- Trapped in the inevitability of what’s about to happen on Friday.
- Ashamed, thinking that I need to do more.
- Abandoned by those who are able to attend the March in Washington.
- Scared that I’ll be too scared to march in NYC.
- Governed by social anxiety of the magnitude I haven’t experienced in years.
- Proud to be escorting on Saturday morning.
- Grateful to have somewhere to be on Friday night, with like-minded, revolution-minded friends.
- Thrilled to be doing a play that actually fucking matters.
- Depressed and alone, on the couch, unable to work or think.
- Stuck in a spiral of news that makes my heart and head hurt.
I am working. Not only that, but I am working at one of the top theatres in the country, making LORT B (second only to LORT A when it comes to regional theatre) pay, and playing two leading roles. It’s a three month contract which means I will get another six months of health insurance. I am housed. I have a car I share with two other actors. This is the DREAM.
Which means I want to remember this feeling when I go back to NYC. I’m already dreading it… that discomfort of not working, that pain of not auditioning, that hurt of wanting so hard you think you might break.
But right now?
First: it is very odd to me that neither of the gyms I’ve gone to now in AL have scales in their locker rooms… only ONE scale for the whole gym that’s out in the main area. Plus, it’s an old-fashioned scale. In NYC, you have old fashioned scales, maybe, but there are going to be at least three in a locker room. C’mon. What is this nonsense?
At my wig fitting a couple of days ago my hair person said that I’d lost weight since being here. I felt like it might be true– I eat less when I don’t have a nice boy to ask for desserts. Plus, I’ve been working out pretty regularly. A part of me felt a bit nervous about it– but not TOO nervous. My depression is under control, and I know my triggers. I’m not going off the edge, and I know that, 100%, with a confidence that really makes me feel strong.
Today, as I changed back into my clothes after a costume fitting, I pulled the scale down off the shelf and weighed myself in my show slip and socks.
I weighed the low end of what I usually weigh.
Part of me was disappointed.
COME ON, GIRL. GET IT TOGETHER.
I don’t want to lose weight– at the VERY least, my costumes need to fit for the next two months.
I’m not anxious or freaked out. I’m just always amazed at how ingrained our reactions to numbers are. I think that, at least for me, it has less to do with my ED than the constantly ingrained notion in our society (and my biz in particular) that we should always be losing weight… even if we genuinely don’t need to.
Life is weird.
Starting tech tomorrow. Here. We. Go. http://www.bykennethjones.com/elyzabeth-gregory-wilders-white-lightning-new-play-rum-running-racing-romance-premieres-alabama/
I’ve been in Alabama for about two and a half weeks now. I’ve settled into the apartment: figured out how to work the dishwasher and the heat, which way the door locks, and how to angle the showerhead. I’ve learned all my lines for show #1 and we’ll run through the whole thing off-book for the first time tomorrow morning.
I need to remind myself to take a step back and appreciate how incredibly lucky I am.
- I am working at one of the best festivals in the country.
- I am the only girl in a cast of five in show #1, and I’m playing a lead in show #2 as well.
- I like my castmates.
- I’m making good money.
- This job could have gone to ANYONE. But it went to me. Can you believe it?
I started this blog so long ago, it’s insane. I started it before I had an agent. Before I had my AEA card. Before I had gotten a single job worth bragging about. I was single. I was sick. I was unhappy and struggling and anxious and alone.
And now, look how far I’ve come.
Life is funny like that, and being in my industry reminds me of it all the time. Hard work is part of it, of course– beating my eating disorder was probably the hardest things I’ve ever done, and god knows I wouldn’t be working right now if I hadn’t worked REALLY hard to get the auditions in the first place and then nail the auditions later on– but a whole lot of it comes down to luck, or the way circumstances shift. I used to believe that people “deserved” things, but now I’m not so sure. I think everyone deserves everything– we just don’t always get those things. If everyone got what they deserved, there would be nothing left. We are all just pioneers, trudging forward on a path with a vague idea that we’re headed in the right direction.
My days generally hold the same shape. I get up around 7:30am. Most mornings, I meet M (my costar, who is my age), and we go to the gym. We work out until about 8:45, when we come back to the apartments. I turn on the coffeemaker and hop in the shower. Often I have to be at rehearsal at 10am, but I’m not in every scenes so many times my call is later. I eat a smoothie with peanut butter and oats. I pack an apple for a snack. I walk to rehearsal, through the apartment parking lot, under a small arbor, down the road between the park and the parking lot, and to the rehearsal room, punching in my code to get in the back door.
Rehearsal is slow, occasionally frustrating, but generally fine. I trust my fellow actors (well, I only have scenes with M) and I enjoy being around them, though the director is kind of a weird dude. I have issues with the play, but I know it’s going to be very well-received. Sometimes, that’s enough.
We get out for lunch at 1pm, and if one of us drove the car over (I share a car with M and our fellow costar L), we carpool back. I usually eat, watch some TV, and go over my lines. Nothing too rigorous. We’re back in rehearsal at 2:30 and work till 6:30 or 7pm, depending on the day. We drive back together to the apartments. Most nights, I come home, feel lonely, and eat dinner solo. My brain hurts at the end of the day, so I rarely want to work, even when I know I should. Sometimes I go out with M, like last night, when we went to a Mexican restaurant. We get along well, though we’re quite different. The more we get to know one another, the more fun we can have onstage.
I’ve never had issues with romantic scenes (even when I’m not a huge fan of my costar, I can suck it up and kiss ’em like nobody’s business), but there’s always a negotiation. You want to be the best possible partner for your partner, which means everything from making sure your teeth are brushed to pushing through to the intimacy early (especially as the woman, because men tend to get nervous that they’re doing too much too soon– I like to take charge to ease the tension and show it’s okay to touch/kiss/whatever in a scene).
I go to bed around 10:30/11pm.
We open this first show in early March (I can’t even remember) and I’m excited. And I am SO, SO lucky. Who knew this would be my reality.
There are the stars–doing their old, old crisscross journeys in the sky. Scholars haven’t settled the matter yet, but they seem to think there are no living beings out there. Just chalk… or fire. Only this one is straining away, straining away all the time to make something of itself. Strain’s so bad that every sixteen hours everybody lies down and gets a rest.
–Thornton Wilder, Our Town
Today I close another show. This is how this career is… you’re deep in it, totally invested, your whole day leads up to those few hours at the theatre…
And then suddenly it’s over, and you’re unemployed, and you may never seen your castmates, who have become your family, again, or at least for a long while.
It’s a somber moment, and I’m feeling a bit somber today.
Last night, I went up on an entire speech– I froze onstage and literally couldn’t form words; didn’t know where I was– and it really shook me. It was fine, but awful. I forgive myself, because it wasn’t my fault– I know the speech front and back, I was focused and paying attention– I just short-circuited.
That, compounded with the closing of the show, is making today tough. The rain doesn’t help (thanks NYC).
This was so wonderful.
- We were a New York Times Critics Pick.
- We got amazing reviews (my work was mentioned)
- My parents got to see it
- I got to do Shakespeare!
- I made some amazing friends and met some remarkable people
- I got to work off-Broadway, which is a gift in and of itself.
But more is to come, I know. Including a weeklong vacation in July.
And really, you can’t top what we did at the end of our performance on Friday, June 26. The day was already so joyous. Then we did this, and it was the best curtain call ever:
Acting is a weird business.
You’re not supposed to want anything. WANTING fucks you over.
I want something right now. A part. Even talking about wanting it makes me feel really jinx-y. But I also feel like pretending I don’t want it is actually impossible right now.
The closer I get to the part, the more I want it.
The fewer auditions I have, the more I want to book them.
1 friend I lost
1 job I lost
2 jobs I got
3 plays I did
6 friends of mine who got engaged
10 places I visited
Idaho, Connecticut, Philadelphia, Waynesboro, PA, London, Scotland, Amsterdam, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine
25 days it took to find an apartment in NYC
26 plays I saw (in NYC and London only)
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Mothers and Sons, Richard III, Big Fish, Murder for Two, The Oldest Boy, Our Lady of Kibeho, A Delicate Balance, Lips Together Teeth Apart, Sex with Strangers, The Village Bike, Hand to God, Your Mother’s Copy of the Kama Sutra, The Happiest Song Plays Last, Under My Skin, Sweeney Todd (NY Philharmonic), Fast Company, The Substance of Fire, The Killer, Cinderella, Mala Hierba, American Hero, Hotel, Bring up the Bodies, Showboat (NY Philharmonic), You Got Older
34 blogs I posted
Better than I thought, actually.
73 books I read
My favorites: The Invisible Front, The Circle, NOS4A2, A Tale for the Time Being, Into the Darkest Corner, Dept of Speculation, Tenth of December
365 days I got up in the morning and went to bed and night and existed on this earth.
One of my jobs right now is writing study guides about musicals and plays for a new website. It’s a shit-ton of work for shitty pay, but it’s really fun for the most part. One of the parts of the job that is the most fun is finding video clips for every show and every character. I love musical theatre songs because A) I’m a theatre nerd, B) it’s my job to be nerdy about theatre, and C) each good song is a glimpse of a moment in time for a character. More than songs of any other kind, musical theatre songs are about people and their stories.
So. Here’s some fun stuff for you.
First, a little girl who KILLS it. Sydney Lucas singing “Ring of Keys” from my favorite musical of last year, Fun Home, based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir about growing up a lesbian with a closeted gay dad. SO. GOOD. (this video is from an event, not the show)
Keeping it in the same with the same composer, Jeanine Tesori. This is “Lot’s Wife,” the insanely amazing 11 o’ lock number from Caroline, or Change.The whole musical is on YouTube– I highly recommend it.
This wasn’t from a show I did a guide for, but it came on shuffle and made me feel good. Lots of good songs from this show, but this week in my life, this was the one. “Remember This” from The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown.
So… Newsies doesn’t always do it for me, but this song gives me serious shivers EVERY time. “The World Will Know.” Super good dancing in other clips– recommended for that.
Love this musical. If you loved the 1970s documentary, you’ll love it too. This is my favorite song, but there are lots of good ones. “Around the World” from Grey Gardens.
The harmonies!!!!! “Sunday,” Sunday in the Park with George
I love this whole musical. I don’t get why not everyone does. Here’s just a little taste of The Secret Garden.
And, because there’s never enough Matilda:
I underestimated you.
But, like you did after that nasty thing with Bunkie Dupuy, you bucked up and faced the man. You may have stumbled and fumbled your way there, but you got there. We’ve been lots of places together, and I think it’s safe to say that I love you. I love your clumsiness, I love your conviction, I love that you’re quick to love. I love your hair when it’s good, and your hair when it’s REALLY not good. I love that you are just… well… you.
Some of the things we’ve seen together:
–packs of coyotes howling from less than 500 feet away
–spiders taking up residence in your curler drawer
–holding for an audience’s medical emergency on opening night, right in the middle of doing M’Lynn’s hair
–a sagging pregnancy leotard (don’t ask)
Don’t let anyone reduce you to a stereotype. Keep changing, and keep taking risks. Keep letting love win, and keep giving of yourself. No one puts baby in the corner. Thanks for letting me hang out with you for a couple months. I’mma miss you.
We close on Sunday, and my gratitude knows know bounds.
I know a girl, my age, who is on Broadway right now in a featured role in Cabaret with Michelle Williams and Alan Cumming. She went to Juilliard.
I’ve bitched about this before, because it’s neverending. It’s hard to say that I am GLAD I didn’t get into Juilliard, but I try to remind myself of what I have that’s unique (a fantastic education, scrappiness, a sense of agency, etc). It’s not easy when I watch these girls, no more or less talented than me or any of my friends, seem to have smooth paths to success. They have teams with huge power, they have opportunities I don’t. Because of what’s on their resume.
So I often feel bad about this. I feel jealous and frustrated and small.
But I also know that I’m on a different road than they are. Just entirely different. And with the tools I have, my team, my skills, my scrappiness, I’m doing okay.
Today I recorded a commercial voiceover demo. I’m really proud of it. I paid for it, a lot of money, but got a good deal and you know what? Did a fucking amazing job.
I fight harder. My cache is different. I am glad that my friends aren’t super skinny girls on network TV shows; my friends are those downtown theatre artists saying “hey, I’m making what I want to make,” and even starring on AMC shows but staying grounded and realistic and genuine and reading every. damn. day. I am proud of what I have accomplished with the tools I have. William Morris didn’t sign me, but someone did. Because I am who I am. Period.
(B, remember this next time you feel like shit, k?)
My demo is live. Check it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Oxor7SBEnY&list=UUyw8oawxDvhYkEAYNWMK31Q