Wednesday, March 16, 2011


So... I was excited to be cast in... a certain one-act festival here in the SF Bay Area. Which shall remain nameless.

As an actor who has recently been enjoying getting back onstage - w/companies like New Conservatory Theatre Center, SF Free Civic Theatre, and GuyWriters just to name a few - I was THRILLED to be cast in this annual one-act festival.

My dear friend Ben - who I performed w/in "As Bees in Honey Drown" @ NCTC a few years ago - turned me on to this theatre company. I auditioned for their 8th season but didn't get cast. I was told, however, that I did really well and to audition again.

This year I auditioned again and got in. The play was written by a talented local playwright and the director just happens to also be the Artistic Director of the company. So not only did I get into the festival, but I was also going to get to work with the Artistic Director. Very exciting.

Before we even started rehearsals, tho, this little know-it-all decided she knew more about my character - all of the characters, in fact - than I/we did. And gave us - you guessed it - homework. Before we'd even gotten a chance to go through the play as a group and discuss it. *And, yes, her actions would have been appropriate if the play wasn't a farce. But as the title of this blog says, the play was about dumplings. So... before I could do any sort of character work, I had questions: what was the playwright trying to convey using these particular characters? What was her intent? For example, are these characters REALLY dumplings? Are we... food? Or are they people? Is this a satire about society? A slice of life lesson using food as a metaphor?

*The playwright never answered those questions, btw. She said she deliberately left it open for the actor to interpret. WHAT?

We rehearsed 4 days a week, for 4 hours a night. A little excessive for a 27-minute piece I'd say, but I was up for it. I'm a team player-! *I did, however, put my foot down when she would add additional rehearsals at the last minute and assume we were all free to attend. For instance, on a Sat., we were originally scheduled to rehearse from 12:00 - 4:00. But at the last minute she asked us if we would be able to rehearse from 10:00 - 4:00 because she "felt" we were a little behind in the rehearsal process.


And she even thought we'd be excited that she suggest we 'break for lunch' during the 6-hour rehearsal marathon. Really? REALLY? Can we, PLEASE? I'm so sure-!

Speaking of processes, she conveyed to me that she felt that I 'wasn't on board with her, original, exclusive 4-layer rehearsal process.' In her own words:

"The beginning of the rehearsal process is pretty self-explanatory -- read-through, some character/ensemble work, table work and staging. Then we will move into our "Broadstrokes" phase. This is the phase where we begin to get books out of hand, reinforce our staging choices, and clarify and upgrade our actions/intentions. Then, we move into our "Beat Work" phase. We will be totally off-book by this phase. This is where we will get really specific with our actions -- tightening, reinforcing and cleaning up moments. Lastly, we will run, run, run! The run-thus(sic) will be the phase when we really understand the flow and tempo of the piece. :) "

Ummmmm... HOW is it that her 4-layer process is different from any other rehearsal process? And... WHY would I not be on board - since this is how people have rehearsed for shows SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME??????

But... I jumped in face-first and did what I could and what was needed. I just want to act - and be part of a fun show-! I enjoy rehearsing and putting on a show-! And even tho she never ever made me feel welcome or part of the ensemble - wouldn't even look me in the eye sometimes - I rehearsed the stupid dumplings play and played her stupid acting games ("feel the space, make sure you remember how you feel in different parts of the space").

But... then I got sick. I got that horrible flu was going around and, unfortunately, I had to miss a couple (two) rehearsals. But I kept her in the loop, memeorised lines/got offbook, and assured her I'd be completely ready to jump back in when I was well again.

But... director/artistic director decided that instead of talking to me directly about missing a couple of rehearsals because I had the flu, went behind my back and recast my role-!?! She didn't give me the courtesy of a simple phone call to find out how her own cast member was doing-!?! She didn't give me the courtesy of a phone call to ask me if I thought I'd be well enough to do the show. Instead, without any communication with me whatsoever, she found another actor to replace me.

Wow-! Congratulations, director, you are now one of those cut throat, back-stabbing, unethical, unprofessional people in the entertainment business that we were warned about/taught to avoid at all costs while training to be performers. I hope she's so very proud of herself. She will now have to live for the rest of her life with the fact that she allowed her EGO to become more important than integrity.

As the Artistic Director and as a director with some semblance of experience (I think), one would hope that she would be able to handle this type of situation professionally.


I've been told that the theatre company producing these one-acts was originally founded by three very good and decent people - one of which passed away late last year after fighting cancer for some time. A second moved away. The reins were handed over to this snot-nosed, entitled, little know-it-all who clearly had no idea how to run a theatre company. Someone somewhere felt it was a good idea to have this very inexperienced young woman take over. Big mistake.

The company is supposedly dedicated to the memory of the founder who passed away. After the way she handled the situation with me, I should think he'd be very disappointed in the way she's leading his company.

I'm still getting production e:mails for this show, btw. Even after asking them to take me off their list several times. Sooooooooooooooo unprofessional.

I am currently auditioning for a different one-act festival here in San Francisco that I've enjoyed working with previously; a production I am more than happy to be a part of. I am not letting this foul taste of... dumplings... ruin my lifelong love of the theatre.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I Don't Want to Be Clip and Cool

Nothing makes my skin crawl more than getting onto a bus or train and hearing that distinctive tell-tale sound of someone clipping their nails.

In public? Really? REALLY???

When did this become acceptable?

It's absolutely disgusting. And, no, people, IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE-!?!

Clipping your nails is something that should be done in the privacy of your own bathroom. Or in the company bathroom - IF it's an emergency.

And when it DOES happens (WHY does it happen again?), why does it seem as if time stops and everyone's frozen and that I'm the only one hearing it and/or reacting to it? I look around the entire bus/train and everyone else is pretending they don't hear it-!?! HOW CAN YOU NOT HEAR IT????

I was once on MUNI and a guy wearing flip-flops raised his bare feet and starting clipping his toenails-! HIS TOENAILS-!?! On the train-!!!!

I was once sitting in a movie theatre w/my friend Alex - waiting for a movie to begin - when this guy in front of us started clipping his nails right there in his seat in the movie theatre-!?! I was appalled, flabbergasted, physically nauseated... I tapped him on the shoulder and said to him, "This is probably not the best place for you to be doing that."

He shrugged his shoulders as if he had no idea that what he was doing was so completely disgusting, put the clippers away, and got up and sat somewhere else.

In.......................................................................................... credible.

Don't clip your nails in public, people-! You run the risk of grossing out everyone arround you. And if I see ya doing it, I WILL say something to you-!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Fantasticks

So... I went to Theatre Bay Area website to find some auditions and lo, and behold -- auditions for "The Fantasticks" were being held at 'The San Francisco Musical Theatre.' It's a company I'd never heard of, but what the hey-?!? It's "The Fantasticks-!" I did the show ages ago at Napa Valley College - as the Mute - but I almost got the lead - Matt. At the time the director didn't think I had enuff experience to pull off the male lead. *Just a few months later, I got the lead in "Romeo and Juliet." Go figure.

I digress.

So I called the number provided and left a message. Turns out they were still looking for 3 men (1 singer/2 actors). I left a message I was interested in reading for the show.

That night, 'Eve' called me back and said she was 'thrilled' I'd be auditioning and wanted to know which part I wanted to read for. I said the singing role (one of the fathers?) or one of the 2 acting roles. Whichever.

I made the appointment for the audition that Thurs. night at 7:30. "We have a rehearsal space right behind Trinity Church," she said. "It's the red door on Austin Street so we'll see you at 7:30. The rest of the cast is anxious to meet you."


Thurs. rolled around and I had a monologue ready and a song "Nothing Can Stop Me Now" from "Roar of the Greaspaint..." I came home, fed the cat, and freshened up. I headed to Trinity Church on Bush/Gough and looked for the 'red door' on Austin St.

I rang the bell and this woman - who I can only describe as a brunette version of Carol Kane from THE PRINCESS BRIDE - answered the door. Eve. This woman was a fright: crazy curly dark hair, moles on her face, and would not stop talking about anything and everything. She was a witch. And she was even being sort of coquettish with me - which I found a bit unsettling.

She led me into their rehearsal space where two guys were up onstage: an Asian guy and a very, very, very, very old man. They were doing dislogue right before the "Plant a Radish" song.

And they were terrible. Absolutely terrible. Eyes darting. Forgetting lines and Eve kept feeding them the lines - ROLLING HER EYES AT ME-!?!

Eve managed to stop coquetting for a moment to tell me I'd be reading for the role of Matt.


Ummmm... no. No, no, no, no NO-!!!

Here's the best part. She actually said to me: "Luisa is supposed to be 16 and Matt is supposed to be 20. But I play Luisa more like 13."

This 50-something director, producer, actress was playing the young leading ingenue.

She had me read a scene between Matt and Luisa (Yes, the kissing scene-!?!) and I was in an absolute panic.

She couldn't remember any of her lines and kept having to take the script from me to read her lines. I pointedly asked her, "Don't you have more than one script?"

"I don't know if you know this, but photocopying is expensive." Another dramatic monologue about time and working in offices and photocopying.


She had me sing "I Can See It" w/the actor who was cast as El Gallo - who so far was watching quietly from the chairs offstage. I sang okay... for a song that's very difficult to sight read... and a duet. El Gallo seemed... normal enough, but he kept eyeing me as if I was a cold drink and he had a terrible, terrible thirst.

Eve said she knew I'd be able to do the part the minute she saw me, continued her monologue about this and that and how we'd only be rehearsing on Thursday nights and how she wanted everyone offbook by next Thurs. and 'how do you rehearse your songs? Do you require a tape? Do you need private rehearsals because I'm available one-on-one as an accompanist... But you'd have to come to my place? is that alright? Do you feel comfortable alone in a room with me?"


I was, like, "Let me think about it and I'll get back to you tomorrow."

"What's to think about?" she asked.

I made up something right away: "Well, I'm waiting to hear about this other part I auditioned for so I'll let you know tomorrow. Is that okay?"

She seemed a bit disappointed. In my head I tried to gauge the disappointment to the crazy and how equal they were to one another and I have to say... the crazy outweighed the disppointment.

Here's what's REALLY crazy: for a split-second I actually thought in my head that 'I could do it. It's a great part. I can certainly do the acting and the singing admirably.' I ACTUALLY CONSIDERED IT.

Is crazy contagious?

The better part of common sense won out and that part of my head said to the other part of my head that there's no way I could do the show. The woman's insane, the actors were terrible, I'd be the best thing about the show and it's just not enough being the best part of a terrible show-! I'd never be able to invite anyone I knew. I wouldn't invite anyone I DIDN'T know-!

I thanked them all for their time, grabbed my jacket, my backpack and I got the hell outta there.

I left Crazy Eve a message the next day saying I wasn't going to be able to do the show, blah blah blah.

Eve left me a message later about how "unprofessional I was," how I'd "wasted everyone's time," etc...


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Back of People's Heads

I often feel hatred with the intensity of 37 million white-hot suns lined up next to each other when some stranger takes it upon him or herself to stand directly in front of me... in a line for something, on the platform as I wait for a train, when I'm on the train, etc...

Just the sight of the back of their heads makes me see red.

Honestly, I can't explain it. They could be perfectly good-looking in their own, ignorant way. I'm not gonna say it's rational and I'm not

gonna say it's even very nice. It's just an honest confession about how I feel when it happens.

Usually when I get on a train, I stand in the doorway opposite the doors that open to let people in and out. And only when there isn't an empty seat facing forward (facing the direction the train is going; I get kinda motion sick if I'm facing backwards).

And during rush hour, instead of folks moving into the empty area in the middle of the aisles, inevitably some tool will stand in the doorway directly in front of me - even when there IS plenty of room inside the train. And FYI, there's usually another tool standing in the doorway where people DO need to get in and out as well.

This person will stand directly in front of me - with his or her back to me - and it sends instant shocks of hatred for them into my brain. And they'll keep their backpack on which will bump me every time the train hit a bump... More hatred.

Usually it's an unkempt, barely brushed head... or a sweaty balding head... or a head of hair in a pony tail that needs to be re-tied/tightened 'cause the hair's coming loose... or a head whose hair is badly or unevenly cut...

One heavy guy was so exhausted from his walk from his office to the train I was on that when he stood in front of me, he wiped, wiped, wiped the sweat off the back of his neck with a kerchief every, like 5 seconds - right in front of me-!?! WHO sweats that much?!?

God, I hated him.

Then there's people who clearly see that I'm waiting to get on the train and will stand right in front of me as the train pulls up to get on first. Whatever happened to queuing up?

I hate the back of their heads, too.

I guess what I hate more than the fact that it's their head that I hate, I think it's the fact that there's this attitude of... entitlement... that comes with the back of their head in my space.

It's that same entitlement that allows them to open up their newspaper on a crowded train and read - even if the newspaper is right in other people's faces. People seem to think that there are no other people on this planet besides them.

Everyone's in a hurry; everyone's only ever thinking about themselves and it drives me nuts. Acknowledge the people around you. Be courteous and be polite. And don't stick the back of your head in my face.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

'It was nice meeting you. thanks for taking 1/2 hour outta your day to meet me. I don't think we're a match, but good luck to you.

Let's get one thing very clear right off the bat: I do NOT date.

I've always thought honesty was the best policy. Yes, easier said than done. But it's all about... discipline. Why do I get up every single Sat. and Sun. morning to run thru Golden Gate Park and back? Yes, to stay in shape, but it also has a lot to do with discipline. I've been doing in every Sat. and Sun. for about 13 years now. And it never gets easier. And it's easy to make excuses NOT to do it. And I look good, but it's rough and painful. But I do it and I do it because of discipline.

I sort of view dating as the same thing. I mean, you meet someone, there may be chemistry, you exchange numbers with the possibility of getting together at some point for coffee... or a drink... or if you're really a glutton for punishment, dinner.

I say set up a quick little face-to-face for a cup of coffee. Well, okay, tea (I don't drink coffee). Maybe a drink, but only one. You don't wanna reveal too much too soon. 30 minutes, max. If it is going well, you gauge how much more time you wanna spend together. But my favourite saying is, 'Always leave 'em wanting more.'

You meet, you either get along or you don't. You're either attracted to each other or you're not. You're either attracted to him and he's not or vice versa. Me, I can usually tell if someone's attracted to me or not. There's body language, there's looks, there's a... sense. But some guys are really good at foolin' ya.

I once met a guy thru the Personals. We'll call him Matt. Matt's ad said he was ' a great conversationalist.' Matt persistently contacted me while I was in NY on a visit and I eventually set a date and time to meet when I was back in SF. Matt said he might be a tad late because he'd be coming from the gym.

He showed up almost 30 minutes late, scoffed at the fact that I'd already ordered my tea before he got there (!?!), blatantly looked me up and down and said, "You're not at all like your pictures. You're hair's longer."

I sensed he was a little drunk. And he obviously did not come from the gym (if by 'gym,' he meant 'the bar'). He was hiccuping-!?!

I tried to be light and friendly and witty and fun, but he was confrontational, angry, and contradicted me every chance he got. Nothing I said was right or smart or good enough for him. And the hiccuping-!?! I finally said, "Matt, it's clear that this is not a match. it's clear that you want to be anywhere else but right here right now. And after 5 minutes with you, I feel exactly the same. I'm going to go, okay? But before I do, I just want you to know that THIS right here - this is 15 minutes out of your life. Whether you like me or not, would it really kill you to just be nice??? You don't have to be attracted to me, you don't even have to like me, but I deserve to be treated nicely. I'm going to go and I'd like to say it was nice meeting you, but I would be LYING."

And I grabbed my backpack and I left.

Obviously that type of meeting doesn't happen all the time (apparently only on MY blind dates-!?!), but I handled myself well. I thought.

A great conversationalist? HUH?

Anyway, I've been on many a fun date and hoped to hear again from the guy and... never have.

My best friend Kevin called me once from NY all upset - saying how he'd gone on this great date with this guy, that they'd had so much fun, agreed they'd both like to get together again... and Kevin called him the next day to leave a message to say what a nice time he'd had with him.

And never heard back from the guy.

Kevin's next question broke my heart: "What did I do wrong?"

and then he added, "I should've waited to call him."

Kevin, you didn't do anything wrong. Having a fun time with someone on a date and calling them the next day to TELL them how much fun you had is a wonderful, sweet gesture. It's the guy's problem if he can't deal with that.

There are no rules. "You gotta wait two or three days before you call someone back or they'll think you're desperate."

I'm so sure. If you wanna call someone, call 'em. And if they get all bent or scared or whatever, it has absolutely nothing to do with you. 90% of the time, it's their own issues... or insecurities.

If I go out on a date with someone, I expect them to be nice (obviously) and I expect them to be honest. If they don't feel that there's a connection, tell me. I'm definitely going to do the same. Don't say, "I'll call you" if you don't mean it. It hurts more NOT HEARING FROM SOMEONE than it does to just be upfront and honest right away. If you say, 'Yes... let's get together again." and you don't have any intention of calling them back 'to let 'em down easily' or whatever, they're gonna think you DO wanna see 'em again and they're gonna hurt when you DON'T call 'em. And it hurts a lot. We all have gone through that.

Communication is hard, yes. But be disciplined. Practice it. It'll do everyone good in the long run.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We're Gonna Smoke 'em Out

Cigarettes. You're, all, 'Oh, God -- I knew THIS ONE was coming.'

I used to smoke. I wasn't a chain-smoker by any means. But after 1 or 2 or 13 cocktails, a cigarette always seemed to make it's way between my fingertips - like that teleportation sound on "Bewitched."

Since taking up running, cigarettes were the first thing to go. Make that the second. The first thing to go was the size XL clothes. Honestly. I hid my size well.

That being said, I honestly don't mind the smoke all that much. the only time it really, really bothers me is when I'm eating or when I'm walking BEHIND a smoker. I hate that. And, yes, I will run ahead of you like a lunatic so that your smoke trail doesn't make me cough up a lung.

But smoking IS a nasty habit. Ask anyone. And don't get all defensive because you, smoker, are the FIRST one to admit - when confronted by a friend or family member, or just you and me talkin' - that you wish you could quit.

I once sat @ Yerba Buena Gardens to eat my lunch an this goth chick sat down right next to me, lit up and started blowing that smoke right into my face.

When I axed her - very nicely, mind you (I always ask nicely-!) - to put it out, she stuck out her pierced, black lipstick'd lips and snarled, "You can move."

I said, "Yes, that would be lovely EXCEPT THAT I WAS HERE FIRST-!"

Honestly, I wanted to snatch that ugly think out of her mouth and stomp on it. In fact, I almost did. But there's nothing more embarrassing than being arrested by a public park rent-a-cop.

Instead I turned away from her mumbling about Exene and "The Decline of the Western Civilization" and how no one has any manners anymore and other stuff way over her head.

How come even when you ask people nicely to put out their cigarette or move away from you when they're smoking they get SO angry? What is it about the... entitlement people feel about smoking? Is it 'cause they KNOW it's bad for them? Is it because they KNOW it causes cancer, etc...? Guilt? Wow-! If it makes you feel guilty... and you bite someone's head off for asking... maybe it's not so good for you after all-!?!

It would be one thing if the smoke was contained to just the person smoking. But it's not. Note to self: invent self-contained smoker suit so only the smoker has to endure the smoke from their own filthy habit.

Next time someone asks you to put your cigarette out or at least to move away from them a bit, don't get all defensive and nasty. Just do it. And when you say to yourself or a friend 'I REALLY need to quit,' do that, too. I'll help-! Every time you want to smoke I'll... hand ya a "Jolly Rancher." I heard that works. But do it. You'll feel better.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stop It-!