Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Monday, July 08, 2013
"Which ocean?" I asked excitedly. I was already recalculating my plans for the day as the still heat of the Villa Grande air was started to get to me. I was wilting. And you know what they say, if you can't take the heat....get out...
"Um, the Pacific Ocean," she responded quizzically.
I laughed at my error. "I mean, which BEACH?"
And that was that. It hadn't even occurred to me to visit the coast initially during my stay at her mom's place during our Fourth of July holiday. But all of a sudden I had a new plan to hit up all the beaches South of the town of Jenner off Highway 1 in that very moment.
"You might want to come back this way on your way home. If you drive down the coast, it will take you much longer" she warned me.
Yes, I thought dreamily, it will take me much longer... .. all the better to see the beaches with my dear...
Shortly after, I said my goodbyes to her family and I hightailed it out to my first destination. About 15 minutes later I had arrived.
As I stepped out of my car I felt the cool breeze usher me in. I inhaled in the crisp air and let it fill up my lungs- but it wasn't long before I started to notice that the air was a little too cold, a little too windy, and my black hoodie sweatshirt didn't seem to insulate me enough from the big gusts that whipped my hair all around. This beach doesn't have a cliff to shield the visitors from the wind, so it just lets it rip. After walking the shore for about seven minutes, just when I started to feel this beach visit was a total bust, I saw an older couple carrying sticks and looking for something amongst the pebbles in the sand. They were up to something.
"Whacha looking for?" I probed.
The man looked at me and held a small piece of light green rock in his palm. "See this?" He said. "It's sea glass. Pretty rare to find, but sometimes it just jumps out at you."
Sea glass, hmmmm....you don't say. Now, up to this point I had only be known for my obsession with looking for the perfect seashell, which is almost impossible to find out here on the West Coast, but sea glass? Now, that could be a new obsession. Especially since it's rare. It's like looking for buried treasure and I just love me a good buried treasure! So I joined them. About 15 minutes later, when I couldn't take the cold anymore (Goldilocks anyone? Theresa is too hot, Theresa is too cold), I had managed to pocket a few small pebbles of sea glass myself.
Feeling accomplished I walked back to my car, emptied out the sand in my shoes and waved goodbye to Goat Rock Beach. For this was only the beginning.
I made a right turn and headed South on Hwy 1. I wasn't getting wifi out in these parts so I decided to let the road signs direct me. It wouldn't take long before I would arrive at my next destination.
Now as pretty as this place is, don't let the name fool you. There were no shells to be found. Merely tide pools that didn't offer a lot of scenery in the way of wildlife but instead just contained small children who were splashing themselves around in them. However, the main reason why I picked this beach as my next stop was not only because of its deceptive name, but also because its trail was clearly the shortest distance from my car.
That's right, you read me. Seven dollars to visit this beach because it was a campground. I slowly backed out of the parking lot, shook the dust off my sandals, wished them well, and sped off. See ya.
The next stop was literally only a parking lot and not a public beach at all. I did a drive by.
Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Seriously, I don't know how moms with young kids have the energy to write. The discipline to write. I get up and go to work and then go to the gym and then I am done. But that's not an excuse. I must write.
I guess I should try setting the alarm earlier and actually getting up when it goes off. I owe that to myself.
What's been going on in my head lately?
Confessions of a Late Bloomer
I need to write another solo piece (not an extension of Cat Nanny) and eventually write it up to 60 minutes. Tales of a Fourth Born. Something like that. The humor of birth order and how our perspective is shaped by it. I think I need to go through all my old blogs that are late bloomer themed and see if I can weave them together.
Solo Workshop at The Marsh in SF
Considering taking this workshop at the Marsh in August. I think it's like 10 weeks or something and then there is a performance at the end. Hmmmm, maybe. Will check out their class performances in late July.
Audition for Another Show
Don't know if I am right for Rachel Bublitz' Babies: The Ultimate Birth Control, but I might as well give it a shot. I sure know that the sound of loud crying babies does the trick for me.
Online Writing Workshop
I am taking this online writing class, but I am not as active on it as I should be. Not all the writing prompts turn me on, but I think that's okay. It's about weeding out all the other stuff and getting to the good part.
Fourth Born at the Fourth Of July
Going up to a friend's place for the Fourth of July. Maybe I will get a funny story out of it.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Writing Prompt #2 in my online writing course.
Where Were You This Week?
Downtown Martinez. It takes an important event to bring me back to the place where I grew up. And even though Martinez is only a half hour away from Oakland without traffic (aka the Caldecott Tunnel), it’s like a different world when you finally arrive. I went to the Martinez Marina this past Saturday with some of my family to celebrate Father’s Day. It was something my parents wanted to do, and so I picked up my 89 year old grandmother in San Leandro, (the only other Alameda County resident in my family), and hightailed it out to Contra Costa County. Past the tunnel and six freeway changes later, Grandma and I arrived at my parents' doorstep.
Wednesday, June 05, 2013
I did a solo piece back in April, along with five other women's solo peformances that sold out every weekend of our run, so now we have added two additional dates for next week!
I hadn't done theatre in 17 years so my stress level and adrenaline was up pretty high. I am hoping the second time around I will not be so stressed out. Energy up, but not to the point of fatigue.
In the meantime, I dust off my script, pull the props out of my cat-bag and get back into character. It will be interesting to see how I feel afterwards. I would like to work up to a 60 minute show eventually (my current piece is only 11 minutes) and I want to learn how to not fry myself mentally.
So, if you haven't already seen the show...come out next week if you can!
NOTE: I go on first, so if you plan on attending...don't be late! But again, one should nevah be late for the theatre! Nevah!!! Hope to see you guys there!
WOMEN IN SOLODARITY: CAT LADIES!
Directed by Rachel Bublitz
The show features female solo performances in honor of our quirky obsession with cats. This show, which was produced in association with the International Home Theater Festival, is All Terrain Theater's second showcase dedicated to promoting the work of female Bay Area theater artists.
Mon, June 10 & Tue, June 11 @ ...8pm
PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/390190
This performance will be held at a private residence in Central Berkeley. Reserve your tickets for the address to our venue. Please note that there are cats and a dog on the property, though pets will not be present during the performances. The show is approximately 90 minutes and is wheelchair accessible.
PUSSY: TEASER EDITION - Written & Performed by Maura Halloran
CAT NANNY 911 - Written & Performed by Theresa Donahoe
KITTY'S PRESCRIPTION - Written by Patricia Milton Performed by Martha Rynberg
THE METAMORPHOSIS - Written by Carol Lashof Performed by Heather Kellogg
IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S ME - Written by Rachel Bublitz Performed by Ramya Vijayan
MISSING: A CAT PLAY- Written by Susan Sobeloff Performed by Colleen Egan
THE LIBRARIAN WHO WAS ALLERGIC TO CATS- Written by Tracy Held Potter Performed by Colleen Egan
Stage Management by Chelsey Little
Produced by All Terrain Theater and The Downward Dog in association with the International Home Theater Festival.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
This is mobile phone game crack. I am on level 191 I think. I don't know anymore. I have lost count. This is a serious time suck. An intervention might be at hand.
In other news, my wireless mouse arrived for my new laptop, but the actual computer has not arrived at Best Buy yet and I am still waiting to bring her home. My new baby girl. When will the stork deliver?
And in other other news...my solo performance "CAT NANNY 911!" is back for two encore performances in Berkeley June 10th and 11th. This is in conjunction with our show from back in April, "Women In Solodarity: CAT LADIES!" More on that later. I must look over my script again.
As I re-enter the theatre scene after a 17 year hiatus, I am relearning something about myself that I had disovered back in high school:
I love to act but I am not a drama person.
Does this make sense? It means I have interests outside of theater. I don't live and breathe Shakespeare, I don't sing the score to Gypsy all day long and I don't hop from one show to the next one. I write and act, but also take hip hop dance classes and like to hang out with friends from the gym and from church. I spread it out a little ya know. I don't go from one play into the next one.
I am realizing that within the Bay Area Theatre Community there are all these cliques and not everyone knows each other like I thought they would. You got your Equity actors who also pursue film. I know them from working in film casting. Then you have your independent theatre people who live and breathe non-union art and are playwriting all the time and don't know all the union people. Then you have those people who say "F*** Berkeley Rep!". Then you have the Berkeley Rep people. And not everyone knows everyone.
And then you have all the solo performers and the solo performer workshops-- this seems to be another clique. This is what I am gravitating to the most right now.
This sort of "streams of conciousness" blogs will be happening here until my brand new baby girl Lenvo Idea Pad arrives. Then I can take her home and get back to story writing.
Friday, May 24, 2013
I wasn't totally sad to be honest. It was a beast of a thing. It weighed too much and I had to lug it around to coffee shops when I didn't have wi-fi. It also gave me an excuse to put the search out for a new writing companion.
After weeks and weeks of research, I finally bit the bullet and bought a Lenovo Ideapad 15.6 Z585. I pick her up next week at Best Buy. I feel like I am going to the hospital to bring home a newborn.
From the photos, I see that it will be an adjustment getting used to the keyboard--let's hope she's a keeper.
R.I.P. Gateway. You were an okay starter machine, but it's time to move on.
Monday, April 22, 2013
Also out on that field that night, playing in his varsity football uniform, was a junior named Alan Hern. I didn't know Alan very well, but Martinez is a small town and Alhambra a small high school, so you couldn't help but at least know of people even if you didn't know them that well personally--because you couldn't avoid each other. Most social circles would intersect at one point or another. And in a town where my three older siblings and I all went to the same high school, if you didn't know me, you probably knew one of my brothers or sister.
I have lived in Oakland for about 15 years now and don't really spend much time in Martinez anymore. But last week when I turned on the news and heard that "a boy from Martinez named Aaron Hern" was injured in the blast during the Boston Marathon, I just thought "Hern? That's gotta be Alan's kid." I mean, how many Herns live in Martinez?
Sure enough as the story unfolded, it was confirmed that it was Alan's son who was injured in the blast that day while waiting for his mom to cross the finish line. Soon Alan was on the news and being interviewed on the Today Show, and then a picture was taken of Michelle Obama visiting his son in the hospital.
"This is freaking surreal," I just thought. Martinez isn't a city known for making international news about anything. It's just a small little town filled with antique shops and it pretty much minds its own business. I mean sure there is some history there, it being the birth place of Joe Dimaggio and the location of the John Muir Museum, and yes-- there is still an argument to this day as to whether or not the Martini drink was really invented there, (San Francisco also takes credit), but that is pretty much it.
Soon, the city of Martinez was rallying behind Alan's family and local businesses started fundraising and donating proceeds to cover hospital costs. Then a bank account in Aaron's name was opened at Wells Fargo, and a Facebook Page was created to bring the latest news. You see, one of the things about being from a small town, is that it's somewhat difficult to be invisible-- for better or worse. And in Alan's case, especially since becoming the current head coach for Alhambra's Varsity Football team within the last few years, I am guessing the Hern family is pretty well known.
The good news is, Aaron is healing well and should be able to come home soon. To get the latest news on his recovery and how to donate to the cause, you can visit the Aaron Hern Recovery Facebook Page.
Friday, April 12, 2013
"Fine," Martha, one of the actors replied, "You know, it's just the throwing up part."
Isn't that the truth, I thought as I sat at there, at the dining room table, in my cat nanny costume, waiting not so patiently to open the show that first night. That's right. I was opening the opening.
Why do we do this to ourselves, I wondered, are we masochistic? Why on earth would we continue to pursue this routine of: audition, rejection. audition, acceptance. memorize, memorize, memorize, and then throw ourselves at the mercy of a live audience for possibly more perceived rejection? Are we mad?
I gazed around the room. Some women paced back and forth reciting their lines quietly to themselves while others sat meditatively in their chairs. Idle chit chat from just a few minutes before have given away to focused silence. Yes, indeed, we were mad.
I looked out the living room window and saw a man walking his dog along the street. Quick sir, I thought, trade lives with me. I mean, what troubles could he possibly have? I have to go on in less than five minutes and open the opening of a sold out crowd. What do YOU have to do sir, huh? Yeah, keep walking that stupid dog.
"Ready, Theresa?" Chelsey motioned me to take my spot in the wings, and by wings, I mean the top of a spiral staircase in the kitchen that led down to the lower level of the house.. and the stage....and to my impending death. Spiral staircase, I thought, how appropriate.
Then I hear it. The applause is my cue. I make my way down the staircase and find my place on the stage. I look up at the crowd but not really. I see people, but not any one particular person. "Sorry for the mess," I start with. I ramble on for a few minutes before I start recognize a face or two in the audience. Don't lose your focus, I tell myself, you're the cat nanny. More rambling. Then I see a friend videotaping me in the front row with her camera. That's fine, I assure myself, keep going--be the cat nanny. More rambling. I notice another friend of mine arriving late and scooting her way to some middle seats. Oops, I forgot to tell her I went on first. Focus. More rambling. Then finally, FINALLY after the longest 11 minutes in the world.... my closing line, "I'm a cat nanny!"
Applause. Pause. Pause. Hold your look. Hold it. Now turn, grab your props and exit. Exhale. There. Done. I make my way back up the spiral staircase and back safely to home base, that is, the kitchen.
I sit in the kitchen listening intently to each actor's monologue that follows after mine. I hear a moment of silence, followed by an erruption of laughter. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. As each actor finishes her piece, one more blazes her way back up to the top of the spiral staircase and into the kitchen while letting out a sigh of relief. Except for Colleen. She had two monologues to memorize- so she stays focused until her second piece is finished.
Then finally, intermission. 10 minutes. 10 minutes to go hide back in the living room because the bathroom is now open to the audience and is right next to the kitchen. I play games on my smart phone as our final actor begins to get focused and warms up and preps her props. Knock 'em dead Maura.
Intermission is over. Audience takes their seats again. I play on my phone in the kitchen and listen one more time as the crowd reacts to the final piece. More laughter, silence and laughter, silence and laughter. Then I hear Maura's final words and all the actors take their place in the spiral staircase to get ready for the final curtain call. Lights off. Applause. Lights on. We all take the stage and give our final bow. I am still not looking at anyone in particular.
I am exhausted. I give hugs to friends and say hi to people. I decline on invitations to go out knowing I have a matinee followed by an evening performance the next day. Then I remember it's the director's birthday and grab some cupcakes I had purchased earlier in the day. I light candles on them and bring them back down the spiral staircase. We sing happy birthday to her. We give final greetings to friends. I am relieved, but only for a moment, knowing I have to turn around the next day and do it all over again.
CRAZY CAT LADIES ARE (in order of appearance)
Friday, April 05, 2013
Tonight, April 5th, 2013, marks my return to the theatre after a 17 year hiatus. A flood of questions enter my mind. Do I still remember how to do this? Do I still know how to act? Or to quote Teri Garr’s character in the movie "Tootsie" about getting her energy up for an audition, “How am I going to get it back?”
Now if you tell me acting on stage is just like riding a bike, I have a story for you to read later. In the meantime, I recall and remember the pans and praises I have received from the Ghosts-of-Drama-Teachers-past:
"You’re doing all these things with your face” – Cliff Osmond, during my very first "Acting On Camera" class.
“Try taping your eyebrows when you talk then you can feel what you’re doing with your face.”- Another teacher whose name escapes me, during my second "Acting On Camera" class.
"Do you dance?" - Director Harvey Berman, while perusing the Diablo Valley College Theater green room one day and casting dancers on the spot in for his upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet. (Most fun I have ever had in a play- ever)
“You’re 'the friend'” – Les Abbott, trying to pen me as a character actor
“You’re funny. You’re eccentric and a bit off-center.” Ed Trujillo, during his Stage Audition Techniques class and confirming the stereotype that I was, indeed, a character actor.
“I don’t know what to say…your energy was full...” - James Kirkwood, during his Advanced Principles of Stage Acting class and confirming the fact, that I was simply… an actor.
For those of you that knew James Kirkwood, for him NOT to say a lot, was a compliment – he always had something to say.
Thank you Mr. Kirkwood, I dedicate this performance to you. Here's to hoping my energy is "full".
Now--On with the show!
Saturday, March 16, 2013
I think my grandma was with us that one fateful March day but I can't be entirely sure. She might have been baby sitting my sister and I and even though my sister wasn't feeling well, she really wanted to come to MacDonald's with us, and she really wanted the coveted Shamrock shake.
We loved the Shamrock Shake because it was sweet, and well, it was green. I don't remember if it was minty back then, but it was yummy.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Rehearsal, Rehearsal, Rehearsal...
Speaking of which, I had my first rehearsal for my upcoming show in April, Women in Solodarity: Cat Ladies, this past weekend. I'm telling you it's wierd to rehearse my own writing, but I like it. And finally being able to rehearse it with blocking is helping me understand the very story I have written. It's all coming together now. Meow.
Oh Bolinas, it's been a long winter and how I have missed you! I just might visit you this weekend. Speaking of this weekend....
Monday, February 25, 2013
My dream one day is to perform a full length one-woman show and take it on the road, but the thought of it seems so daunting to me. How does one even get started on such a journey? So I prayed about direction and soon after an opportunity opened up for me to write and perform a short solo piece, and finally get my paws wet.
All Terrain Theater's Women in Solodarity: Cat Ladies is a showcase featuring female solo performances in honor of our quirky obsession with cats. This show, produced in association with the International Home Theater Festival, is All Terrain Theater's second showcase dedicated to promoting the work of female Bay Area theater artists.
April 5, 6, 12, 13 @ 8pm (Fridays and Saturdays)
April 6 @ 2pm
Directed by Rachel Bublitz
Written & Performed by Maura Halloran
CAT NANNY 911
Written & Performed by Theresa Donahoe
Written by Patricia Milton
Performed by Martha Rynberg
Written by Carol Lashof
Performed by Heather Kellogg
IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S ME
Written by Rachel Bublitz
Performed by Ramya Vijayan
MISSING: A CAT PLAY
Written by Susan Sobeloff
Performed by Colleen Egan
THE LIBRARIAN WHO WAS ALLERGIC TO CATS
Written by Tracy Held Potter
Performed by Colleen Egan
Stage Management by Chelsey Little
This performance will be held at a private residence in Central Berkeley. Reserve your tickets for the address to our venue. Please note that there are cats and a dog on the property, and cats may be roaming around during the performances on April 12th and 13th. The show is approximately 90 minutes and is wheelchair accessible.
PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE: http://catladies.brownpapertickets.com/
Produced by All Terrain Theater and The Downward Dog in association with the International Home Theatre Festival.
Thursday, February 07, 2013
The mat was dripping wet, so I laid it outside by the clothesline in the back of my apartment building hoping the sun would dry it out. Then I forgot about it, a few days passed, and then it rained. I do this sort of thing all the time.
You would think that each time I stepped out of the shower and onto a towel on the floor that wasn't my bathmat, that I would remember to check on how it was drying outside. But instead, I just got used to the towel being on the floor. Because not only am I "out of sight, out of mind", but I am highly adaptable. If something changes in my environment, I just get used to it. If dishes start to stack in my sink, I don't notice them anymore until I have no more clean dishes. If a sweater ends up on the floor, it becomes a fixture on the floor until the weekend comes and I'm like, "hey I should probably vacuum, by the way, what's that sweater doing there?"
I've been this way for as long as I can remember. I do this at work too. I have all sorts of folders out and pieces of paper on my desk that I should just put away, but the problem with that is if I file them away it's gone forever. So I leave things out. If they are not in front of me, they don't exist.
Then I try to make lists of things to do, but then guess what happens? I forget where my lists are. Then I'm like, "hey I know there was supposed to be something that I needed to do." So then I send myself reminder emails, and then my inbox gets so full I get overwhelmed. And then I adapt to my inbox being full and forget about it. So then I write myself reminder notes on my hand--- and guess what--this actually works for me.
So instead of a piece of string around my finger, I opt for ink on my hand. I know it looks tacky, like I was just at the club the night before and forgot to wash the stamp off, but I don't care. I guess I must look at my hands alot? Why does this work?
I also have to put my gym bag in front of my door the night before a gym day--or I may forget to go the gym after work. I have to put my rent check in an envelope and leave it by the front door, or I will forget to pay my rent. I do have a calendar on my wall and that works somewhat. As long as I remember to actually look at the calendar.
This "out of sight, out of mind" disease is terrible on friendships. I have a routine and the people I see the most are the ones that are part of my routine. I apologize if I have affected you. It's not you, it's me. No really. IT'S ME. Please forgive me. I will write you on my hands next time.
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
I loved it. It was basically a young man on a stage in his underwear, clutching his private parts while staring into the audience like a deer into headlights. Other actors around him came on and off the stage briefly with a few lines here and there, but he stood there in the middle of it all, petrified. He didn't know what play he was in, or what line he was supposed to stay next. It was, indeed, every actor's nightmare.
As an actor and writer, I get to experience not only the actor's nightmare, but the writer's meltdown. Now, I googled the term, "writer's meltdown" and apparently we all have different definitions of what this means. My meltdown is simply, not so much having writer's block, as much as second guessing what I have already written. Is this funny anymore? Was it ever funny? Does this make sense? Is this redundant? Clear? What I thought was a good idea at the time, or maybe even genius--is now muddled and I am not so sure. And then of course the worst self critique of all - is this BORING? As a performer myself who bores so easily, my biggest fear is that my writing and performing will put someone to sleep. I mean, we are supposed to entertain people, aren't we?
In the annoying introspection of it all, I sat on the side of my bed questioning myself and praying, "Lord, I know I am good writer, but help me with the translation". I sensed Him telling me to just do it anyway. I am going to have to learn by doing and there is no way around it. No number of writing classes, workshops or lectures is going to make me be a better writer. Writing is going to make me a better writer. I will have to be okay with not being great at first, but just simply, getting through it. As long as I have a support group in place, a solid set of friends, I will be just fine.
As I closed my eyes, I saw a picture of a fist punching through a paper wall. The wall is thin, and easily penetrated. It's not as difficult as I think it is. I just have to punch through it.
Alright, enough with the meltdown. And on with the show.
Sunday, February 03, 2013
I know it sounds expensive, but I don't have kids, so I figure since I am not spending money on diapers and college educations, I can have my Starbucks everyday. It's all about perspective.
During my daily jaunt down to the main boulevard my mind fills up with all sorts of thoughts and for some reason becomes the best time to get ideas for writing. I have had rest, I am getting my first exercise of the morning and ideas flood my brain.
This morning I was thinking about youth and first loves. But maybe not the way you're thinking about it.
You see, I bought a curling iron yesterday. It was an impulse purchase inside a CVS Pharmacy. I only meant to get toilet paper and such and ended up buying a curling iron as well. I took it home, unwrapped it (that was a feat within itself) and plugged it in. I haven't used a curling iron since the 80s. When I was young, I had all that energy to play with my hair. I cared about what I looked like. I styled it and practiced in front of the mirror for maybe not hours, but certainly alot longer than I would ever care to bother now and I just thought--
Why don't I care anymore? And this got me thinking of a scene from the movie "When Harry Met Sally".
HARRY: How long have you been dating Joe? 3 weeks?
SALLY: A month. How did you know that?
HARRY: To take someone to the airport, you are clearly at the beginning of a relationship. Which is why I never have anyone take me to the airport at the beginning of a relationship.
HARRY: Because eventually things move on, you don't take them to the airport anymore and I never wanted anyone to ask me, "why don't you take me to the airport anymore?"
SALLY: It's amazing. You look like a normal person, but really you are the angel of death.
I know it's wierd but this made me think of that curling iron and I just thought- How come I don't curl my hair anymore? Is it because my relationship with my hair is past the honeymoon stage and I no longer care? What happen to all that energy and youth?
And while I am currently not seeing anyone romantically right now, I can at least rekindle the spark with my hair. I don't know how long this will last, but I am ready to start the fire and passion again. I want to care again.