Tag Archives: Acting

Acting: To Be Me or Not to Be Me? That Is the Question

Yesterday, I came across a quote by Indie Wire writer David Ehrlich in his review of this year’s leading Oscar nominees. He said:

“Great acting isn’t about becoming someone else so much as it’s about becoming who you really are.” 

The sentiment hit me hard, because I’ve been analyzing my character work in film and theatre, trying to find what most challenges me as well as put into words why I feel so entranced by becoming another character.

I’ve written about theatre’s role in my anxiety management, how taking on a role forces me to set aside my fears and worries and more or less literally be in someone else’s shoes for a moment.

But what if instead of closing a door on my present self, acting opens up that door? What if acting lets me see who I am beneath my anxiety, lets me tap into my deep emotions, helps me gain further perspective?

The most challenging theatrical role I’ve had to date was playing Lt. Cdr. JoAnne Galloway in “A Few Good Men.” My friend John played the enemy, Colonel Jessup, for which he delivered a stand-up performance. About a year ago, John and I were reminiscing about the show and what makes a good actor. We both agreed that strong actors don’t just act, they react.

John and I also talked about how both of us are incredibly empathetic people–to the point that my empathy can be debilitating–and that this innate trait allows us to take to the stage and transform for a few hours into real or fictional characters. We can act out their life experiences because we are actually feeling them.

Fusing this idea of empathy with Ehrlich’s quote, maybe I love acting so much because, like writing, it’s a way for me to create and express, no holds barred. It’s a way for me to feel and learn about others…and about myself. It’s a way for me to be me.

What do you think makes a good actor? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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This Is My Greatest Accomplishment, and It Might Be Yours, Too

Earlier in the week, I came across a list of questions on the Internet intended to engage two people in meaningful conversation. The questions are deep, thought-provoking, probing, and personal.

I tried to think of my answers as I went through the list, but one stuck out at me:

“What is your greatest accomplishment?”

I’ve been reflecting a great deal on my most recent accomplishment–becoming a published author. My initial thought was to answer with that.

But then I thought of all the solo female travel I’ve done. Maybe independent travel is my biggest accomplishment.

Yet I couldn’t choose between the two.

So I dug deeper.

I remembered the many hardships I went through to write my book, many of which are outlined in its preface. And then I remembered how I fought through a knot in my stomach each time I set off on a solo excursion abroad.

And then I remembered what it was like to go to my first professional acting audition, to send in my first freelance writing query, to get my first official rejection. But beyond that, I remembered pushing through the rejections, time and again, to follow my passions, my dreams.

In all of my accomplishments, I’ve never been fearless. But I have stared fear in the face and persevered. Courageous people aren’t fearless people; they are the ones who are scared to death but go head to head against their fears anyway.

My greatest accomplishment? It’s believing in myself.

On the days when writing a 254-page book seemed a daunting task, I never doubted that I could and would do it. All the times that I hugged my backpack to my chest on sketchy bus rides, homesickness creeping in, I still trusted in my instincts and personable nature to embrace the culture I was about to immerse myself in.

Every rejection I received after an audition or writing submission was a challenge to press on.

Believing that I can do whatever I set my mind to is, hands down, my greatest accomplishment.

Think really hard about what you consider your greatest accomplishment to be. If you find that you can’t decide between two, reflect on the journey that led you toward each of these.

I’ll bet you’ll find that believing in yourself is your biggest accomplishment, too.

I Don’t Want to Live Forever, But I Want to Leave Behind Something That Does

An ex-boyfriend once asked me what I want to get out of life. My reply came so quickly you’d think I’d been mulling over the perfect response for a week.

But in truth, I think I’ve just always lived my life this way. I’m pretty sure the response was actually hard-wired into my developing brain before I even came out of the womb.

I told him:

“I want to be happy… I want to have beautiful, true relationships with people… And I don’t want to live forever, but I want to leave behind something that does.”

Some people will mention success, but I believe happiness precedes success, and that success is subjective.

Many people will rattle off a long list of milestones and accomplishments.

I could have said I want to see the world, to have grand adventures, to tell my story and learn the stories of others. I could have said I want to write and act and save animals and get married and raise children. But those are all just forks on a path leading to the same destination.

I could have said I want to change the world.

Because I did, I do. And in my own way, I believe I am.

At the heart of it all, I want to be remembered when I leave this earth. Not by name, not by face, but by what I do with my passions.

I want to be significant.

I want my life to have significance.

I want to create significance.

As both an artist and a scientist, I am making my mark on the world.

Humans are often depicted as either left-brained or right-brained, but I constantly find myself smack dab in the middle. I am equally as analytical as I am creative. I used to think it was such a strange combination, opposing forces rolling around my synapses.

But I can’t think of any two fields of study that are more actively engaged, that are more actively leaving something behind on this planet.

Scientists are working so that future generations can exist. Centuries ago, they made discoveries that we are still appreciating today.

Artists are writing stories, shooting films, choreographing dances, playing music, painting pictures, taking photos. Millenia after it was created, we are still appreciating art.

I want my great-great-great-great grandchildren to spot sea turtles in the ocean because I helped save them from extinction. I want my children’s children’s children to know empathy because they felt it in the movies I made.

I want the future generations to chase their dreams because I wrote about chasing mine.

 

Not a Method Actor…

I’m going unplugged for a week. I might have service where I’m going, but I might not. I won’t be looking at my phone. I won’t be bringing my computer.

I’m going to dive into the life of Alice Godwin, a woman who is haunted, lost and searching for answers and closure from the past. A poet whose ups and downs are controlled by stimulants and depressants. A role for which I googled “how to take shots” and watched videos titled things like “adults drunk for the first time,” then rehearsed in a mirror with a shot glass full of water that I somehow happened to have and nearly threw my neck out over-exaggerating my portrayal of the art of drinking tequila. A character who is in some ways like me but, clearly, unlike me in so many others.

I am going to tell Alice’s story, along with the story of three other female writers and the unsolved murder of the family that came before them. Beware “The Unspoken”—it’s as haunting as it is empowering.

My Feature Film Premiere

On Jan. 22, I will be sitting in the audience of my first ever feature film premiere. And let me tell you, it’s giving me all the feels.
 
In the psychological thriller “The Trees Have Names,” I play Dr. Barbara Riley, head doctor at an insane asylum. And guess what? You can watch me play a doctor in one of 2 ways: in the theatre or streaming online.
 
So listen up, friends in Florida, Ohio, Denmark, Jamaica, Bahamas and Australia–you’ve got no excuse. Follow this link to purchase the $10 premiere tickets.
 
Throughout the filming process, I explored new parts of the beautiful state of Washington, learned drastic differences between film and stage acting, and networked with colleagues who have become friends.
 
This is what working for an independent film company means to me. With Blue Forge Productions, I’m a member of a growing artistic family. BFP was founded by backyard dreamers who encourage all of us backyard dreamers to achieve greatness. They don’t set standards with a high budget; they set standards with a heart of gold.
 
The first five weeks of the year, I’m working on five–yes that’s right FIVE–film projects with Blue Forge Productions. So be on the lookout for BIG announcements coming at you over the next few weeks.
 
As always, thank you for supporting my dreams. Now, go follow yours!

The Broccoli Apocalypse

Yes, that’s right. I co-wrote a play called “The Broccoli Apocalypse.” And co-directed. And I’ll be co-starring in it, too!

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This short futuristic comedy celebrates Fringe Month (experimental theatre!). It’s part of The Libertinis’ Matchmaker Showcase which paired together strangers to create a mini masterpiece in 4 weeks.

“The Broccoli Apocalypse” was the result of brainstorming with my partner-turned-friend. It follows the human connection between bohemian graphic designer Tula (me!) and corporate guru Joan (Sunny Monroe), who is living the American Dream. The duo interact in the bathroom of the frozen food company they work for during times of a crumbling economy, climate change, global food shortages, and spiraling international trade relations.

And it’s a comedy, you say? Yes, of course. Because Tula has an Etsy store that sells hats for cats, so she might make it out of this thing alive.

If you’re in Seattle, come check it out at the Pocket Theater on Oct. 29 @ 8:30 PM.

Unsteady, A Tribute to Friendships Through Body Poetry

Dear Friends,

The past 12 months have been particularly difficult for me. As the 1-year anniversary nears of Hurricane Joaquin–the catalyst to a year of countless uphill battles–I can’t help reflecting on the strength I’ve found through friendships. I feel like I’ve aged 15 years in this short time, but I would have aged 30 years if it weren’t for those who love me unconditionally.

I wondered how I could express my gratitude to you all. It only seemed fitting that I offer you my creative side, because you all have been so supportive of me following my creative dreams. So on this Labor Day, I present to you my labor of love. This is my love song, my poetry, to you.