Sunday, December 18, 2011

"Normal" is Relative

I've never done things the normal way.

It took me nine years from graduate from college, thanks to a mild case of wanderlust and general indecision.  I once dropped everything and moved to Montana because I'd had a nice visit there one time, and wanted an adventure.  While many of my peers got married and had kids in their twenties, I held out for nearly 20 years and did it after I turned 40.  

And while my choices may have made my parents prematurely grey, my life has turned out just fine.  It's turned out perfectly, in fact.

But my penchant for doing things a little backwards has apparently followed me into my middle years, and I find myself in a situation that makes many scratch their heads:  I've spent half of my first trimester away from home, doing a play at a theatre in Myrtle Beach.

During the time that hormones are at their most erratic, when moms-to-be lean on (and confound) their partners the most, when all the weird "what is THAT?!" stuff starts happening to our once-familiar bodies...THAT is when I moved myself 663 miles away in the name of art.

I've been away from home since October 29th, when I left to shoot a film in NC, and in Myrtle Beach since November 8th, the day we began rehearsals for A CHRISTMAS STORY.  Here is what I miss most, in no particular order:

Dean
Walking/cuddling/looking at/cleaning up after my dog
WALKING to run errands
Central Park
NOT DRIVING
Cold, winter-time weather
New York at Christmas
Our neighbors
Seeing familiar faces on the street
Seamless Web
Our crazy old Italian landlords, Luigi and Maria
Hank snoring
Dixie sitting on the newspaper
Tater talking nonstop
Dean (bears repeating)

I've had a wonderful time here, and am grateful to Thom and Mindi Penn for the opportunity to make fun theatre with them.  I'm grateful to my Dad and Linda for turning their condo over to me, and for putting up a Christmas tree to make being away from home a little sweeter.  I'm grateful to Mom and Mike and Sharon and Johnny and Aunt Peggy and Jim and Alice and Paul and all the family who came to see the show and remind me that I'm not here all alone.

But coming home late at night to a pet-free condo, spending  90 minutes a day in the car, and sleeping alone is for the birds.  I'm ready to get back to my normal life.

However unconventional it may seem.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wait...WHAT?

I'll wait a second while you re-read the NEW title of this blog.

Still with me?  Good, because from here on out, this blog is going to be really, really fun to read.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pregnant.  With a baby.  Together, Dean and I have created a human being that lives inside of me, wakes me every two hours to pee, and refuses to let me wear my skinny jeans. And we are thrilled.

In the past few weeks, we've informed our families and some close friends, and the reactions have ranged from tears of joy to spit takes to uncontrollable laughter to stunned stares, and one report of someone actually falling out of their chair.  And those are just reactions from me and Dean.

Answers to your most pressing questions:  We're due in June, and we don't know if it's a boy or a girl yet.  We WILL find out, because otherwise I will explode.  We have chosen names, but won't be sharing them with anyone until the BIG DAY.  However, feel free to send suggestions, because we like a good laugh and could be persuaded to change our minds for something really good, like Bookcase or Hortence.  We're staying in NYC and are keeping our current apartment because it's awesome, it's near the Best Park in the World, and Hank would be devastated if we moved him away from his doggie girlfriend, Fenny.

My friend Kim pointed out that I completely started my life over at 40, and she's right.  In the past 2 years, I got married for the first (and last) time, changed my career, moved to New York, and NOW...am expecting a baby.

I realize our child will graduate from high school in 2030, and it freaks me out, because I have no idea how we're going to teach it to drive one of those flying George Jetson cars we'll all have by then.  Rather than dwell on the possibility that I might need a walker to attend the child's wedding, I'm going to embrace the fact that as we raise our child, I will have TWICE the life experience to draw from as a lot of first-time moms.  And when I get super depressed that my bras don't fit and I can't button my regular pants anymore, I smile and think of how adorable Dean Poynor will look walking around with a Baby Bjørn strapped to his chest.

Before I go eat Second Breakfast, I want to share one of my earliest blog posts with you.  It's called "Babyville."  It's even funnier now.

Guess I drank the water after all.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Walk Down Memory Lane (Or...How Do I Know This Person?)

Before we moved to New York, I did a major purge of lots of my worldly possessions.  The local thrift stores didn't know what hit them.  I brought them kitchen appliances, fringed lamps, shoes that made my feet cry, artwork purchased after enjoying too many glasses of wine...you name it, they got it.

And it felt GOOD.  Not just to get rid of that stuff that was weighing me down, but also to revisit how each of those things ended up in my life to begin with.  Did I choose it, or was it thrust upon me?  How long had I been carting it from place to place?  Did it fit me any longer?

I recently had to transfer contacts from my old phone to my new one, and as I went through the list of names, the feeling is surprisingly similar to when I cleared out my house.  It was a trip down Memory Lane, or in some cases, a trip down Where the Hell am I Road.

Because I'm a giver, I thought it'd be fun to share with you some of the actual entries from my old phone that didn't make the cut.  Here we go!

Nas-  I wrote a lengthy explanation of who this is, but then I realized my mother would have a heart attack when she read it (even though it was REALLY funny.)  All I will say is that Kathy Gambrell knows who this is, and we met him at Hush.

Deadbeats with Dogs-  Exactly as it sounds.  Losers who lived around the corner from me, who let their two dogs run loose in the neighborhood, and didn't seem to care when concerned citizens tried to scoop them up and take them back.  Total losers.

Eddie- This appears to be a New Orleans number, which means two things.  I was probably with my Aunt Carla, and we were likely at a bar.  Aside from that, I have no clue.

North South TV- When I first moved to NYC, I was on a fashion-centered reality TV show.  What, you didn't hear about it?  That was my plan.  I told virtually no one, for good reason.  These folks produced it.

Subfinder- Sweet, sweet Subfinder.  You saved me many a morning when I was too ill to teach school.  I almost had your number memorized, I loved you so dearly.  Alas, my teaching days are on hold, and by the time I come back to it (if ever) there will probably be some sort of mind-reading system that not only finds a substitute teacher for you, but also can tell if you're faking.

Dispatch- This was the number for the cops in my old neighborhood in SC.  I programmed it in my phone after someone left threatening porn on my doorstep, and tried to break in to my laundry room.  (Yes, I said PORN, and yes, it can be threatening, believe me.)  New York is a million times safer than my old neighborhood.

Blue Ribbon Cab- New York friends, back in SC you have to make a phone call for a cab to come pick you up, and then you wait for it.  If you tried to flag one down in SC, the driver would probably just wave back.

There are lots of other names in there, people I fondly remember, but haven't spoken to in years.  I let a lot of them go, relying on Facebook in the event I need to reconnect with them.  Looking at the list of entires, I see how far I've come, how much has changed, and how much I've learned.  My life is awesome, and all these entries played a little part in getting me here now.

Maybe not Nas, or Eddie, but you get the idea.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Viewer Mail

Adoring fans,

You've no idea how meaningful your cards, emails, and mysterious packages have been to me during this busy time.  I'd like to take a few minutes to personally address some of the mail I've received while this blog has been on hiatus, and hope that my personal responses will give you insight into who Monica really is- and in the case of IMWTCHNGU666, put an end to the doorstep poetry you seem so intent on leaving for me.

Let's dig into the mail bag, shall we?

Kippy from Toledo asks, "Although I live in Ohio and have never even heard of you, how do you learn all those lines?"
--Oh, Kippy.  If I had a nickel for every time I've been asked that question...I'd throw those nickels at your head one at a time until you asked a better question.  Next!

Mildred from Hell Hole Swamp asks, "Will you please come help me move?  I live in Hell Hole Swamp."
--Mildred, even though I feel your pain and fully understand how traumatic it must be to live in such a place, I am a professional actor, and do not help people move.  Unless, of course, it is to a fabulous country home with a guest room I might use later.  And only if there is pizza.  Sorry.


ParisMtScout asks, "I understand you've recently completed filming a major role in a new independent feature film.  Which do you prefer, acting in handcrafted films such as GET BETTER, or being in dumb plays?"
--I know this is you, Chris White.  I had a great time working on your film.  Now, please let other people ask some real questions.


Cindy Lou Who from Whoville asks, "If you could play any historical figure, who would it be, and why?"
--Finally, a real question!  Cindy Lou, I am particularly drawn to the stories of those less fortunate than myself- those who endure hardships beyond our wildest imaginations.  Those who battle the forces of evil and strive for goodness in this cruel, cruel, world.  I think the choice here is obvious- I would play Cindy Lou Who from Whoville, who battles the Grinch and saves Christmas.


"Wait.  That's me."
--Next question.


"And I'm four years old.  You're ten times my age."
--You LIE!


"I'm not a real person.  I said 'historical figure.'"
--Is there a breeze in here?


Ann from Cedar Mountain asks, "Why don't you get on one of those TV shows I watch?  Just call them and tell them you'd like to be on there- tell them you were on 'Army Wives.'  And are you eating well?  You need to keep your strength up- you get sick when you do too much, you know that.  And don't forget, Tommy's birthday is coming up."
--MOM, I will call you later.  


Kim K. from NYC asks, "I've got a beautiful wedding dress that I no longer need.  Could you use it in your next project?  And I wore it because I was REALLY in love.  And please come to my purse signing at Daffy's in Herald Square at 4pm."
--Kim, I actually COULD use your dress for an upcoming project.  My husband, playwright Dean Poynor, is writing a play that features wedding dresses very prominently.  Where can I come pick it up?


You can come to where I work.  It's on television.
--But where, exactly?


TV is everywhere.  
--But where do you work, so I can pick up the dress?


I'm on TV.


Looks like we're out of time.  Thank you all for your messages of encouragement- I will do my best to answer each and every one during my time here in Myrtle Beach.  And please, come see A CHRISTMAS STORY at Atlantic Stage, running December 2-18th.

Ooh!  A new message just came in!  Let's see what it says...

Dean from NYC asks, "Honey, where is the lint roller?  And I miss you."
--It's in the pet basket, and I miss you, too. :)






Thursday, October 27, 2011

Alright, Alright...If You Insist.


Lately, some heard some complaints from my fans that I haven't updated my blog in awhile.  And by fans, I mean my parents.  

The truth is, I've been so busy doing some really awesome things, I just haven't had time to write about them.  And to some degree, writing about how awesome things are COULD be perceived as tooting my own horn, and contrary to what Dean might tell you, I don't like to toot.  I do, occasionally, poot- but that is a different blog.

Last week, we closed our short run of WHALES AND SOULS at The Flea Theater.  It was the first NYC production by The Salvage Company, the first full production of the show in the US, and it was great.  We had super houses, and we're keeping our ears open for opportunities to bring it back down the line.  Check out some production photos from our run (courtesy of Dean Poynor.)

In the midst of rehearsing WHALES, I agreed to take part in Primary Stages One Minute Play Festival, held at 59E59.  It was a hoot, with brand new plays by Neil LaBute, Tina Howe, Craig Lucas, Nilaja Sun, and many, many more.  I was in 5 of them, and in the course of the evening, I dragged myself across the stage without the use of my legs, forced my kids to swim with Tennessee Williams, spotted and ran from an approaching tornado, and said some questionable things as a sex-starved Maggie the Cat.  

In early October, Chris White came to NYC to shoot some scenes with me for his upcoming film, GET BETTER, and this Saturday, I head to NC to finish shooting the film there.  Check out the blog he and his wife Emily have about the film and their process.  Pretty moving stuff, and I'm honored to be part of it all.

I finish shooting GET BETTER November 7th, and then I travel to Myrtle Beach, SC to play the Mom in the stage adaptation of A CHRISTMAS STORY at Atlantic Stage.  Yep, it's the same as the movie, and I get to say, "You'll shoot your eye out."  Mindi and Thom Penn run Atlantic Stage, and are killing it on the Grand Strand with their fantastic work, and I'm so happy to join them.  I'll be there off and on through December 18th (thank you, Spirit Air!)  Hooray for friends and hooray for theatre!

So, that's what's been up with me, work-wise, anyway.  I could bore you with details about how my husband is phenomenal and talented, or how my dog is super well-behaved, or how I'm cooking up a storm lately in the kitchen, but I'll save personal life stuff for another post.  

Sorry, I tooted.  ;)




Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Lot Can Happen in One Minute

Several months ago, I met the good people of terraNOVA Collective here in New York, when I did an early reading of Whales & Souls, by Andrew Kramer.  They are good people, smart and savvy, and I hoped that the reading would be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.  In my imagination, I saw us hugging at parties, laughing at references only WE would get, and getting into smart and intense discussions during rehearsals for The Next Really Important Play.

Since then, I've run into these good people at other shows, some their own, and we have hugged and smiled, and we're even Facebook friends.  But REAL Facebook friends, not the superficial kind.  Like, we've MET in Real Life and everything.

Last week, I got an email from Jessi Hill, the Director of terraNOVA's Groundbreakers program, asking me to be a part of the One Minute Play Festival at Primary Stages October 16th!

(Yes, you read that correctly.  ONE minute.  I had to go back and make sure, too.  I thought they meant TEN minutes.)

I'll be performing in a few of the 50 plays that day and night (There are two performances, should you care to join us), and I'm excited to see what can be accomplished in one minute of stage time.  Off the top of my head, in one minute, a person could:

Die
Make Hot Chocolate
Put on False Eyelashes
Act Like a Monkey
Check the Mail
Make Out with a Pillow.  Or a Person.
Win the Lottery
Throw a Rock Through a Window
Fold Three Shirts (Neatly)
Sing "Happy Birthday" and Really Vamp at the End


I'm sure there are more things.  I'll let you know what they are when I get the scripts.  I hope it's the Lottery, though.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Priorities

Life is too short to do things that don't make you happy.

It's too short to work with people who don't make the work fun.

Life's too short to spend it with someone who doesn't completely get you and support you.

And life's too short to not try your hardest to make the most of it.

The end.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Things I Saw Today

As mentioned in my previous post, I'm doing a bit of background work lately, saving for our trip to Africa. This week, I was at a book party with Kristen Wiig in "Imogene," and next week, I'll be in 1966, listening to Tim Buckley play the Night Owl. 


This requires a costume fitting, as I have virtually nothing from 1966.  To do this, I traveled to The Foundry, in Queens, where the shoot will be next week.  (below)  The wardrobe guy who worked with me wore a kilt, had a red beard like Kris Kringle, and glasses without arms.  





The view of NYC from here is pretty cool, especially when your only view of the city is usually from the ground, smack dab in the middle of it all. (this photo doesn't do the view justice.)  In a four block radius, there was TomCat Bakery, SilverCup Studios, and the place where all the taxis live.  Who knew?



Back to Manhattan (a surprisingly quick train ride), and I hopped off the train at 59th street to walk home in the gorgeous weather, and THAT'S when I met Marina.  Here's a video.

video

Marina is in town for Fashion Week, promoting (and wearing) Missoni for Target.  She saw me taking her photo, so she took mine.  She was designed by Mother New York, and employed whole team of puppeteers.  I'm glad I got off at 59th.

Then I bought some fish at Citarella, but that wasn't super thrilling, and I didn't take photos.

Tomorrow, I'll work The Flea table at the TheatreMania Street Fair.  I'll be sure to take and post photos if I see anything interesting.  Maybe Marina will show up.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Props Who Eat

Here's the deal.

I am very, very fortunate.  My husband has a great job, and I am able to pursue acting opportunities full-time because of that.

The catch is, no one pays me to pursue acting jobs.  And with our trip to Africa a little over 5 months away, we have to make a plan for how we're going to pay for it.  I was fortunate to be paid for my work in Australia, but we decided to contribute that money to Chris and Emily White's upcoming film.  It feels good to do good things.  To help others.

But the time has come for me to help our family, so I am turning to...background work.  (She sighs heavily.)  I have mixed emotions about background work.  Here are the pros and cons:

Cons

*  It knocks you down a peg to go from starring in a one-woman show in another country to being "pedestrian with baby carriage."

* It's a drag to ride the subway at 5:30am.

*  People who do a lot of background work are often crazy people.  The kind who make you want to move all of your things to a different table.

*  There are never enough power outlets to charge cell phones in the holding area.

Pros

*  It's a decent alternative to sitting in the apartment all day, as there are no famous people in our apartment.

*  You meet interesting people- and then use them for material in improv class.  

*  It gives me time to catch up on my reading or learning lines while we stand around and wait forever, either sweating or freezing.

*  A week or two later, a paycheck comes in the mail.  Actual US currency that can be exchanged for goods and services.


I've done a few days of BG work in the last year.  I've kept that under my hat.  I've been a fashion show attendee on "Blue Bloods," a pedestrian who bumps into Jim Carrey in "Mr. Popper's Penguins," a pedestrian with a baby carriage in HBO's "Girls," and (the most interesting day so far) a zookeeper congratulating "a very funny British actor you may have seen wrestling naked in another film" on successfully delivering a baby goat in the upcoming very secret movie that asked me to sign a confidentiality agreement. It's not every day you get to fawn over a man breastfeeding a goat.

No, it's not glamorous.  It's not even acting, if you ask me.  I heard a PA call BG actors "props who eat."  And while that's a bit harsh, I have to agree.  (Another pro- you get pretty decent meals on set.)  

But if being an eating prop over the shoulders of "a very famous British actor who has wrestled naked in another film" means Dean and I are one rickety bus ride away from our trip to Rwanda, then sign me up.  

Just tell me where the outlets are.  My phone is about to die.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Aussie Observations

We've been in Cairns (pronounced CANS) for a week now, and start the long journey home tomorrow.  Very long, but that's another blog post entirely.

While we've been here, I've noticed some interesting things that Americans may not be aware of.  In no particular order, here they are.

1.  There are giant bats that fly around here, and they all live in the trees by the library.  They're knows as "Flying Foxes," because...they kind of are.  They're beautiful and eerie, and one of them pooped on our friend Eric the other day.

2.  There is a lot of instant coffee here.  Tons of it.  In the two times I've come here, I've not seen a coffee maker in a hotel, but I've seen lots of hot water pots for...instant coffee.  Also, people here will drink hot coffee or hot tea in the middle of a very hot day.  Walking along the Esplanade earlier, I saw many, many people enjoying a relaxing picnic with a hot mug of tea in their hands.  And it's 80ºF here.

3.  Bacon is different, more like country ham.  Not as crispy, but wider, and lots of it when you order it.

4.  There is no ketchup, but there is "tomato sauce," which is LIKE ketchup, but nothing like our tomato sauce.  It's more BBQ-y than ketchup.  But there is also BBQ sauce, so that's confusing.

5.  People refer to their significant others as their "partners," regardless of their sexual orientation.  In the US, I hear this a lot with gay and lesbian couples, but here, everyone uses it.  Pair this with the fact that few men wear wedding rings and it makes things confusing.

6.  Passengers ride in the front seat of taxis.  I took one last night, and as the guy who runs the taxi stand was loading people into cars, he always opened the front passenger door, rather than the back door.

7.  In addition to driving on the left side of the road, people WALK on the left side of the sidewalk.  This proves my theory that the people in NYC who don't keep right on the sidewalks are people who come from countries where they drive on the opposite side of the road.  In Australia, I am that annoying, walking tourist.

8.  There is virtually no free WiFi in Cairns.  It is pay-as-you-go, and slow if you're using a connection at a cafe or hotel, where you've got access to their password.

9.  There are no gummi bears, only jelly men.

10.  A surprising number of people walk around barefoot here.

11.  There is art everywhere.  Painted on the sidewalks, tiled onto buildings, mounted in parks...it's all over the place.  And Cairns is very kid-friendly, and wheelchair accessible, which is nice.  There's even a playground and a face painter at the local version of Home Depot, to keep kids occupied.

That's all for now.  I'll think of more to share...likely during our 14 hour layover in Sydney tomorrow.  Yes, you read that correctly.

But I won't be posting if I have to pay for WiFi.

MW

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Our Radio Interview!

We are in Cairns, Queensland Australia, performing Andrew Kramer's one-woman show, Whales and Souls.  Yesterday, we had a great interview with Fiona Sewell of ABC Radio, and here is the link to it.

More bog posts to come.  It's a busy time, as we open TOMORROW on a double bill with La Mama Melbourne.

MWhttp://soundcloud.com/mawyche/whales-souls

Our Radio Interview!

I'm in Cairns, Queenland, Australia, performing Andrew Kramer's one-wman show, Whales and Souls.  There will be blog posts to come, but for now, please enjoy this interview Andrew and I had with ABC Radio in Cairns yesterday.  I think we sound pretty good, frankly.  :)

Wish y'all could see this show.

Oh, wait.  You CAN.  We're doing this show in NYC in October, so clear your calendars for October 19-23.  We'll be at The Flea Theater!!

MW

Friday, August 19, 2011

I Should Be Packing

In 9 hours, I will be on a flight to Australia.  In 6 hours, I will be in a car to take me to the airport.  In 5 hours, I will be weepy and Dean will be unable to pry me from around his neck.

And I haven't started packing yet.

I haven't even picked up the laundry yet.  I've not showered yet.  My To-Do list is long.

Don't get me wrong- I am so excited and very fortunate to be traveling to the other side of the world to perform Whales and Souls.  I'm thrilled to see old friends in Cairns, to bring these characters to life, to get to know my playwright friend Andrew Kramer better (22 hours of travel time should do it.)  I'm interested to see how the audience responds to the work there, and I'm excited to snorkel again on the Great Barrier Reef, and maybe even hold a koala again.

But you know, it's tough to leave your loved one for 11 days.  Tough to leave your cats.  REALLY tough to leave your dog.  It's tough to leave your kitchen and your mailbox.

So...what I have to remember is that I get to come home.  I get to do this amazing play in a far away, tropical place, and when it's all over...I get to come home.

And when I get back, I will not complain about walking the dog for a very long time.  :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

They're in There. Somewhere.

I'm learning lines this morning.  Well, right now, I'm distracting myself with a blog post, but I'm REALLY learning lines.  A lot of them.  All of them.

It's funny.  When I'm in a play with other actors, I don't feel as pressured to learn my lines quickly, because it feels like the cast shares the burden together.  As if it's only 30% my responsibility to be off book.  This is crazy math, I know.  There's a feeling that "the lines will come" once the cast gets in the habit of running the scenes over and over.  There's this trust that things will fall into place right on schedule...or sometime shortly after.

This time, it's different.  I'm my own scene partner.  If I plan on learning Beatrice's lines, I darn well better learn the ones for Tamara, because they're in a scene together.  I can't hang out backstage and listen for when Thandi comes on, because I AM Thandi.  I can't rely on Eedric's cue line to remind me what I say next, because Eedric is ME.  And I can't run offstage to the restroom during Joven's scene with The Creature because...you get the idea.

Don't get me wrong- this is an awesome opportunity to test myself like this, to branch out and try something new.  But it is no small feat.  And with THAT, I return to my script.

I just needed a momentary diversion.



Thursday, August 4, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons...Record a Sound Cue

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This morning, the city's Tear Up West 75th Street Project has inched its way to right outside my door, leaving only one pane of glass between me and the thunderous sound of the jackhammer.  It's loud, it's tough to focus, and I'm wondering HOW my director and I are going to rehearse here this morning with all that clamor.

What an enormous inconvenience!  What a terrible distraction!  What a blessing in disguise!

It dawned on me, as I was listening to sound cues sent by our playwright, that we need a cue for a scene where construction crews come in to "improve" (and ultimately destroy) a small village.  So, I took my trusty iPhone, opened up the voice memo app, and VOILA!  A new sound effect for our show!

The construction workers looked at me kind of strangely, likely wondering if I was recording them so I could file a complaint.

The only complaint I have right now, is that they're not using a wider variety of destructive machines.  This cue could use some variety.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Talking to Myself...Again.



So, I have a LOT of lines to learn before I head to Australia next month.  Like, ALL the lines in the whole play.  LOTS. OF. LINES.

Usually, rehearsing scenes with other actors helps the lines stick in my brain.  Like when you hear a song over and over again, you eventually start to pick up the lyrics, right?

But what happens when the other actors in the scene are YOU?  When YOU are all the actors?  When you are in a scene with yourself (or selves, as the case may be.)

Enter the iPhone.  Have you seen that voice recorder app on there?  The one you thought was for grocery lists or to record that great screenplay idea you had on the train.  It's quickly becoming my best friend.  I recorded all 26 scenes of Whales and Souls as individual sound files, and can now listen to them as I run errands, ride the train, and...read my script.

Some people are visual learners, some are kinesthetic learners, and some learn by hearing things.  When I was teaching school, we recognized that the more ways you can impart information to a person, the more likely it is to stick.  Having a kid read a chapter on the civil rights movement is one thing, but having him watch "Hairspray" as well helps to drive the message home. (You see, it's about the civil rights movement...and DANCING!)

While I would love to watch "Hairspray" right now, I will instead be listening to the sound of my own voice for hours on end.  Like Dean has to do every day. (Ba-DUM-dum.  Enjoy the buffet, I'm here all week.)

Send me good thoughts.  Otherwise, I might be calling you to run lines with me.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Show Me the Funny

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Long ago, I was in an improv group in Columbia, SC.  We were called the We're Not Your Mother Players, or more fondly, "The Mothers."  We were a cool group of funny people, and most of us are still friends to this day, at least on Facebook.  Articles were written about us, we graced the front pages of local newspapers, and some of our scenes are STILL being talked about today (Jesus' Birthday, anyone?)

Fast forward many years, and I find myself in NYC, doing what actors do to "get in the room," so to speak.  Taking the right classes, honing some dusty skills, that sort of thing.  While I have a lot of experience with improv, including seven years of teaching it to middle and high school students on a daily basis, it's nice to have a recognizable improv training program on my resume.  And here in NYC, though there are many good places, Upright Citizens Brigade is one of the best.  You can thank Amy Poehler for that.

Yesterday, I started Improv 101 at UCB with Ari Voukydis, and it's going to be so much fun.  We have 16 people in the class- all of whom really want to be there.  No lines to learn, no attitudes, just pure, sometimes-clean fun.  The 8-week class has a graduation show, so get out a pencil and mark your calendars!  Please join me at 2:30 pm on Sunday, September 11th.

Yeah...you read that correctly.  We'll be doing comedy on the 10th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on American soil.  

I sure hope we're funny.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Where Everybody Knows Your Name


(The recap above was for LAST week's show, but it was so funny, I had to share it here.)

Last night we wrapped up week 4/Cycle 3 of #Serials at The Flea, and once again, I had a great time.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, here's what happens:  5 teams each perform a 10-minute original play.  At the end of the show, the audience votes for their 3 favorites.  At the end of the weekend, the 3 teams with the most votes come back with Episode 2 of their show, while the 2 losing teams each have to start from scratch and come back with an entirely new show.  On Saturdays, there's a band, and everyone has a great time.

This week, I got to work with some brand new Bats, and get to know some of the older Bats better.  I've said it before and I'll say it again:  This group of actors is the most drama-free, supportive, smart group of people I've worked with in a long time.  Every person there takes their work seriously, even when they're wearing fake beards, fairy wings, or holding a giant puppet.  Even when they're saying lines that would get their mouths washed out with soap, or when they're doing a line dance.  Even then.

It's nice to be a part of something, especially in a city as huge as this one.  To have a place to go, a place with friendly faces and work to be done, and opportunities to be grasped...well, it's pretty great.  I feel really lucky these days.  Incredibly lucky.  And I plan to make the most of it.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Indie Film on the Horizon...

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Filmmaker Chris White has cast me in his upcoming feature, GET BETTER.  (See photo above, featuring my fellow actors Robert Linder and Traysie Amick.)  His recent work, "Taken In," was just released this week, and he's currently on a 20-city tour promoting the film.

In GET BETTER, an adult daughter cares for her dying father...while helping him achieve a long-forgotten dream (that's where I come in.)  The film will be funny, heartbreaking, and ultimately life affirming.  Shooting will begin this October, and you can learn more about GET BETTER, Chris White, and the rest of his work by clicking HERE.

I'm excited to work with some of my favorite people...and some soon to be favorite people, I'm sure.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

One Woman Goes to Australia

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I'm heading to The Cairns Festival next month!

I am excited and honored to be returning to the Cairns Festival in Queensland, Australia next month, performing Andrew Kramer's one-woman fable, Whales and Souls.  In the play, a leader of a small, rural village is enticed by a large monetary offer that could change the town forever. Meanwhile, an unusual creature emerges from the lake with an ominous warning for the villagers. Whales & Souls is a gritty, sensual fable that examines the way we relate to the environment, ourselves, and each other. It was developed by Kramer under the terraNOVA Collective Groundbreakers Playwright's Group in New York City and is presented by The Salvage Company.  And I play ALL the characters.

Performances are August 26, 27, and 28th, and we plan to mount it in NYC when we return.  I'll keep you posted!








Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dog Talk

Walking Hank is SO much easier early in the morning. By 9am, though, our neighborhood heats up with activity. From jackhammering the pavement outside our door, to people moving in and out of apartments, there is so much stuff that freaks Hank out, it's just easier to bite the bullet and walk the little darling as early as possible.

Hank hates things that roll. Suitcases, hand trucks, some strollers, and those wire basket carts used by the elderly and the laundry and grocery delivery people- Hank cowers when they pass by. In our neighborhood, babies and deliveries (the non-maternity type) are the norm, so we stay on our toes.

Hank also hates loud noises, which is especially inconvenient right now with the road work going on outside our door. We have to time our walks just right- we go out before the giant machines crank up, while the workers are still enjoying bagels and coffee from the Lenny's around the corner; and then we go out during their lunch break, when they are enjoying sandwiches and sodas from the Lenny's around the corner. (Lenny's is good, I have to say.) After lunch, they call it a day.

Hank is also not a fan of grates. Ever been to NYC? They're everywhere. If you're one of those people who doesn't like to walk on them, then you know how tough they are to avoid, and your traveling companion knows how irritating it is to walk with you while you try to step around them. Imagine if your feet were bare and really tiny, and that you had four of them. Welcome to Hank's world.

But don't feel sorry for him, and don't resent us. All these tormentors are canceled out by the big, beautiful, lush, cool, fragrant (for people AND beagles) park at the end of our block. Instead of dragging sweet Hank through the gauntlet of doggie dangers on the streets of the Upper West Side, we walk him past the Zeta/Douglases place, and take him into Central Park. From the discarded hotdog buns to places where other dogs have peed, there are so many things there Hank loves, he barely remembers the UPS delivery guy and the giant stack of boxes from Zappos.

It's a dog's life for Hank, and some days, it looks pretty darn good.




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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Way to Go, NY


Today is a great day to be a New Yorker, even a transplanted one. While I was asleep by the time the crowds were gathering at The Stonewall Inn, waking up this morning to friends' Facebook posts and the front page of the New York Times was something really special. And surprisingly emotional.

I really never thought I'd get married. It may have been a preemptive declaration on my part- saying it myself to save face, somehow- but I said it enough to believe it. And if I'd never gotten married, I would have been fine. I still would have had great friends, a fun job, creative outlets, caring family, furry pets, favorite TV shows, good food, sunny days, new car smells...all of it. But the planets aligned and pigs flew and Hell froze over, and one day- one fantastic, memorable day- I was married.

And it's been awesome.

Being married has been so much more than "playing house." More than the sharing of a bed, the division of chores, the syncing of calendars, the cooking of dinners. It's felt like a partnership in a more permanent way than if we were simply living together. It feels like people take us more seriously, somehow. That we are legit.

When we got married last year, our friends Tasha and Amanda planned our wedding/elopement for us. From finding an officiant and church, to booking hotel rooms, getting flowers, hiring a photographer, making dinner reservations...they did all of it for us, and they did it with so much love. At the time, even though it was the Best Damn Day of My Life, I remember feeling a little sad that Tasha and Amanda couldn't legally do for themselves what they were doing for us. There was some irony there. The bittersweet kind.

But today, what I've been thinking about the most isn't that there are 44 more states to go, or that tomorrow's Pride Parade is going to be a blast, or even that the elderly couple on the next block (Ricky and Jimmy) can finally marry after 40 years together.

I've been thinking that I'm going to get to return the favor. I may get to plan my best friends' wedding.

And it's going to be awesome.




Friday, June 24, 2011

The Gym. Damn Her.

When you turn (insert my age here), everything falls apart overnight. Days are sprinkled with little discoveries like, "How long has THAT been there," or "Didn't that used to be up HERE?"

Whether it's walking past the Aerosoles shoe store and thinking to yourself, "Those aren't THAT bad," or realizing you've inadvertently taken advantage of a restaurant's Early Bird Special, age sneaks up on you very quietly, and long before you expect it to.

Around this time, when gravity begins to take its toll, and it seems prudent to invest in some REALLY good bras, one begins to panic, and one may spend her mornings scouring the gym's website for group exercise classes to go to- every day for the rest of her life.

Dean and I are members of New York Sports Club, and they lured us in by saying, "We have branches all over the city!" Really, they do. They are like the Starbucks of gyms. At first I thought, "Big whoop- I work from home. I don't care if there's a branch in Midtown." Well, much like those Aerosoles, I'm beginning to see the light.

There are 5 branches of NYSC within 7 blocks of our apartment. And when you reach the point when you are seriously considering the Groupon for Botox from the dentist's office, you realize that each branch has different classes at different times.

I have become a class chaser. While the NYSC on 73rd has Silver Sneakers Stretch Class at 10:30am (don't laugh- I watched it and considered it), I could go to Pilates Mat a mere 3 blocks away at the same time! No Abs class at 1:00 at 76th Street? No sweat! Head on over to Abs at 80th! They make it so easy. They make it TOO easy. I now have no excuse.

So, I need to find some clean gym clothes and head over to the 10:30 Pilates mat class, for which I have a reservation. Oh, yeah. It's fancy. And on the way, I will pass by the Aerosoles store.

And I will look straight ahead and keep on walking. I'm not quite ready for that just yet.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

No Tea for Me

I'm fortunate to be a company member of The Bats at The Flea Theater, and part of my job there is to work in the office a few hours a week. Sometimes it's doing research, sometimes it's typing, or sometimes, it's running errands...like today.

I had one very special errand to run. A very famous and much-loved, hilarious, playwright has a new play, and The Flea is doing a reading of it soon. So, I was handed a copy of this never-before-seen manuscript, and was told to deliver it to the home of a ridiculously famous (14 Tony awards) Broadway producer.

On the train ride there, my mind began to race. It went something like this: "I wish I hadn't worn Converse, I should have straightened my hair, damn this rain, I wish I had a bigger umbrella, stick to one side of the sidewalk lady, yuck my banana got smushed in my bag, so THIS is the Upper East Side, will he be home, do I leave it with the doorman, if I meet him what will I say, wish I'd seen Book of Mormon before now, Jerusalem was fantastic, why yes I AM an actor, of course I'll have tea with you, here is my husband's latest play- I happen to carry it with me at all times, thank YOU, that was a funny joke (tossing head back and laughing), tell your wife I'm sorry to have missed her, see you next week!"

As you can see, my imagination got away from me. The boring truth is that I left the script with the doorman, who may or may not have understood what I was saying. I did not meet the famous producer, and I certainly didn't exchange jokes with him over tea.

But I might start dressing a little cuter, just in case. :)


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Home Sweet Home


After being away from home for 2.5 weeks, I returned to our apartment to something unbelievable. Something I haven't seen in close to a year.

We came home to feline peace in our home. Tater and Dixie are friends again. No hissing. No swatting. No "you stay downstairs and I'll stay upstairs." We came home to find two cats who did NOT hate each other. In fact, they are sharing the same bed (see above.) Don't worry- they're fixed.

Our friend Holly held down the fort while we were away. Holly is smart, very friendly, and works at Trader Joe's. I'm not sure why this combination of facts is magical, but it is. Holly restored peace in the home. And she took out our recycling.

If I could only find a way to leave other troubling issues with Holly while I go out of town. But I'm pretty sure I'd have to take my regrettable tattoos with me wherever I went. For now, we'll just call her the Cat Whisperer, and will do our best to preserve the calm she left behind.

Thanks, Holly!




Thursday, May 26, 2011

From One Apocalypse to the Next




Tonight is closing night of "Future Anxiety" at The Flea Theater. We've done over 40 performances, and I feel like we just got started. While it will be good to have my evenings back, I can't really complain, because doing theatre is what we moved here to do. And our 7pm show is out by 8:30, so really, the night is still young when we're finished. And between you and me, it's nice to have Sigourney Weaver tell you, "nice work" and "good show" afterwards.

It's also been cool to read reviews of our show in lots of different papers and blogs. While Columbia shows usually enjoyed reviews from 2-3 publications, it's been neat to read varying critiques of our little end of the world play ranging from tired old rags like The New York Times and a little start-up called Backstage. (wink)

While this show ends tonight, our next incarnation of H. apocalyptus starts with a read through in Columbia, SC on Saturday, and that means I will get in a rental car tomorrow morning with Hank (our Beagle), and drive to SC. I have lots of concerns about this trip. Will I get bored? Do I always take the bypass? When I have to stop to pee, will someone put their hand in the car and steal The Most Adorable Dog in the World? And what is the punishment for murder in that particular state when I find the dog-stealer and murder them? Will my family rent an apartment in that state so visiting me in jail will be more convenient? And will Dean move on while I'm incarcerated? So many things to think about.

It will be good to be in SC. I'm not looking forward to sweating a whole bunch, but if I did it for (mumbles) years, then I can do it for two weeks.

I've got packing to do! I'm hitting the road tomorrow! Wish me luck. And call me tomorrow, because I'll be driving and bored. And I have one of those hands-free things, so I won't get in trouble for using the phone in whatever state that's illegal.

I wonder what the sentence for THAT is?



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rainy Days and Tuesdays Always...

A) Make me wax nostalgic.
B) Make me wax my legs.
C) Make me want to nap.
D) Make me spend lots of time doing computer things, and then make me all sentimental about how lucky we are, and how touched we are by people's kindness.

The correct answer is B. (But since D was also a valid choice, I'm going to focus on that one.)

Making something and sharing it with other people is tough. Whether it's a homemade dinner for a loved one, or a meaningful wall plaque from the paint-your-own-pottery place, or a poem, or a play...putting your thoughts and heart and energy into something you believe in, and then putting it out there to the world is humbling. And inspiring.

You feel naked. It's like pressing "send" on an email that took you days to compose. Once you press that button it's out there. It's in someone else's hands to analyze and judge. Or maybe to appreciate and support.

Getting our play to Piccolo Spoleto has been like that. Asking people to give us their time and talents, their money and rehearsal space, their Facebook shout-outs and loaner cars. It's humbling to ask, for sure. But it's even more humbling when people come through because they believe in what we're doing and want to help.

These last few weeks have been emotional ones for us, largely for this very reason. Watching something come to life in a new way, brining in new people to make it happen, hearing other artists' ideas about how they would like to see the play unfold...it's all inspiring.

We are so grateful for the support we're receiving from friends, family and total strangers (thank you, Mr. Petrie of Cary, NC!) It makes us work harder. It make us more careful. And it makes us both excited and terrified to make everyone proud.

So, come see the show, if you're able. There's a link to purchase tickets on our website (www.thesalvagecompany.com), and we'd love to hear what you think.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fresh Start

Spring has sprung. People are wearing shorts with scarves. Lightweight jackets and flipflops are in full force. My nose is getting sunburned.

After what seemed like a whole year of cold weather and snow and rain, it's good to step outside and look at the sky and the leaves and tulips and dogs and strollers and take a deep breath and say, "let's go."

Hank had a bath today, and was so excited to be clean and outdoors, he knocked into a stranger in the crosswalk. A stranger who was none too pleased to be knocked into by a happy Beagle. It got me wondering...if he knocks down a person- I mean flat on the ground- am I liable for their bills? Will Dean and I have to pack it all up and move to a one bedroom apartment on the side of the interstate back in SC, just to pay for Mrs. Eglestein's hip replacement? That would be tragic. For us, mainly. Old people fall all the time. We're just getting into our groove here.

If anyone is looking for those pink whale pants that Andy Bernard was wearing in a recent episode of "The Office," look no further than Brooks Brothers. I saw them in the window today, and was surprised that those pants weren't a joke made my the costume designer. Not sure how much they cost...how much is one's dignity going for these days?

Hank and I took a walk just now into Central Park, where we saw an accordion player and smelled the first honeysuckle of Spring. Maybe you did, too.

So the temperature is getting better, our life here is getting better, and my outlook is getting better...all today. What a difference a little sunshine makes.




Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tech week has perks. No, really.

I’m in tech rehearsal this week, 10 hours a day for at least four days. My full time job this week is to read magazines, change my clothes, and talk about Michael Jackson, serial killers, and the rap class offered at Duke University. Oh, and occasionally rehearse my scenes, which is awesome because I have a fight scene. In heels. And pearls.


You really get to know people when you have to kill hours and hours on end with them. And it’s been nice to see that everyone here is really...nice. People offer each other their prime floor space, share their snacks, and go on coffee runs. I’ve had good conversations about unexpected topics (see above) with people I barely knew.


While this group of actors is fairly young, their talent and experience is really remarkable. (When you come see “Future Anxiety,” you’ll see what I mean.) People ask each other about their auditions (some of our team have managed to squeeze TV auditions into our lunch break, which is no small feat), and they share information with one another. They genuinely help each other out, and want each other to succeed.


Believe me, I want my friends to succeed. I always have. But I will honestly admit that in the past, I have sometimes experienced what one might call a mild case of “competijealousism”, a malady I named just this minute. It’s just what it sounds like. But here, it doesn’t seem like any of our company members have that with one another. And if they do, they hide it really well. Like I said, they are talented. (When you come see my show, you’ll see what I mean.)


It’s all about Kharma, it really is. The more good stuff you put out there, the more good stuff comes your way. I am proof of that.


After sitting around for hours, it’s good to take a walk. Get out and breathe and stretch a little more, turning here and there, not really caring where you end up. Discovering new shops and restaurants, realizing, “Oh, that’s where that is,” seeing how close this neighborhood is to that one. And even if it starts to drizzle a springtime rain, it’s ok, because you have your umbrella, flimsy though it may be. That’s what I did during dinner break today (thanks to the generosity of Sean Crespo, best dog-watching neighbor ever), and I gotta say, I love TriBeCa. (For those of you not in NYC, it stands for “TRIangle BElow CAnal (street), and is where The Flea Theater is located.) When you come see my show, you’ll see what I mean.


Living in New York City is the best.


Come visit.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Focusing is Hard, as I Demonstrate in this Blog Post.


So, I'm going to write about a bunch of unrelated things. Random observances. Flashes into our life up here. Stuff you didn't realize you needed to know, but are so glad to find out about. I hope.

So, it's still freaking cold up here, and when I look at the weather app on my iPhone, I want to cry. It shows snowflakes and rainfall for Friday and Saturday, and that makes me want to curl up in a ball, like this dog.
The sun is shining, so when I look out the window, I am filled with the promise of warmth and happiness, but when I walk outside, the wind bitch slaps me in the face, and reminds me who is really in charge.

Lots of movies and TV shows (and pilots) are shooting around right now. "30 Rock" shot their last episode of the season the other day near our apartment- be on the lookout for Kenneth and Tracy in Central Park-and tomorrow, our street will be filled with trucks and trailers for "How to Make it in America," an HBO series.

We have a few additions to the "Famous People in our 'Hood" file. Rob Corddry (Hot Tub Time Machine, Anchorman) was shopping at the Banana Republic, Dan Lauria (B'way's "Lombardi," the dad from Wonder Years) was at a bar we like, and CZJ is out in full force walking her dog these days. Hank and I are inching closer to our shared goal of being doggie friends with Figaro. You'll know when it happens.

Yesterday we closed our short run of "Tech Support," a new play by Debra Whitfield. There's talk of adding some dates, but with all of our schedules, it may be tough. Next up for me is "Future Anxiety" at The Flea Theater, directed by Jim Simpson. Previews begin April 15th, and we run through May 26th.

Mom came to visit (and see "Tech Support") last week, and we had a great time. She got to meet our dear friend and Aussie, Tim Hall, and we did a little shopping, walking, and dining. Hank was especially happy to have someone to cuddle with on the air mattress.

I found a pair of jeans I like so much, I'm going to get a second pair. They're Banana Republic skinny (!) jeans in dark blue. In case you were wondering what I'm wearing these days.

We are really excited to go to Austin, TX next week (NEXT WEEK?!?!) to see "Paradise Key" at Hyde Park Theater. This is one of Dean's plays, winner of the Trustus Theatre Playwright's Festival last season, and sure to be fantastic in this Southwest premiere. Dean's been working on his Untitled Treasure Play, and had a reading recently with The Bats at The Flea Theater.

Dean is obsessed with Petite Lap Giraffes. That's all I can say.

I'm repulsed by molecular gastronomy. It's all over the morning talk shows these days. Just make me a grilled cheese sandwich. Don't freeze it, don't liquefy it. Just grill it. Strangely, I have been on a bit of a juice kick lately. Actually, it's only when I walk past the juice place on 72nd. No other times. But I get the green juice with the kale and other green things in it, and feel really healthy for the 10 minutes it takes to drink it. And then I eat that grilled cheese I mentioned before.

OK, I gotta run. I got bidness to do, yo. Gotta get my fax on. More to come. Get ready to hear all about The Salvage Company taking our zombie thriller, "H. apocalyptus" to the Piccolo Spoleto Festival!

Later Taters.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

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I don't think there's a better place in the world to be Irish today than New York City.


The 250th New York City Saint Patrick's Day Parade is happening right now. Right this second on the other side of Central Park. 250 years. A quarter of a millennium. And this isn't like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, or even the Ferris Bueller Parade. Floats, cars, balloons, and such are not allowed, and the parade consists of about 150,000 people marching- including military groups, bands, dancers, police officers and firemen...you name it. As long as it walks, it's here.


The parade is televised, and the commentators are actually Irish. It makes me wish I were prepping for a production of a Brian Friel play, the dialects are so good. Parade Day kicks off with mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, and (SC friends, brace yourselves) the highlights from this morning's mass were replayed as part of the parade coverage. Mass makes the news here, people.


There are several bands full of bagpipe players, which confuses me, because I thought that was a Scottish instrument. I also thought that the Scottish and Irish hated each other, so I'm surprised there hasn't been more brawling. I mean, I'm attacking everyone I see in a kilt, but I'm just on one block of W. 75th, and it's hard to know how the rest of my Irish friends are faring across the city. What? Oh. OHHHHHH. My bad. I was just informed that "Ireland and Scotland have a very close cultural relationship as both countries are of gaelic descent. In fact the Scots are an Irish tribe who settled in what is now Scotland from the 4th century onwards." Huh. Either way, bagpipes make me cry.


There are so many police officers and firemen in the parade, I hope there isn't a city-wide emergency. Is there a joke in there somewhere? It feels like it.


It's a beautiful day for a parade- we're getting up to the mid-60's (SC friends, please don't rub it in.) And it's a fantastic day for Irish advertisers! I've seen so many "visit Ireland" spots and so many Guiness spots, I find myself wanting to ride bikes along the winding roads of rural Ireland with a beer in my hand. In plastic, of course. Glass would be irresponsible.


Time to dash. I've left some soda bread baking in the oven, and my bangers and mash are almost ready. Yeah, I'm kidding. Happy Saint Patrick's Day, everyone! Especially to my Uncle Tommy. This always strikes me as HIS day. :)














Monday, March 7, 2011

Hank has a Girlfriend




It's true. Hank has found true love in the Big City.

Her name is Fenny, and she lives upstairs with her people, Sean and Carol. Hank LOVES Sean and Carol more than anyone else in the world (aside from us, of course.) When we pass them on the street, Hank loses his mind. He jumps and scampers and howls and whines, and makes the tourists look at us askance. This may be because A) they are cool people, or B) when Hank visits them, they give MUCH better treats than we do.

Today we had one of those encounters, but this one was preceded by something kind of interesting. As we were walking up our block to Central Park West, Hank got really interested in a smell on the pavement. Not that this is out of the ordinary, but it wasn't food this time- it was a little puddle of dog pee. He sniffed around it, near it, and almost IN it, before I finally dragged him away- Hank with a little yelp, and me with a quick glance around to see who thought I kicked my dog.

So, we're walking along CPW when we see Sean and Fenny. It was like one of those slo-mo shots of lovers running towards each other on the beach. Only these were dogs. And there was traffic. Their ears were flapping in the breeze, the air was thick with excitement. Leashes were tangling, pedestrians were tripping, and two dogs in love leapt from bench to bench in a furry love dance.

Once those crazy kids calmed down, I realized Sean and Fenny were on their way back home, and had only gone out a few minutes earlier for a quick walk. I told Sean that we'd just rounded the corner from our street, and that Hank had to be dragged away from all the smells, including a puddle of pee. Sean said, "Fenny just peed over there by the side entrance to the Kenilworth, and she never goes there.

Yep. Seems Hank has quite a nose on him. He's not crazy, he's a dog in love. And like Dean said, "That's the mark of true love when you know each others' pee."

Food for thought.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Quickie

Dearest Fans,

Thank you for your kind words and your continued encouragement regarding my blog. I will, very soon, post something that will make you laugh, cry, and wish you were right here with me- taking the dog out...again, emptying the litter boxes, or waiting in line at Trader Joe's.

The truth is, I'm really busy right now. I've just finished a moderately-sold out run of "Little Red Riding Hood," and will miss playing the Granny very, VERY much. I tried to steal the overalls and wire-rim glasses, but they caught me on my way out. Also, I'm rehearsing for a brand new show called, "Tech Support," which has me jetting through TIME, much like HG Wells. Or Christopher Reeve in "Somewhere in Time." I'm the LEAD, thank you very much, and it's really time consuming to bend the space/time continuum like that. I have to stay really hydrated, too.

Finally, and really excitingly, I start rehearsals tomorrow for "Future Anxiety" at The Flea Theatre. (Yes, I am rehearsing two shows AT THE SAME TIME. That's how hard I work.) This show is directed by Mr. Jim Simpson, who is married to a famous ALIEN fighter, Working Girl, and 8' tall Avatar. In fact...don't be jealous....I'm going to their home for a party right now, so I need to run. For real.

So, more to come, I promise. Until then, stay classy.

Monica

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The musings of a sick woman.

These are the musings of a sick woman.

And by "sick," mean "ill." And for you youngsters who may be reading this, "ill" means unwell, or ailing from a condition or disease. It's not like, "that jacket is so ILL, man." Or whatever the kids are saying these days. I'm not up on the YouthSpeak lately, since I no longer spend my days around teenagers.

Yes, I am being forced to stay home and rest for a few days. Doctor's orders. Seems I've had an exacerbation of my asthma, and I'm moving at the same snail's pace as our ancient landlord, Luigi. In fact, I think he passed ME on the sidewalk yesterday. I've learned a lot sitting around the house. The sun hits the floor in a really beautiful way between 10am and noon, and the cats like to soak it in. The Today Show goes on for way too long, and Hank sleeps a lot.

So, I'll take this forced break to share some stuff with y'all.

The other day, I was walking down 7th Avenue, and I realized I did not hear ANY come-ons from whores. Simon and Garfunkel need to pay another visit to NYC, because things have changed a bit since they wrote "The Boxer." I think the whores have moved from 7th Avenue to another location.

Dean and I were on the train the other night. Across from us, a man and his young daughter were sharing a pizza. I said to them, "We just had dinner, thanks though," joking around with them. They looked at each other tentatively, and in a thick accent that sounded vaguely Russian, the man said to me, "If you would enjoy, come?" It was really sweet, and I wondered if I should take a slice just to be polite, but we really had just eaten.

We also saw a fantastic show this past Saturday. It made me excited about theatre, about how it can bring about change, and it reminded me why we do this. We saw the middle schoolers of the United Nations International School perform the musical "Hairspray," directed by our good friend, Tim Hall. It was awesome. There must have been 60 kids in it, and they were all so committed and funny! Hearing the message of "Hairspray" come from the mouths of 12-13 year olds was moving, and made the show's message even clearer, in a way. I teared up a lot, as usual. They'll remember that for the rest of their lives, and that's pretty powerful stuff. Especially for the kid who played the flamboyant Mr. Pinky.

I've got other ideas for things to write, but staring at this screen is making my eyes hurt and I'm a little dizzy- more so than usual. Dean and I are going to make our Valentine's Day dinner tonight, since I was too sick to do it on the actual day. But with us, every day is Valentine's Day.

Go ahead and roll your eyes. I know I'm right.







Monday, January 31, 2011

Today was pretty cool...

You know something, Bob Geldof? I DO like Mondays. Especially if they're like today.

This morning I went to the ABC casting office, and was a reader for Marci Phillips for a few hours. She's casting 8 new pilots for the network, and my job was to read the scenes with the actors who were auditioning. It was so much fun, and really eye-opening and- dare I say- encouraging. All the actors came in and did great reads, and they were all different. It proved to me that there's no "right way" to interpret a character. Whatever you do, if you do it honestly, IS the right way. Marci is great, because at the sign in table, she has handouts with encouraging quotes on them by Mike Dooley.

Here's one: When just starting out on a new journey it's only natural to feel vulnerable. After all, it may seem that you have much to lose. But may I remind you that never again, at any other point in the same journey, will you have so much to gain.

It's all really inspiring, and just goes to show she's supportive of actors, and that's a nice feeling. As I see it, I got a 2 and a half hour audition for a super casting director. Pretty sweet start to my Monday.

And THEN...I went to Starbucks across the street, and the real fun began. As I sat there drinking my coffee, an older fella walks in, and as the place was crowded, he asked a woman if the extra seat at her table was taken. She invited him to join her, and they started talking about the headlines in the paper she was reading, from arts to Egypt. I looked up, and the sweet man was Jeffrey Tambor! On my way out, I was headed over to say hello to him, when another customer realized her wallet was missing. JT started to help her look for it, and so I started to help JT help look for it, so it wouldn't seem strange that I was just standing there in the middle of a crisis. Then, JT puts his hand on my shoulder and says, "My bag is gone. Someone took my bag." So we look around for his bag, and then he grabs me again and says, "Wait. I didn't bring my bag. It's OK." At that point, we chatted a little, I told him that I'd worked with some of his friends a long time ago at Milwaukee Rep, and THEN JT gave me his email address to pass along to them so they could catch up after all this time. That's right. I have his email address. As I left, he asked me if I was still acting, and said, "Knock 'em dead."

Then I called Dean, and bought refills for the Cat Litter Locker at the pet store across the street.

And THEN, I had lunch at Amber (a sushi place near us), and I thought I heard the voice of someone I knew, coming from the next table. I looked, and didn't recognize anyone, and then I began eavesdropping. The guy with The Voice was talking to his friend about science, and that's when I realized it was Ira Flatow from NPR's "Science Friday!" I didn't speak to him, but I did listen to him, which was just like having the radio on in a sushi restaurant.

Fast forward to this evening. After Dean and I ate dinner, we settled in for a little TV on the sofa, and heard our super awesome friend Libby Collins' voice on a commercial for Jared Jewelers. Next time you see the spot about their "Chocolate Diamonds," that's our girl. She is the Voice of Jared.

So today was about voices and actors and good sushi. And love. It's always about love.

MW