studios – after all, we have this lovely performance space that we are currently using for performances only in the evenings (except for our weekend matinees)…perhaps we should capitalize on that fact and use the space during the day as well.
3) We’ll figure they just haven’t found us yet and do the workshops again in a few weeks…undaunted is truly the ONLY way to do independent theater in NYC.
And then we realized that the week we wanted to do the workshops – the full week between the opening and closing of The Sandman’s Coming (oh, have you bought your tickets yet?) is the week between my and Molly’s birthdays* – that’s right, folks, we now have two, count ‘em TWO Scorpios running this thing. So, as a little birthday celebration, we have planned 3 very exciting workshops:
On Tuesday, October 29th, from 2-5pm we’ll be hosting an Improv Workshop for Actors and Non-Actors Alike. What makes this workshop really special to GTTP is that it’s being run by Improv Guru, Brett Wean. Now, many of you may not know Brett specifically but if you saw Full Disclosure by Ruth McKee, when we did that back in 2011, you saw some of his work. As a director, I find improvisation to be an invaluable tool in helping actors find their performances and when we did Full Disclosure, I brought Brett in specifically to work with Kiwi Callahan and help her find the world of Sunny Smith. Without him Full Disclosure would have been a VERY different show. And, one of the things I realized when I watched Brett and Kiwi work is that Improv is great for performance, yes, but it is also great for everyday life…and, if you don’t believe me, perhaps you’ll believe Tina Fey. Anywho, the point is, Improv workshop is happening. Join us. For tickets go to: eventbrite or our Shows and Events Page.
On Wednesday, October 30th, from 10:30am-5:30pm Molly and I will be running an all day seminar that is very close to my heart. Targeted to Early Career Directors – Directing in NY is truly the seminar I wish I could have taken way back when…when I first moved to NY and started directing here. The goal of the seminar is to give a kind of overview of everything you’ll need to know to direct a show in NY – from the producing side – finding a space, following a budget, using the Actors’ Equity Showcase code; to communicating with your design team and crew – directing may be a solitary job but you really can’t do it alone; to straight-up directing techniques – how do you analyze a scene, is improv helpful (spoiler alert – uh, yeah. see the paragraph above this one), how exactly do you direct? It should be a fun time and, at $175 for the day, for an all day seminar with lunch included, you know it’s a great deal. For tickets go to eventbrite or our Shows and Events Page.
And then, on Thursday, October 31st, from 1-4pm (early enough for people to have time to go home and get into their Halloween costumes), we’re holding an Audition Class – Auditioning for Women. Seeing as GTTP is all about giving more opportunities for women in theater, it seemed appropriate to tailor a class around the women who obtain those “more opportunities”. And, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like women cast all that differently from men, but I do think there are some tips that actors would be interested in when approaching an audition. In fact, I’ll give one away now for free – don’t call me girl. I know, it seems straightforward, and kinda obvious but I’ve lost count of the number of actors (all younger than me) who’ve said in an audition, “you girls might want to check it out” thereby insuring that, you know, I will never check it out. So, yeah, that’s a freebie, but there are some other great tips we’ll be covering in the Audition workshop. For tickets go to: eventbrite or our Shows and Events Page.
We hope to see you there and, of course, all proceeds from the workshops go to our continued production of quality Independent NY Theater. So, join us for a workshop, learn a little something, support GTTP and who knows where else it might lead…
*by the by, there will, most likely, be cake.
That’s right folks! As you may have seen in our newsletter, GTTP is FIVE YEARS OLD this month!!!!!
And, in celebration of this milestone, we’ll be having a whole bunch of events throughout the season, including shows (of course) – speaking of which, have you bought your tickets for The Sandman’s Coming? (I may have mentioned – they’re on sale now) – workshops (we’re planning two workshops – improv and audition skills – for October and several throughout the rest of the season – stay tuned for details), cabarets – we’re ironing out the details of a storytelling cabaret that will be happening during the run of The Sandman’s Coming (tickets on sale now) that we hope you will join us for – seminars (we’re currently putting together a seminar for early career directors – details to follow) and parties - at the very least we’re planning an anniversary celebration that should coincide nicely with the winter holidays – so we hope you will stay tuned…but, that is actually not what this post is about. This post is brought to you by the number 5 because this post is about our 5 year anniversary or our 5th birthday or however you want to look at it, this post about us having made it, in an over-satureated, theater town, to our 5th season!!! A milestone we would not have seen if it weren’t for all of you out there!!!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for your continued support. And, since this post is about a specific number, I thought I’d give it to you by the numbers – 10 to be exact – so here you go…
1 – as in – ONE DREAM that refused (and continues to refuse) to die. For me the dream of directing was so powerful that it started us all on this journey. It’s been a weird and wonderful trip so far – a dream trip, one might say, and I hope we’re just at the beginning…
2 – as in – the number of novels GTTP has adapted into stage productions (Dreamers of the Day, and Jane Austen’s Persuasion) – see our Past Productions page and previous blog posts for details on these amazing and exhilerating shows.
3 – as in – the third novel GTTP will adapt for the stage after we premiere our adaptation of Ann Napolitano’s Within Arm’s Reach, in late winter/early spring of 2014. I know, I know you’ve been hearing about this for over a year but it is now OFFICIALLY on the calendar, people! It is on the calendar and the script is halfway completed. We’re currently deciding on a performance venue and we are aiming for a late February/early March production run. Stay tuned for details.
4 – as in – the number of times GTTP has performed at The Secret Theatre. One of our all time favorite performance spaces, The Secret Theatre is consistently bringing new and innovative productions to their little corner of Long Island City – not so secret anymore. We hope to be back at our unofficial home in the spring, but in the meantime, if you’re looking for quality indy professional theater in Queens, check them out and take in a show.
5 – as in – we’re five years old, y’all!!!! Haven’t you been reading this post?
6 – as in – the number of theater women (who haven’t worked directly with GTTP and aren’t Tahitians per se but that) I have connected with thanks to/because of my work with GTTP. Connections I would not have made if GTTP didn’t exist – women I can’t imagine not having in my life. They include – Jane Dubin, producer - ANN, Peter and the Starcatcher and unFRAMED; Patricia Klausner, producer – Pippin; Caroline Rothstein, writer, performer and producer, http://bodyempowerment.tumblr.com/; Bailie Slevin, a former theater professional who is now on a mission to bring fiscal health and education to the entertainment community – a mission she pursues through her company Entertaining Finance; Melanie Jones, writer, performer, dancer and producer – Endure, and; last but not least Jake Lipman, actor, director, producer and founder of Tongue in Cheek Theater who will be doing a performance of How I Learned to Drive at the other Shetler Studios Theater during our run of The Sandman’s Coming. These women have been incredible – helpful, motivating, supportive, and generally wonderful people I’ve been honored to share the female theater community with. I hope that they are only the beginning of this circle of incredible theater women that GTTP has entered into.
7 – as in – the number of different aviatrices (the aviatrix is what we call our logo), our incomparable graphic designer, Christine Diaz, has designed to individually accompany each production (we don’t have one for Dreamers of the Day or the first In the Ebb as we sadly hadn’t yet discovered the awesomeness that is Christine at the time we were doing those shows). When she came on board, she branded GTTP and continues to design all of our beautiful production art. To see all of the aviatrices, check out our About Us page.
8 – as in – the number of productions presented by GTTP since we opened our doors (curtains) - In the Ebb, by Camilla Ammirati, Dreamers of the Day, adapted from the novel by Mary Doria Russell, Skin Flesh Bone, by Camilla Ammirati, Full Disclosure, by Ruth McKee, Cat Lady without a Cat, by Carrie Keskinen, Jane Austen’s Persuasion, adapted for the stage by Laura Bultman, In the Ebb (Redux), by Camilla Ammirati and Bella’s Dream by Dana Boll. More details on each (except for Bella’s Dream because I haven’t had a chance to upload the pictures but will hopefully do it soon) can be found on our Past Productions page.
9 – as in – the number of productions we will have under our belts when The Sandman’s Coming opens on October 24th. Did I mention? Tickets are on sale now.
Which brings me to:
10 – as in – years – our next big milestone – that, with your help, we’ll reach in another five.
Thanks for getting us here! We hope you’ll continue to join us on this extraordinary, exciting, incredible journey!
See you at the thater!!!!
SO! It has been an inSANE summer. I cannot believe that it is mid-September and that we are already moving into the cooler months of the year…I know, I know, this is what EVERYONE says as the fall begins, but really? Where did the last 6 months go?!?! For people who read this blog religiously (Hi, Mom!) you know that Bella’s Dream took up a fair portion of GTTP’s time from February to July but, I guess that doesn’t really explain where we’ve been for July and August and the first half of September. And, you’re right, you deserve to know. The one thing I will say is that, though I haven’t been particularly on top of blogging and website updates and keeping you all up to speed, that does NOT mean that I have been idly twiddling my thumbs and eating bon bons.
What I have been doing instead is strategizing and re-organizing the very existence of Going to Tahiti Productions – I know, you minds are totally blown, right? You were all – “hmph, Jessica’s just been sitting on the couch all summer eating bon bons” but now you know the truth – and the truth is, GTTP has some news, Peeps! We got us some genuine bona fide news! And that news has a name – Molly Ballerstein.
A little history – when I started GTTP, I always intended for it to be an ensemble and I always wanted a partner to help me run the company. I mean, although I’m capable of doing it on my own, it’s really more fun to have a like-minded buddy to bounce ideas off of and help run the show and…the shows… So, for years, I’ve been asearching high and low for that like-minded buddy but it wasn’t until I found multi-hyphenate Molly, that I began to really see how a partnership would work. So I asked if she’d like to take an extened trip to Tahiti, and lo and behold, she said yes!
So now, finally, I’m officially announcing that Molly Ballerstein – Director, Writer, Stage Manager, Lighting Designer, Costume Designer, and all around fantastic human being has agreed to join GTTP as Co-Managing Director and Co-Executive Producer with yours truly. As you know from previous blog posts, Molly first landed on our island when she agreed to stage manage Bella’s Dream. Although I initially had some hesitation in bringing a fellow director on as stage manager (“what if she decided she wanted to direct instead of stage manage and started challenging everything I was doing?”, “what if she saw things differently than I did and tried for some sort of power play?”, or even “what if she’s not all around awesome?”), those fears were quickly dispatched about 30 seconds after I met her and realised that she might be that “like-minded buddy” of which I spoke earlier. After a particularly challenging tech week, (which found Molly and me pulling an all-nighter in the theater), my realization that she IS all around awesome was permanently cemented. It also turns out that Molly has a very similar directing style to me and we just generally hit it off really well…so well, in fact, that I couldn’t NOT ask her if she wanted to help me run GTTP. I get a partner, she gets a company, and our audience gets shows from two directors instead of just one. How awesome is that? Talk about a win-win-win.
And so, as you may have seen from our home page, we’re jumping into our 2013-14 season with The Sandman’s Coming. A show conceived and directed by Molly. The Sandman’s Coming marks a bit of a change for GTTP – a dance/theater piece that explores issues of identity and addiction – you’re about to see a whole new voice and vision from GTTP because it’s a whole new director. Don’t get me wrong, this is still GTTP so you’re still going to get innovative female-driven work, but make no mistake, GTTP’s got some fresh new blood. And I don’t know if you’ve heard but fresh new blood ain’t just good for vampires – it’s good for audiences too. There will be lots more on the production itself in the days and weeks to come, including a few blog posts directly from Molly as we move into rehearsals; but, in the meantime, mark your calendars - The Sandman’s Coming opens October 24th and runs through November 3rd at Shetler Studios in Manhattan. Tickets will go on sale next week.
So, please join me in welcoming Molly into the GTTP world!!!
Check back next week for a blog post from Molly herself…
…and so it begins…
When I was little and still thinking I would ultimately have to have real babies (as opposed to the theater babies that my shows always are) I remember asking my mom what pregnancy was like and she answered “long”. I said, “but it’s only 9 months, right?” (Seriously, my 7 year old brain couldn’t really process 9 months, I mean to me – I thought years were long, months were short). And my mom said, “nope, first of all, technically pregnancy is 10 months, not 9, AND it feels like 9 months and a year! That last month goes on forever!” Of course then she said, “and yet, there’s still never enough time.” Again something my 7 year old brain couldn’t process (too long but also not enough time) so off I went to make my Barbie dolls re-enact scenes from Sesame Street. Ok, ok, I know, you’re all thinking why is she telling us this story? I thought this was a theater blog. I’m getting there, hang with me. Whenever I go into a tech week I always always think of my mom saying “9 months and a year…and…never enough time.” As an adult, of course, I totally understand how something can be both things-too long and too short-and every time I do a show, as the first performance approaches, I feel that pressure – too long/too short – building in my entire system. Now, at last, I get to the point. Tech week is about to begin – my own final month/year of pregnancy with this particular show-baby.
So, for everyone keeping track, here’s a quick recap of this past week. The week began with the last of the scene work. It’s always amazing to me how the closer you get to the end of the rehearsal process, the more you find in the work. All of the actors start to come off book and as scripts leave hands and actors are free to really connect and communicate on stage, the discoveries start to flow. The moments come together and the show really starts to take shape. We spent the first half of this week finishing scene work. On Thursday I also got the chance to work individually with the actors who have monologues during the show-a chance to really delve and play with those moments. On Friday we did a line-through with the actors (basically everyone sits in a rehearsal room, and runs the show for lines. The stage manager, in our case, the luminous Molly Ballerstein, is on book and at the ready when an actor calls “line” to feed them their text and we cruise through the show). In my experience a line-through right before tech can be extremely helpful for getting everyone ready for the runs that are about to begin…and then, and then, and gentlemen and then…(sorry, a little PIPPIN moment there. I promise, that review is coming soon. ANYWHO I digress (big surprise, I know)). And then! This past weekend we jumped in to run-throughs. Finally we got a chance to see if our running time is anywhere close to the run time we quoted on all of our promotional materials (turns out it is) and we got to see a glimmer of what the show will be.
It’s also during this last week before tech when the slow hand off of the play begins. Although, as a director, I am of course needed through opening night, this subtle shift in control and responsibility starts in that last week before tech where, with each passing rehearsal the show becomes less and less mine and more and more the actors’ and Stage Manager’s production. As producer and director I’m always still up to my ears in the production until the end – it is not a rare occurence that I’m at every single performance, but officially, I start handing my baby over to others to let it find its legs. It’s always an exciting time in the life of a show (and also a teensy bit sad).
So, now, we head into tech week and I get back to that pregnancy story-too long and yet too short. So, for those of you not particularly familiar with theater…how to describe tech week? Organized chaos? The definition of chaos theory? Chaotic? (Are you sensing a theme?) I can’t speak to what it is like on Broadway, or even Off-Broadway (though I suspect, that though there’s more money in those worlds, it’s not that different from the off-off-Broadway environment) in low-budget, independent theater it’s like this: You remember finals week from school? The lack of sleep, the intense studying, the feeling like at any moment some little thing will go wrong and you’ll ruin your entire future in one fell swoop? Remember the fear but also the exhilaration that a screw up, as bad as it would be, would launch your life in a totally new and unexpected direction? Remember the stress building up so much that sometimes you needed a primal scream or two to get you through the day? That’s amateur hour compared to tech week. Pfft. Child’s play. And the director/producer keeps all the plates spinning; makes sure all the decisions get made – God I love this job.
My tech week will (most likely) look like this:
It will begin with load-in. VERY early in the morning, I’ll make my way to the space and open up the theater and get my first good look since we booked it. I’ll realize exactly how big a playing area it is and start to envision what the final
product will actually look like. If possible, I’ll sit for a minute, on the stage, by myself, before anyone else arrives, and just soak in the empty-theater-ness of the place – that feeling of potential magic that an empty theater practically oozes. Then, I’ll meet up with the tech director and start unloading the set from the truck. Soon after that, or during that, some helpers will arrive, as will the order from the lighting rental house. We’ll hang lights, and put set together and throughout the day we’ll prep the dressing room, and clean the space. The costume designer will drop off costumes and the projections designer will start testing images in the space. We’ll have some sound tests of the speakers and slowly but surely, an empty open space will turn into the world of Bella’s Dream. And then we’ll do it all again (well not the unloading the set part, just the turning the empty space into Bella’s Dream part) the next day. Tuesday, Molly and I will test out every set piece and walk the pathways of the show for safety – as a director, I’ve always said, I won’t ask any actor to do something I wouldn’t feel 100% safe doing myself and as a stage manager, Molly would say the same so only after we test everything and know it’s safe will we hand set pieces off to actors. We’ll also glow tape the crap out of everything so that the backstage looks like the game grid from TRON. Then, Tuesday night, the actors will arrive and we’ll have our first walk through of the show in the actual space. Wednesday will be a long tech day, doing recordings and filmings for elements that are featured within the show, costume fittings, and general tech stuff before we start to really look at the lights and hear the sounds and see the projections, projected larger than life on the screen. Thursday is our cue to cue. For those not familiar with a cue to cue, it is exactly that, it is the whole show but just going from technical cue to technical cue. It is an absolute necessity but usually a hard and tiring day for all. Friday will be run throughs, Saturday will be run throughs and dress rehearsal and then Sunday – we’re off to the races with our preview!
…and in the end, though everything will somehow get done, none of it will happen exactly the way I’ve planned or expected – it’s the nature of the beast – and I’ll have to shift plans on the fly…but, either way, Sunday night, we will have a show…speaking of which, have you bought tickets yet? Preview tickets are only $12! All other tickets $18. Be sure to pick up your tickets ASAP – only 15 performances.
So, yeah, that’s tech week. I’ll do another blog post as soon as I can to let you all know how it went but the best way to know for certain is to come see the show. See you at the theater!
That’s right folks – we are only two weeks from opening (two weeks and 4 hours to be exact). Actually, technically, our first performance is our preview on June 16th (special discounted tickets available here) so really we have less than two weeks until we open but the official opening night is June 18th.
I can’t believe that we’re already done with three weeks of rehearsal. This has been an incredibly exciting week. We did our first run though on Saturday which allowed designers to really see what we’re doing with the show. I’m so please I managed not to cause any heart attacks, particularly from Sam, the Lighting Designer, as he realized exactly how much of the very large playing area I’m using and therefore he will need to light. He took it like a champ, truly. And Amanda, Costume, and Andre, Projections also were able to see, respectively, how the costumes would need to move on the actors and dancers, and how and when the actors and dancers would be moving in front of the projection screen. But for me, the most exciting thing was to see the whole show, from start to finish, as I haven’t seen it (or at least haven’t heard it) since our very first read through a whole 3 weeks ago…And it’s extraordinary to see it come together, (if in fits and starts considering it was our first run through) and more importantly see how it will come together over the next two weeks as props, costumes, sets, and other tech elements begin to get added in.
For anyone not interested in my musings about the directing process – feel free to skip this and the next paragraphs. For everyone else, enjoy: Recently I was accepted to an SDC Symposium on Play Directing, which will be happening a week from Monday and as part of the symposium, I was asked to send in a bio and think about my directing style and that exercise gave me the opportunity to try to observe, “what exactly it is that I do when I direct.” It was a really interesting exercise for me. It turns out I do in fact have a method, it’s just so ingrained in how I do this whole theater thing that I never realized it was a method. I already talked about my process during the first week of rehearsals which is usually a lot of discussion and some improv centered around who the characters are and what their relationships are to the other folks in the play. And then we move into blocking and that’s really just me figuring out where exactly I want everyone to go on stage. Sometimes that’s instinctual and sometimes it’s not but it always eventually comes. The really nice thing about blocking is that usually, when it doesn’t look right, it also doesn’t feel right for the actors and before I say anything about it they sort of self adjust – or stop what they’re doing, look me in the eye and say “dude, this is crazysauce – not gonna work,” and we fix it together. So the blocking and character stuff is usually pretty straightforward. Kind of the utility work of the process. But scene work? Ah, scene work is where the magic happens. Scene work is the art…at least to me.
When it comes to scene work, turns out I have a method here too but this method is a little different (or maybe it’s not. Sidney Lumet has a famous line that I absolutely love and agree with: “directing is like sex. Everybody does it, but you’re not quite sure you’re doing it right, and you’re always curious about how other people are doing it.” It’s totally true, so maybe my method isn’t different at all but whether it is or not, this is how I do it.) Basically, I have the actors do the scene and I observe it. I ask them how they’re feeling with it. If it feels right to them. And then, if it doesn’t feel like it’s working for me, I change something. Usually working outward from the periphery characters in to the main character in the scene. Basically, I just keep changing things. Kind of like throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks. Shifts, adjustments, suggestions, notes, until the scene starts to take shape. Usually I see something. One of the many times through the scene I see that spark and know in my gut – “ooh, that! Do that!” and then I usually jump up and down a little and actually say – “ooh, that! Do that!” Somewhere during that process the final scene really takes shape. It’s amazing to watch it happen. And, although it always follows a particular format, it’s different every time because each actor and each role and each experience is always different from whatever came before. The other thing is that, with all this work, even when it’s Right-with-a-capital-R, things will change, things will continue to grow. Because, theater is organic. Theater is alive. Theater changes with each performance and each experience. It’s one of those things I love soooooo much about theater. And it’s a joy to be a part of.
But, I digress (I seem to do that alot but then again, I guess that’s kind of how blogs work, right?) ANYWHO…so THIS WEEK, we will continue with scene work and we’ll have a chance to do nitpicky fixes of moments that aren’t quite working but by the weekend we’ll be into full run-throughs and our chance to fix major moments will be over. It’s fast. Every show I marvel at how fast it goes. But I digress aGAIN. Monday, S**T gets real! – we load in to the Flamboyan at CSV and the sets and costumes and lights and sound and projections and everything technical starts to come together. Tech officially begins and though I’m hoping I’ll find a way to do the “4 weeks down…1 to go” blog post – I’m saying it now, don’t hold your breath waiting for it. It will most likely not come until the night before we open.
Also, there’s still two weeks left on our Rockethub campaign. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far and for everyone else out there be sure to check out the sight and join the Bella’s Dream family. Get cool rewards, watch the awesome teaser video (put together by yours truly – I know, I’m so modest), read updates on the project from me and Dana Boll – (multi-hyphenate extraordinaire) playwright, choreographer, actor and co-producer and support the show even before we open.
Speaking of opening night – TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW!!!!! Be sure to snap up your tickets as soon as you can. They’re selling like…well not quite like hotcakes…but what’s the next fastest seller? And, if the $18 ticket price is a bit too steep, keep in mind there are discounted $12 preview tickets available for June 16th at 5pm.
See you at the theater!
It’s official! We have a performance space, we have a crew, after next week we’ll have actors – in other words - Bella’s Dream is happening.
So, I know that it’s been up on the website and I know that I’ve mentioned it to a bunch of you but now that the space has been finalized and the ticket website is up and running, I can officially announce that Bella’s Dream will open on June 18th (reduced price preview performance on June 16th) and run for two weeks at The Flamboyan Theater which is part of the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational center on the Lower East Side (107 Suffolk St.). We are deep into preproduction now – auditions are next week (actors check out the listing on Actors Access or playbill.com for details on submission). Also, as I mentioned above, tickets are officially on sale! Go to our ticket calendar here, for tickets.
My intention is to be posting a lot more now that we’re in production and I have lots to post about…of course, now that we’re in production I’m not sure I’ll have time to post a lot so this is a nice little experiment, but, you know, I’m gonna give it the old college try.
Keep an ear out here and on Facebook and Twitter for more details and feel free to get your tickets now. Did I mention? Tickets are on sale now!
So, it’s time I talked about that green eyed monster…and no I’m not talking about this guy from Monsters Inc…although, come to think of it, he was a green monster and he had an eye but the eye was aquamarine so technically he’s not a green eyed monster so much as he’s a green, aquamarine-eyed, monster…but I digress. No, the Green Eyed Monster I was talking about, of course, is jealousy. I have to say, although I can get pretty jealous in my personal life (I mean I am a Scorpio after all) most of my jealousy is confined to the professional world. And, I gotta tell you, it’s a bitch. I mean it. Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue being jealous of people I don’t know personally who have ridiculous success who doesn’t deserve it (insert any Kardashian name here). Although honestly that’s less jealousy than disdain. And I don’t mind getting on my high horse about people who have ridiculous success AND talent – dude I get jealous and snippy and generally rant-y about Lena Dunham like you wouldn’t beLIEVE (then again, I have yet to see Girls (what? I can’t afford cable let alone HBO) and am basing my entire opinion about her on the movie Tiny Furniture (which I hated) and an interview she gave in EW magazine), but I respect that she’s talented and self confident and completely without body issues so I’m good with her there. I just absolutely get jealous that someone so young and talented is getting heaps of acclaim and money and opportunity and pretty much everything I’ve been struggling for for like 20 years and seems not only not phased by it but in fact as if she was entitled to it all along. Of course, maybe that’s my problem – I’ve seen it more like something I would love to have but not something I was “entitled to” per se. Maybe I should just wander around completely self entitled. I’m sure that would make me a sought after party guest.
ANYWAY, I digress again because I’m not even talking about the people I don’t know who are wildly successful. Who gives a crap about them. I’m talking about that jealousy that rears its ugly head instinctively even when it’s the successes of people I love. You see, I have people in my life – loved ones, friends, acquaintances, who I genuinely care about and yet, when I hear about one of their successes (especially in the entertainment world) my immediate instinctive thought is not, “OMG that is soooo great for her/him” nope it’s “ugh, why can’t stuff work out that well for me?” And not ONLY do I initially think that, I think it in the most whiny, irritating voice in my head that it is possible to create. Forget about the fact that my very next thought is always, “OMG that is soooo great for her/him”. Forget that my heart swells with pride as if I had something to do with her or his accomplishments. Forget that I have been known to turn actual cartwheels of excitement in honor of someone else’s accomplishment. I just can’t seem to get rid of that green eyed monster.
And so, as I witness this behavior, I’ve been wondering a lot lately whether it is the nature of the artist. We spend so much of our time seeking approval. And though we may play a good game – honestly in most aspects of my life I could give a crap what people think of me – when it comes down to my art, I want to be loved. I want to be applauded, I want to blow people away. I wonder, is the jealousy ingrained in us creative types? It is a pretty competitive business and I’m not a compteitive person. I just want to do my thing and make a living at it. So maybe, the fact that it is so competitve makes me subconciously see other people’s successes as taking something away from me. But, the thing is, I don’t believe that’s true. I honestly believe there’s room for all. We make our own fate. I believe it, I know it. So why, oh why, do I consistently react with jealousy even if it is just in my own head? Because I really hate it. I mean really really hate it. I want to just be that zen person who never has a bad thought about others but who just honestly generously reacts to the success of others. Maybe I just need to keep making more of my own success so that I can kick back and rest on my laurels and not even notice the laurels of others. Or maybe I should just start ignoring all of the people I love – no, I don’t like that option at all.
So, instead I’m trying to change it. See, I’m too smart to think that I can change my immediate emotional reaction to something just by saying “don’t feel that, Jessica.” That’s like saying, “gentle reader, don’t think of an elephant.” What happened? That’s right, you totally thought of an elephant. No, I’m not going to change it like that. Instead, I’m trying to accept that those feelings are a part of me. As much as I don’t like it, it’s true. Pissy, jealous, petty, snippy, instinctive emotions are as much a part of me as they are a part of anyone else and to pretend they’re not there only makes them fester and grow. So, I won’t ignore them and I won’t pretend I don’t feel them. I will just acknowledge them as my crap and no one else’s. In the end they’re completely one sided they come from me and only me and actually have nothing at all to do with the friend or loved one who has accomplished so much. I’m sure at their core those emotions are driven by fear so, after looking at those feelings, acknowledging them as my own, I then have to release them with love. Because they’re a part of me, they’re mine, and if I don’t want them, only I can get rid of them. “Goodbye jealous feelings. You ain’t wanted here no more.” I don’t know that it will make a difference but I sure am gonna try…and if that doesn’t work, I just need to find a way to genuinely collaborate with each and every talented person I know.
For those of you not aware, that “collaboration with with each and every talented person I know” is going strong as ensemble member Dana Boll and I co-produce Dana’s play with dance: Bella’s Dream which will run through June with Yours Truly directing. Details and tickets will be available soon.
Disclaimer: I couldn’t come up with a good picture that really went along with this post. Sorry, just a whole lotta words and heads up, a couple of them are naughty…
Except for the occasional theater review, you may have noticed GTTP has been a little bit absent from the Blogosphere. (I’m sure you’ve all been breathlessly waiting for an explanation of where Jessica and GTTP has been). Well, lucky you, I feel like it is time to explain my absence. My other blog post today is all shiny happy with very exciting updates and, if you’d like to read that go ahead and skip this post entirely and see the shiny happy post here (ah the joys of simultaneous posting). But for those of you brave enough to embrace the darkness (heh. How ominous does that sound?), here’s the deal.
As you know from previous posting, last year was a bit of a crazy year (in a good way). GTTP (and in this instance the GTTP I’m referring to is yours truly) was up to its ears in productions. Starting with my directing gig at The Secret Theater, I went directly from directing The Day Job by Julia Blauvelt, into co-producing Cat Lady Without A Cat by Carrie Keskinen and then into directing and producing Jane Austen’s Persuasion by Laura Bultman, and right into directing and producing In The Ebb by Camilla Ammirati at the NY International Fringe Festival. Let me just say, that for as crazy as the schedule was, there is nothing quite as awesome as going from gig to gig to gig. It gives meaning to your life (or, in this case, my life) and it’s wonderful to know that you’re devoting all of your time and energy to the one thing that you know – completely know down in your boney bone bones – you were put on this earth to do. So that? Was awesome! …end of post.
Heh. Ok, not end of post. There was a downside. And here it is, gentle readers. Just because I know that I was put on this earth to direct (and produce) it doesn’t mean the universe recognizes it. And there was this tricky little thing with going from gig to gig to gig…and it’s that same tricky little thing that plagues all of us “starving” artists. That’s right, folks. Say it with me. Money. In that, there is none. No that’s not true. I have the most AMAZING supporters, which is to say all of you. I am WELL aware and INCREDIBLY appreciative of the way all of you have pitched in with money, time, encouragement and general support over the years. There’s nothing quite so wonderful as saying, “huh, how am I going to come up with x amount of money for this show?” and then checking Rockethub and seeing that x amount money has showed up from donors. It is a wonderful and amazing thing. But, unfortunately, for what I’m trying to do, it’s not enough. Don’t get me wrong, I know your hard earned cash is exactly that and you need to give what you’re comfortable giving and I’m not trying to imply that your generosity isn’t appreciated. No, on the contrary, it is EVERYTHING and it is a perfect launching off point. But, what I’ve been realizing, the longer I do this, is that we need more and we need bigger. Money and audiences, that is. In order to get to the place that I might one day make a living at this, we need to make that jump from small company surviving on individual donations into a company that makes its money through grants, or corporate sponsorship, or investors or all of the above…we need to jump.
This need was particularly noticeable last fall when I was hoping we were making that jump. I finished The Fringe Festival, completely ready for one of two things to happen, either – some variation of the pipe dream – someone of influence, someone with money, would have seen In the Ebb and decided he or she wanted to be GTTP’s patron or I’d get a directing agent who would launch me into a world of gigs for which I would get recognition and get paid a real salary and that salary would, in turn, enable me to subsidize my GTTP work or we’d get so noticed and so well reviewed that we would be instantly skyrocketed to fame and success (or at least to a budget level that would allow for a decent salary for all involved) and I’d get help in making GTTP really happen – OR – (more likely) I would go back to my 4 day jobs for 4 months, make some money, expand the ensemble, and come back in the spring for our next show, which would be a contributing factor to that jump happening, like now.
But here’s what happened…nada. No, that’s not exactly true, I did expand the company and we are now an ensemble of 28 artists and technicians and you can read about that in the other blog post (you know, the shiny happy one). But, except for that, nothing happened. No pipe dream, and no day job (there just wasn’t much work for me last fall). So I spent a few months trying to figure out what I should have done differently and what I could do differently in the future to make sure that that jump I was talking about earlier, would — no, will — happen.
Because, here’s the thing, I’m tired. I mean it. It’s exhausting to keep pushing, to keep going. It’s tiring to keep telling yourself, “no no, it WILL happen.” Leading up to Fringe, (as I have with every single production) I REALLY tried not to get my hopes up. I really tried not to let myself even imagine the pipe dream stuff. I REALLY REALLY did (and in my family when you say “really really” you can not lie). I kept telling myself, “Jessica, pipe dreams don’t happen in real life. This ain’t an episode of Smash. If you want something to happen you need to put in the work. You need to keep pushing. You need to persevere and, in the end you need to MAKE it happen. Because no one is going to give it to you. No one is going to do it for you.” I can’t tell you how many times over the past five years I’ve told myself some variation of exactly that. Seriously, it’s like a daily affirmation. Because you need to keep that pipe dream shit in check. So I stomped down on any of the, “but maybe what will happen is Steven Spielberg will be in NY and decide he wants to take in a Fringe show and he’ll see In the Ebb, and he’ll think, “wow, this show is something! This director is SOMETHING! Let me see what else she’s got!”" I stomped down HARD. At least I thought I did.
What actually happened though – Deep down, way way down deep, there was this Little Dreamer who just kept holding on to that pipe dream. Eyes screwed shut, shaking her head, knuckles white with holding on so hard, she just kept whispering, “I know all of that stuff Ms. Strong Realistic Conscious Mind. But you’re wrong, because I’ve been doing this for awhile and sooner or later, pipe dream has to happen. Sooner or later something’s going to give and the end result will be pipe dream. I know it.” It turns out that Little Dreamer is kind of an asshole, because what happened in September, and then October, and then November, when I realized that no manifestation of pipe dream was actually going to happen, I shut down and crawled into a state of hibernation. I didn’t realize it at the time, when I kept telling my friends and family, “yeah, I’m a little bit blue, but really I’m fine” that I was lying. It turns out that I wasn’t just a little bit blue, I was a little bit broken.
And it turns out I needed the last five months (WOW, I can not beLIEVE I wasted five whole months) to let that stuff work itself out. So that’s where I’ve been…that’s where GTTP has been…working stuff out. Sometimes, working stuff out looked like watching crap TV shows on my computer while playing video games on the TV. And sometimes working stuff out looked like playing on Facebook. And sometimes working stuff out looked like reading the final book of a fantasy series 20 years in the making, but whatever form of escape it looked like, it really really was working stuff out, because just within the last few weeks? I feel better. I feel eager. I feel recharged. I have to do lists and tasks and half started projects (which I rotate through daily) all over my desktop. I’m not really sure what I did to fix it, or heal or whatever, but the one thing I did do, as I sat there thinking, “Geez, Jess, you have GOT to get working again. You have to update your blog. or Work on your next project. or Get a new fundraising drive going. or SOMETHING!” The one thing I did do was listen once again to that Little Dreamer who said, “wait. Not yet. Lick your wounds. Heal. Listen to the dream again. Find the strength to keep going.” Because, she may be an asshole, and she may be melodramatic, but also? She knows of what she speaks.
Keep going on this journey. It will be worth it. Keep going on this path. There are rewards to come. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. So I will. You wanna come too?
A couple of exciting announcements
First off – new ensemble members
When you get a chance, head on over to our About Us page, you’ll see some new folks. GTTP has expanded its ensemble. We’re now 28 strong, with actors, designers and technicians. It is very exciting to be working with such a wonderful team. And, since this talented team is always working (whether with GTTP or others), be sure to check out our Off The Island page which updates what our ensemble members are working on outside of GTTP.
Bella’s Dream a new play with dance by Dana Boll
Ensemble member, Dana Boll, has written and choreographed a beautiful new play with dance based on the true events of her grandparents escape from Poland in 1939. After a staged reading at the 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center, GTTP will proudly present the world premiere of this deeply personal and moving show. The play will run for three weeks at a theater on the lower east side of Manhattan. Details and tickets will be available soon on our home page. Also Dana, as co-producer, writer, choreographer and performer, will be blogging regularly about the production process, here; and I, as director and co-producer, will be blogging (less regularly but still regularly) about the production process here.
GTTP makes the transition to Film/TV
There has been some discussion in the backrooms of GTTP about expanding into the world of film and television. What I can say about the outcome of those discussions is that GTTP is planning on expanding into the world of film and television. Everything is moving, irons are in the fire and we will hopefully have an update in the next couple months that will be less cryptic. To be honest, I wouldn’t have said anything about it but I’m sooooooo excited that I couldn’t keep it entirely under my hat. Seriously, I could never be a spy. Don’t get me wrong, I can keep a secret but I can’t contain my excitement when I have a secret I’m going to keep. Hence the announcement.
Within Arm’s Reach
Some of you may wonder what all of the above means for our original adaptation of Ann Napolitano’s novel Within Arm’s Reach. Never fear. It is still happening. In fact, in my other blog posts, I talk about the various projects on my desktop that I’m currently working on and Within Arm’s Reach is one of the major ones. We will need to hold off until this fall or early winter but it is happening and we continue to be very excited about it. If you want to grab a copy of Within Arm’s Reach so you can see the challenge GTTP has given itself, or Ann’s other equally beautiful novel, A Good Hard Look, be sure to visit her webpage.
So, yeah, it looks like that’s our season. Bella’s Dream in June. A film/TV project hopefully in September-ish. and Within Arm’s Reach in December/January 2013-14. Along the way we’ll be updating the main page of the website as well as this here blog. We hope you’ll keep checking back!
We’re looking forward to an exciting year and we’re looking forward to you joining us on the island.
Ensemble member, Kiwi Callahan, guest blogs about her upcoming cabaret:
How the Ugly Christmas Sweater Cabaret Came To Be
This cabaret started as a joke. My friend Alison Rose Munn and I were sitting in some dance studio in NYC waiting to audition for some musical at some regional theatre somewhere, when she said, “You know, this year, instead of auditioning for Christmas shows, we should just put on ugly Christmas sweaters and sing whatever we want.” We both laughed out loud. What a preposterous idea! Who were we to decide when and if we performed? Three days later I got a text from Alison: “You know, if you actually wanted to do an ugly sweater cabaret or something, I’d be totally down.” My reply? “Me too! Let’s do it.”
This will be the first production I’ve ever been in that I have also co-built from the ground up. I’ve always just performed in the shows that I’ve been cast in, but recently I’ve been starting to come around to the idea of creating my own work. Everyone I know has been telling me for years to “just put on a show” or “get together with your friends and just perform!” But I always shied away from doing it, because inwardly I thought, “I don’t really have anything to say. How do you build a show around that?” But of course that’s not true. We all have things to say, messages we’d like to spread, ideas about our place in the world.
For me, this process of realizing my own ideas began with a need to decide what kind of artist I wanted to be. I’d spent so much time trying to shove myself into everyone else’s ideas that I’d completely lost track of why I was even in this business in the first place. I was waiting for someone to tell me what to do. Unfortunately, in grown-up land no one can really tell you what to do. You have to figure it out yourself. I’ve started to do that, and while I’m still not exactly sure what kind of artist I want to be, one thing has become utterly clear: I want to make a difference. I want to entertain people, and I also want to help people. Such a basic idea, but already it has inspired me over and over again to create projects that have been incredibly rewarding to work on and that I am proud to show the world.
The Ugly Christmas Sweater Cabaret is one of those projects. Alison and I paired with one of New York’s most well-known charities, New York Cares, to create a Christmas concert that will not only be fun and entertaining, it will also help New York Cares reach their goal of 200,000 coats. We have decided to collect coats and non-perishable food items at the door instead of having a cover charge. It’s been amazing to see it coming together, and I can’t wait to get into the theatre with all of my friends and see how this plays out. The tag line on all of our marketing materials has been, “Carols, Cocktails and Charity.” I don’t think it can be bad.
Kiwi Callahan is an Ensemble Member with Going to Tahiti Productions, and was most recently seen with them in Ruth McKee’s one-woman show, Full Disclosure. For a real introduction to Kiwi Callahan and Alison Rose Munn, check out their promo video:
The Ugly Christmas Sweater Cabaret and Coat Drive to Benefit NYCares
Tuesday, December 4th, 7:00pm
Laurie Beechman Theater
407 W. 42nd Street
Call 212-695-6909 for Reservations
NO COVER CHARGE
The Laurie Beechman Theater has a $15 food/beverage minimum
So, although I’ve been kinda quiet with newsletters and blog posts the last couple of months, that doesn’t mean it’s been quiet on our little island. In fact, exactly the opposite! GTTP has been expanding. We have spent the last couple of months welcoming new members into the ensemble and currently we are exanding our About Us page to introduce you to all the new members (though anyone who has been to Tahiti Productions in the past will not be surprised to see the folks on the list) and in the upcoming weeks we’ll be giving updates on what our members are doing both on and off the island…
Speaking of off the island, you’ll notice above there’s a new page called, well, Off The Island (I know, you never saw that title coming…) The page will update our Tahiti Fans about what our ensemble members are doing outside of GTTP projects. I hope you are able to see and support our members both on and off our little island…
*Yeah, I picked a House picture because I like Hugh Laurie and it has the 5 stages listed. It doesn’t really have anything to do with this post…
Ok, so as I believe I mentioned, I was expecting post Fringe to be double whamm-ied on the whole “my show is over, what am I doing with my life” thing. Usually I have a good 1-2 months of depression after a show but because I did Persuasion and In the Ebb back to back with no depression down time, I figured I was due for a good 2-4 months of blahs. And, guess what? I was right. So the last three months have been a bit on the tough side for me. Add to that the fact that I turned 40 during that time and yes, it’s been a rocky few months. But! There’s good news on the horizon, Fringe ended on August 26th so I am well past the 2 month mark and am pretty sure that I’m passed the worst of the doldrums. I spent this weekend feeling motivated and I have jumped into planning for what promises to be a really exciting year for GTTP. So that is good news and, in the next few weeks, you will be hearing about lots of exciting things happening on our little island.
However, during these last 3 months, I did a lot of thinking and I realized that even this post show thing follows the 5 stages of grief. Because, although thankfully, it is not the same as losing someone you care about, a show ending is its own little death. You know there will be other shows and you know you’ll have fun again, but that show, with those people, that exact experience is gone forever and will never come again…and that, ladies and gents? That’s super sad. So with that in mind, here are the five stages of grief in the post show world…
Denial – “No, the show isn’t over. It’s not gone. I’m fine. We’re all fine. The cast and crew is doing a party tonight and we’re going to get together once a week forever and it’s going to be exactly the same.” Or, even better, “We’re going to do a revival of this exact show with this exact cast and crew and the fun is never going to end!”
Anger – “How can this be happening to me? How DARE the show has ended! Those bastards (yeah I don’t know which bastards I’m referring to) have never understood my art! Why does this always happen to me?”
Bargaining – “I’ll do anything to keep doing this show. If I promise to really appreciate it this time, it can keep going right?”
Depression – “This sucks. I’ll never do another show again…”
Acceptance – “It’s going to be ok. There will be more shows and it’s time to get started on the next one.”
What I’ve found to be particularly difficult is the depression stage. For me, the first 3 stages happen relatively quickly (like a couple of days) and the acceptance stage happens in the blink of an eye but the depression, that’s what really gets you. Because it’s not just that you feel sad. I mean sadness is definitely a part of it, but you start to feel unmotivated and if you’re not careful, you spin into this emotional space where everything you do or consider doing seems futile. Because, you know, you ain’t curing cancer, folks. You’re just telling your little story. Don’t get me wrong, I think story telling is important. OBVIOUSLY I think story telling is important – I mean I have devoted my career to it and it is something I’m really good at so yes, I think it’s important. But, in the midst of one of these post show depressions you can’t help (at least I can’t) but think:
Hmm. So I struggle and I fight and I rehearse and I plan and I raise money and I make it happen and I do a show.
And people like it.
And then it ends.
And I’m right back where I started.
It’s kind of like the Tetris game to end all Tetris games. I mean, ok, I got the highest score I’ve ever gotten, but in the end the board will in fact fill with little pieces and the game will end and I’ll just start it again. And you can’t help but have that moment when you think, “so why even bother?” And it becomes really hard to push yourself to jump into the next project – even if it’s something you’re excited about. Even if it’s something you’ve been wanting to do for months on end. And that’s why for me the depression is the hardest and longest stage. Of course, invariably, there comes that moment when it hits you that the reason you bother is because it does matter. It does make a difference. You affected someone (sometimes a bunch of someones) with what you did. No, you didn’t cure cancer but you entertained and you made someone think or laugh or cry or all three. And that does matter. And, if these are the skills you were blessed with then it is an affront to nature to not use them.
I still remember the first time I did In the Ebb with GTTP. It was our first show and it was the first of my post show depressions that my husband (not yet my husband at the time) witnessed firsthand and I remember saying something melodramatic and silly to him like, “why do I even bother? It’s not like I’ve done anything important.” And he said, “what are you talking about? You entertained people and moved them. You introduced them to this beautiful language, to these amazing performances and characters. You helped bring these concepts and ideas out into the world. This idea of the Never. This character of the Waterlogged Woman. You brought them to life and now, for everyone who was involved in the show and for everyone who saw it, you made these little changes in how they see the world. How can you think that’s not important?” Well, along with making me decide I wanted to marry him, my husband showed me things from a different perspective. No, my stories are not going to save lives but I believe, for the short time we’re on this earth, what matters most is how we affect other people and whether the cast, crew, and audience are big or small, all those people are affected by what we do. Recognizing that is what usually pulls me out of these post show slumps. Of course, it can’t be forced. You can know it in your head but if it takes a month (or four if it’s post back to back shows) to know it in your heart than that’s what it takes. All you can do is all you can ever do – hang in there and take the ride where it takes you.