Stepping into Magic: an actor's journey…

"Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them" ~William Shakespeare

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

A walk in The Mission, a Double Feature and my Magical workplace…

BODY:I have two doctors, my left leg and my right.”  ~G.M. Trevelyan

On Mother’s Day, I took a trip to San Francisco’s Mission District. I walked about 3-4 miles. I expected to be absolutely exhausted when I got home, but I think my stamina and strength is really increasing. The neighborhood is filled with nooks, crannies and alleys, crazy little shops and bars and eateries, residences (Old and New) and one mural after the other. Our play BRUJA is set in the Mission District, so I took it upon myself to take in the sights, smells and sounds of this little corner of the world. Click HERE to see a few of the murals that caught my eye.

MIND: “The arts are an even better barometer of what is happening in our world than the stock market or the debates in congress.”
Hendrik Willem Van Loon

This past week I treated myself to two incredible shows. The first was Ana Tijoux, a Chilean MC who has been blowing up on the hip-hop scene. She recently had a song in Breaking Bad in an incredible montage featuring her song 1977. (Click to see the Breaking Bad Scene) Her opening acts were RAW-G, representing Mexico and Las Rakas, representing Panama and Oakland. The energy in the space was amazing and I had been yearning to dance and feel vibrations, what a night! The second show was at ACT (American Conservatory Theatre) It was the opening night of Samuel Beckett’s double feature of PLAY (Click for the full script! Its AMAZING) and ENDGAME (Same thing, click for the full text!). I was especially excited to see Bill Irwin in the part of HAMM in Endgame. I was most intrigued by the acting and text work in PLAY, it was absolutely on point and driven with intention, action and storytelling, and you could only see the actors from the neck up! It was inspiring to see two different mediums of performance, I could feel my serotonin level rising and my heart warming. For a few snapshots of the two evenings click HERE.

SOUL: “The pit of a theatre is the one place where the tears of virtuous and wicked men alike are mingled.”
Denis Diderot

This weekend we go into Tech. We have two 12 hour days in which we put together all elements of the play: Costumes, Lights, Video, Sound, Cues, Beats, etc… Its a “Magical” time where our world is revealed to us, slowly but surely. Its been such an amazing process to live the changes and developments in the script day to day. Playwright Luis Alfaro has been in the house with us listening and writing and Director Loretta Greco is molding and shaping. Together these two are weaving a seductive tale of love, marriage, identity, loss, jealousy, revenge and magic that we will bring to life. We go into previews on May 24th and it will be so exhilarating to share our work with a live audience. Click HERE for a sneak peak into the little corners of the theatre.

Stairs, Sites and Sons…

BODY: I have now been in rehearsals for over a week! The path to the theatre everyday is becoming familiar, and each day brings a new challenge. I have been walking A LOT! Round trip to the theatre and back from my apartment is a little over a mile and a half. I walk down three flights of stairs on my way there, there is a beautiful park that has a great set of stairs down to Building D where The Magic Theatre resides and then I walk up three flights of stairs to get to the theatre. I repeat all of the stairs on my way home each day. (I have yet to incorporate the therabands into my exercise routine, but I am going to throw them into my rehearsal bag and try to start using them during rehearsal breaks.) For the first few days I was really sore and exhausted from walking so much, but I think I am starting to feel a little bit of strength in my legs.

MIND: This weekend Matt came to visit and we explored Alcatraz. We took a boat out to the island and wandered around for a good 3 hours. For photos of the visit click HERE.

SOUL: It hit me this week: I AM PLAYING MEDEA. It was the moment after reading some new pages from the amazing playwright LUIS ALFARO. I found myself in the bathroom in tears after reading one of the scenes with Medea and her Children. Luis has done such an wonderful job bringing the boys into the story…

Saturday we incorporated the beautiful little actors who will be playing my sons, what a different and lively energy they bring to our space. I can feel the family starting to come together, and just looking at the little faces and big eyes of these boys warms my heart. During one rehearsal, while sitting around the table to read a scene with my sons one of them jokingly pleaded, “Don’t kill us today okay?” I smiled back at him and said, “Not today honey.”

An Actor Prepares….the Magic begins!

BODY: Lately I have been suffering from chronic neck  and knee pain that is due to a history of joint surgeries. It is also due to the fact that I have not been keeping in shape.During grad school I had no choice but to keep in shape, it was written into our everyday schedule. However, in this year after graduating I haven’t been very good at self discipline. I am very catlike, I can lay around and stare out a window for hours, and I love to groom myself, getting ready to go to dinner or a play or to visit with friends for a drink is one of my favorite past times. But unlike a cat I have not been stretching and playing enough to keep my muscles and stamina up to their potential. So in my struggle to overcome my lethargy I have been slowly finding ways to get myself back  into tip top shape. My first step has been working on Cardio to help build energy. I found a 15 minute dance video on Netflix instant. I aim to do this video once a day. Luckily I have been put up in a very cute apartment that is a 15 minute walk from the theatre, so that to will add to my daily workout. I am taking vitamins regularly and drinking lots of water. For breakfast I am eating quinoa and a banana and taking plenty of healthy snack to rehearsal. Next up is incorporating thera bands. I will let you know how that goes…

MIND: On Sunday I flew to San Francisco. I packed up for two months, fit everything into 3 suitcases, carried on my guitar Persephone and my new San Francisco backpack. (I flew Virgin Airlines for the first time, what a treat!) The weather was perfect when I walked out of SFO and waited for the Assistant Director to pick me up. He took me to my little hidden away apartment and it was love at first sight! I unpacked immediately, set up my altar, put away my clothes, hung up my jewelry and made a cup of tea. For a few minutes I got caught up in the 100+ channels I have on a very beautiful flat screen TV, then decided to put the remote down and cover the TV with a pretty silk scarf. I took myself out to a nice lunch at a very cute French restaurant called Cafe des Amis. (My neighborhood is a haven for cute shops, people walking lots of cute dogs and very cute little restaurants.) I sat on the sidewalk patio and drank a glass of champagne to toast the start of my Magic adventure. Roaming the San Fran streets will be quite fun and I promise to begin a photo album soon!

SOUL: Today marked the beginning of the rehearsal period for BRUJA at The Magic Theatre. The room was buzzing with designers, docents, trustees, board members, cast, crew and the energy was palpable. The table was set with candles, lemons, herbs, water, books and materials and the walls were filled with images of Medea, various photos and facts of Curanderismo and a map that outlines Jason and Medea’s journey from Michoacan, Mexico to the Mission district in San Francisco, all provided by our Dramaturg Jane Ann Crum. We began with the formality of signing contracts and tax documents and then had an inspiring introduction from our director Loretta Greco, who has always wanted to work on Medea. The playwright Luis Alfaro then shared with us some wonderful words about community and his exploration of ‘change’ in individuals and couples while writing this piece. The designers shared their concepts and thoughts on their medium in and how they will utilize it to tell this story.  We then plunged in and read the script. As it is a work in progress, after the reading there were lots of ideas, questions, comments and discussion between cast and crew. Finally we wrapped it all up with Equity business and rather than having to leave the room this time I got to stay, since I am joining AEA. Tonight I get to sit down with a cup of tea and read the great Dramaturgy Packet that was so beautifully put together for each of us. Tomorrow we are all bringing in items to place on our altar for rehearsal that will then move with us backstage when the show opens. The Magic has begun….

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