Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fool for Adler

I'm in love.
I'm in love with my studio.
My acting studio.
I tell people about my love.
And they say Hey gimme the information.
And they feign to come.

Finals day yesterday in the Master Class off of theatre row in Hollywierd. There it was, our tiny little black stage, the flooring beaten to death by a myriad of heels - spiked, spurred or period-driven; the thick black strips of marley slowly parting from each other into new continents and the struggling chaperones of tape curling into competition with a wig from "Amadeus".  It is here that my bare feet leave blackened, looking as though I've been parkouring up chimneys all day. (Trust me, I will not miss a good chance to mimic a certain classic Cockney number from Mary Poppins if called upon.) But hey, scenework among my peers at the A/M is not far from watching them draw a chalkboard outline, grab our hand, then jump into a magical (though sometimes terrifying) world, together traipsing suddenly through this sphere of another realm, time and character. Another geographic location. Another socioeconomic period. Another earth.

We work on one 15 (ish) minute scene for six weeks, with three total "rehearsals" not meant to be performance driven. But WE, the students, are allowed to be as driven as we like, for we are driving ourselves. Then we have a bit of critique and talk about obstacles, observations and odds 'n' ends of study. 

As I was discussing with another class member tonight, that carefully strained quality of cold brew acting happening around me is what friggin' wakes ME up in the morning. No, for reals. Nine total scenes went up this round. I am turned into salt and blown away by watching my peers grow - and even astound - via their hard work and blooming creativity. Validation is granted for the weeks of solitary confinement from which we've eventually emerged, battered playbook in one hand, mad scribing in the other. Oh and let's not forget the public shamings we host of our own accord upon that meager platform - the eyes that question all that just proceeded, unconvinced and burning for either death of this work OR... another chance!!! Put me in, Coach, put me IN! AGAIN!  

I mean, that's MY interpretation of how people approach class. I'm sure I am completely wrong and I alone torture myself repeatedly for six weeks in Toluca Woods. ;) But it is difficult to wrap one's head around a real technique of acting, something I have never adopted due to a hodgepodge education (ahem, code for: many teachers that don't know what they're talking about). Adler is what I speak of. The only technique I have ever really enjoyed and find works with my other quirky Eva ways of creation and development. I marry them each semester and indeed there is bickering, fighting, some domestic violence (my neighbors probably think I'm nutso) but there's also Really. Great. Sex.

I have truly, TRULY enjoyed revisiting and settling next to the Sea of Theatre Works. Since September last, I have had the pleasure of swimming inside such plays as CRIMES OF THE HEART (poor Lenny, her hair is fallin' out!), STOP KISS (dude, Callie is a part of my soul and the love story kills me),  PROOF (bring on the cold-hearted shame machine), THE HEIDI CHRONICLES (Wasserstein's themes ring just as poignantly and true today for me as a woman in this world), and most recently, FOOL FOR LOVE by the existential cowboy himself, Sam Shepard.

Sam Shepard is unlike any playwright I have studied thus far, less interested in naturalism than others and a-leanin' toward the affect of the moment - the thing happening now, and how it will translate the emotional states of the characters, usually in matrix-like fashion. The staging is a specific tool used often for this purpose, which is unusual to really pay attention to in class because "blocking" is a somewhat dated term and almost concept. Believe you me, I love a fantastic composition on the stage - as well as on film - but that receives the least focus when in a rehearsal space / learning ground. The acting is the thing and the play is the thing we use to sharpen it with! Anywho, Shepard is SO specific in his stage direction for FOOL that it seemed a bit of an obstacle for my little acting brain to work through. I mean, if I'm supposed to crawl along this wall during this monologue - how do I make that a REAL choice by this character in REAL time? I don't. I do what I can by diluting the stylized feel of his play and filling it with the truthful bugle call of Adler. 

What is this, a fox hunt? Well, yeah. There are a lot of elusive little foxes within a scene you have to discover and conquer, in the form of sly beats, furry objectives and such. And if your Adler beagles are unhealthy pups, they won't sniff out shit. It'll be like people I see on hikes carrying their dogs who doth protest too much against the heat so .. PEACE! - collapsed they are on the mountainside awaiting your removal. 

But FOOL FOR LOVE is, admittedly by Shepard, not his best work - yet a fun piece for women who wish to wallow in a tour de force kind of role - albeit oxymoronically. It is a dark ill-fated incestuous love story that culminates in one long relentless exchange out of a lone mojave desert motel room. The surroundings are bare and so are the personality traits of his characters, Eddie and May. Little is said ABOUT them outside of what they've "experienced". There are memories and speeches, but there aren't a lot of statements about who these people ARE outside of vague things like "She likes movies." His writing rather focuses on the communication - in body and word - thus the relationship is identified more strongly than the individual. Also, the feeling is what Shepard is striving to capture, not the personality. 

Thus it was a kind of a bitch to work on. I mean, May is the victim of cyclical infidelity for a number of years with the love of her life, her half-brother. Unfortunately, they fell in love before they knew of their blood share, found out quickly thereafter, and then it was just too late. The love had fallen on them both like a sickness, complete with paralytic yearnings and pinings that left them on the floor when apart and worried all those around them. But the infidelity...four years of an affair with another woman - a woman who seemingly has money, education, EVERYTHING the upper class could provide and May does not represent. Four years of denial from Eddie; four years of secrecy, of anxiety, of waiting in a trailer alone, of time passing in stagnant hours, of questions, of diminishment of worth, of being mortared and pestled into a mash of self-hatred and blame despite it not being her fault - all of this cradled in the hammock of desperate co-dependency. 

Oy. Vay. Dude.

All I can surmise about May comes from how she feels and also how she is different from this "other woman".  The latter is a more guesswork arena to the Adler approach, but hey, I gots little to go from. I will say this, though: this scene kicked my motherlovin' ass. And I have Shepard to thank for it. May ended up as switchy and twitchy as an epileptic fencer. Child-like in her emotional intelligence because there was no room within or model from which to develop it. Probably bi-polar, but I didn't choose to study it. 

Sadly, I will not be within the next two rounds of Master Class (that's 3 months that will sadly go by - one quarter of a year!!!!!!!!!!!! I may be in a coma at that time). But hopefully, I will be filming GEHENNA come October and acting in front of a camera, not my peers. And on a tropical island. Hells to the yizzah. 

In the meantime, I will be working on shorter scenes in Monday night's excellent Hybrid class. So the pencils will get sharpened little by little still.  I have RED LIGHT WINTER and OTHER DESERT CITIES to tackle.  I am determined to discipline myself within Adler and to apply it one day with just the tools of my imagination. Some of them come into play more naturally already - almost archeologically, as the bones of my colorful mind emerge and shake off their dust, then proceed to do a Disneyesque dance that seems all wild, dark and hilarious. 

Enough! Off to rehearsal...Let a little 39 into your life.








Thursday, July 30, 2015

BatWoman

This morning I was cackling like a madwoman at a million different silly things.
This afternoon I was holding my steering wheel, sobbing at the beauty of such voluptuous, volcanic cloud formations on which were these long, misplaced slits of steely blue - like God had taken a knife and stabbed them carelessly into existence.

Anyone else feeling strongly today? 

So fitting is this parallel as I, this very afternoon, auditioned for a commercial that required some wailing, sniffling ridiculousness paired with a separate moment of raucous, side-splitting laughter. You could say I was rather prepared.

Today has definitely been a day of emotional bats flying around the internal cave. I have undoubtedly measured the depths of certain cavernous corners and they are not only vast, but filled with both jagged and soft angles. The forming of which come from the carpentry of my dreaming heart, my talking head, and the people that drift in and out of my life like spectres....or banshees - depending on if and when they choose to haunt me. 

Driving, I looked up at this apocalyptic cloud and wished to geyser-dive into its massive, white, roiling purity. The fluff would disintegrate against my body like meringue on a hot, wet tongue and I would see nothing, as my eyes remain shut and my mouth beams blissfully and nothing at all can touch me in this sky. Can we not disappear here from time to time? I can. And I will. 

But I have things to do. Things and stuff. Lists to be checked and errands to run. Can bravery be awarded for our everyday tasks? What, for the normalcy? Sounds vain, sounds unfair. Sounds like an instagram-ridden society wanting applause for their latest crop-filter-manipulation. I'm thinking all we will be left with is a caption upon our grave. A meme, if we're lucky. What will we be remembered for? Certainly not cleaning our kitchen floor. Ridding oneself of dog hair for the day. A feat to one may be a marathon while to another it is a shower. This is not particular to me, yet it is not free of attachment to me. 

The urge to capture the sky, the clouds, the caverns, the swellings - it runs under me like a river. I want it any way and every way - in a photo, a painting, a background, a poem, a script, a status and a novel. I will take it and I will soften into the memory of Sonora, California - where I was for four months of 2013; where I drove often the curved road and treaded merrily through the thick air. Sonora - where the wildfires showed up from your balcony's view at night; ah, that sobering marmalade haze. Sonora - where the blackest tarantulas cross concrete amidst waves of wheatened hills. Sonora - where the morning mist sirens you to a walk, only to gag, cough, and take cover.  Sonora - where a hospitably brown-eyed gaze turns to a cold, dead plank of a stare and you know you need to move along. You know. When the pupil blends seamlessly into a blubbery Brannon filter of eye and all you see is a dead whale on the beach. And you ask, How did I not see it before? 

I must get back to my script - my tale of Sonora. I must forgive myself for time that has passed, then move forward into the paradigm that is this place, filtered through Eva's imagination. If this filter had a name, it would be Lynchang. The film will visually strike with an Ang Lee "Brokeback" essence while story is tugged by a strange, heightened yet twistedly relatable Lynchian arm. My only obstacle here is not over-laying, as I am wont to do. I layer and layer and layer with creation, only to find I have made it too hard to swallow - or even bite! No, no baklava. No triple malt. Leave simple things alone that remain beautiful as they are. Or profound, as they are. 

Same is true with the people in my life. Leave them alone to be as they are. Love them, polish them, admire them, and sometimes put them aside or out of view. We can only ingest so much every day, hm? We can only allow so much into our perspective lest we collapse from the pain or beauty of it all. 

I urge YOU to lie in the cradle of your imagination. To let it seep and slide down to the creviced corners of your most secret caves. Then? Well...keep a pen handy. And paper. Paper is good. 

More to come on Classwork. A blue moon on Friday, btw. Not another until 2018. Take advantage, take a look, take a gander and take a seat. Ciao for now. 




Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Coming in for a Film Landing

Japanese director plus hand-tailored special FX equals unique horror film of dark terror. 

The above formula is a NEWS FLASH!  I was recently cast as the lead (shoulder brush, shoulder brush) in a feature length horror flick to shoot mid-October - possibly in and out of the country (heh heh). I would like to say that doing a short at AFI actually brought about this opportunity - thus, plan with that intention successfully implemented, executed and exceeding i.e. continuing to exceed. Including travel to an incredible island with clear blue water! Oh no - I just watched Jaws yesterday soooooo maybe I'll admire the water from a distance. Regardless, travel es muy importante. Quick, where's my Pimsleur set for Japanese I bought at Goodwill like eight years ago?!

Back to the film - yes, it is entitled GEHENNA: Where Death Lives. Hey, funny coinkydink - the AFI short also had a finicky culture-specific name attached. Not necessarily of a REAL culture, but a culture nevertheless - or real to someone, somewhere - depending upon whose ankles the roots wrap around. 

The director, Hiroshi Katagiri, is making his feature film debut here after working for various big dogs of Hollywood. Check out the info on his website (he obviously has a lot of people that believe in his abilities and aspirations), his ever-clever youtube channel (the man has a sense of humor, thank GOD), and his FB page for you to visit and "like" - because I know you will! (Points finger in public social media shaming fashion! Someone call Jon Ronson to bring the fire extinguisher...)

So this movie is real. It is happening. It is exciting.  I'm proud to attack it newly equipped with a brilliant double holstered belt toting my two guns, Stella and Adler. I get to play a bereaved single mother who buries her emotions with real estate work. Cut off emotionally from the world, floating in her own individual purgatory of guilt, then faced with the stuff of true nightmares. How do you like them apples? I, personally, like them from an exotic island fresh off of a tree. Hint. Hint. 

It's a ways down the road, but hey, now I can relax in the hammock of preparation. Just as if I were between two palm trees drinking out of a giant scripted coconut.

In other news, my next class assignment comes from Mr. Sam Shepard - with whom I think I will get along very well. Just did Wendy Wasserstein and I tried my damndest, but the intellectual quality of it kept me a wee bit too internal. I think I am understanding something important, however.  That everyone onstage has a rich emotional history if not present life. They can. They are capable of that. Otherwise what are we investing in from our Arclight seats? Everyone has emotional drive, whether or not they want to admit that or understand it.  I have to understand it, that is my job. So here I come "Fool for Love". Now, here I don't have any time to find any goddam hammock because I put it up this Saturday for the first time - fifteen minutes of scenework...GO!

Wish me luck, folks...






Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Imagining the Reality of You

I feel like Seinfeld. 
"What's - the deal - with texting?"

Yes, what is the deal. Here I am, left to figure out how I might gel with a person via communication completely lacking in TONE? Tone is everything. And so we project tone into these lines, these words because we are human and are talking to someone else, but through an email version of conversation - one send at a time. We are left with nothing but ourselves to talk to inside the boardroom of our minds, having coffee and discussing the meaning of things; debating, deciding FOR the other person, WITHOUT the other person. 

Maybe the monosyllabic generation of twenty-five-year-olds I continue to encounter has it right: 

Twenty-Five-Year-Old: hey

Hey. Yeah, hey. Hey how are ya? Hey, let's call each other and let our voices float in blackest space somewhere! Hey - let's meet up in person, step back in time to a live animatronic version of history where humans sat face to face trying to master the art of conversation, trying to articulate, trying to speak one's language well. I don't always speak it well, but hell, I like to bend words to my will sometimes. Or brand them with a big ol' E on their behind.

Eva: hey is for horses...

This neon 24-hour connectivity is finding us all with little to say. And deflating the willingness to say things aloud.  Where is this Connectivity Cowboy wrangling our millenial herd to? I think Joaquin falling in love with his OS system isn't really that far down the river. Hey, if your phone could READ your texts to you in a personalized manner? That would mean that a computer is then deciding exactly how the other person's tone is - injecting it with the judgement of a computer brain. And then the Robot Apocalypse (or something) is just around the corner. 

"Robocalypse" - the title of my next screenplay, starring Amanda Linda. She's a big youtube star, ya know. And those people are also taking over the world - or...portions of particular ones. 

Here is the point - we want to get to know each other. We meet more people through technology and dance around them in a tone-less setting. But I don't want Scar-Jo to read me their words. I want to hear them. I want to know the timbre of your voice. I want to see the expression on your face. I want to feel the energy of you, whoever you are, and feel...normal about it. Don't we have a hard enough time evaluating - much less knowing - what other people mean when they talk? Take ALL of the clues away and how will you protect your capacity to care from shrinking away entirely? The care is diminishing before our eyes and hearts in various puffs of magic smoke. You lose interest. They lose interest. You're all just....not very interested. And if you (heaven forbid!) ARE interested, you are terrifying. At least, these are the messages I am seeing people send to each other every day. 

We're all feeding this fear that deeper human interaction is a big, scary monster that comes out at night and wants to breathe on us with slobber dripping from its pointy, yellow teeth. And we are missing out on what is exciting and real. I feel forced to live in my imagination with a Brian Greene version of this person I want to get to know because I am now responsible to re-create the dimension lost in translation. All due to the safety net of textersations. 

I don't want to have to guess what someone else means. I don't want to be my own interpreter - like I have to look at some version of me signing from the side of the stage. What if I'm wrong about what you are saying? Who will tell me? Who will correct me? Do I continue on with my misperceptions, misunderstandings, and inefficient subjective absorption? The cost is that we may miss each other completely. If you had just showed up on my doorstep and walked me to the coffee shop... I'm just asking - what is the point of communication at ALL if we can't (and I hate to use this word) successfully get our messages across? We are breaking apart into tinier and tinier islands, doomed to end up like a Gary Larson cartoon where its just you and somehow, a duck that talks.

No one wants these responsibilities. No one cares to own anything anymore except the newest gadget. A handful of us... if you just put that phone down and grasp a handful of us, you won't be sorry. 







Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Amanda Linda in LA LA!

She made it! She made it! She's......barely making it. Amanda Linda thought everything was awesome when she moved to LA - cause she's scrappy and can steal a nutri-grain bar from 7-11 if need be. She even found an awesome sublet for the el cheapo via a shady Armenian landlord! She's living the dream - just Amanda Linda, a box of wine, her dog, and a big ol' dream. But sometimes our HABITS get the best of us... 


Check out this original parody from myself and my writing partner, Lisa Mamazza. Our first endeavor - admittedly an ambitious one - and we're oh so happy with it. The old man might not be though...

(Courtesy of:)



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

This is How You Tub-let...

STOP!
KISS!
What a funny pair of directions that would be. STOP WHAT YOU ARE BOTH DOING NEAR EACH OTHER AND KISS! Sounds kind of fun actually, but no, that is not what the play is about. It IS about courage to create a moment in which two people finally kiss - giving in to their realizations of love and really GOING for it. It's a fricking beautiful play as the structural chiarascuro is fantastic. I think, anyway. It can also be overdone like any show and a poor production may have soured a mind or two. It soured mine just by HEARING about a bad production - and then I never explored it. Shows you how close minded we are about SO many things even subconsciously. (No we can't explore everything but don't claim to have an opinion due to someone else's judgement.)

Anyway - this play is my assignment for my second round of scene study at Aquila/Morong. A class I'm gonna start calling home when I go in for a third session. I love it. I've expressed to others my happiness there. You should audit, perhaps. 

I must say, as time flies by in La La, I am finally finding my sort of hammock of freedom in my craft - and that is not to suggest a laziness, but rather a sweet, sweet spot where I can go and daydream with abandon and pretend or be a conduit or just enjoy it all so much. A grave difference from last year's beginning - when all I saw was a question mark. Last year was not a simple year - and yet I found my writing partner. Since then we have been unclogging the comedic pipes that have been neglected so long.  At least in MY body and mind.  Don't worry, its like a waxy build-up. I can still hear quite well...

I once cleaned the tea kettle of a good friend by buying him a steel wool sponge. I could see my reflection after that small investment of time...that's pretty much what it feels like to be writing comedy.

So one is serving the other - my writing is serving my own acting on wholly other dramatic notes. I don't have to take myself so seriously - thank GOD. No, really, thank ALL the gods for that. I can let go of my ego and just play onstage with all the skill I've mustered over the years. 

This weekend I shot and starred in my very first sketch, a musical parody of "HABITS" by Tove Lo. Oh - I KNOW, I know that look on your face. Trust me, parodies are the HARDEST to do well. Why I started with it? Well, that seems to be my way. Go for the gold when you do it. Test your limitations immediately to see what you can learn from it. It certainly won't be perfect, but let's hope its at least really gd hilarious. ;)

I think you'll enjoy the parody - its called "Tub-let".  Coming soon in February. Me with red hair. Me illegally subletting a tub in a one bedroom apartment. Me being slightly felonious.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Are. You. A....GOD?

Why yes it IS the anniversary of Ghostbusters and yes my best halloween costume to date IS Gozer the Gozerian, but no, that's not what this blog is about. 

I KNOW WHO GOD IS!

He is a trim, bald Jew who probably needs a girlfriend with a pair of tweezers.  If I am to worship anything, let it be the God of Comedy - his name....is Larry David.

Myself and a recently discovered writing partner (hooray!) decided - without discussion - that we've been climbing small to medium to large comedic mountains in our minds for many a year and thus, as we venture together creatively, why not tackle the impossible Everest with sheer, guffawing ambition....and write spec for Curb Your Enthusiasm?

Yeah yeah I know - "How do you write spec for a show that's improvised?" - Highly intricate outlining / story-weaving for one thing. 

What's that? You don't watch it? SHAME ON YOU! Trust me, I understand the discomfort some express when having tried to get on the Curbwagon - much like I used to feel watching Ben Stiller films.  Back in the day, I recall sinking into my theater chair while Stiller was caught, humiliated, shamed, defied, unsupported - all in the name of supposed funny as he "met the parents".  But armed today with my myriad of life experiences and perhaps some tempered doses of cynicism, I can easily ingest the comedy of Mr. David with glee.  I think much in part due to his brilliant tap into absurdist nuances on all things mundane. I will drink buckets of that highly-concentrated syrup and never tire. Who needs pancakes?

But comedy is the thing. I never liked choosing between that or drama - instead, I am fleshing out (quite shamelessly) my comedic side as the year progresses because....well, it's just about time! I came out of the womb laughing. I crack myself up far too much. I study stand up and listen to numerous comedians' podcasts and most of all - I just feel free inside the funny. There ain't a feelin' like it. I also did three comedy shows on stage last year - and that momentum really became the impetus to stop RESISTING comedy.  I've always resisted it professionally - whether it is plain old fear, self-consciousness, strange expectation, being forced to choose - who knows? It no longer matters. Comedy's been a-knockin' on my door my whole life so I'm just going to let him in.

Hence my watching Broad City: Season 1 in three days. 

On the other hand, I continue to work diligently in my Jaffe intensive.  It has been a side-swiping bitch to find my own material - GOOD material - on which to work and hone. Sifting the internet for a great scene is very needle-in-haystack, especially when you are always craving perfection like myself. After hours and hours of research, it feels darn fabulous to find some dialogue that goes down like the perfect glass of water - refreshing, quenching, a part of you. 

Now, the best and final challenge of my course: find a scene that you ASPIRE to. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh BOY!  Bette Davis, Meryl Streep, Tilda Swinton, Marion Cotillard - yes of COURSE I think of to WHOM I aspire to first. Then the titles will flow in later. Might as well pick a crazy hard, ball-buster of a scene that requires the chops of a giant. I might fail miserably, but that's the point of class, isn't it? It's a learning ground. Life is a frickin' learning ground. So go for the gold, baby.

Speaking of - just enrolled into Aquila Morong Studios. SUPER excited. Let's go bask in the light of tough, intelligent, grounded feminine power. And John Hindman. He's cool, too.



Now here are some clips from one of his best episodes "The Bare Midriff" co-starring the ab-fab comedy starlet, Jillian Bell.