Friday, July 12, 2019

Shakespeare and Other Things

I am doing Shakespeare this weekend for the first time in years. There is part of me that's excited and part of me that's nervous. I remember being half decent with the language, but the words were always what got in my way. While I loved Shakespeare I was never a Shakespearian actor if you get my drift.

I started out wanting to be a classical actor of some sort. In high school I even interned for a summer with a classical stage company downtown. When college started I was certain I wanted to be a Shakespearian actor. Sure, I did the ventriloquism, but the classics were going to be my home. I loved history and understood the text. My mother also supported these ambitions as she felt I had a gift with language and Shakespeare. We even toyed with the idea of me studying Shakespeare abroad. I was stoked and sure.

Some of my acting teachers, not so much. One in particular really harshed my mellow. She was actually a smart lady who had done every Shakespeare show there was. Although we didn't get along, I always admired her knowledge. However, she was carrying her own baggage to the teaching experience. A refugee from both a classical stage company that no longer existed and a school which she was an alumni and teacher that closed it's doors, she was bitter and burned out. While I have faith she loved and appreciated the teaching aspect, the administrative part of her job killed her soul, and she seemed miserable and trapped. Older students confirmed my suspicion. She said to me, "April, my class is for classical actors. That's not you."

The summer after I left her class, I became more immersed in comedy and ventriloquism. It seemed these things were going to be my tickets and perhaps she was right, I wasn't a classical actor. If being a classical actor meant being an unpleasant bitch I was good with it.

However, the next term I had another instructor who rocked for lack of a better word. He admittedly only taught acting for the paycheck and retired, spending all of his energy gigging with his rockband. We often joked about the amount of coke he did back in the day, and we all felt bad until he told us how much coke he did back in the day and it was a lot let me tell you. As an assignment I had to do Queen Gertrude. I did it for his class with the broken notion that Shakespeare wasn't for me. However, my teacher disagreed.

He gave me a Sense Memory exercise in which Queen Gertrude was drunk. I killed it. Not only was it a lot of fun,but he told me I had a gift with the language and I did in fact have a future with Shakespeare.

The brief reunion didn't last. While I had the opportunity to study in England, because of some schedule changes it made it difficult. Plus my mom went from being stoked about it to being frightened of terrorists and feared I would die overseas. I was discovering my real strengths were my ventriloquism, comedy, and creating my own original material anyway. Sure, I loved Shakespeare but it didn't seem to be in the cards.

This notion was echoed further after college as a lot of classical theatre requires a lot of long hours, is non-equity and offers no pay. Plus I was passionate about the ventriloquism and comedy, figuring those were my tickets. As time wore on, I wandered farther and farther away from classical let alone legit theatre. It wasn't going to be home and that was okay. I could pull it out of my hat if need be, but it wasn't what was going to bring me to the next level for the time being.

Undergrad saw me discover my ability to write for the stage. While I was discovering my wings as a playwright, jokes were more my thing and that gave way to essays and ultimately a book. I tried adapting my work to screen but was miserable at it. So I gave up, until some life events that you might know about changed everything. These saw me rededicated to craft, getting a master's, and reading all the texts I had neglected since college.

When I studied screenwriting, I wanted to give actors material they loved, as no amount of good acting can be overcome by horrendous writing. Material that could show off their strengths and do the work for them so they could SHAKESPEARE. This meant getting my ass kicked again in acting class, and signing up for a SHAKESPEARE class. Yes, I actually applied and I figured if they payment went through they wouldn't read my application. To my pleasant surprise and chagrin they read my application.


So long story short, this weekend, I am back to one of my first loves. At first it was daunting but I remembered to get out my dictionary. (Something my unpleasant teacher pounded). But I also remembered my Sense Memory. (Something from the one I adore). I forgot how much FUN this was. So yes, I am excited and a tad nervous.

"Anon, anon I pray you remember the porter!"

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Democratic Candidates If They Were Movie Characters

There are so many Democratic candidates for president who the hell can keep track. To make it a little easier, I decided to break the Democratic candidates down as if they were movie characters by the roles they would play.
Note: This is a spec script at best and have no idea what the actual plot would be. BUT.....dear readers (whoever the freak you are) show yourselves and give me some plot lines/scenarios. I am asking you with the confidence of a straight, white, cis man. You know, the fellow who looks in the mirror and sees a stud, a genius and the BEST PENIS EVER!  (Give me the confidence of such a stereotype).
1.       Elizabeth Warren- Mayor and boss bitch. She dumped her husband and is having the time of her life. Her twitter handle is colorsofthewind2020

2.       Bernie Sanders- Old ranting man who yells at strangers. His only friends are his long suffering sheep dogs. Twitter handle is marx4life2020

3.       John Hinkenlooper- Bernie’s first sheep dog. Twitter handle imjustasheepdogididntaskforthis2020

4.       Michael Bennett- Bernie’s second sheep dog.Twitter handle rescuetherescue2020

5.       Cory Booker- Self-proclaimed player and author of the self-published manual, “How to Get Pussy Without Really Trying.” Twitter handle playa2020

6.       Amy Klobuchar- Twice divorced Avon Lady who might have killed one or both of her ex husbands. Does not have twitter handle. Got thrown off for angry rant at twitter staffers. 

7.       Joe Biden- Creepy old man who’s inappropriate with women and uses his dead wife as an in cause hey, why not? Twitter handle hairsmeller2020

8.       Kirsten Gillibrand- “One time at band camp” girl. Frequent target of Joe Biden’s creepy advances. Twitter handle onetimeatbandcamp2020

9.       Eric Swalwell- Nice guy who swoops in to defend women from creepy Joe Biden. In return, he always gets dumped. Twitter handle stereotypicalnicedude2020

10.   Kamala Harris- The local sheriff who frequently arrests Joe Biden for hair sniffing and Bernie Sanders for vagrancy. She takes pity on his sheep dogs. Twitter handle throwyoassinjail2020

11.   Julian Castro- Dishwasher repairman who is secretly studying to become a member of the FBI. Twitter handle notfidel2020

12.   Bill de Blasio- The weird guy in the neighborhood who brags about converting lesbians to his team. Twitter handle typecasting2020

13.   Pete Buttigieg- Owner of the gay bar “Pete’s Gloryhole.” Running a tight ship, he frequently sees Republicans leading a double life having anonymous sex and has to eject Bill de Blasio on Sapphic Saturdays. Twitter handle Totaltop2020

14.   Tulsi Gabbard- Bouncer at Pete’s Gloryhole and foe of Bill DiBlasio. On the side she teaches self-defense to women, Amy Klobuchar is her best student. Twitter handle smackdown2020

15.   John Delaney- Assistant Regional Sales Rep. (For life and eternity). Twitter handle DunderMifflin2020.

16.   Jay Inslee- Local yokel often mistaken for Gary Busey. Pretends to be Gary Busey to get chicks. Twitter handle garybusey2020

17.   Tim Ryan- The stunt double to Beeker from the Muppets. Twitter handle beeker2020

18.   Marianne Williamson- The crazy cat lady at the end of the block who uses healing crystals and brags of practicing the dark arts. Twitter handle notmariannebutzool2020

19.   Andrew Yang- The IT programmer who has a hot wife. Twitter handle imstillsmarterthanyou2020