I’m crying, and I don’t know if it’s joy or sadness.

“The hardest group to represent is young women. And even harder is young white women. There are too many of you, and, unfortunately, it’s all about looks.”

“I’m tired of waiting for a year for someone to realize that their picture isn’t good enough or they don’t do what they need to to compete with the other beautiful young women out there. I don’t want to waste my time when that’s what the business is concerned with.”

“You made one mistake in coming to my office without an ounce of makeup on your face… I know it’s summer. I don’t care.”

“Your hair is pretty good. Is that curl in it natural?… no, don’t straighten it, I hate that.”

“You need to lose about 15 pounds. That’ll take all that out from under your chin and accentuate your cheekbones. You have full cheeks, it’s your youth thing, but you’ll just look better. And if you lose a little weight, you can play even younger.”

“I’d send you out for like… sixteen to twenty four. You need a picture that says, ’16/17,’ a pretty picture, and a picture that says ‘young professional.'”

“Make a list of all the roles you could conceivably play, in TV, film, theatre… realistically, within the age range I’ve given you.”

“Yeah, if you lose that bit of weight, fix your resume, wear something a little tighter…”

I’d love to sign you.”

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A Short Scene

Scene 1. Today.

B is at an event where she’d paid a flat fee to perform for five top legit agents. She is great at auditions and she is not necessarily nervous. What she is feeling is the deep, longing, hunger for something she truly wants. It’s an overwhelming feeling that brings her close to tears. She performs well under pressure, but this feeling is pure and powerful and it lives inside her.

B enters a room where C is sitting at the table. She hands him her headshot and resume.

B: Hi, I’m B! How are you doing?

C: Hey, B, I’m C, and I’m with K Agency. What are you going to show me today?

B: Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane.

C: Okay, great. Go for it.

B does her monologue. She finishes seated in a chair.

C: So, I graduated from the Academy in ’93.

B:(this is her high school) Oh my god! Go blueberries! That’s amazing!

C: Yep. I lived in P dorm. D (B’s favorite teacher and mentor from high school) brings me back every year to do a workshop with students.

B: Oh wow! I haven’t been back since I graduated. I always said I wouldn’t go back until I was important enough to be invited back.

C: That’s exactly what I said. And now I guess I am!

B: That’s awesome.

C: So here’s the deal. I want to help you. (As C talks, B is nodding and glowing, realizing that something is happening– you know those moments.) You clearly have the talent, and there’s a real Academy mafia out there, even in our office. I don’t know if you’re signed with a commercial agent, but (C glances back at B’s headshot) I’d love to get you set up with my agency commercially. You’d do great, make a quick buck. It’s really tough right now to get signed with the legit office right now, but I’d at least like to get you started and I’ll talk to the other agents there. Okay, remember this email address: c at the agency dot com. Got it? Pretty simple. Now this is my personal email– I don’t give this to actors. It goes straight to me. We Academy folks have to stick together, and you’re really talented, so I want to help you out. Okay?

B: (B is stunned and thrilled and grinning. She’s been nodding and “yes” ing and smiling like a fool). Okay. Totally. Thank you so, so much. I’m thrilled.

B gathers her things and wafts out of the room, on a golden wave of potential and excitement. She has a sense that things are beginning. She is happy.

Help?

First of all, I feel really good about my work in Showcase in terms of my acting. I’m doing a really good job, I picked good scenes, and I’m showing my best self. But this format is making me incredibly self-conscious. I rarely, if ever, mention my body insecurities because it makes me feel weak—I spent most of my life unconcerned about how I looked, and all of a sudden I feel constantly fat? But in Showcase, I DO feel fat. If I had looked how I looked a year ago—super skinny and, yes, unhealthy—I feel like I’d be getting calls. I’d be more “commercial.” Looking how I look now is not going to cut it—I don’t have a very interesting face, and I’m not stick-thin. It feels really petty to me to be worrying about this, but that almost makes it worse…. Like I’m trying to pretend like I’ve never gained/lost weight even though everyone KNOWS I did. I am just constantly torturing myself for even FEELING fat, which is not even to touch how awful it feels to feel ugly. And with Showcase, it’s like without being amazingly attractive (like many of my peers), or a specific “type” where curvy is more appropriate, I just disappear. I’m putting on a happy face, but after the night is over and I go home, I lose all good feelings about my work and just feel fat, ugly, uninteresting, and completely forgettable. And that, then, makes me want to binge. Because it’s like if I binge then it won’t even matter because I’ll just KNOW I’m fat and a bad person and I won’t have to vacillate. Ridiculous.

Words of wisdom?

MIA cuz I’m busy GRADUATING

It’s been like a hundred years, so I apologize. In my defense, my schedule has literally looked like this:

MONDAY
8:30am-11:15am ACTING FOR THE CAMERA
11:15-2:30 THEATRE, CREATIVITY AND VALUES
2:30-5:30 WORK IN THE OFFICE
6-7: REHEARSAL
7:30-9: SEE A SHOW

TUESDAY
11am-2pm: WORK IN THE OFFICE
2:15-4:30PM: SONG AS SCENE SHOWCASE (mine went great, ps)
5-12am: WAITRESS WORK

You get the idea. Today looks like this:

FRIDAY: (first I had a whole shitshow with work… that’s a tale for another time)
10am: BUY PROM DRESS FOR BANQUET
11-6pm: TECH BEGINS FOR SENIOR SHOWCASE (we got out at 3 though!)
8pm: GET READY FOR BANQUET/PREGAME
10:30pm: BANQUET

So…. what is Banquet, you may ask? It started my freshman year. Basically, every year the underclassmen in the Theatre Dept put together a “Banquet Committee” made up of juniors, sophomores, and one lucky freshman. In the days leading up to Banquet, they have a few meetings, and on the day of Banquet, they gather in one of the studio spaces and prepare from literally 10am-BANQUET.

Basically, BANQUET is a roast of the graduating seniors and the past year. It’s a series of sketches and parodies, plus an “awards ceremony” for seniors with really ridiculous, fun-poking awards. There are a lot of traditions involved: freshman are always confined to some “other” corner– my freshman year we were forced to sit in the back row on mats that said “FRESHMEN,” sophomore year they constructed a “cage,” and last year we built an “insane asylum” with hay and crates (the joke was on one of the shows that year, set in an insane asylum). The committee, in introducing themselves at the beginning of banquet, lampoons themselves briefly– you know, just to make it fair. There are always comical sketches of each of the mainstage shows, plus some of the other memorable shows of the season. The night concludes with an original song (last year’s was to the tune of Bad Romance– we called it “Mad Romance” for our season of madness). Oh, and everyone is WASTED.

I know the class under me VERY well (most of them are in my company), so I know I’m gonna get got real good tonight. They’ve seen me at my very worst. I have a fairly good idea of what to expect… especially in the last year, I’ve gone a little batshit (mostly in a “I feel so much so deeply all the time” way).

So we’ll see. Tomorrow is Showcase tech again, bright and early, but nobody gives a fuck because it’s BANQUET. I have a fitted short red scalloped “prom” dress to wear tonight, and my entire class is meeting at 8pm to drink a LOT of vodka and get ready together. I really, truly love each member of my graduating class. I’m sure everyone feels that way, but my class is actually REALLY special. I’m not biased, I swear. 🙂

Hasta… who knows?

Love,
B.

P.S. Guess who is 2nd in her graduating class (I mean everyone this time, not just theatre majors)? Oh right, ME. And I have to give the commencement “greeting.” Shiiit!

“”Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.”
–Emma Donoghue, ROOM
(another PS– this book is AMAZING.)

so much, so deeply, all the time.

Um, this weekend was AMAZING. Let’s go.

FRIDAY, APRIL 29

9am: I wake up and the sun is shining. Perfection.

2pm: I was waiting for a dress for to be delivered by the FedEx guy, but it didn’t come. So goes life. I went to school.

2:30pm: Did a full run of the Showcase, with costumes, props, etc. It was smooth if not groundbreaking, fun if not magical.

6pm: Me, R, P, and N went to Grand Central to catch a train to CT. We hop on the MetroNorth, and our ride goes smoothly through to East Norwalk.

7:15pm: We’re picked up in our rental minivan  by J, G, and J’s mom, who drives us to a Chinese restaurant, where J’s dad and brother are waiting. They’ve bought Kendall Jackson, which they share, plus dumplings and peanut noodles. We all order food to share family-style. I ate Szechuan Tofu and Vegetable Lo Mein. It TOTALLY hit the spot.

9pm: We hop into the minivan, drop J’s parents off at their house, and drive to Westbrook, where the beach house is.

That’s why it’s good to live alone– you only have to cradle yourself.”

10pm: The beach house IS AMAZING. It’s right on the water, has huge windows looking out over the sea, and endless beds. We pop our stuff down, look around, and then fill up for round one of my requested drink– Tanqueray and Tonic (with limes, obvi). We talked about love, and sex, and theatre, and each other, and made jokes and cuddled and giggled, and finally collapsed into bed. The quotes were EPIC (they are interspersed in italics throughout).

“I can do ANYTHING in 140 characters.”

SATURDAY, APRIL 30

9am: I woke up before most everyone else, but after only about twenty minutes, J came downstairs into the room me, N, and G were sharing. We chatted for a while, then moved upstairs, and soon decided we were hungry.

11am: Denny’s for breakfast– totally classic. They had a whole menu called “Baconalia” with bacon-filled meals. It was unreal. I got coffee, and the Veggie Cheese Omelet. It was a perfect “drunch.” Afterwards, we headed briefly back to the beach house to pack up and go to Yale.

“25% laziness, 75% pasta = P.”

1pm: We arrive at Yale! I’ve never been, and obviously it’s unreal gorgeous. We are by far the LOUDEST people in miles. I successfully run into a tree, and “Dad” J gives us careful instructions to not embarrass him. We do okay. We meet up with C and his girlfriend, I (he’s directing the first show of our season, which we’re at Yale to see the “workshop” of– he was in our show last summer).He gave us a bit of a tour, and we marveled at the castles, the buttery, the gates, the spires, and the courtyards. We grabbed iced coffees, then headed over to the theatre where TPS would be performed.

“Naked parties are chill because everyone is drunk and everyone is naked.”

3pm: We chilled in the “buttery” (is that really REAL?) for a while, crashing from the exhaustion and lack of food. We laid out on couches, chatting, cuddling, massaging, playing ping pong, wondering “What do people who don’t do theatre talk about?”

“Why do you want me to fuck her?”
“Because she’s so your type!”
“What’s my type?”
“Child.” 

4pm: We saw the show. It was SO GOOD. I mean, the performances weren’t perfect and the space was weird, but I just imagined how our production will be (with our cast, in our amazing space, and with funds) and I really felt strongly that it’s going to be fucking mindblowing. It’s a hilarious play, but also an unsettling one. It has just the right energy for our company, and we have a nearly perfect cast.

“J is the only person who cannot be in a room with himself.”

7pm: We were STARVING, so we hurried after C to get food. we went to this place where they had grinders. I got a veggie grinder, and had NO idea what it was going to be. What it turned out to be was an ENORMOUS sub with sauteed mushrooms, onions, peppers, broccoli, lettuce… who even knows. It might have been the most delicious thing I have EVER eaten. And I ate it ALL. We walked C back to the theatre, and then headed back to the minivan.

“We were totally doing the knee hover– I was sure it was a done deal.”

9pm: After a brief Stop n Shop (see what I did there?) for chips, salsa, tonic water, and, per my insistence, a birthday cake. When we got home, I pulled off my boots, plugged in my dead iPhone, and snuggled into the couch with G and R. After resting for about thirty minutes, I initiated the first round of G&Ts. The chats continued, the funnies started… and then the impressions of other people began. You put a room of theatre people together and they just love to ACT like each other.

“One month with P, three months with N, and your sister will definitely be a lesbian.”

The conversation then veered from our friends to… well, to PORN. We had an epic conversation about porn. I was amazed at how anti-porn the boys were! My friend R and I seemed to have seen more porn than they had! I videotaped this entire interaction. It’s epic.

“P and I need the bedroom with the closets.”
“Because we’re both in one.”

Then it was time for “drunchies.” The chips and salsa came out, the prosecco was popped, and I filmed as my friends brought out the brownie cheesecake (I KNOW). We devoured the cake with forks. It was a legitimate massacre.

“I might eat your pants off.”
“That’s okay.”

Then we started talking about drugs. And our pasts. And our family. And all this shit that I’m not sure any of us had EVER shared with each other. P and I talked about cutting. J and I bonded over taking Wellbutrin. N told us about losing her virginity on acid. J talked about dealing drugs, scars on his feet from shooting up. R and I talked about therapy. We all wondered how on earth our parents did it, and also how they could be so clueless about us now. To say what we said the next morning, “shit got real.” It was actually AMAZING.

“B’s life is peculiar but heartfelt.”

After this, shit got slightly less real, and I said, “So, I actually want to go swimming.” I think they thought that I had been saying this the whole trip as a joke, but I knew I’d get in that water. I am a water creature. P had said he’d do it with me, and R joined in too. Everyone else talked about how much they wanted Denny’s, and considered whether it was possible to drunk-drive there, and whether that was a good plan (the decision was that it was not a good plan). Then R said, “let’s do it naked.” P and I had planned to wear underwear, but you know how I roll– go big or go home. R, P and I stripped down and put on towels, then scurried down the hill to the beach. The idea was that on the count of three, we’d drop our towels, run in, then run out. I counted “ONE! TWO! THREE!” and we just went for it! Amazing. Just amazing. I have no idea how it was for R and P, because I was only focused on how happy I was to be in the water and with my friends. They hurried out, but I stayed crouched in the chilly saltwater, feeling that wonderful smooth weight of the sea on my body. They yelled at me to get out, laughing, calling me crazy, and as I pulled myself toward the shore on my hands, P lifted up a towel from the waves. It was MY TOWEL! I had accidentally thrown it into the ocean. I am a mess! P gave me his towel, like a gentleman, and held my soaking wet one over his crotch as we scurried back home. I told him to wait outside and I’d bring him a towel. I did.

“She’s the oil can to his tin man.”

After that, we rinsed our feet and got ready for bed. G and N snuggled in the queen downstairs, and I went down to my princess bed, while P soon joined me in the Scooby Doo bed right next to me. (did I ever tell you we used to date? He liked me a LOT and I was lonely so like, two years later, I said yes. Then about a month in I got tired of it and broke up with him. I think we’re on good terms). We giggled and wrestled and pillow fought like eight year olds. It was darling. I fell asleep with his hand on my back. Just the sweetest thing in the world.

“Unfortunately P has become one of my best friends.” 

SUNDAY, MAY 1

10am: I wake up and go upstairs. I lay down on the couch in my pjs, and read a NYTimes magazine for a few minutes until P and N came from upstairs. I started to get pretty hungry, so I started cleaning u so that we could head off to Denny’s as soon as possible.

“I just vomit to make room for more alcohol.”

11am: We were off to Denny’s! I got the same thing. Afterwards, we took the minivan back to the beach house, cleaned up a bit, and and then headed with all of our stuff back towards the train station and back towards New York.

“I’ve got more princesses and love on my bed than you can even steal.”

3pm: We got on the train in South Norwalk after leaving the van in the parking garage for J’s parents to pick up. It was the best weekend EVER, and even though I left with few goodbyes (we had to split up on the train and I got off at Harlem-125 instead of Grand Central), I’m pretty sure that everyone else feels the same way. I don’t want to go back to real life. I just want to cuddle at the beach house with my best friends, drinking G&Ts, eating Veggie Cheese Omelets, seeing good theatre, singing in the minivan… I love that life.

“I just feel so much, so deeply, all the time.”

The American Jailbait

I am a star. Guess who woke up at 8am, cracked open the laptopmy laptop, and went to town on my Theatre, Creativity and Values paper. I dominated. Was done by 9:15am. Freire, Boal, and Brecht, oh my!

So now I’m sippin’ coffee, watching Greek on Netflix Instant. It’s a silly ABC Family show, but considering, it’s actually kind of pleasant. I’m on Season 5 now, and something amazing I noticed in the last season or two is that the main girl, played by Spencer Grammer, has gotten curvier than she was in the first few seasons. She’s still skinny mini, but she has a butt and hips. She looks gorgeous. And the best part is, it seems to me that it is not much of an issue at all, either in online forums or on the show. Greek does have a fair number of weight jabs (it is about sororities, after all), but the fact that  the character Casey’s weight gain has gone unmentioned is a really good thing, I think. (although I hate that I noticed it)

So May 9 and 10 is my class’ Senior Showcase. This is when all of use each present two scenes that “showcase” who we are in the theatre business for agents, casting directors, producers, and directors. It’s a BIG day for us. I don’t have much else to say today, so do you guys want to know my two scenes? I love them. Here are pictures of the actual scenes in other productions:


The American Plan

TThat’s Lily Rabe and Kieran Campion in the Broadway production. It’s 1960s Catskills– she’s a psychologically unsound Sarah Lawrence dropout who is completely controlled by her German-Jewish immigrant mother. It’s very Richard Greenberg (oh, plus, spoiler alert, his lover shows up later)

Jailbait

I play the girl on the right with the wine bottle. This kind of great, fairly distressing play is about two high school sophomores who dress up and go out to a bar to meet two older men. Obviously, disaster ensues. My character seems super confident and controlling of the other girl, but she needs her friend just as much as her friend needs her. Subtle desperation. I’m good at that. 🙂

Alright, gonna keep sippin’ on the coffee and choosin’ what I want to do today.

Bye loves!

B

“It’s just that there was no preparing for you… if I’d had a year or two, maybe then I’d be ready…”
–THE AMERICAN PLAN

“It gets less scary the more you drink.”
–JAILBAIT