Saturday, September 18, 2010


I'm so inspired right now, I'm working with some incredible people, full of ideas and creativity.

1. Jenny Otto, my yoga teacher and mentor - she has started working using one inch poles with feet work - profound. Her knowledge of the body/muscular/bone structure/nervous system is par none, she knows things no other yoga teacher knows because she has actually participated in autopsies and sees how the body works. She finds challenging ways to use props, to access and change the brain/nervous system habits, she literally blows my mind! Sometimes I really struggle in her classes which alerts me to the fact that I'm misaligned or not being efficient in my own structure. Through her example, I see the power of creation in yoga teaching.

2. Haley Murphy, director for "Sabbath Night in the Church of the Piranha" with Taking Flight Theater Company - Haley knows what she wants but allows me the freedom to explore and create and find it from myself, I can speak candidly when things work or not, she has no problem with me having input. If I make a choice that she didn't foresee and she likes it, she'll say, "that's better than what I was thinking for that moment." I really feel like I'm co-creating with her, rather than her just telling me what she wants, we are collaborators in this world we are creating.

3. Ksenya Litvak, puppet designer - Ksenya is amazing. Trained in Russia as an artist and puppetmaker, her designs are clever, whimsical, practical, and inspired. She just draws something quickly on a napkin, some vision she sees, and I am thrilled by her ideas. I worked with her for three years in the past with a theatre company, but now I'm in the midst of creating a "Puppetry and Percussion" project, and she is helping me with ideas and creations. We will be working together for a few hours each week, the fun never stops with puppetry!

4. Jill Cahn, yoga teacher and mentor - technically I'm not working with her at the moment, she is on vacation with her husband for a few weeks, but she is always with me. She is my most profound connection with yoga. Her work using/going against gravity is the greatest influence in my practice and on my future yoga teaching. Everything she has ever said to me has been right. How many people can you say that about in your life? I LOVE her.

5. Medeski Martin and Wood - I know, they, too, are always a part of what I'm about. Their music influences me, the creativity with sound and time, their sense of fun and play, their profundity. I continue to listen to a lot of Billy Martin's stuff at the moment, I keep playing with time and rhythm.

6. Garri Bardin - Russian animator. Ksenya turned me on to him, his animations are amazing, inanimate objects coming to life in clever ways, true genius. However, true to Russian form, the endings always grab and break your heart, and it turns in a way that is unexpected. Here's a link to "Marriage"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Suddenly I find I'm an actor again

So I'm in rehearsals for a play right now, "Sabbath Night in the Church of the Piranha," by Ed Falco. No, you shouldn't know it, it has only been performed once at Virginia Tech a few years ago. It is very intense, all family dynamics, I'm playing Una, the mother of a difficult 15 year old, and suddenly my emotionally damaged mother arrives for the weekend and I'm stuck between the two clashing personalities. It is very dense, lots of emotional landscapes to figure out, there are some very funny moments as well. It is exciting to be in a play where I get to set a precedent, I adore the director and am really enjoying working with the other actors.

You're waiting for the "BUT......"

My issue is really me. At one point in my life, I really wanted to be an actor, I auditioned a lot, I tried, I didn't get cast much. For the past two years, I've devoted myself to music and yoga, last year I spent in an intensive yoga teacher training program, I figured I'd get back into acting at some point, but there was no hurry. Besides, women in their 40s really don't get cast much, there aren't a lot of parts. Well, the joke is on me, because I've gotten hired more since I stopped "being an actor" and I've had some great roles. I can only laugh! I also think I'm a better actor now because I stopped caring, I'm just in the moment being as true as I possibly can.

I started going through my difficult phase in learning a role and lines the other day, I have a lot of lines. And I have to learn them. As Una, I yell at times, I have a breakdown, I am berated, I'm well-meaning. I always forget how difficult it is for me to traverse these places, I go there because I've experienced them, and even though I've moved on and healed in my life, my cells and self are reminded of those feelings. It actually makes me sick for a day. That's when I think, "What the HELL am I doing? Why am I going here? Why did I audition for this part?? What was I thinking???" Then, after a day, I unfreeze and get on with the program. I listen and speak my lines with my ipod (that's how it is as an auditory learner) on all my commutes and doing things around the house. I never go through the wringer like this doing music or puppetry.

So why do I put myself through this? Good question. I was cast and I'm a professional, but it isn't easy for me. I'm not really an actor, but I'm playing one. My goals as an actor are the same as they are for living - be as true and honest as I can be in the moment.