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a year is born

It’s after midnight now. The first day of the year has gotten away from me.

New York City: Year 2, Day 133(4)

I spent the afternoon shaking confetti out of my hair. When I woke up late in the day, it was on my eyelids, stuck to my back, in the crook of my left arm. I peeled away flecks of pink, green, and blue carefully, groggily. More satisfying, though, was shaking my head back and forth and watching the color fall from my hair.

Too much has happened in the days since Christmas Eve. I’m too tired and still too sad to write about most of those events. They have taken me to Georgia, Florida, Missouri, Ohio, and back again to New York. There have reunions and celebrations. There has been a loss. I want to write about them all, but right now, there’s too much that my mind still needs to process. So at the moment, I deal with today. The New Year.

Chris and I found ourselves back in New York City yesterday afternoon. I spent most of flight from Ohio thinking of the blizzard we’d missed while on our holiday travels and remembering the snow-filled and stormy night a year ago when we ran through the blizzard together to watch the snow fall over the ocean. This year, the snow and the sea went on without us and we only just made it back in time to catch the remnants. On our street in Brooklyn, bicycles are still lost in the snow piled high on the sidewalk. Once inside the apartment, we dropped our bags, changed clothes, and prepared to head to Evangeline’s apartment in Williamsburg to ring in the New Year.

Before…

The Poet and I spent the walk to Angie’s slipping through the slush and relishing in the fact that Christmas decorations had not yet been taken down. I used the heels of my boots as a spike in the snowier areas where no path had been cleared. All along McCarren Park, only a narrow passage hugging the gate had been shoveled. Revelers fell into the beeline with the snow settled in on either side. I couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that the streets of Williamsburg and Greenpoint felt like a college campus on a Saturday night. Groups linked arms as they walked, laughed, sang. The cars didn’t have the streets to themselves.

I’m not sure I’ve ever had some much fun on New Year’s Eve as I did last night. Angie’s apartment was filled with people, many I’d met before, many I hadn’t. A whole slew of Talking Heads songs were played. I laughed entirely too much, danced a bit too hard, and probably drank a bit too fast. At midnight, I got to kiss the man I love. We all took an early morning trip to the roof where the dancing and singing continued. New friends were made. At one point in the early hours of the morning, “Circle of Life” from The Lion King played. What happened then is documented below. Shortly after, the confetti appeared. I don’t know from where. I only know that I spent the rest of the night and all of today covered with it and not minding a bit.

It is 2011. While I have no idea how that came to be, I’m thankful for how it began– celebrating in good company, singing “Auld Lang Syne” from the rooftops of New York City and preparing for all that’s to come. The After isn’t nearly as attractive as the Before, but I think that’s the sign of a New Year’s Eve well done.

2011, it’s nice to meet you. I certainly hope we’ll be friends.

december sunday

New York City: Year 2, Day 106

The condensation on the inside of the windows in my apartment makes me feel warm this morning. The radiator hisses and somehow this is soothing. I’m drinking coffee with cream and occasionally dunking pepparkakor in it because my boyfriend is of Scandinavian descent and drinks his coffee black and out of a mug that says, “You can always tell a Swede, but you can’t tell him much”. I’m trying to memorize the first five minutes of Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas in Standard British for my oral final in Dialects, but Richard Burton’s thick Welsh voice keeps rolling around in my head and I can’t help remembering the evenings spent, wine-in-hand, listening to Burton read Thomas and later falling asleep soundly. The aptly named Dwarf Alberta Spruce that I hugged for a mile while I carried it home has one string of lights. I made a star to sit on top and on the branches hang a few ornaments from my mother who didn’t want my Christmas tree to be bare (the Eiffel Tower, a dove, a heart and sword), a green glass beetle, and a small Russian peasant girl made out of wool. A few days ago, with construction paper and thumb tacks, I turned my apartment into a low-budget Christmas wonderland and this morning, it feels good.

The morning is quiet. I’m grateful for that.

Last night, a solid little crew from The New School for Drama made our way to The Music Box Theatre on 45th to see David Hirson’s La Bete.

The play, written entirely in rhyming couplets, featured an unparalleled performance by Mark Rylance. David Hyde Pierce was also fantastic as Elomire and raised questions pitting the demands of high art against pandering to the masses. I was reminded of the power of the voice, the power of an arresting stage imagine, the importance of trusting the language. As a student of the theatre, I couldn’t be more thankful to have seen it.

We waited in the cold by the stage door so that our birthday boy, Jeff, could shake hands with a certain David Hyde Pierce. Mr. Rylance made an appearance with his fold-up bike, red helmet, and flashing light reflectors. Later, when Mr. Hyde Pierce made his way to his car, we all congratulated him. He laughed and thanked us, made note that my lips were turning blue, and smiled with Jeff as Michelle snapped a picture.

I love being in the classrooms at 151 Bank Street and I’m so lucky to get to act every single day, even if it’s a bare bones scene in a hot classroom with wooden blocks and heavy tables. But, oh… it was so nice to be in a theatre again. Sometimes, I forget. I forget the feeling as the house lights dim to half when it all suddenly feels like home.

Ohio Holiday

Clarksville, Ohio is a far cry from this big city I’ve called home for a year and a half.

New York City: Year 2, Day 101

And I was incredibly thankful for that during my recent holiday jaunt to the Midwest.

Chris and I hopped a plane  on Wednesday morning to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Highlights of the trip included amazing food, perfect company, a cozy fire, two puppies, a Christmas tree adventure, a visit to the college my Grandfather attended, beautiful land, exploration of an abandoned barn, and much-needed rest.

On Saturday morning while Chris and his dad split wood, I went for a walk on their property. Here’s some video I took:

 

It was a beautiful trip. I was sad to leave. Now I’m in New York, right back in the thick of things at the New School for Drama where I’m asked to be entirely too many people every day. Currently I’m working on Alma in Summer and Smoke, Nina in The Seagull, Lavinia in Titus Andronicus, Queen Elizabeth in Richard III, Henry V in Henry V, and Mom/The Grunch in a rockin’ new play called Mother’s Hatchet: A Cautionary Tale for Jewish Children. The all-star Mother’s Hatchet team features the beautiful Michelle Trester, whose clown looks a little bit like this:

Needless to say, only good things are happening.

 

I’ll be back soon.

A Thanksgiving Haiku

New York City: Year 2, Day 95

(by the lovely Evangeline Fontaine)

Off to Ohio
to a town with few people
where boyfriends come from

…off to Ohio indeed, with my Poet friend at my side. Real posts will resume when I get back. There’s much to be thankful for.

brief insights

I’m still here. I’ve just been spending the majority of my time in 1923 for the past few weeks.

New York City: Year 2, Day 74

The Adding Machine will dominate an upcoming post, but for now, some short clips. Like pictures, but better!

First, I was walking to the subway station last week and this was happening:

Second, a few beautiful moments as I was catching dinner with The Poet at Bus Stop before dress rehearsal:

Next, my second annual encounter with the pumpkin festivities in Abingdon Square:

And last, Siri Hellerman.

Oh, Siri Hellerman…

The clown (and I don’t mean the good, theatrical kind) who lives upstairs has been playing the Super Mario Brothers theme song on his crappy keyboard for half-an-hour.

New York City: Year 2, Day 52

I’m way past annoyed. The couple who live in the unit above mine sound like they’re over it, too. I don’t know, maybe it’s because they have a four-year-old. And a baby. Who should probably be sleeping this close to midnight. Look. Guy Who Lives Upstairs. Normally, your terrible renditions of video game songs and Goo Goo Doll covers only make me want to give you dirty looks in passing. Right now, though, I’m trying to study for my Dialects written midterm that is only a measly 8 hours away, and I’m not feeling so friendly.

This midterm is breathing down my neck, but my brain is so done. It’s tired. As is my body. I don’t know how it’s only Tuesday.

My teachers assure me that, all of the country, 2nd Year MFA Acting Candidates are busy being overworked and sleep-deprived. 2nd Year is the make-or-break year. The year where you figure out just how little sleep your body actually needs,how much information you can actually cram into your skull, how many roles you can prepare for at one time, and how little contact you actually need with the world outside of your MFA program.

I was at school for an average of 16 hours a day last week. I’m just… tired.

But, good things:

Rehearsals for The Adding Machine are awesome. Jeff Gonzales and Siri Hellerman who play Mr. and Mrs. Zero are just fantastic. And I’m learning so much from our amazing director, Lou Jacob.

I’m thrilled about my next Co-Lab piece. Let’s just say I’m convinced that Jessica Cohen stole my journal from when I was 12 and then wrote a play.

I took this when I was warming up in this stairwell this afternoon, getting ready to play Lady M in Classics. And it just makes me happy:

Alright, Dialects. I’m coming back to you and your sound changes. Maybe we’ll get along. If only my friend upstairs would give the current Billy Joel cover a rest…

a ghost story

It’s a Sunday evening in early October. The darker half of the year is beginning.

New York City: Year 2, Day 50

Sitting at my desk and watching the sun set over the park, I can smell the pumpkin pie Chris has baking in the oven and I’m anxious for the coming nights of fake cobwebs, fallen leaves, and autumnal ale. I’ve been dreaming of corn husks and scarecrows. I spend my days wishing I could go apple picking. But mostly, I’m eager for the ghost stories that this month brings.

On Friday, our merry band of actors performed Daniel Pearle’s gorgeous play, Three Women Against the Sea. I’d fallen in love with this play, with Ruth, the character who I got to live with briefly. The play opens with Ruth sitting on the beach in the middle of the night smoking a cigarette. She is joined by her sister-in-law, Oli, who informs her she has called the police to help look for Nana, their mother-in-law. We learn that Ruth and Oli were married to Nana’s sons, Ben and Eli, who died in a plane crash three years earlier and that today is the anniversary of their death. The women fight, they cut each other, they comfort each other. It’s a beautiful play– heartbreaking and hilarious and hopeful all at the same time. Daniel Pearle is a genius.

The writer’s next assignment is to take one of the characters from the play they’d written and carry them over into another play.

I spent most of Friday morning working with my sensory choices for Three Women Against the Sea, getting ready for the show. During my brief lunch break between Stage Combat, Clown and our performance, I caught Daniel watching an N’Sync video on YouTube on his computer. When I gave him a What the hell? look he said, “Oh, it’s for my next play. It takes place before the crash. Ruth and Ben and Eli are dancing together.” I burst into tears.

After we performed, Daliya, Angie, and I sat next each other in the theater and listened to the readings of the new plays with the new casts. I rested my head on Angie’s shoulder as Daniel introduced Catherine as Ruth and Jeff as Ben. I had just been living with Ruth, as Ruth, onstage moments before and there I sat, residuals of her in my bones, watching my dead husband sing karaoke with his twin brother. I cried at the memory I hadn’t had before.

It’s a beautiful thing, when the theatre conjures ghosts.

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