Saturday, August 29, 2009


I applied to a wardrobe assistant job at a community college in Brooklyn today. I'm not sure how coherent my letter was, as it written in a nyquil haze, but I’d be really well suited for the job: it’s part time it has benefits starting 6 months in, it includes managing the costume shop, doing some general PA stuff on shows, costume work, and over seeing student projects. It was posted 12 days ago so it might already be filled.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Social norms and the women who love them

See, there’s a (at least to me) unforeseen consequence of reading plays in public: in my two weeks of data gathering this was the second instance of an actor striking up a conversation. That’s a lot for me. Strangers don’t talk to me. In that time, in a city of a million people, the only other person who talked to me was an old Slavic woman at Whole Foods (we where both looking for rye flour). I assume that I’m unapproachable because I appear focused, or upset, or busy, or not to give a shit about people, but for whatever reason nobody in libraries or subways or the post office ever talks to me. When I’m caught reading a play, however, the rules are apparently different.

The first time somebody asked me if I was an actor, in the library elevator (the first time in the period in question that I saw another human being while clutching an arm full of plays) I just said “oh,” and the doors opened and that was it. Actually I think it might have happened again in the park but I don’t exactly remember.

Well, last week I was reading American Buffalo on my train platform and this guy asked if I was an actor, without really thinking about it I said “no, I’m a writer” what I didn’t foresee because I wasn’t paying attention was that we were not in an elevator where the doors would open and the exchange would reach a natural end, but sitting next to each other, waiting for the same train. I had made eye contact and given a piece of information about myself, so etiquette dictated that I ask him the obvious question and predictably it turned out that he was an actor. So then there was a ten minute wait and we couldn’t exactly ignore that we knew each others professions and that we were in the same field. We exchanged light shop talk and basic biographical information and he gave me his e-mail and said he’d like to read some of my stuff. Then there was a ten minute train ride, and when I got to my stop he reminded me to send him something.

Now, I’m not an idiot and my talent for self deception is good but it’s not quite that good, so I’m pretty sure I was being chatted up. I enjoyed talking to the guy but I don’t think I’m interested in (for lack of a vaguer term) dating him. So, is the right thing to do not to send him my work? Actors are good people to know. Strangers are good people to get to read your work. I don’t know any one or meet anyone and I shouldn’t pass up opportunities for contacts. I’ve been meaning to copyright my submission portfolio (which is just anything I have written that I’d consider submitting to theaters, groups, contests, or grant organizations), so I’ve used the fact that my work is unprotected as further reason not to deal with this. But for all I know this guy was just being friendly, or trying to make a professional contact, it’s good for unemployed actors to know unknown writers, maybe he was looking to get cast in a reading... I’ve never had feel for this stuff, I don’t know how I’ve survived this long with no intuition at all.

Monday, August 24, 2009

More reading

Last week was obviously wash in terms of my noble ambition of posting everyday. I haven’t posted since Tuesday: that is truly a disgrace. I’ve two read plays in that time but it’s mostly I’ve been fulfilling familial obligations. Anyway, here’s my reading news:

Last Monday I took another trip to the library and picked up four plays. Two about suicidal women, one about the American dream and one about being young and crazy and hopped up on speed (I think, I didn’t know the writer but the cover was very colorful and everything else i got was so heavy). So at present I’ve finished Susan Sontag’s Alice in Bed and David Mamet’s American Buffalo.

Sontag’s Alice in Bed: it’s the story of Henry James’s sister Alice who spent her entire life as a recluse with a mortality obsession, but the play is infused with Alice in Wonderland is a pretty subtle (obvious but not beating you over the head with it) way. It was neither bad nor great, and while it hardly represented a revelation it was rarely a chore to read. The one thing I want to talk about is the second act of the play (I don’t have it in front of me so I’m not positive it was divided into acts, but this was the large middle section) which consisted of an imagined tea party with the 19th century women, living dead and fictional, who Alice admired, gathered to give perspectives on mortality. This is well trod and muddy ground in playwriting; manipulating the voices of one’s idols can be illuminating and give the work both a place in history and a timelessness, or it can be an exercise in intellectual masturbation. Alice in Bed oscillated. The two characters that best represent the extremes were Margaret Fuller and Emily Dickinson. Fuller she got right: the character was solid and well drawn, a pragmatist who believed in life and engaged Alice, holding her position while addressing Alice’s. Dickinson was unbearable (particularly because I saw a friend of mine write her well three years ago), she spouted lines and was totally detached from the scene, wandering in and out without any concern for her fellow characters. I know what charactor/caricature of Dickinson exist in the public consciousness (mine too) but detachment just isn’t good theatre, who cares about a character who doesn’t care about what they’re saying or doing? What was the effect of Sontag’s Dickinson.

Maybe I’ll talk about American Buffalo tomorrow, maybe not.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Weird, weird news from the land of adaptations

I had to post again because yesterday I was indulging my nasty little podcast addiction and I heard two pieces of very odd news.

The first was courtesy of the NYtheatrecast: at the end of a discussion with three producers of independent opera they each announced their seasons. Among the aria cabarets, winter solstice orchestra showcases, and Hansel and Gretels was a workshop of a new adaptation of Tom Stoppard’s Rozencrantz and Guilderstern are Dead, with the Mark Morris Dance Group. Opera, Stoppard, modern dance. In response to this disorienting news I e-mailed my friend Aubrey for whom Tom Stoppard might just be the center of the universe. I am glad to say that I am not alone in my confusion.

The second came from NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!: I’m just going to come out and say it this time: Disney, David Mamet and the Diary of Anne Frank. Another Fellini-esque trio and possible evidence of the coming apocalypse. To repeat: David Mamet is adapting the Diary of Anne Frank for Disney. But it’s okay, they’re going to down play all the Nazi stuff and pitch it as a young girl’s “coming of age story”.. No word on what rating this movie will carry but is hard to imagine Mamet’s clipped, curse-laden, dialogue in the mouth of any thirteen year old girl, much less Anne fucking Frank.

Futile efforts/who knew I was so plucky?

I just sent in an application. I feel terrible about it. You know how I always think that I don’t have a chance at getting anything I want? This time I sent the application in late. I applied to Youngblood, which is the emerging writers group at EST, it’s an organization I’ve known existed for two years but I completely forgot about it until today. So I went on their website today and checked the due date for the application: August 15.

I was crushed. I can’t believe how stupid I am. I can’t believe I forgot about this opportunity. I had three choices:
1. curl up and die/dwell on this and what it says about me as a human being and it’s various implications for future failure.
2. try to shrug it off and drown my sorrows in distractions.
3. apply anyway and pray for mercy.

In a deeply uncharacteristic demonstration of grit, I opted for #3 (with a side of #1, let’s face it #1 was getting in no matter what). I took an hour and rewrote my artistic statement, I made a PDF with that statement, my resume, the ten minute play from my senior showcase, and the one act I talked about expanding in my statement (they requested 50 pages and this seemed like a better move than chopping the ending off my full length play). I sent it, with this in the body of the e-mail:

I know that this is late and I apologize, but I hope you will consider it anyway. I would love to be a part of your organization and if you choose not to accept this application I look forward to applying again next year. Thank you very much either way.

Kate Pressman

I don’t have a shot in Hell.


I love instant gratification and here is:


No worries, we can get you into the pool. Thanks for the application, and we'll be in touch around mid-September.


Monday, August 17, 2009

More Theatre Consumption

I read another play and I saw a play.

The play I saw was Space//Space at the Ohio, by the company Banana Bag and Bodice. It was weird. In it’s defense (or at least to clarify) it was aware of being weird and possibly driven by the goal of being weird. It was the story of two “bothers” who had been launched into space in a pod and had some stuff to work out.

Questions that were explicitly in dialogue asked but not answered: why were they sent out with vinyl records and a turn table? Why was one of them a girl? Why were they in space? What was the deal with the sandwiches? What happened to earth? What was in the blue tubes? What’s the deal with space noise?

Useless complications in the reality of the play: I have to bring up space noise again, see what would happen is this: there were noises that we were told came from space, and sometimes the noises and the lights and one of the two characters would go crazy, like he/she was being possessed by the noise. There was no explanation, or change, or exploration, or dramatic payoff for this phenomenon, it was just a bit of random weirdness. The annoying thing was that it felt important. There was also no need for them to have been brothers on earth, I don’t even think there was any need for her to have been male on Earth because although they talked at length about the fact of this change they never came to an conclusions about what caused it. Essentially this was the conversation: “why am I like this?” “I don’t know” over and over with different words. Plus it had no bearing on their relationship at the moment of the play.

The whole story really was that he was a man locked for three years in a tiny space with an unconscious woman and she wakes up disoriented and demanding answers. It’s that simple and that classic. It’s a man and a woman and hormones being what they are, what happens. There was a lot of other window dressing but none of it amounted to anything: there were no answers, there where barely theories. this wouldn’t have been a problem if this was a reality that both characters just accepted (I use that trick all the time) but she just kept asking questions and pointing out what we weren’t being told.

The set was cool, the lighting was cool, the sound design was very good, the acting was middle of the road and over burdened with that weird actor/writer gravity. It was basically a decent theatre experience.

I saw some people I barely knew from school and had to say “hi”, that was awkward.

I also read Neil LeBute’s The Shape of Things: it was good but not the kind of thing I kept thinking about after it was over.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

As Promised

So I read that last play last night and here’s the verdict:

Paula Vogel’s Mammary Plays: first of all, aptly named collection. both plays featured a preoccupation with their main character breasts, one with the attention they garnered and the other with their presence or absence (I’ll explain). The first was How I Learned to Drive, it was incredibly critically acclaimed and won a whole slew of awards and I can tell why: it was really good. The second, The Mineola Twins, was not as known and not as good though equally busty.

On the back cover How I Learned to Drive is described as a “delicately told tale of the sexual awakening of a young girl under the tutelage of her uncle” which is accurate and succinct but fails to capture what’s haunting about the play. Vogel paints a relationship that is inarguably characterized by pedophilia, but with such sadness and love that you want to argue it. It’s simultaneously sick and sincere and inexorable, and as a reader I found myself grappling for an explanation, for a way for it all to be alright. The characters clung to the perception that they were right and good and they hurt each other with the purest of intentions while still somehow knowing the truth. One the other side, there where staging elements I had trouble imaging (primarily because of my own limitations in that area) and of course the specter of double casting that haunts the modern theatre made itself known. The play required a Greek chorus, which could act as a literal crowd, at a dance, or the gym class showers or in the kitchen, and as a vague presence observing and judging, and from which members could be pulled to play small parts in the story. I’m sorry, but three people does not a Greek chorus make. Maybe I’d feel different seeing it but reading it made me wish we weren’t slaves to finance.

Mineola Twins was nowhere near the same level, it was billed as a political satire but the joke never quite landed and the most effective moments where the dream sequences that occupied a kind of familiar meta reality of movie moments and eerie twin connectedness. I should go back. The play is about a pair of identical twins named Myrna and Myra living their separate and connected lives from 1959 to 1989. One is chaste, then married, then republican, then a Christian talk show host, the other is a promiscuous beatnik, then a radical hippy, than a fugitive of the US government, then a lesbian. The prude is well endowed and the rebel is flat chested, thats how we’re supposed to tell them apart (except when their masquerading as each other). I don’t really know what to say about it. The characters were kind of broadly drawn, and the time gaps made many scenes feel either expository (if she chose to catch the audience up on the last ten years) or disorienting (if she didn’t).

Friday, August 14, 2009

Gone Readin'

I started reading plays again this week. I think I mentioned Monday that I went to the Library and picked up some recommended reading, well in the intervening days I’ve read four plays (three by Wallace Shawn and one by Paula Vogel) and I’ll probably read the last Vogel play by Monday. This of course conjures plans of Library Mondays in which this fallow period (writing wise) will be one of intellectual growth in which I’ll read five plays a week, refilling my coffer every Monday with new dramatic riches (the management apologizes for the weak metaphor). This is of course bullshit.

I’m a notorious binge reader, I’m a slow reader (bottom two percent for my IQ, mother fuckers) but when I get that reading feeling I’ll spend days doing very little else. Plays don’t even require that kind of fanatical devotion, plays are quick reads and in fact I’ve had to force myself to leave time in between plays so I could process them (albeit hardly enough time). Time is the enemy of these moods, doing other things dampens the apatite and makes it more likely that I won’t return. The point that this paragraph failed to capture is that I’ve never been a reliable reader, either I feel like reading or I don’t, I embrace it or a shun it, I don’t read thirty pages a day at the same time every day, I read two books in a long weekend and never see the sun then I don’t read for a month. The point is that to expect that my current book consumption rate will last is ludicrous.

Anyway here’s a little on what I read:

Wallace Shawn’s A Thought in Three Parts: this one was three acts written in very different styles dealing with the theme of sexual isolation (this is a big, big theme for Shawn, he’s all about people getting what they ask for but not getting what they want out of it). The first act features a couple in a hotel room having two conversations but they never both occupy the same conversation at the same time, the mundane and the imperative are discussed with equal weight and heard with equal indifference. I don’t even remember if they have sex, but their dissatisfaction which each other and themselves certainly has sexual overtones, or undertones, frankly the text and the subtext are so intertwined that it’s hard to know which is a metaphor for which.

The second is a bizarre farcical orgy taking place between five characters that manages to be both madcap and sad. The perpetual switching of partners and graphic onstage sex are a little overwhelming (in the way all farce can be on the page) but I think Shawn makes his point about detachment and the futility of desire. Also it posed a problem to the stage manager part of my brain, which has considered the challenges of blood and urine (only in abstract, thankfully), but never been faced with simulating the appearance of other bodily fluids. It would have to be simulated because what Shawn demands is physically impossible or, barring a very strange and rigorous audition process, patently un-castable.

The third act was a monologue, presumably delivered on a stage covered with the products of the previous act, which I don’t think shone to its full potential on the page. After the frantic activity that proceeded it I think the detached, image driven stream of consciousness monologue would have taken on a kind of arresting gravity but reading it it just felt a bit dead, but then perhaps that was the effect: it was delivered by a character named Mr. Frivolous.

One last fun fact about this play, then I swear I’m done, I looked at the production history of the play so I could place it historically (it premiered in ’76, big surprise) and I saw that Judy, one of the characters in the middle act was played by my very own former teacher (renowned playwright) Kathleen Tolan.

I was planning on talking about the others plays I read but I think this post is long enough. I’m sure more reviews will be forthcoming.

Please excuse the vaguely schizophrenic use of parentheticals in this post.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mission Accomplished

This post was written yesterday and would have been posted yesterday if my internet were even remotely reliable.

Today I handed in my application- literally handed in- my application for the Emerging Writers Group at the Public. I took two subways, printed my submission at a Kinko's, painstakingly filled out all three copies of the form with the guy-behind-counter’s pen (making only one mistake), put binder-clips (brought from my apartment for the occasion) on both copies of the script, carefully slid the copies, the forms, the resumes and the artistic statements in to a pre-addressed 10x12 envelope (also brought from home), walked the remaining block and a half to the theater, pulled the door opened (I read the handle so as not to embarrass myself), walked up the stairs and over to the information desk, the receptionist (a black man with glasses in his late fifties) glanced up and said “yes?”. That was the last time he looked at or spoke to me in our exchange.

It was anticlimactic. Predictably so. I felt the relief and dread that I anticipated, but not for long and not very strongly. This is the problem with everything I do, from getting an apartment, to getting into college, to getting out of bed: as difficult, daunting and important as things seem, when I’ve done them it doesn't feel like I’ve accomplished much of anything. I’ve wasted time and energy, I’ve complained and obsessed and probably alienated people, and all for nothing. I makes me feel like an idiot.

In theory this is the hardest application I’ll ever do: my first major one. After this the empty “so what” feeling will probably be a constant, but the anticipatory “this will never happen” feeling should lessen. So at least there’s that. They should also get done faster now that I have two versions of an artistic statement, a solid resume and secured references. Most importantly I’ve now given my play to strangers once and survived. The idea of it feels better already, or at least reading other submission requirements it feels less like they’re asking me to chop off my fingers and consign them to the USPS.

Weird Tuesday catch up post

I missed Tuesday and this whole project is worthless without discipline so here’s something. It started out as a kind of musing but completely of its own accord morphed into a mini-narrative. I think it makes the switch too abruptly but I got sick of trying to figure out how to fix it, and it didn't seem worth it to dwell for a week on a blog posting:

It’s common for writers to say that their works are like their children. They feel like they generated this thing, brought it out of themselves through a kind of mystical but painful alchemy, and there is bond with the work based both on that shared experience of creation and a kind of genetic recognition. They describe feeling protective, defensive, loving.

That’s not exactly my experience. As an only child I can’t be sure but I think I regard my texts more like siblings. I know that in a temporal, cause-and-effect kind of way that position makes no sense, but cause and effect have never been my strong suit and I have the plot problems to prove it. But despite that I’m inclined to cling to this portrait o my work or of my attachment to it. I don’t have the tenderness that other writers describe but I do have something, something as basic and as complex.

To be clear, Ours is not a blissful, two peas in a pod, finish each other's sentences, braid each other's hair kind of sibling relationship. As much time as we spend together we are not close. It’s the tense truce of kids who are too unhappy and too much alike, forced to sit too close together in the backseat of car- no, I’m older, I’m driving, he has to go to a special school an hour and half away, has to be driven there and back every day. We sit in silence or with NPR playing, and although it’s what we both would pick where we alone, it fails to generate a feeling of camaraderie, and the inherent monotony of it fails to ease the tension as music might. I feel myself looking sideways at him in a distrusting sort of way and seeing myself, but oddly distorted, as if he’s made of the same parts but they happened to come together in a different order. There’s something uncomfortable about how familiar the features are, how he looks like me but not exactly like me, how he sounds and thinks the way I sound and think but with jarring exaggerations, subversions and deviations. Maybe it’s just that I can see, laid bare in him, all the things I’ve strived to keep buried in myself: the weakness, and the meanness, and the pride in his intelligence, and the certainty of his damnation. I don’t hate him. Even though he’s everything I hate about myself, made simpler, courser, slower, I don’t hate him. I can’t. We’re too close, something deep inside my brain recognizes him as mine, as being indistinguishable from me, as sharing too much of what I am. We’re more than kin and less than kind; as much as we’re alike it’s the anomalies, the fact that we’re immutably disparate animals, that make the recognition sharper, more personal, closer to the bone.

He looks straight ahead through the windshield, thinking his own sick, broken thoughts, wanting things he can’t name because he knows only the words I’ve taught him. If I had been kind he might have been happy, but kindness isn’t in my nature. But then, if we’re accepting the idea of natures, happiness isn’t in his. He maintains an expressionless focus, the same blank concentration I had when I was his age, and which I can still find in myself now if I allow for it. He’s absorbing the whole world and giving it nothing in return, learning the bumps on the horizon, the license plates on passing cars, the voice of Terry Gross, filling himself up and feeling empty.

I signal, turn left into the drive, the dark trees close over the car as it joins the cue, all waiting to unload in front of the austere wooden structure, relentlessly utilitarian, classically New England. We don’t look at each other, there’s no need, we can both learn more about the world from looking at anything else. He and I. We maintain our silence, heavy and fragile, as familiar and comforting, as suffocating as snow. Finally we’re at the front of the line, he gathers his things and opens his door, makes his careful way up the walk. I watch him, directly for the first time on our ride and only now that he can’t see me doing it. He never looks back, but I can’t leave, I can’t bear to drive away until I see him disappear behind the door.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Improving my mind

Well, the inconvenient internet snafu persists so I haven’t submitted my application. I did go to the website and click on the link about a million times in both the Mac and PC sides of my computer. That seemed pretty constructive.

Enough about non-action. The main thing I did today was go the New York Public Library and check out their plays. It was a good selection, and I didn't even go to the Lincoln Center branch which I think houses their big showy collection (it’s probably all rare recordings and no take home content).

The standard fare advice for young writers (besides telling us to write) is telling us to read. Everybody says if you want to write you have to read, you have to internalize the written word, expose yourself to a diversity of styles and points of view because there’s no telling what’ll inspire you. In theatre they tell you to see as much as you possibly can for the same reason. As lovely and important as that all is there are also practical concerns: theatre (like art, design, music, literature, film, and I assume medicine and animal husbandry) is a somewhat insular and snobbish world. everyone has essentially the same knowledge base and if you haven't done your homework you’ve got nothing to talk about.

I’m cheap. This is a good thing because I’m unemployed and if I weren’t cheap I would very soon be poor. Because I am cheap I’m reluctant to see as much theatre as I probably should because basically every show in existence costs more than two days worth of food for me. So even though new plays take a long time to get through multiple productions and rewrites and edits, at theaters of ever-greater importance before publishers even consider them, and a very small percentage of plays get published at all because they don’t make anybody any money, and what’s new in theatre is old before it’s in print, and as slow and skeptical as the publishing industry is library’s are doubly so, despite all that the library is an important resource for me.

See, I was really happy with my education on the whole (just over half of my teachers were intelligent and helpful, that’s actually a really good percentage), but it was very writing intensive. Actually from what I’ve heard Purchase is uniquely writing intensive for an undergrad program, but the result is that it was not particularly reading intensive. There just wasn’t time for it to be both. As I’ve mentioned previously, recommendations were thrown around like Mardi Gras beads during critiques, and rather than taking these recommendations I generally just recorded them. I recorded them hoping and doubting that someday I’d have the time and motivation to refer back to these poorly spelled scrawlings and that they might expand my mind.

Apparently that day has come: Four Plays by Wallace Shawn (really just three since I’ve already read Aunt Dan and Lemon) and The Mammary Plays: How I Learned to Drive & The Minola Twins by Paula Vogel. I’ve got them until August 31st, maybe I’ll learn something.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Divine Intervention

I don’t believe in a higher power. Not believing in a higher power is kind of incredibly important to me. I’ve based my entire world view on the fact that there’s no one manning the controls and that we are entirely alone. I think that feeling metaphysically alone is what defines the human experience, not thumbs, or language, or (as I heard recently on NPR and thought was a really interesting perspective) cooked food. No, I believe in feeling alone. But every now and then I think that’s all Modernist bullshit and that in fact the whole system is being run by a vindictive eleven year old boy... or at least he runs the internet.

My last post was Thursday and on Thursday I claimed that I was nearly done with my artistic goals/personal statement thing for this application I’m working on. That was not, strictly speaking, true. Although I had done a lot of work on them I was nowhere near done and I honestly have no idea whether I was knowingly lying or merely exercising my considerable gifts for self deception. Well, now I’m done. I took me three (I’m not counting Friday) days to write a single-spaced one page document with slightly expanding margins, half of which was taken directly from a practice artistic statement I wrote in May. The point isn’t that I’m pathetic, the point is I did it. Or maybe the point is that it still isn't very good and probably isn’t what they’re looking for.

No, here’s the point, and believe it or not it connects to that first paragraph (and to the paragraph I wrote but am not letting you read because it stretched the metaphor too far and completely lost focus). The point is that the internet wants me to fail. Now that my artistic statement is written, my references are secured, my play is complete (though as always it needs considerable work) the only thing left for me to do is fill out an incredibly simple basic form with simple basic information. This is what the internet thinks of that idea:

Not Found
The requested URL /images/festivals/ewg_application09revised.pdf was not found on this server.

I clicked this link a lot last week, I looked at that particular PDF with its heavy lines and sans serif font several times, I could probably name almost everything they ask for on this form, but as soon as I need it it’s gone. Gone. It’s not ironic, unless of course you’re Alanis Morissette and don’t now what ironic means, it just sucks.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I spent a decent chunk of today rewriting my artistic goals. They’re not done. They’re not all that different from when I started except that a different organization is identified as my future savior. I’ll finish them tomorrow.

I also sent e-mails to two former teachers asking them to act as references. One said yes, I’m still waiting on the other. If that comes in I guess I’ll apply tomorrow. Or not. See this is a constant dilemma: this application isn’t due until the 31st and my play needs work, and I really want this one. So, do I wait until I’m so close to the deadline that I can see the whites of its eyes, probably obsessing over it and making myself miserable, possibly letting other things slip away, risking the possibility that I’ll lose my nerve and not send it at all, all in the hopes that I’ll get my shit together and do a rewrite? Or do I settle for what I have and hope for the best? If I send the thing tomorrow I’ll be overcome by a combination of relief and dread, the alternative is pure dread, followed by either relief + dread if I send it or relief + despair if I don’t. Either way it’ll be over.

The reality is, of course, that I probably won’t get this thing either way, that I’ll be lucky to get an interview (I’d give a foot for an interview, I interview really well), but when I get my polite rejection form letter I’m going to blame it on the decision to send the application now or to wait.

Yesterday's News

I wrote this yesterday, my internet was down in the evening:

Today was research. Researching fellowships, Researching writers groups, Doing the footwork necessary for my next two applications. Checking and for money-work (not much money but something and something in theater). I think I’m going to put in resumes to a couple of places with on and off costume and stagehand work. I can sew, I can lift things, I can hang lights, dress actors and run light and sound boards, even if I can’t program them: I have skills: I’m not unemployable. I think maybe I have a shot with these, they’re the kind of places that put you on file and don’t call until they want you.

God, it sounds like prostitution.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

applying myself

I applied for a job. Not a job I’ll get but, you know, something. It was a costuming apprenticeship with the Pearl Theatre Company which does a lot of classics, which means period costumes which means NOT EASY. I’ve done some period stuff before: cloaks, Renaissance and regency gowns, a disastrous tailcoat, but never on this scale and never on a serious deadline. I don’t have this job and won’t get it. I should not be worried about my ability to do it well.
I won’t get it because they want a fashion student and a fashion student I am not, what am is an unusually young amateur sewer with no references. There also seem to be almost no jobs like this available and I just don’t know how to feel about that. Will there be tons or competition? Or is this some kind of weird niche where no one else will look? Oh well, I’m not quite ready to give up on sewing as a source of income.
I also got my writing resume together and now all I have to do is get my play together and I can start applying for writers groups, contests and fellowships... which I will also not get.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Did you try...

Thinking of my weekend I’m reminded of the scene in the Roman portion of History of the World, Part I where Mel Brooks is at the unemployment office. What happens is he goes up to the counter and tells the woman (I think it’s Bea Arthur) that he’s a stand up philosopher:
Arthur: oh, you’re a bullshitter. Did you bullshit this week?
Brooks: no.
Arthur: did you try to bullshit this week?
Brooks: yes.

Well, I tried to bullshit this weekend. I tried to go to a play, it was the absolute last performance of Pinter’s Mirror (three short plays by Harold Pinter from around 1980) at Shakespeare and Company in Lennox Massachusetts (I was visiting my parents and they’re great about buying my tickets). The fates however would not have it. After human delay (my mom), leaving my dad with the check for lunch and human error (my mom didn’t know where the theatre was) I ran into the box office at 2:02 and asked if I was too late for the play. I was informed by the confused (it’s amazing how everyone seems to be slightly retarded when you’re in a rush) unpaid interns that the show didn’t start until 3:00 but they would gladly sell me the one available ticket. Unless they would have gladly driven me home when the show ended I could not partake.

I wanted to see this play not just because it was an opportunity to see some rarely produced work of a Pulitzer prize winning playwright by a respected company, but also because somebody told me to. I don’t remember who told me to but who is not important. At some point in the beginning of last year I decided to write down everything that was referenced in my classes, by teachers or students. Narcism being what it is I very quickly discovered that I was pretty inattentive to all references that didn’t relate directly to me and my work. Since I graduated I’ve occasionally gone through my note books and, in addition to favorite quotes (including “the thing that was genius about Robo-cop...” and “I also do perverts”), there where names and titles scrawled on nearly half the pages. Pinter came up a few times, not specific titles, usually just “Pinter” or “read Pinter”. I haven’t yet read Pinter, it would have been nice to see some.

What we ended up seeing was Funny People, it was just okay. I had forgotten that I hate everything about Jason Schwartzman.