Vacation? What’s that?

VACATION!

What’s that, you may ask? "Vacation" is the English word for a time in which you leave work at work and spend leisure time with people you love in some place that isn’t your janky New York apartment.

Trust me, I wasn’t super familiar with the term either.

Here is what A and I did for our glorious few days "off the grid."

WEDNESDAY

Closing of my Fringe show (thank goodness!) The show was at 5:15pm. A had just come home from Army on Tuesday, so we did some crazy last minute planning and packing, and picked up our rental car around 2:30pm on the Upper East Side and headed downtown to the Lower East Side for my show. It was a strong finale to an okay production, but I was glad A got to see it and, you know, acting is always fun. We immediately took off from the parking garage on Essex for our little home in Fairfield, CT!

When we arrived, my lovely host’s son had left the key under the doormat. A scraggly, long-haired black cat mewed ferociously at the door, but we hadn’t heard anything about a cat, and it looked like a stray, so we had to use some leftover nacho cheese from dinner to try and lure it away from the door. Turns out, the cat sort of belongs there, but there was no way we could have been expected to know it, and as kitty lovers, it was a somewhat disturbing experience. We stumbled right into bed after doing a bit of exploring.

(the story of this house is that I’d posted on Facebook a few months ago that I was looking for an inexpensive place to vacation in CT on the coast. An aquaintance who I met last summer on the show in NJ, a teacher at Yale and a NYC script supervisor, messaged me that we were welcome to stay in her home. It was INSANELY generous).

THURSDAY

We woke early and A found somewhere we could grab breakfast. He found the most adorable little place called Home on the Range. We were the only people in there when we walked in, and glanced over the paper menu a friendly, white-haired, bespectacled woman hadned to us. I ordered an egg sandwich on whole wheat and coffee, and A got multigrain pancakes with turkey bacon and OJ. We sat in the corner in the window, and shortly were delivered clearly homemade, fresh, and prepared to order by the adorable woman who took our order. The food was exceptional– A’s pancakes melted in your mouth, and my sandwich was perfectly cooked. We came back again on Saturday.

From there, we took the short drive to the beach. We didn’t have a pass for our car to park (all beaches are private in CT) but we figured that we could find some nearby nook for the car. After trolling two beaches, we found a parking spot in front of a little shop, only about a five minute walk from Penfield Beach. We parked and headed to the water. It wasn’t particularly warm, and the sky was very threatening– rain was coming. Regardless, we stripped down to our suits and jumped in. The water was not particularly cold, probably only about ten degrees cooler than the air. We got out as the tide started in and the clouds began their approach. I made a little sandcastle, and just as the rain started, we boogied back to the car.

We rounded out our first day by seeing The Butler (perfect rain activity!) and then driving out to New Haven to have delicious pizza and wine at Pepe’s and wandering around the Yale campus before heading home. We talked a lot about just about everything, especially the favorite slightly wine-y (ha! and whiney! See what I did there?) topic of our careers. They’re just not off the ground yet. And, as Yale tends to do, I was wistful about the life I could have had if I hadn’t known beyond the shadow of a doubt that I wanted to be an actor and move to NYC. We make our choices, people. And I’m glad for mine.

FRIDAY

Another bright and early morning. We hopped in the car and headed up to the Haddam area to see Gillette Castle. It’s a strange old mansion built by turn-of-the-century actor William Gillette that has been turned into a state park and museum. There are over 45 engineered wooden doors in the castle, all of which Gillette designed. He also had a series of mirrors and secret passageways so he could make theatrical entrances and exits and avoid guests he didn’t want to see. I like that part of it. We spent the morning in the castle, then lunched on bread, cheese, apples, and trail mix while deciding what to do next.

We hopped in the car and headed towards West Hartford. On the way, we passed East Haddam, and figured we should stop over and see the Goodspeed Opera House, just ’cause we’d never been. We pulled up and walked to the box office. Turns out, there was an 8pm performance of Hello, Dolly! that very night, and there were two $29 seats available in the 2nd row mezz. We looked at each other, and the decision was made. We bought the tickets and, grinning, headed back to our car.

After a detour to Panera for iced tea, a cookie, and an outlet to charge my dying phone, we arrived at the Mark Twain House and the Harriet Beecher Stowe House (they’re next door to each other!). We bought our tickets for the double tour– Stowe and then Twain– and wandered in the gift shop till our meeting time at 3pm. The tours were AMAZING. A and I are big nerds (and literature lovers!), and we love to learn peoples’ stories and see what they saw. It is no small thing to stand in the room where Twain wrote Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, and more. Very cool.

Afterwards, we navigated to dinner at a Mexican place nearby. We were going to meet up with my dear friend J, who is in rehearsal at Hartford Stage, but he had a company picnic he couldn’t miss. It was okay– we were in a time crunch anyway. We drove back to East Haddam with just enough time to get huge ice cream sundaes, which we devoured on a bench outside the theatre while we watched the "blue hairs" (what we, in the theatre, call "older" audience members) file in. We eventually took our seats to experience a classic American musical– just as cheesy and silly and delicious as expected. It was a glorious evening.

SATURDAY

We took it very easy, sleeping in a little long, suiting up, and heading back to breakfast at Home on the Range. From there, we pulled back into our little parking spot and walked to the beach, two chairs, an umbrella for my sweet white boy, towels, and another lunch of bread, cheese, bell pepper slices, veggie chips, and fizzy lemonade from Whole Foods.

We spent the whole day baking our bods, swimming in the sea, munching on snacks, reading, and collecting shells. It was exactly what vacation is supposed to be.

Once we’d had our fill of the beach, we hopped back into the car and headed to the house. We showered and hung out for a bit, and then headed out once more for a 4:10pm showing of Elysium. It was a bit disappointing, considering how much we’d both liked District 9, but hey, who cares.

From there, I found a nearby place where I could get a lobster roll and A could get a burger. We found a perfect little shack, and I devoured my roll and the delicious house-made coleslaw. I grew up a lobster lover (my dad’s first book was a collection of stories, essays, and research about lobsters– he’s pretty cool), so anytime I get a chance to have a real lobster, I do it.

We finished the evening in downtown Fairfield at 16 Handles for froyo. We considered going to another movie, but none of times were great, so we just walked around. We spent about an hour wandering in the bookstore for Fairfield University. We got home around 9:30pm so we could tuck in early.

SUNDAY

We attempted to get up on time so we could get an early start, but failed. We managed to rouse ourselves by 9 and stumbled into the shower. We left in the car shortly afterwards, along 95 up the coast towards Mystic, CT!

I haven’t been to Mystic since I was very, very young. My cousin (on my Mom’s side) lived there for a short time, as I recall, but she no longer does, and either way, very soon after she moved, we stopped talking to that side of the family (drugs and addiction will do that). On a much happier note, Mystic was basically all new and SO STUPID FUN.

Again, we’re nerds. Mystic Seaport is basically a transformed little area that is an outdoor/indoor museum. You can wander at your leisure into old buildings transformed into artifacts museums, old ships restored to their former glory with information guides and plaques, recreated shops and stores with volunteers who did the typesetting and cobbling and steel-working while they chatted with you. In other words, it was HEAVEN. Around 3pm, we realized we should skedaddle if we wanted to make the Aquarium too (we bought a "MysticPass" which allowed us, for $50 each, to visit the Seaport, Aquarium (plus a free soda), and the Planetarium). We scarfed some lunch in the car, then drove down the street.

The aquarium was crazy busy, but we managed to get our drinks and some ice cream and sat down to come up with a plan. We started in the Titanic exhibit, felt up some manta rays (I LOVE THAT), watched the belugas, then headed back inside to do the pretty cool live chat with the Nautilus ship in the Caribbean. From there we did the main aquarium, seeing penguins, sea lions, frogs, turtles, the most adorable recovering gray seal, then the whole inside portion, with fish, sharks, rays, turtles, lobsters, and many many more. We concluded with the sea lion show. All in all, we spent a glorious two hours and hopped back into the car right around closing time.

We spent some time wandering around the little nook of shops called Olde Mistick Village before heading to a local restaurant for our final vacation dinner (I got a little pissy about trying to choose somewhere, which A was very patient about, but eventually I just chose). I got two yummy fig cocktails, scallops, and we shared fried green beans and chocolate mousse. We got back on the road in time to stop in Westbrook to see Jobs, which kind of sucked, unfortunately. By the time we got home, we fell into bed, totally exhausted.

MONDAY

We started the day by putting in all our laundry, including all the sheets and towels we used. We wanted to grab breakfast at Home on the Range again while the laundry dried, but it was closed. Boo. Trusty Siri led us to a diner where we got an equivalent breakfast in type, but far inferior in atmosphere and quality. C’est la vie. 🙂 When we got back, I folded and cleaned and gave A 20 bucks to grab a bottle of wine to leave as a gift. We were finally out of the house just before 11 to head back for day two in Mystic! We’d extended our car rental to the last moment (the Alamo closed at 6:30pm) so we could fit in a bit more delightful time.

Once back in Mystic, we headed straight to the area we’d missed, particularly the LA Burton, a early 20th century fishing ship. We got on board and wandered around, disembarking just in time to watch the full hourlong demonstration of the anchor drop, the dory boat demonstration, and then finally, the anchor raise. At 2pm, we saw the planetarium show, which was super low tech and full of screaming children, but otherwise, lovely. We saw a few more exhibits, but quickly realized that we had to head home in order to make it to NYC by 6:30pm.With traffic and a stop for food in Milford, we pulled up in front of our door in Washington Heights just a touch after 6. I headed upstairs with the luggage while A dropped the car off.

I have been working on this entry for days! So I’m just gonna post it! More later. 🙂

xoxo

I Don’t Want to Be Here.

I don’t want to fucking be in these fucking rehearsals. They make me feel bad. I want to open this thing. I don’t want two more nights of four hour rehearsals. I want it to be done. I want to not see these people again.

The director (also an actor) is stressed. Totally over book. I get that, and I have excused that. But then tonight during notes… he makes me cry. Not on purpose, but. I literally don’t know what to do in this situation– open my mouth and try and get clarity and discuss a moment, or shut up and just not care about that moment being unspecific and possibly wrong?

The director gave a note to me and another girl, saying: “I don’t know why you guys cluster at this point, but you should spread out and split.

To which my automatic response, because the girl and I had discussed that moment specifically, was “Oh, yeah, we were never staged in that moment, so I think we just clung.” I was smiling, not making an excuse, just sort of joking about how that bad staging happened, and the director, in the same tone of voice, says “okay, so I didn’t ask why you were there, I asked you to change it. This is another moment where talking about it is not helpful, and I wish you would just take the note.”

And later we were talking about how we needed to identify a character in a scene as Hermes and the director said we should do it at the beginning of the scene. I wasn’t thinking, I guess, because I said, “oh, why don’t we save that for the great reveal of the winged hat?” The director argued that we needed more than the hat to show audiences it’s Hermes, and I agreed– my suggestion was to put the “look it’s Hermes” line with the winged hat reveal. He continues to disagree and I realized I’ve made an error. I say, “it doesn’t matter,” to try and eject myself from the conversation, and he says, “it does matter.” Which meant it matters and I am wrong.

UGH.

So, the other thing was he wants me to wear ballet slippers for my Just Person character. Fine, except I have such a quick change out of that scene that I can barely make it into the next scene REGARDLESS of a change of shoes. I tell the director this and he acts as though what I’m saying is somehow purposefully making his job hard.

HIM: “Are you wearing those boat shoes for the show?”
ME: “No, my black converse.”
HIM: “Could you wear those shoes?”
ME: “Yes, sure. I mean, they’re blue, but…”
HIM: “The problem is that when we see those shoes under the dress it looks bad.”
ME: “Okay. I mean, I don’t know what to do because I have that quick change and my chorus character is a man… And converse are the only black shoes I have that will work…”
HIM: “Can you wear ballet slippers for that scene?”
ME: “I mean, I have a super super quick change so I don’t think it’s possible.”
HIM: “Everything is possible, whether it’s a matter of leaving earlier (impossible since I have the final line in the scene), having help (everyone is already helping with another quick change and shoes have LACES), or something. Please think about it.”

Here’s what I’m thinking about:

1. Why am I responsible for this costume issue? Why I am in the wrong when I shouldn’t even have to provide my own clothing?

2. I’m not buying new shoes for this fucking thing. No. Nor am I wearing shoes that I feel are unsafe (my other black shoes have no traction. I will not wear them.) Also we’re doing our own laundry but are apparently meant to rehearse in costume every night, and we have 4 shows in a row. None of this is okay. It probably goes against Equity rules, in fact.

3. If this was any other show or company, this would not be my problem. Case in point: on my last show, my character was known for wearing sweatshirts. I wore a large black one. In tech, I was given another large black sweatshirt as the gift that one character gives my character as a mean sort of joke. In the epilogue, I am wearing this new sweatshirt.

I told the director, “So I think that this sweatshirt needs to be more distinguishable from my previous one, otherwise you can’t tell in the epilogue that I’m wearing her gift. Also the epilogue is aspirational, so I should look BETTER than I did before.” He trusts me, talks to the designer, and the next day I had a perfect sweatshirt.

4. I don’t feel inclined to think about SHIT because I don’t fucking care about this show. I don’t. And I dread rehearsals and I can’t wait to never go back. I can’t wait for breaks and I am the first person to leave. I want this to be over. I want it over so badly. I feel terrible because I shouldn’t hate it like this, I should put on a happy face, but I can’t. I want everyone to know how much I don’t want to be here, somehow, subconsciously.

I’m usually so good at keeping to myself. I don’t know what happened today, but I hated it. Especially because I DON’T WANT TO BE HERE ANYWAY. Please don’t treat me like shit at a rehearsal I already don’t want to be at. I am in such a terrible mood.

In other news, I found out that my sister, and I quote from the FB message my mother sent me: “J is having a laparascopic procedure tomorrow. It will be less invasive than last time and she should be able to get to school by Tuesday. Her doc is suspending”Julia’s uterus because its retroverted position (possibly from the endometriosis) is still causing her pain in certain situations. This has a 85-90% chance of solving that issue.”

This girl. Always in surgery. And why am I jealous? That fucking sucks.

Unfortunately, I like pity. I like being taken care of.

And right now, A is far away, the cat is angry, and I’m doing a show that I really fucking hate. I wouldn’t mind popping into the hospital right now for some Jello.

Thick or Thin

There is a Japanese horror movie called Audition that I watched with a group of friends my freshman year of college. It is not about auditioning for theatre, TV or film, but sometimes auditions for theatre, TV, and films could easily be a horror movie. I found some great, great quotes from actors about auditioning I just wanted to share. Then, real talk.

I think that there should be a rule that if you make me audition for something more than 2 times after the 3rd audition, no matter what happens you have to send me a gift basket of really nice spa products or flowers. I think you’d feel better… You’d be like, “I didn’t get it but look… free soap.”

Julie WhiteMichael Clayton, Transformers, Tony Winner The Little Dog Laughed

When you’re a lawyer, you don’t have to take the bar exam, every time you go to trial. When you’re a dentist you don’t have to take the dental exam every time you do oral surgery. When you’re a performer, when you’re an actor, you do have to kind of prove yourself every time.

Julie Halston Broadway Production of Gypsy, Sex and the City

You’ve got to have, as an actor, a thick skin to get through that kind of experience. But in the middle of it, if you sit down to read or audition, you’ve got to have a thin skin to give out what you think you can offer. And so it’s a constant confusion about what time are you thick and what time are you thin.

Tom LacyThe Royal Tenenbaums, Original Broadway Production Two Shakespearean Actors

You get the pages and it says, “She bursts into tears.” And you’re like, “Great.” I am not a crier. I don’t cry on cue. I can bring myself there… but if you’re sitting there and you wait for over an hour, it’s very difficult. It’s like saying the same word over and over again, it doesn’t make sense to you anymore. So by the time you walk in you might be so fried in your brain because you’ve been running that scene and trying to stay in that emotional place… for like an hour. It’s exhausting. And by the time you get in there, you don’t have the moment. And you leave the room and have the moment in the elevator on the way down.

Missi Pyle The Artist, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Big Fish, Broadway Production of 
Boeing, Boeing

Okay. Remember how I am a founding member of a theatre company? So that was great when I actually, like, WAS A MEMBER of this theatre company. Tonight I found out via TWITTER that “we” are producing a show in the Fringe this summer. I’d seen a posting for auditions for this project (though Fringe wasn’t specified), and I’d heard it mentioned around in the last few months and our non-present co-Artistic Director is attached to it (this is the same AD who nearly ruined my August in the Fringe last year). But I didn’t even know we’d applied to Fringe, a process that takes months. It’s not like I haven’t seen them in months. Just because I don’t live with you doesn’t mean I don’t matter. Does it?!

So. Why wasn’t I told? Why wasn’t it even mentioned? Why am I always out of the loop?

If I’m going to survive this summer, I have to stop caring about them. I think.

I might be losing all my friends this summer. I’m scared. What happens when you leave when people who are already starting to leave you?

You get lost.

ETA: I texted one of my friends in the company “Uh? Fringe? Wha?” this afternoon, and she recently responded with this long text about why it was such a good idea. I responded, “Sure. I’m just surprised to have found out on twitter :)” She responded that she thought I’d been told on my birthday. Um, nope, I was drunk, but not drunk enough to not remember THAT.

My relationship with these people is like my ED. It’s awful.

When I’m with them, I feel special and like nothing could possibly go wrong– loved and nurtured and important. Same when I’m doing well with eating– I feel physically great and emotionally bright and open and confident in myself.

On the other hand, when shit like this goes down, I feel terrible, alone, lost, confused, and not-good-enough. Exactly like I feel when I’ve binged! Which of course I did today and Thursday! Because I’m just that fucked right now!

I’ve talked to my therapist about this. I think she’s confused as to why I’m so freaked out about not being the first on the speed-dial (she doesn’t say this, but I’ve known her for a long time). She tried to remind me that oftentimes I’m not purposefully forgotten, I just live in a different part of the island, there was just a miscommunication… and that I justneed a little bit more care as a friend. Which makes me feel like shit because no one wants a needy friend.

I saw N and R from high school yesterday, R in her senior showcase and N afterwards for wine and a movie. I can’t quite explain how lovely the evening was. There was something easy and unstressful and pure about the relationship I have with these two women I shared two years of my life with. I’m never afraid I’m bragging, never shy about disagreeing, never concerned about saying the wrong thing. It was warm and cozy and comfy and I left and didn’t feel like I had to explain myself or delay or feel bad… I just was purely me with purely another and it was perfect. And they want to know what I think, and I’m not afraid they’ll judge what I’ll say and I’m not afraid I’ll sound stupid. And N called me this afternoon because of a silly boy crush and sometimes all I want is to transport myself back to that dorm in the Michigan woods where we signed in at 10:30pm and doors were unlocked and everyone knew everyone was smart and talented so no one was scared and of course I’m romanticizing but how on earth did I have friendships that didn’t terrify me and how can I have that back because I can’t take it anymore.

It’s not them, honestly, it’s me. But I have to figure out how to make little shit like this not trigger a meltdown.

(well, that entry took on a life of its own)