I gotta put myself in Park

Did ya listen? Did ya listen?

No.

Did ya read it? Did ya read it?

Not yet.

Did ya –

Beeps, cut it out.

Super sonic speed. I’m hesitant to tell the director he’s only getting one out of every 50 messages I want to send him. He’s actually got a life, so theatre work gets squeezed in around everything else. This is my life, so I just do it.

Rehearsed act 2 again. Sadly, the decision has been made to scrap one of the actors. He’s been unreliable, bowing out of rehearsals last minute because of scheduling problems. He’s also the former board member who’s no longer on the board – which he hasn’t been told, either. Apparently after saying for a month that our scheduled premiere dates are good for him, he can’t do it. The director’s just kind of had it, you know? Heard that they used to be really good friends, but then he started flaking out left and right and all that kind of drifted away. So now he’ll get a double hit: you’re off the play, and off the board. No one really thinks it will bother him because he just doesn’t seem to care.

I’m just glad I’m not the one who has to tell him.

Now we need to find someone else to fill the role. The word is going out and I hope to get a message soon about coming in to hear a few people audition.

Decided that I really need to shoot rough versions of the desired side videos and see if I can get the shots and angles I want. Asked out on WhatsApp for a warm body, and M is willing to come out to my place for an afternoon and do what I ask in front of the camera. Worried most about the suicide vid of the daughter. It’s not like I want to apply to have a metro station closed while I shoot. We could, I suppose, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Roughing in shot ideas that I think will fool the eye. Taking an afternoon to get some angles and another day to clip it together is a good idea right now. I’ll solve a lot of potential problems before they even start. Plus I can get a good feel for length and pacing. Don’t need to first think about that during the final edits!

Tomorrow is Dr T. And my physiotherapy. Friday I go back to the dentist. I need to get some exercise and tidy up the house. Read. Don’t have any new homework from class because I’m just about the only person who’s done every bit, so I’ll read my book instead. Up to page 80 now. Need to hit page 135 by Friday to keep on target.

Sleep is still active. If I don’t make my bed for a few days in a row, it ends up looking like a rat’s nest. Everything helter skelter, and the blankets kind of curled into a little nest. My sleeping self does not like pillows. I’m lucky to find one under my head when I wake up. Mostly they are on the floor, or somewhere tucked into bed with me like little supports. I am most surprised by that. My waking self likes to have at least 3 pillows under her head while laying in bed. Did not know I was pissing my sleeping self off so much for all those years. My sleeping self wins now: pillows everywhere but under my head.

Find myself tired of thinking so fast and so much. Tired of waiting for other people ’cause they just don’t move as fast as me. Tired of reigning myself in and people thinking I’m not trying to stop myself at all. I need a day off from me.

Next week I have to start having my lines memorized. Need to get on that, too…

My bro joked that I should try and watch the Incredibles again. Favorite quote? “Really? As fast as I can? Yes. As fast as you can.”

Z-z-z-z-ooooooom!

Too bad for me, no one’s saying that. Instead I hear ‘Chill out. Take it easy. Rustig. Slow down.’ Meh. I’m waiting for that point in my life when I hear it: as fast as you can. I’m only in second gear here. I keep stuttering and balking, holding back. You have no idea how fast I can go.

Looking forward to more medication. Yes, I said it. I’m looking forward to it. I know if I move too fast I’ll push myself right out of existence. I’ll do so much and be everywhere at once and no one will think to thank me because of it. The less I do, the more I’ll get. That’s hard. I want to spill it. Want to pour it all out, into other people’s heads, get going, get moving, make progress! I’ve done that. But the kudos are never in relation to the amount of work put in. There’s only so much kudos any one person can give. I need to adjust my work load to match. I can do everything and hear ‘Thanks for doing so much!’ or I can stick to some vids and my acting and hear the same bloody thing. No one will stand there on the night and list out every single thing I’ve done in an astonished voice and say thanks for each and every job I’ve tackled. No one.

And this is not the time I should be thinking of kudos for myself. All I should be concentrating on is self care. Making sure I don’t overload myself.

I do what I do, and I am what I am. I bulldoze over people without meaning too. I intimidate the hell out of everyone around me. That leads to people not saying ‘good job’ because they think I’m too far ahead of them or they’re just scared by me. Then I double down and try even harder.

It’s a self-repeating cycle.

I’ve gotta put myself in Park.

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I’ve lived it

Went thru Act 3 last night. That’s the act I was most worried about. Some negativity from the actors, some misinterpretation of my story…it was adding up to concern that the third act wasn’t gonna go well. And while I’m dealing with some non-native English speakers who have to practice what word to emphasize in some sentences, they’re listening to the director, adding in their own things, and it’s coming together. But, yeah. We laughed last night, but the mood was far more serious than the other two acts – even when I went into clown mode, miming wild gestures. That is due to the actor playing the government agent. She is such a buzz-kill. Even when she’s being a bit playful, she’s somber. But at least she can be playful.

Connected everything with everything. My phone is somehow connected now to FB, tho FB ended up being a shit and making me put in a new password even tho my home computer is still signed in on the old password. But, hey! I saw the news articles about FB. I don’t expect much other than personal invasion.

I’m being dragged into the 21st century whether I like it or not…

Got some pix on my new phone and the director set me up so every pix and vid on my phone goes directly to Google storage. Yippee; I can add photos to my theatre blog post today.

Need to try hooking the camera directly into my computer. The director said try that before we go any further. Crossing my fingers that my mac will recognize it. Then I can just download here at home, make the vids, and get them out.

Tonight is Act 1 again. Need to run my lines this afternoon.

Tomorrow is recording night. Up at 2 because my bro said the sweet spot in this building is between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. Thinking I may just doze off in my chair and bring my alarm clock out here. I’m usually up ’til midnight these days, or almost. Nap for 2 hours, do the recording, then finally head off to bed. It’s gonna be weird, and I expect it to throw me for a few days.

Still working on my Dutch homework. More exercises than I thought in that small packet! Feeling good about it, tho. Confident.

Got in fresh air and sunshine yesterday. Breathed that cold air into my lungs, smelled that autumn smell of decaying leaves, looked up at the blue sky… It was a good choice. I was right; it had been too long since I’d done that.

And…wow! My bro’s stepped up the last few nights. I’ve come home to a clean kitchen post rehearsals. Dishes done, garbage and recycling out. Must remember to thank him for that. I come home wound up and tired. I notice the crap is gone but I’ve bigger things on my mind. Ha! The Universe is teaching me why I don’t hear about the same tasks from my bro when he’s out doing things. The shoe is on the other foot. Okay. I get it. Now I’ve got to change it. Start speaking up to him, thanking him when I come home and the house is clean. Point out to him that I notice and appreciate his work. If I do that, maybe I can teach him to do the same when things flip around again.

Spoke to the director about video for the production. Said we needed to meet and talk about that, that I needed time to create the vids. He agreed. Good. I roughed in several ideas months ago, so I’ve something to go on. And, as usual, my head’s been filling in those rough ideas. Edit this, do that, bring the entire tone of each vid into the lighting of the play.

Remembered, too, to ask about our local tv programming. It won’t hurt us to go in there and see if anyone doing a show on Rotterdam local events wants to interview or talk about the production. The director laughed at me when I told him I often surf thru those channels late at night. He considers it a cul-de-sac; a dead end that reaches no one. I disagree. Even if we only reach 5 people, that’s 5 more than we’re reaching now and it costs us nothing. We’ve got to start getting press coverage from somewhere. If we can’t convince a free, local tv show to talk about us we’ll never get larger press coverage.

And let’s not forget tomorrow I’ll be in the dentist’s chair. Brrr! Nothing like a bit of dentist anxiety and a panic attack at 10 in the morning. Really wakes you up.

Time to pull out that camera and start fiddling. I’d like to begin filming tonight. Compiling clips. It’ll take time to get what I want.

And… How insecure is it of me to know I want to wear make-up while I film myself? I know what I look with and without make-up on camera, and the whole thing will sell better if I wear make-up. That means painting my face tonight. Meh. Well, I’ll get plenty of practice in. I may even need to buy more make-up ’cause I’ll be using it on a regular basis. I just… I don’t want a hundred clips of myself looking so damned tired. Besides. Beauty sells. Anything and everything. I’d be stupid to ignore that fact.

Time to shoot up with my weekly drug that keeps me on my feet. I hate injecting myself. Have to really disconnect even tho it’s just under the skin. Goddess forbid that I’d have to find a flipping vein! Could not do it. Ugh. Have a very ugly memory of a drug addict sticking a needle in and out of his arm trying to find a vein. I put in in my memory deliberately. Sounds strange, I know. But that night I knew what was happening. I didn’t participate, but I did watch.

If I ever had to choose one moment when I decided somewhere inside of me to become a writer, that was it. That night. Watching that horror.

Watching that horror…

And the penny drops. There it is. The source. The reason why I’m finding it so easy to write horror.

I’ve lived it.

All I gotta do is get paid…

Technically, I was out of the house yesterday for as long as I would be if I’d had a real job. It was a big day.

Dutch class: give me a cheer; I got 100% correct on my homework for the very first time. Q&A, multiple choice, and short answers – perfect, all of them. I’m very proud and happy! I was asked for word definitions, explanations of Dutch sayings, and spelling rules. Even tho I was damned tired, I kept up and answered correctly – even creating grammatically correct sentences on the spot. I think my reading is really teaching me loads.

Left class early as planned, got home just before 3. Ate. Smoked. Packed my bag, double checked everything. Back into near freezing weather and down to University for rehearsals.

J was there with the director, waiting for me to hand off flyers. The moment J saw the flyers she said: Oh! They’re so cute! I love them! Totally different style from what the group usually uses, and I’m happy my work is appreciated. 200 are being distributed in Den Haag and Leiden over the next week.

Got the camera handed off to me. A small – no! very small thing with a bendy tripod. I don’t have a card reader, and right now I don’t know how I’ll get the videos off it, but I’m sure someone has that capacity. I can play with it, try out some settings, and devise a strategy for best filming during rehearsals.

One of our group was missing last night. *sigh* Someone she knew committed suicide. Ouch! The play is all about suicide and mayhem and she just didn’t feel up to it last night. Totally understandable. I’m just happy she’s planning on doing the role and just wanted one night off. We went through 2 scenes, mostly with the brothers. One of the actors is quite good and did a great job in either role. The other is…not so good. Sadly, he’s one of the Board members of the group, so it’s not like this is the only production we have to put up with him. His biggest problem is rushing the dialogue. He speaks quickly, as if he’s afraid of the words. I’m considering teaching him a good old fashioned American cursing stream, the same I heard my father use all his life. A friend of mine once laughed her ass off when she heard my dad curse; she’d heard me say the same thing in the same manner for years but didn’t know where I’d learned it. There’s a deliberate emphasis on the words that my dad used which is very individualistic. But it’s got the right cadence for the character. Part of the problem is I’m dealing with Dutch people educated in British schools, and I write American. We’ll see how it goes. Right now, he’s the weak link in the play. I think we can act around him and make it work. Thankfully, the director kept telling him to slow down with his words, so he’s thinking the same as I.

Kept quieter than I did during the first rehearsal. Allowing the director to direct. Even when I don’t really agree with his direction. He instructed the actors to deliver a passage one way; I was thinking totally opposite. I didn’t say anything, and let him make the call. His way won’t crush my story. That’s what I’m looking at. I don’t care if the actors want to change some of the ‘Oh my God!’s to ‘Bloody hell!’ because they learned British cursing and are more comfortable with it. As long as they don’t go to ‘Shiver me timbers!’ or something else equally inappropriate, I’m cool. So far what they’ve asked for in dialogue changes have been beneficial to the story and totally okay. Same with action; we’re trying different things out, some of which are working really well. I want the group to own this script, to make it part of them, and I see that happening. By allowing a little leeway in small things, they all feel a part of the process. Making sure I point out all the things they’re doing that I think are great. The little movements and actions that are beginning to pull the story together out of the air. Again, heard a lot of laughter from everyone. We’re having fun and enjoying this.

lol! And I got in the last laugh. The second scene we ran thru was in the middle of the night, and the two brothers are downstairs with the radio on. I hear them, get up, come downstairs to investigate and drag my husband back to bed. So I’m tired. The director said: yawn during this scene. I was tired last night, so my yawns were real. Very real. So real the brothers had problems not yawning in response. The director was yawning; we were all yawning. We found it’ll be a challenge for the brothers to not react to my yawning. Didn’t quite expect that!

Doing my best to concentrate only on today. I know I’ve a dentist appointment at the end of the week; I’m ignoring it as best as possible. My dentist has decided I must get my old fillings replaced. He feels the age and condition of the fillings may have caused my cracked tooth last year. Okay. Not thrilled, but okay. He hasn’t hurt me yet.

Must get down to recordings. MUST. Must look at my homework. Must get to the library to find the next book from Thea Beckman. Must get to the gym and move my arse. Must make more rehearsals and appointments, blog on the theatre website and update the production page with the cast list.

That’s a lot of musts.

So, just today. Get a refill on my meds. Take a walk at the gym. Get crackin’ on some other things but don’t try to get it all done today.

From slug to full time worker in a very short period of time.

*sigh* Now all I gotta do is get paid

 

 

When you’re 52

Can you make rehearsal at 16:30? Pls respond.

Three messages. All came in after I’d signed off my computer for the night. Ach! These night owls, sending things out at 8 in the evening and expecting an answer. I be off by then, unless something was scheduled in earlier.

Fast responses this morning: yes, I can be there. Sounds good. See you then. Yes, I’m bringing the flyers.

My day hasn’t even begun and I’m already tired.

Dug out my Dutch homework. Did it the evening after I got it, two weeks ago. Don’t remember one thing about it now. Will try to quickly scan thru it before I go. I hate being unprepared. Plan on leaving class a bit early. Usually our last half hour is on the spot quizzing or something a bit relaxed. I’ll head out then, get home a bit early, swap my stuff for what I need tonight, eat something and brush my teeth and hopefully have enough time to roll and fire up before I head back out.

My bro pitched in with housework yesterday. Helped with dishes, then took it upon himself to scrub out the toilet. Wow! That meant I had time to scrub out my make-up brushes, all of which needed it after my night of zombie horror. Three loads of laundry. Shower. Rest.

Feel a bit recouped. Would like another day off, but that’s just not possible. And damn! Weather is grey and wet, temps hovering near freezing. Will start to take out some boosted ACE drink during my outings. Just good to keep tanked up on those vits.

My head cracked open and I began typing yesterday. It was…productive. No narratives came pouring out. No; nothing that simple. What came out was (take a deep breath with me) legalese. I’ve known I need something between myself and the theatre group. After this long in the entertainment industry I take those warnings to cover your ass very seriously. It’s American legalese; that’s the variety I learned when working for an attorney while going to school. Basically it says the group owes me no royalties for 2019 performances but if they make money on the production they promise to hold a Board meeting and consider giving me some sort of payment. I’ll pay my bro out of any money they give me. Most importantly, it states that any vids we post to YouTube will be owned by all three of us. My story, my bro’s sound, and the group’s acting. Pretty straight forward, and I gave them a bit more than myself. Don’t actually expect to make anything, but it’s totally stupid to set out and not have this straight just in case. Also fleshed out a video release form for the performances. I want to capture audience reactions, and this will allow us to legally use their statements on the internet.

I know; way over the top. They’ve never done any of this before. If you’ve gone to a performance, your picture probably got posted on FB without any consent other than a verbal ‘okay’ on the night. Thinking ahead, tho. Wrote it so that both I and my bro also have the ability to use the clips to promote ourselves.

Giving thought to final promotion. They always seem to get some A4 posters printed up, but I’ll be damned if I know where they go. No one will allow you to put those things up in their windows. Once they allow one, they’ve got to allow everything and there’s just too much in the city. I’ve grabbed a few for my personal records, put one up at the library (which was promptly covered up by other flyers). So I don’t know why we’d spend the money on them. What I’d like to see this time is a movie poster design. Get 4 or 5 printed up rather than 50 A4s, and use them at our venues. Put up these very nice posters. Something eye catching, that melds the two graphics I’m using. See if the venues will post the posters a few weeks before our performance. Line the hall with them; make it look a bit like a thing. We have to do things differently.

Next flyer drop will be in January. The holidays…*sigh* This is what really shoots us in the foot. The break from the holidays. Everything will go to Santa and Christmas trees and presents; no one will be thinking murder and mayhem. I’ll have to let it go, just have interviews and updates in the newsletter. Let it die out naturally, then hit the city in the 2nd or 3rd week of January with the next flyer: one that points to the then-finished teaser trailer. Final drop will be within 2 weeks of performances, in the neighborhood of the venues. Yep. Door to door, dropping in mailboxes. I’m that determined.

In between all this, I have to be an actor, too. Felt last rehearsal that I was the one least in my role. That’s allowable right now, at the beginning. Not in two weeks. By then, I have to be focused on learning my lines and hitting my marks.

Gotta start recording in the roughs needed for Act 1 this week. Anything. Something. Just say the bloody line and cut it. We need them for rehearsals.

Have found zero pix of my zombie look on line. My ego is slightly put off, but I have to admit it wasn’t my best work. And I wasn’t there to get photographed; I was there to flyer. I did my job.

Will get my hands on the camera tonight, with fast instructions on how to operate it. Still no responses on my help request on line. Apparently our FB page has been receiving interested responses, and I sure hope we’ll open up rehearsals and begin our search soon. The sooner the better. Anything anyone can take off my back will be appreciated. Please. Help.

I mean…I ain’t 40 any more, guys.

And how high do you think you’ll be able to jump when you’re 52?

Get me to the finish line

Twenty-four hours can bring a lot of change.

At the moment, I’m planning on going out Saturday night, downtown to an event and a couple of clubs. I’m sitting on a now totally locked phone because I forgot the pattern to open mine up and now it’s fucked. I have a brand new phone (new to me anyway; thanks L) to figure out. And I’m buoyed up after the first theatre meeting, seeing my work come to life because people brought it. No half felt scenes; uh-uh. Total on point emotion.

Saturday is the annual Rotterdam Zombie Walk and Halloween party. Picture the wound I featured in ‘Sick’ on my face; I’m going all out gruesome and expect my bro won’t be able to look at me while I get ready. It’s gonna be cold and wet, and I’m still planning on going. I’ll have several hundred like minded people in one block of the city, all partying and ready for something fun.

Needless to say, the QR code worked perfectly. I’ve gotta get the print-ups and cutting done. Planning on passing off a few hundred to a theatre member who lives in Den Haag. She’s going to a punk event up there; another perfect place for a drop.

No one else is holding up their hand willing to help. Not surprised; this is how it goes every year. This is why the group generally has an audience of about 35. They just don’t do it. As I expected, it’s down to me.

The phone situation is good and bad. Good that I now have a used model that’s way above the old phone’s capabilities. Once I get a SIM card in it, I can hook it up to WhatsApp with everyone else. But my old one now won’t let me even try a new sign in pattern. It’s demanded a google sign-up, which I never set up on that phone or if I did I forgot it long, long ago. Will take it in somewhere, see if anything can be done. Right now I’m just planning on getting my new phone up and running with a new phone number and change all my vital info. Sounds easier.

The first meeting was last night. I was strung out, and both looked and felt it. We took over an unused classroom at the University and the director used the equipment in the room to pull up the MA’s I’d written. The actors read them, and said it was pretty much what they’d figured. Yes! The first act, at least, has people who can read between the lines. I didn’t give them much new info. But then, I wrote the MA’s for the people in act 3. I only continued writing the MA’s because I didn’t want the act 3 people to feel like I was singling them out. Got to sit by and watch the other two actors go through a scene I wasn’t in. Some dialogue got moved and swapped, and I’ve a bit of tinkering to do on a few lines before next time. Really thrilled by what I was shown. The actors didn’t hold back, and there were moments I was punching the air because my story was being so perfectly portrayed. Everyone was willing to try a few things out and I was totally open to suggestions about slight changes. It felt great. Totally spaced over remembering my old camera, tho.

Today: dentist appointment. Should be neither long nor stressful; it’s a check up with the doc. The appointment is smack in the middle of my day though, so I’m kinda hanging off either end, unsure of what to do in my allotted time…

Beginning to think ahead on the newsletter. Technically the first issue came out late. So I’ve swing time right now: pick up the pace to my original release schedule, or hold back and stay on my now established release schedule. Not sure which to do. Not sure which would be more beneficial to the group in the long run. Cutting through all the mess in my head and reminding myself I can just pop out ‘special editions’ before any performance dates.

*sigh* Really wish I had one more person on my team. Just one, to help take some pressure off me…

Best I can do is work ahead, knowing what’s coming. Design up a couple of other flyers, using new QR codes and graphics. Prep up the winter issue of the newsletter for whenever I release it. Prep up special editions for just prior to performance dates. Need to design and practice my zombie make-up on Friday so I’m ready for Saturday. Get those print ups; that means heading downtown to the printer. Get that new SIM card and make sure the doc and the pharmacy and everybody else important has the new number.

And then, there’s always the usual: dishes, garbage, recycling, cleaning.

Beginning to feel a bit spread thin. There’s so much to do. So much I’m a bit afraid of doing. Heading out Saturday is intimidating. The only reason I know I can do it is that I’ll be in zombie make-up. My age and the puffy bags I have under my eyes won’t be an issue. I’m reluctant to admit I locked up my phone by forgetting the pattern. And I’m not enthused over the idea of going into a phone shop and getting bombarded by too much Dutch. Same with the printer: time away from everything else, a bit of sweating with the language. Doable, just…slightly unpleasant.

Still not back to the gym.

Reminding myself that although all this got dumped on me in short order, I don’t have to do it all in the next 24 hours. Thankfully. That’s not enough time. But I’m being asked to be out there. Put myself out there. That’s tough on me in every sense of the word.

… Just get me to the finish line.

Now they know

…And now, they know.

Kept forgetting only two of the actors chosen for the production were at the original read through. Found that amusing – the questions about the plot, or how each of them died. Last night we had our full read-through.

Heard a couple of comments about how long the script is. Marked those people out in my head; they’re not people who’ve done this often. It’s a 90 page script, not ‘long’ at all – at least, not for a full length production. Had a laugh at myself; did not realize when I was writing how often I used my character, Elizabeth, to begin a scene. But, there it was: me talking the play into action scene after scene. That makes sense to me now. Elizabeth is the character that sets the entire play into motion. It’s her request to her therapist that begins the first act. She drives the doubt in the second act, refusing to believe her husband and brother-in-law are changed. And in the third act, even tho my character is dead, the audience hears statements relating back to Act 1 and the audio clips I’ll use will come from Act 1, so there should be a nice “echo” of Elizabeth in there.

The director’s girlfriend was a bit of a limp fish. Not thrilled by her lack of interest, her low level energy delivery, or her tinkering away on her phone while others read their parts. But I trust that she’ll bring it at the appropriate time. Even if she has a stick in her craw over doing my play, or how easy the exchange is between her boyfriend and me, her ego will push her to do well on stage. Especially after what I did last night.

Read throughs aren’t meant to be big acting situations. It’s a get thru it, so everyone knows the story. Read all your lines for the first time. But let’s face it: I’m the creator. I’m more than ready to bring any of these characters to life at a snap. So, honestly…I didn’t think about it. I just brought it out.

Even tho my eyes were down, looking at the script, I saw the group jump and react. She isn’t faking it; this is real! Almost, people, almost. I was at 85%. I’ll save 100% for intense rehearsal nights and performances. 🙂 And considering I start the action so often, the other actors will need to match my performance to make it work. So, no. I don’t worry about the director’s girlfriend, or the government agent who stumbled over a few words. Eighty-five percent is pretty easy to pull up (even on medication), so they’ll get that rehearsal after rehearsal. And they’ll find a way to match me.

Thrilled at how thrilled everyone was over the story. The glowing eyes, the gleeful smiles! I get smothered to death! I get shot multiple times! I get stabbed! It’s gratifying to me as the author.

Test of the meds: home after an activity that would normally send me tossing and turning for hours. I did stay up later than usual, and I did toss and turn a few times. Then I told myself to stop thinking about it, and slept. Pretty good. My reaction post performance is going to be even stronger, but this definitely helps. A lot. Wonder if Dr. T would allow me to take two pills post performance. Really knock me out. But not as a regular thing. Hm. Better ask him about it.

Happy news. My teachers said they’d be willing to continue our language lessons over summer. It’s not mandatory, and it’s not part of the usual class time. They’ll really do it on a totally volunteer basis – if enough of us will attend. I, of course, said yes. Continuing with the two of them over summer would be ideal. It would give me continued instruction and use, and I know I’ll just learn more if there’s fewer students because I’ll get extra attention. Three students said yes, so we’ll talk about an agenda next week.

And…I think the medication is helping me with Dutch. It’s improving. I’m slowing down and thinking about my sentences and grammar before I speak. I’m catching more and more. Still have to actively listen, which is difficult, but overall I’m pleased. Very pleased. Had to yet again reiterate that no, I am NOT moving on to a higher level. Not until I stop making so many rookie mistakes. My goal is to write in Dutch. And for that, I need a higher percentage of perfection. My teacher pointed out I might get bored because of the newer students coming in. She’s right there; we picked up a new student three weeks ago and she’s barely literate. She can converse it Dutch, but her reading is like nails on a chalkboard. However awful it is for me, I can only imagine what my teachers, native Dutch speakers, feel like. I understand, tho, that this new student has to be given the chance to drag her way thru simple sentences. It’s the only way she’ll learn.

But my status has definitely changed. From one of the crowd who might have been a bit behind everyone else when I began, I’ve become the swot. The student who gets everyone looking at her answers because they all know she’s right (most of the time). The student who sits back, allows everyone else a chance, then exchanges a secret look between herself and the teachers who give her the nod, and out she comes with the correct answer (again, most of the time). More than ever, I’m that go-between. Now that I feel a bit more confident in myself, I can handle that role.

So I’ve been ‘outed’. As creator, actor, and swot. No more hiding, no more denying.

Now they know.

Pop the cork

Pop the cork, and watch it flow.

Not exactly sure what cork I popped yesterday, but it was defo a blockage. After signing out here I began writing in earnest. No outline, no format, no idea what it wants to become, just pure writing. I’ve had flashes of this…er, let’s call it a story for now, for years. But it sat there without substance in my brain. Great set up; now what happens? Still don’t know. But I’m allowing myself to get it out. The thought occurs that there is no story here – not really. No action to speak of, no thread of continuity other than my consciousness. It’s more like these blog posts than anything else.

Whatever. Let it go, see what happens.

Day one on the new med: very relaxed. The conundrum of to do or not do the housework or my exercising seemed small and petty. Enough work will get done around the house to prevent it from becoming a total pig sty, and same goes with my exercising – I won’t allow myself to get too lazy or out of shape. Did the big stuff: dishes, laundry, garbage and recycling. But I let the rest go. Too zen, and far too enjoyable to fall into writing mode – which, sadly, was interrupted about half an hour after it began by my brother returning from the comic shop. Didn’t get upset about it. I know just to shut down. He needs to talk, get out whatever it is that he needs to get out. I don’t really need to reply, just grunt at appropriate times – but if he tells me something he considers important and I don’t remember it because I wasn’t paying attention in the first place – well, then… Hell to pay, a toll which is totally avoidable if I just listen to him. But once he’s broken my train of thought, that’s it. Difficult to return to it. My train of thought is pure and unbroken, and once I’m there I can’t have additional input from anywhere. Just leave me alone and let me get it out. Even saying ‘hello’ to me can throw me. A greeting? What made that happen? What flows from it? …No, just leave me be. *sigh* But, naturally, he didn’t know I’d fallen into that state, nor that he was interrupting me. By the time I could have said something, he’d already spun my head out into a thousand different directions. Too late to pick up the pieces. Allow the interruption to happen, get past it, calm my spirit once again.

I hope to get back to it today.

Dutch, and Dutch homework: can’t be asked. Two weeks left, and I hardly think my teachers would love me for handing in a four page piece of homework they’ll need to spend hours correcting. I know I wouldn’t appreciate it. So I’ll hang onto the homework, and prep it up for my first class after vacation. I should be able to get to it in six weeks. Maybe. I’ll try to be disciplined enough to do it, I swear. My intentions are good on this (and yes, I know, that old saying is enough to imagine me merrily skipping my way down the path to hell, but I really will try).

The read through for the script is called for tomorrow, Monday. Didn’t even have to harp at the director about it! Would like to get a new print up of the entire play. My copy is marked up with red pen: change this or that. Get a good final print for myself. Take a shower so I’m somewhat clean when I go to the meeting. Buy a packet of cigarettes for the director to make up for all the ciggies I’ve bummed from him during breaks. Maybe even pick up a pack of cookies to share out during the reading. That always goes over well.

Think I’ll go back to some make-up today. Took another look at the series of ‘gaunt and exhausted’ make-up I did, and I’m not sure I like the final results. Difficult to say when I’m doing it in my home, under natural light. Stage lighting will change everything I see. I guess I’m pleased I at least have enough experience to know that. I know the make-up needs to be heavier than normal lighting because it won’t show up on stage otherwise. But I feel like my first attempts on the look were too greyed out, too zombie-like. I need to try again and stick to the browns for shading.

Looking forward to July. I’ll spend a few euro on getting some supplies I need and begin running the blood effects tests. And no, at this point I really don’t give a damn if we end up using the effects or not. I’m having way too much fun trying it out to care about that! Will also be buying a packet of make-up sponges. Want to try an idea I have for my wounds, sort of an in-between of the tissue and make-up version I saw and the latex buy it from the shop version. Tee, hee, hee! You have no idea how giggly and exciting I find all this.

…Dr. T said my new med would eventually stabilize me. Get me off my obsessive train and onto a ‘normal’ track. I feel it. It is so easy to say ‘no’ and not be bothered by it. To let it all go. To say ‘okay, you’ve thought enough about that’ and really be done with it. Geez! Is this normal? Really? This is what all you people have been talking about when you told me to ‘just stop thinking about it’? No fucking wonder you could be so complacent about it, so amazed at my inability to stop worrying. Holy Hell! It’s easy on this new med. Like a switch turned on or off.

Or an old cork that finally popped.

Bipolar II

We said we’d treat this as we go. And this isn’t a new thing in your life; it’s been going on a long time. (I nodded.) But it’s going to mean extra medication…

I’d calmed down dramatically by 13:45. If Dr. T had seen me at 11 am, pacing the house, wide-eyed, and talking a mile a minute to myself, he might have prescribed a higher dosage. I’m glad he didn’t.

Quetiapine tablets. Very low dosage of 50mg. Dr. T told me that’s nothing on paper, and most people start at 150mg, but he’s seen some good results from very small doses and considering all the meds I’m on for my RA he wanted to start me out small. I’m on board with that. This increases risks on my kidneys, and means even more blood tests. Maybe they should just insert a shunt into my arm; it would save me scar tissue.

But I was honest. And glad he understood me: I’ve nine months to go on this production and if I keep on obsessing like I’ve been doing this past week I’ll be in hospital in four months.

These are time-released pills, so I have to take them at the same time every day. Dr. T said to take them at night because they might make me drowsy. Decided to move my schedule around a bit so I can take them at 11pm. I’ll be off stage at that point, no matter when the play begins. It means staying up a bit later from now on, whether or not I’m on stage, but only by half an hour. Picking the pills up today.

More determined than ever to get my ass back onto my routine. You don’t have to remind me that regular exercise will help me maintain balance; I know. And I know I’ve been lax on myself. Now that I’ve a wee bit of help to break my obsessing, I’ll be right back on it.

I want the 50mg to work for me.

Here it is Friday and I still haven’t made a start on those homework letters I’m supposed to write. Guess with only two weeks of classes left I’m not that worried about it. Wish I was a bit more concerned about it. Wish I had that impetus to push myself with Dutch. It’ll be harder than ever to maintain over the summer. Oh, there’s always my Dutch films and every advert on tv is in Dutch, but it isn’t the same as talking to someone. I recall I made a vow to find a language cafe to go to every week. Where’s that resolve? Easily answered: out the window, bloody and bruised. That’s where it is.

Haven’t done my weekly house cleaning for a while, and the place shows it. Well, good test for the new pills: slow me down enough to do it. A little toilet scrubbing should remove any last stains of delusions of grandeur. I always say, you can’t be a king or queen while scrubbing out a toilet, and that’s true. It just brings you down to that base level: cleaning up shit. There’s no way to feel grandiose while doing that. No. bleeding. way.

Blood, bleeding, bruised…my language reflects my obsession even when I’m trying to not talk about it.

So talk about it.

Roughed in a playbill. Half-sheet, black & white, just like I said. It looks good to me. The joke I’m telling everyone is the little game I played with director, teasing him with my made-up bruises. It’s going over well, and people are showing an interest both because of what I’m talking about and my sense of humor. Will probably need to ask the director about read-thru dates. As usual, he was on top of it enough to create a Doodle sign-up page, but he hasn’t declared this or that date to be the one. Or maybe he has on Snapchat; that’s the app all the Dutch are using – except me, of course. My phone can’t handle it. [You want Snapchat?! You can’t handle Snapchat! (Sorry, I just had to do that.)] Anyhoo. Will need to follow up with that.

My obsession has not translated into going thru production notes. Yet. I’ve created this mountain of uphill crap in my mind: Oh, Gods! What a drag! It’ll take so long and be so fucking boring! Well, it will take some time and it won’t be the most enjoyable thing to do, that’s true. But it won’t take as long as my head now thinks it will. I feel like my mother, telling myself that. A truism the younger version of me just stubbornly refuses to believe, even tho she has a sense of precisely how true it is. Gods, I’m an obstinate cuss.

Have researched creating fake wounds. Saw a couple of great vids using only paper tissue, glue, and make-up. Still would like to visit the theatrical supply shop here in Rotterdam, but I’m also thinking on creating my own look. A lot will depend on the shop’s pre-made wounds. The on-line tissue and make-up wounds looked a lot better in the vids that the pic the shop showed me of their fake stuff. My problem is that creating my own wounds means I have to do it before the show starts and have them under my clothing the entire time. So I plan the full gambit: create the look, then wrap it up under gauze and wear it around the house for the day. Pull the gauze off in the evening and see if it survived. I’ll only have 5-8 minutes to do it all: bruising, wardrobe change into pre-torn clothes, blood. So it’s got to be quick and easy.

…As for finally being able to put ‘bipolar’ back into my tags because it’s on a sheet of paper… Well, I’m not surprised. Nor shocked. Nor much of anything, other than grateful to Dr. T for listening to me and for making it easy to be honest with him.

I’ve always known what I am.

€8.15

Does it look bad? Painful? Did you suck in your breath and say ‘Oh my God!’ when you saw it?

Good. That’s make-up test number one, face bruising. Completed in less than 5 minutes, using a grand total of €8.15 worth of make-up. I’ll flesh this look out with a cut lip and blood dripping from a head wound.

Today I work on the exhaustion progression for Act 3. I need 3 or 4 (have to count them) looks that get progressively more tired and drawn. Doing the effects, snapping pix, taking notes on what I’m using. Already know I won’t have time to do everyone’s make-up back-stage, so I’m planning on a ‘how to’ meeting with the actors. Have a difficult time believing others don’t know how to do this, but…maybe they’re not as ghoulish as I am. I’ve been doing horror make-up since I began playing with make-up.

Oh, it’s fun! Much more fun that doing make-up the normal way!

Spent hours yesterday typing away, making notes. Have my agenda over the next 9 months roughed in, with marketing release dates already set in stone. Went thru my teaser trailer vid idea and picked dialogue from each act I need to record. Will pull more than necessary so I have room to play with length, etc. Thought about my interviews with cast and crew, getting the local tv station interested in doing a piece on us, sketched out a teaser flyer to release a month before the performance.

And blood, blood, blood. When I have a few euro (which may not be ’til next month, considering I spent my last €8.15 on make-up), I’ll buy red food coloring and chocolate sauce to practice squibs and blood capsules.

My bro has already warned me to run this past the director; I’m overstepping my bounds a bit. But…I’ve not been idle these past two years. I’ve been analyzing the group, noting their strengths and weaknesses. I’ve known from the start that doing this production meant more than just being an actor or writer. I have to step in on make-up, fight scene choreography, special effects, props, and sound.

*sigh* And I see it in their eyes. That slightly glazed look I get at first, then realization that no, I’m not asking them to do anything they don’t want to do and I’ve already planned out this or that. Then they’re all on board. I don’t really know if it’s sheer laziness or admiration for my ideas (or both). But I’m glad I’m given the chance to do it all.

Managed to get up and move a bit, walking around the neighborhood. Have not returned to my gym yet, and I’m really beginning to feel guilty (and fat). Better for me to work on this obsession, let it run out of me. I’d only exercise half-assed anyway, not really into it. If I do all the make-up tests I want to do, I can let it go. Besides, I’m really enjoying playing with all the shading and colors.

Two weeks left of language class. My head just isn’t there, and I’m not the only one. We’re doing the usual: dictation, reading, questions. But I told my teacher about my excitement over the production, and the blood effects I’ll be working on. She laughed in that easy way she has, and it was clear to me she heard me say ‘My focus isn’t on the language right now’. Bless her for understanding my hidden text.

Have an appointment with Dr. T on Thursday. Beginning to feel like my appointments with him are redundant. I’m doing well, nothing really to say. I’m not crying, not upset, and focused on the production. All positives. Might be straying a bit into the obsessive side of things, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s keeping me occupied and thinking. Most of all, it’s keeping me positive. Buoyed up by hope and anticipation. Working hard to keep active and take care of myself at the same time. Being kinder to myself. Even liking myself a bit these days.

Managed to keep a lid on my ideas. An additional teaser vid idea came to me: a 3 minute short film related to the play yet not included in the play. It would be killer to do, AND it would offer someone a chance to act a bit even if they’re not in the production. Worried about overloading myself, tho. But I might run it past the director. After filling in my schedule, I realize I could do this over summer. Won’t take long to write, direct, or shoot. And I don’t plan on a lot of edits. Ach! Listen to me. Still arguing with myself.

The sun is shining and my day is ‘free’. Have to use quotes there; plenty for me to do that’s needed but none of it is necessary to do today, so, guess what? It ain’t gettin’ done.

Instead, I’ll be bruising my face. Shading in the dark circles under my eyes, making my cheeks and nose look gaunt and unhealthy. Creating almost every make-up look I want.

All for €8.15.

Theatre people

Theatre people.

Had an email yesterday asking if I wanted to attend an English speaking play downtown. Our theatre group had discounted tickets, and a group was going. Sure! I said last minute, worrying about the discounted price. Managed to get money on my OV chipcard, borrowed a tenner from my bro, tidied up, and headed out.

More than anything, I felt I was appeasing the Gods of Theatre. I’m a big believer in karma: if I want people at my play, I have to support others in their efforts. Plus, it was a kick to be asked and included in the group. All of that was proper and good. The production was at a theatre we use every year, and it wasn’t that full. We were noticed, thanked for coming, and talked to as fellow theatre performers.

But Goddess! I had to sit through a show that was the reason most people don’t like going to the theatre. Two monologues, back to back. Zero action. It was two hours of someone sitting in a chair on an otherwise empty bloody stage, jabbering away. How fucking pretentious can we be? The acting was good – that I can’t fault. I can rip the writing apart, tho.

Typically British writing (white, white, white). Obviously 30 to 40 years old (bigotry, racism, and such stereotypical and old set-ups I had problems staying awake). And it’s a well known author and play. Afterwards, I had to hear the gushing praise of various people: Oh, the author! His words are so fantastic! or The deeper psychological impact of the statements were in direct opposition to the characters. They might as well have said something like ‘The synergy of empty space and lack of action perfectly mirrored the desolation and depression the author wanted to portray’. Utter bullshit. I call it lazy writing. Can’t think of anything new? Well, try one of the stereotypes. The gay man who still lives with his mother and can’t quite admit he’s gay. The vicar’s wife who’s sex starved and begins drinking and having an affair on the side. Ho, hum!

I just sat there, pleased with myself, imagining the action I’ve written. The actual story – something that seems totally lacking in many “professional plays”.

Tried out calling my stuff horror. We were asked, as a group, what we’ll be performing next. Everyone looked at me, smiling. Actually, we’re doing one of her scripts this year. So I put it out there: it’s a horror trilogy. Found some interest, some back stepping, and a lot of ‘oh, gee, isn’t it sweet that they’re willing to do your little writing attempt’ attitude from the actors. I smiled, and didn’t feel bad at all. Just kept thinking You have no idea what you’re in for with my script. Hopefully one or two from last night’s audience will attend our performance. But I realized very quickly: this is NOT my crowd.

Avid theatre goers… They’re a different breed. They like sitting in dark room watching people sitting in chair talking, no action, for two hours. They consider it cerebral and entertaining. Some may even view my script as stupid simply because it has action and a clear story-line.

But I realized long ago I don’t write for the typical audience. My poetry has long been heralded as the poetry enjoyed by people who don’t like poetry. I’ve been stopped innumerable times after performing, grabbed by someone in the audience who says, “I’ve never seen anything like that before! I hate poetry, to be honest, but so-and-so dragged me here. But you! What you do is incredible!” I expect a similar response with the play. I’ve never seen a play like this before! No. No, you haven’t.

Spending long hours looking at creating my own blood effects. Simple and cheap methods. Will be experimenting with water filled sacks over the summer, trying to perfect it. Found a theatrical supply store here in Rotterdam; planning a trip to their warehouse just to check everything out.

Also thinking hard on marketing. I saw the audience last night, and this was a visit from a professional acting group. Didn’t even sell 60 seats. Part of that I blame on the theatre. They’ll announce upcoming productions on their website, but if you don’t know about the theatre you can’t find the info. The location of the place is off an alley-way, so you can’t even count on curious foot traffic.

I have to find a way to get the word out. The real word: You want to see this. This is NOT like your typical play. This is a performance for people who hate theatre.

Rotterdam is a hard nut to crack. Millions of people live here, and a professional theatre group can’t attract 60 people to a Saturday night performance.

…Need to switch gears. Been off with my late nights out, and I haven’t begun writing the letters I need to do for homework. Will try to put a few hours in on it today and get one done. Ugh.

Battling a nasty cough. Still. It gets better, then it gets worse. Total allergy thing; I can feel the drainage down my throat. Having to take cough medicine and allergy pills. Need to assure anyone who hears me cough that no, I’m not dying, it’s just allergies. Bloody annoying, especially since I have to really monitor it and treat it like I’m sick because if I DON’T I will, 100% certainly, get sick.

*sigh* And once again, like with my poetry, I feel I’m stepping into a world I’m not quite ready for. I am a theatre person, an actor, one of the willing. I am not a pretentious prat (a prat, yes, but not pretentious). But here I am, mingling with those who want to delve into the deeper ramifications of a 45 minute monologue about someone’s mommy. So I’ll say it once, and be done with it.

Bah! Theatre people!