theatrical experience

Black and Chrome and Color

The upcoming Mad Max Fury Road: Black and Chrome Edition got me thinking about that Soulmate AU trope where when you meet your soul mate you start seeing color after a lifetime of black and white. So here comes a thought. Of course (warning long text post):

Soul mates, true soul mates are so rare–even moreso after the fall, that no one even knows what soul mates–or even what color is anymore. It’s been reduced to a forgotten old world tale told only amongst those who are old enough to remember it as common knowledge, or those who have experienced it themselves but have long since lost their mates and their ability to see color.

Max Rockatansky hasn’t seen color in years, long faded after he buried his wife and son. So when his eyes scan the garage workshops below him from his Bloodbag cage out of sheer boredom and there is a HINT of color seeping into his vision he thinks no no no. Not again. How? And on top of that why here in this hellhole of a place? They have to be amongst the many war boys moving about in this cave, and his eyes MUST have passed over them–long enough for something inside him to spark and he shuts his eyes to resist the urge to look for the duration of the day because he doesn’t want to know. All of his days after pass by in dull, muted color–not vibrant enough because he hasn’t fully recognized them, but there all the same to remind him that they’re near.

So when he is strapped to the front of Nux’s car like some hood ornament as they’re driving up beside the war rig and his eyes meet with Furiosa’s, his vision suddenly EXPLODES with color–intense, jarring, and more violent and vibrant than he’s ever seen. Their gaze holds and he can see the confusion on her face, eyes blinking like she’s not sure what she’s seeing and he knows. But it only lasts a moment because there is a war party approaching from the back and a sandstorm in the front and it’s likely one of them or both is about to die. It’s better that he doesn’t dwell more on it.

Except they don’t and Max does his best to ignore it–and it’s easy against the backdrop of everything else that’s going on. But even he can’t ignore how effortlessly they fall into sync, how easily they can read each other with mere glances and little words. Even when she was trying to shoot his face off her intensity had matched his in ways that had his blood singing. But he will not tell her his name because he has no intention of getting to know her beyond this. He’s done this before and it hurts. His only consolation is that Furiosa hasn’t indicated anything beyond that first glance they shared that she also sees color. But he catches her looking out in the wastes sometimes like she’s mesmerized by the blue horizon and red sands, or the way her eyes linger on the flame Capable holds at night for a beat longer than necessary.

They find her Green Place and it’s become just as much of a myth as the concept of Soul Mates. Green being used to describe plants and produce more than it does a color.

The final nail in the coffin is when he overhears her talking to the Vuvalini. Her world looks different, she tells them haltingly. She can’t describe it, has nothing to compare it to, and no words to connect to what she sees–hasn’t heard of anyone talking about experiencing something like this before. But the Vuvalini are old enough to KNOW and have known others like her, eyes widening at what she’s implying. When did it start? they inquire her.

That night she asks him to come with her and he tells her he’ll make his own way.

But he catches up with them in the morning and tells them to go back–goes with them, because even though he can’t stay he can’t bear the thought of her not surviving either. Knows that 160 days later he’ll probably be seeing black and white again if she continues to ride out into the salt.

‘She’s hurt! She’s hurt real bad!’ 

And Max feels the cold onset of panic when everything becomes noticeably duller than before, the color draining out of his environment as quickly as the blood from her face. She clutches at him like she wants to say more, but can only manage to tell him to get the others home, and he struggles to keep his hands steady as he pierces her with the needle, the line of blood bright and red against the paleness of her skin. He tells her his name is Max, and feels hope (even if it’s a mistake) that the world isn’t getting more desaturated and she’s warm beneath his hands.

He still can’t bring himself to stay. He’s not ready yet and not sure if he ever will be, but Furiosa and the girls look so brilliant against the sun. She’s almost smiling, and he’s never seen anything so beautiful. Their eyes meet across the crowd and he feels the same thought that passed his mind when they first connected: Her eyes are green.

Thoughts on Tony Awards 2017

Primarily focused on Musical Theater….

I’m sad that “Great Comet” didn’t get more, to be honest. Purely from a technical perspective, this show was a marvel. So I would have loved to see Best Orchestrations, Best Costumes, and Best Director. Rachel Chavkin took a story that seemed nearly impossible to make and made it relatable and fulfilling. It’s really weird, but in an soaring way- and I hope that more shows have the nerve that this show has. It was the only show I saw this season, and it was a ridiculously unique theatrical experience. It’s also a shame the telecast didn’t highlight Deneé Benton’s voice. What an amazing gift. And her performance of Natasha- at once naive and innocent but also dangerous and flirtatious- was a surprisingly fantastic female character full of “life and mischief.” We need more like them, and more shows that place them at the front.

Dear Evan Hansen. I get it; at times it highlights the worst tendencies of young adult novels. It’s frustrating. Poorly plotted moments, like “To Break In a Glove” (which basically screams, “It’s a metaphor!!!”), to Alana’s broad racial characterization (her blackness seems to inform her identity to the point of stereotype), dim the moments of pure joy and despair into cliché. But what a carefully understood story otherwise. The startling emotional intelligence of the show’s lyrics by Pasek and Paul shine through the most. Forget all the social commentary of social media and social anxiety and depression. This is a story about one person, and that one person was completely brought to life. That this show resonates with audiences is no surprise- it is deeply empathetic to the point of pushing you completely down, but always pushing forward.

I’ll admit to not having listened to / read the other musicals. I’m immediately skeptical of Come From Away; whole-hearted goodness in the face of tragedy is certainly a fine message, but its celebration of Canada and a specific group of people seem to be the message it really wants to send. There’s nothing really wrong about this- it just seems more like an advertisement than a show. “Me and the Sky” is a lovely song, but do I need a sustained, winking “American Airlines” in the middle of the song? The show’s broad commercialism, in the face of 9/11, seems to work as a message of hope. And then at moments like this, it feels trivial.

Edit: From some of the comments here, Come From Away is apparently a really special, communal experience that isn’t really quite captured in the recording or promos. Which I have to say, is probably true. As someone who hasn’t seen that show, I’m not judging the show, just the concept and what I’ve seen at the Tonys. Of course I would die to have a ticket- who wouldn’t? If you want to share your experience with this show, and prove my original skepticism wrong, please message me or comment. Let’s start a dialogue! 

I’m sure Groundhog Day was a fine musical, but like “Matilda,” I’m sure it did a great job of bringing the story and bringing out the strengths to the stage while also not being absolutely astonishing. Groundhog Day is one of the perfect mergings of concept and execution in film, so I’m happy they found a way for it to work on the stage. The choice for the telecast was a less energized than lovely. Probably a direction the whole show wants to follow- and this is one that understands its boundaries and I can respect.

Assorted notes on the rest:

  • It’s absolutely ludicrous that “Sweat” is Lynn Nottage’s debut on Broadway. A two-time Pulitzer-prize winner just now on Broadway? It shows the conservatism of producing works by black and female artists.
  • “Penny in my Pocket” from “Hello Dolly” was a fine song. But to have Bette Midler walk around stage all night taunting us of her lack of performance was really just upsetting. Mostly to the chorus members of that show; they deserve a time to shine.
  • Miss Saigon.” You lumbering beast of a musical. I am so happy to see Asians on the stage of the world. But there has to be more than this for us. There has to be more, and it’s up to Asian writers like me to make sure that not every Asian woman has to play a prostitute to be on Broadway.
  • The staging of “Waving Through a Window” I found at once fascinating but also a little… obvious? It seemed to say to the audience, “This is a show about social media!” instead of having them just listen to the lyrics and actually understand the acute longing of Evan. But overall I’m totally down for Michael Grief’s direction. He seems like someone very aware of the message of his shows, and that’s a wonderful thing to see.
  • I would absolutely love to see every single Best Play nominee. They all look like achievements in the art form.
  • Falsettos” was a nice reunion, although it was frustrating that the only lesbian kiss on national television was for “Great Comet” and not this or “Indecent.” Thank God Christian Borle wore a wig. Those 80s outfits were killing it. Thanks PBS for taking care of the community with the theatrical release.
  • War Paint? Meh. Clearly a star vehicle, but with the distinctly modern blend of music seen in the Best Musical nominees, this one seems to be harkening on a musical theater style that is dated. We’re living in the era of “Fun Home” and “Hamilton.” The entire genre is shifting.
  • Why was the one black character of Bandstand an announcer with one line? Aren’t we past this? And from a creative from Hamilton no less?
  • Kevin Spacey was fine as a host. The knowing meta thing wore off way too quickly, but I do appreciate the focus on all the nominees instead of the Something-Rotten-musical-mishmash of last year’s opening number.
  • I sincerely hope the Great Comet stays on Broadway for a few years. It’s truly an unparalleled show in terms of its fearlessness in just going to its concept. I think that even if you don’t like the music, or think it achieved something meaningful, you can at least admire its creative ambition.
  • Thanks to @zartharn for watching with me! “And the Tony goes to… Michael Arden’s revival of Spring Awakening!”
Complete Dolly thoughts

-I’m going to use the word showstopping a lot here but I’m only using it because the show was stopped more times than I can count. (And it wasn’t just me being me, the whole audience was losing it).

-Bette Midler is glorious. She’s pure star quality and her Dolly is funny, spritely, human, perfectly farcical and has the cutest little walk. Bette GETS who Dolly is, her character arc is very well thought out and meticulously crafted. She stops the show by eating dinner. She smiles and the entire world seems to light up. It’s a huge, good old fashioned star star turn. I was moved to tears during the oak leaf speech and when she appeared at the top of the staircase it was like looking into the sun directly. During the title song she skipped and bounced around the stage with comfort and ease and jokingly held onto the sides and worked the crowd like the pro she is. When she lowered the newspaper she beamed and the audience completely went nuts and she took it in grinning ear to ear. When watching this it was so plain that it was one of the great diva performances in modern times. Part of me wants to be more detailed but there isn’t much to say besides she is exactly what you would expect Bette Midler to be like in Dolly (I pretty much guessed her characterization exactly) and that for years to come anyone who sees her in this will be bragging that they did. This is what it looks like to see a great leading lady and a legend. (That said, 80% of her line deliveries in the dinner scene were directly lifted from Channing).

-David Hyde Pierce has reinvented Vandergelder. He is deadpan and HYSTERICAL. The newly added Penny in my Pocket, which he does in front of the curtain before act two, is hysterical, tuneful and adds a surprising depth to Vandergelder when seen in context. Gavin Creel and Kate Baldwin could not be more perfect. They are affecting and extremely funny in their parts. Gavin is easily a frontrunner for the Tony he was so much fun to watch. Kate Baldwin is a star and has one of the best belts on Broadway and is such a mesmerizing actress. Every time I see her in something I’m beside myself. Taylor Trensch has taken the usually grating character of Barnaby and made him funny and loveable. Benie Feldstein and Melanie Moore also do excellent work. Jennifer Simard fucking winded me she was so funny as Ernestina.

- Hello, Dolly! is a musical that perfectly manages a marriage between telling a story with a human core, maintaining humor and classical farce, and the creating an all out big broadway splashy event and so does this revival. It’s the Gower choreography and coneptualization for the most part, with some minute changes, and thank god. Seeing the chorus trot out along the runway in their sunday clothes with that Gower precision was perfect. Even the new stuff, like the waiter’s gallop, was showstopping. The train is massive. When the Harmonia Gardens was revealed (and the reveal is jaw dropping, James and I gasped) the audience cheered. They added some new lines and new material and it fits PERFECTLY. Everything added is funny or adds new depth and perspective to the characters. But more important than the lavish sets and costumes is that the show is HYSTERICAL, as it should be, and the musical has retained its beating heart. The speeches the characters have where they reflect on their problems and the nature of life were deeply moving and sincere. And all the while, Zaks maintained the tone of the show, which can be VERY DIFFICULT for most directors, perfectly. In short: it’s a perfect production of Dolly.

-I’m sure I left off a lot here, but you don’t want to read 5 pages of this. If you want to see what a great musical comedy is and what a great star vehicle and theatrical experience looks like, go see Hello, Dolly!. I loved everything about it. It is a perfect production of a fantastic show with a monumental star turn at the center of it. 

-And yeah it’s fucking cheesy and predictable but god DAMN it is so nice to have Dolly back where she belongs. This will run for years.

carmensandyeggo  asked:

Prom watching Gladio cry when they watch a movie inspired by one of Gladdy's favorite romance novels. Like its sweet, but also like 'really? This is a terrible movie'

Your Promptio prompts just? Are the best? They give me life? 

—-

‘You’re kidding, right?’ Prompto snatched the DVD box from Gladio’s hand and scrutinised it. ‘These people are kissing. The box is pink. This is a chick flick!’

Gladio swatted him over the back of the head and took the box back. ‘It’s a film adaptation of By the Lighthouse.’

Prompto’s expression was blank.

‘Do you listen to me when I tell you about my day? Ever?’

‘Of course I do! Just sometimes I get lost in your eyes when you talk.’ Prompto batted his eyelashes.

Gladio huffed. ‘By the Lighthouse was that book I got from the library last week. The one where- okay, you don’t care, let’s just watch the movie.’

‘I care! I care if you care. I’m sorry. Heyyyy.’ Prompto grabbed his hand and pulled him back to the sofa. ‘I care. I do.’

‘Yeah, well.’ Gladio ruffled Prompto’s hair. ‘Thanks.’

Gladio made microwave popcorn and dimmed the lights for the full theatrical experience. Prompto cuddled up to him - Gladio was a great film-watching partner, allowing Prompto to rest his head on his chest and absorb all of his warmth. Sometimes, if a film hadn’t fully captured their attention, they would get a little frisky on the sofa, but more than once Prompto’s efforts had been rebuked with a “shh!” when Gladio was really into the plot of a good one.

The film wasn’t really Prompto’s thing, but Gladio was engrossed from the opening credits, so he stayed quiet and just enjoyed the cuddle. The story followed a young woman who inherited a lighthouse from a mysterious deceased relative, and how she made it her home and fell in love with a local fisherman. The big reveal was that the fisherman had been dead all along, and she had finally brought him peace. Prompto found it pretty mushy.

‘Well, that was-’ he sat up and looked around at Gladio as he spoke, abruptly stopping when he saw that his boyfriend was crying. ‘Aw, Gladio!’

‘Shurrup. Don’t. Don’t say a word.’ Large tears were rolling down Gladio’s cheeks and dripping down into his beard.

‘You’re a really sweetie pie under all that muscle.’

‘Those are words!’ Gladio sniffed and wiped his eyes on the back of his hand. ‘Goddamnit, why did he have to return to the sea?’

‘I dunno,’ Prompto shrugged, ‘the plot was kinda hazy on that part, I thought.’

Gladio glowered at him, until Prompto kissed him on the nose to say sorry.

A Final Note on TGC

Now that I slept off my anger and disappointment I can say that I am so proud of Lucas Steele, Denee Benton, Josh Groban & the entire cast and crew of TGC, not just for their performance on Tony night but for every other night. They’re a hardworking group of talented people that gave me the richest & best theatrical experience ever and I have seen sooooo many shows.

TGC is incredible. The actors sing, dance, and they play their own instruments. Lucas Steele playing the violin had me swooning. The high notes he hits are incredible. His character is just so much fun and is my fave of the show. Josh Groban playing the accordion makes me want to pick up my dad’s old accordion. His voice is just so rich. Denee is so beautiful and whimsical as Natasha who, as we know, is a black actress playing a Russian countess. Now TGC did not have to go for an inclusive cast, but they did (and from the very beginning). Although it doesn’t mean anything to tony voters, as a Chicana, that means the world to me. One or two poc actors in your entire cast (especially when they are hidden in the ensemble) will not get your show my blessing.

This show took a few years to get to broadway and I’m glad it was acknowledged with 12 tony nominations, but it deserved more at the Tonys. I’m not going to be bitter though that they didn’t get those votes because in the end, at least to me, that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make me love the show any less. I love this show & I tear up just thinking of the two recordings (original cast & original Broadway Cast) Dave Malloy has given us. It’s crazy and amazing the details embedded in each of the songs. This show is unique, innovative, creative, and beautiful. It makes me want to put my arms round my knees and fly away (see what I did there) ;)

Trans in Theatre: Adversarial and Jubilant Ultimatums

          After one of our late night dress rehearsals for Footloose, I felt a friend to my right grip my arm during our notes. She said, “Denny, are you okay?” and I realized tears were falling down my cheeks without my notice at all. At that point, everybody fixated their eyes on me and for the first time (of soon-to-be many), I felt seen but so unseen. This was my junior year in high school, and I was cast as the male lead, Ren McCormack. Despite the crisp dance moves and singing, the director kept telling me that something was still not right about my performance. She then sat with me until midnight, where we were the only ones left on stage. Through the shakiness in my voice and my hands burying my face, I said, “It’s just hard playing something you know you’re not.”

           She looked at me, and for the first time, I think she really saw me.

          My senior year I was cast as The Leading Player in Pippin, a gender neutral character with a presence so demanding you can’t take your eyes off the charm, wit, and agility. Around this time I was sneaking out late at night, dressing up with my friends and going out. Liberating myself from gender roles and rebelling against their normalizations kept me stable emotionally and mentally. I was in a place where I had to dissect gender to its core in order to sort myself, and experimenting with winged eyeliner paired with a staple dark red lips and too many striped dresses allowed me to come to terms with myself at my own pace. I took advantage of the ambiguity of gender within my role in the show through androgyny.

           Femininity turned from secretive repression into a hobby.

          My first theatrical experience in college was an identity play reading for The Laramie Project, a collection of reactions to the homophobic murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998. I auditioned for two women in the room, one who was an upperclassman directing the play, the other an older white woman who accompanied the student director. She had a sweet and nurturing voice, and a full head of gray and white hair that complimented her soft smile. I felt an odd sense of comfort for a strange white lady I barely knew. She still recognizes me now and wishes me well whenever we bump into each other. I read a monologue they provided and was contacted the next day to play Romaine Patterson, the lesbian best friend of Matthew. It was my first time reading a part that was inherently for a woman. I don’t recall my exact emotion that given moment, but I know I was happy. Telling my friends about it felt radical and transformative. To be seen as a genderqueer person of color beyond that identity and only for talent was a big deal for me. Previous auditions for The Voice and X-Factor never went well because like my high school director, the producers could tell something was off.

           I started to, too.

          The following semester, I took an acting class. The second I walked into the first day of class and saw twelve fraternity boys was the second my own ideas of theatre spaces being safe from potentially harmful masculinities were proven wrong. My professor was a mother with a smile as big as her frames, face framed by the middle part of her dark curls as beautiful as her name—Carmela. Her fingers were crowded with unique rings, her outfits casual yet bold with statement pieces—I could tell this person was comfortable with who she was, while remaining to be somewhat reserved. I envied her. I wanted her womanhood, although confusion overshadowed my lack of vocabulary to express this specific desire. All I knew to do was to wake up two hours prior to classes for the sole reason of feminizing myself. But the hesitation on femininity started the moment she referred to me with “she, her” pronouns, which led the entire class, including the fraternity boys, to do as well. At the time I reserved to gender neutral pronouns because I knew I wanted to detach myself from anything innately considered ‘male’, and unlike the most heard trans narratives, growing up without exposure to trans folks (a conscious one, that is) left me thinking my gender was concrete, and Carmela was another person to see me beyond what I knew was possible, and that is woman. Her de-solidifying my possibilities as a person gave me space to let my gender identity move and rebuild, even with words as scary as “her” and “girl”.

           Not once did I ever correct anybody in that class.

           Transitioning started the summer after that. I officially came out as a woman, and coming back to school was surprisingly easy. I never thought much about what it must have been like for everyone else, which led me to sleep comfortably every night thinking everyone around me must be on board as well—the theatre department included. I wish people spoke to me about concerns, or vocalized their questions, in which I would have been much slower and more patient moving forward. Instead I felt immortal and unbeatable, and receiving my first female lead in a show the same day I started my medical transition were only further signs that I was going in the right direction. I was misgendered throughout the show but I disregarded that. I recognized the ways in which I could have been critical in the moment but I disregarded that. I refused to admit that people were not seeing me as a woman because I accepted and made effort to uphold how progressive everyone involved in the production must have been to include me in the first place. Although I wore an exquisite wedding gown, I also wore three noses but I disregarded that. I felt beautiful in the midst of knowing the audience saw me otherwise—I played the freak but I disregarded that. I kept quiet because a part of me felt that staying silent as the team player would access me to more opportunities. I was right. A few months after, I was cast for the following semester’s show, where not only did I play a woman, but a woman of my race. I thought the recognition as a woman of color meant that I was perceived twice—for my gender, and for my racial background. But I was still misgendered throughout, therefore disregard became a way to navigate spaces where successes and failures were happening simultaneously.

          Earning my first female role as an openly trans woman should have been the starting point to education beyond inclusion, because what is the point of inclusion if we are unaware of its purposes? What is the point of adding flowers to the living room if there are no given benefits to the overall goal of aesthetic aside from sole decoration? My personal purpose was to prove people’s inherent assumptions about trans talent wrong—not to be tokenized. It still is. But being in my position and getting two leads in a row, I had a responsibility to fulfill. The fulfillment of my responsibilities became highly prioritized because I know opportunities like these do not always work in the favor of girls like me. Taking it for granted was never an option. So when I found out I was the only woman of Asian descent to even audition I kept pretending that I played these roles because I could, not because I was needed; because I have talent, not because of profitable aspects about myself that could satisfy their agendas.

           For the next few months I shared my story, making sure I expressed that it was never just a role I earned, but that I was transitioning under a microscope for the majority of campus to watch. Therefore, people knew who I was and could comprehend how big of an accomplishment this must have been for me. I bounced from one interview to the next ranging from friends’ articles to local newspaper journalism, giving them the heroic story I knew they wanted. Here I was, a nineteen year old Southeast Asian trans woman spilling my story of the adversity of transitioning at school, whilst spilling my story of triumph and attainment of playing main female characters in the theater department, knowing that there were gaps in between one story of challenge and the other of execution. I did not tell them that many people were struggling to see me beyond a man, that these roles were not the only thing I was “acting” in. I did not tell them that I felt the pressure to act woman on the daily—for the sake of being understood— and add on my character on top of that to act for. I did not tell them that I felt exhausted, stripped of my own personhood. But most of all, I did not tell them these feelings because I was warped in my own thought that the things I accomplished were courageous, and nothing else.

           I was happy, though.

           At least happy enough to come back my junior year believing I was going to be seen no different from the rest of the girls during auditions. Especially because none of the roles required the women to be a specific kind of woman, and therefore I sought after them as my perfect chance to really prove people that I was capable and deserving of a female role with no strings attached. For the first audition, I studied the script months prior to the audition day and created two monologues on my own from pieces in it. Oddly enough, the night of auditions, there were two female monologues provided, in which they were almost identical to the one I put together. Instantly I felt at an advantage because it was clear that the visions I had for these women were very close to the director’s. For the first time, I did not have to use vulnerable parts of me as a source of reliability, only creativity and deep understanding of the script. The second audition was for the only female role in the show. Her character development was built off of the desire and dream to be a forefront leader despite—or maybe even because—of her gender, a desire and dream I hold closely.

           The following day I searched hard for my name on the callback list before realizing that I was not called back for either shows. I felt the people behind me looking over my shoulders to see the cast list, and in their exhales I heard “Sorry, maybe next time,” “Yikes,” “I feel bad for you,” “What happened?

           What happened?

           I felt myself in shock, but worked painfully hard to prevent any showings of defeat or weakness. I came into my junior year with content and pride in the conquering of my endeavors, and within those five seconds of glance I started to question everything I might have done wrong. Straight away I put the responsibility on me, because the professors I have worked with know what they are doing, right? They are the ones whose judgments should be trusted, no? During a callback, the people who auditioned are asked to come back because the directors or anybody else involved were interested in what they had to offer during their auditions. This can either solidify the decision to cast these people, or make them change their minds. To be stopped before the second process confused me in all angles. I saw myself back in sophomore, junior, and senior year of high school where producers never passed me through the first rounds of The Voice and X-Factor auditions because they knew something felt misaligned. But this time, I was whole, with the strongest sense of identity out of all twenty years of my life, so therefore, my identity could not have been the reason, no? I don’t want to believe my transness is the reason I was not granted the opportunity to prove myself past auditions, and it took me strength to slowly admit to myself that my experiences in previous shows were never perfect. Some days they were barely validating or comfortable. It was a difficult process having to prove my own gender before the characters I played.

           I learned to prove myself—(cis) womanhood before talent, whiteness before talent, Americanness before talent (unless my race is needed)—twice as hard for half the consideration before somebody else’s name blankets mine. When I do earn a part, I memorize my lines twice as hard for half the recognition compared to someone who might embody surpassing privileges that give them access to opportunities where recognition is a routine experience in their involvements in theater. Over the past couple of months my peers in the department have comforted me with words like “it’s not fair to you,” “your gender is valid regardless,” “this is not a representation of your talents.”

           For those who have been my backbone throughout this emotional calculation, I profoundly thank you. However, the problem is that there is more to this. I am not seeking out validation—I know I’m valid. I am not having these conversations to re-stabilize myself as if I’ve lost a sense of identity, but to redirect the conversation and have everybody else acknowledge why they don’t have it as exhaustive, and what integrating privileges they possess that allows them to think this issue is one sided, and therefore lacks a need to hold themselves accountable at any extent. Many of the minoritized students participate in the identity play series, where their theatrical experience lasts for only one to two weeks for rehearsals—the performance production is not as tumultuous as the faculty or student directed shows. The series allows for many unheard narratives to be on the front lines of exposure and the following discussion sessions open up the conversation into further depth. However, many of the participants are only exclusive to identity play readings, and the space to welcome them (with effort) to larger scale shows in the department is limited, thus there is an imbalance between the demographics of the regular members who participate in major production shows versus the ones who are part of the identity series. This leads to the impression that those whose identities are minoritized are utilizable when their otherness is needed—a deep pain I know all too well.

           My experience in the department lies at the crux of having enough marginalized identities to truly transcend in identity play series with personal authenticity and having enough past experience to be given roles for the main stage. I aspire the space to roam freely where I can openly talk about what it means to be an Asian transgender woman in the theatre department, but also where I can express myself artistically without my sense of self being the source of muse for whatever it is I do on stage. It is impossible to completely disregard my transness, but to make my work revolved around it is no better.

          There is a way for transness to flourish in plays and productions that have the potential to be progressive. Angel from Rent encapsulates the reclamation of femininity (for a person who is inherently not meant to be feminine under the socialization they were enforced into) as her narrative parallels amongst many trans women who internally struggle to claim their own girlhoods. In this I see a theatrical opportunity to have the production not only progress the show, but allow opportunities for trans women of color to showcase talent, even if Angel is traditionally a drag queen of color. A modernized adaptation allows a political play to move along with progressing politics.

           There is also a way for transness to not completely diverge from any other plays, because trans narratives are not completely alienated from non-trans narratives—there will always be a bridge in between. In 9th grade, my English class read Romeo and Juliet, and nobody volunteered to read for Juliet. I felt her character on a deep level but hesitated to raise my hand—not only did I lack the language to describe my situation, but so did everybody else. All I knew is that there was more to Juliet than a girl who falls in love with a family foe; there was a young woman who craved to liberate herself from her family’s containment in order to pursue a more novel life. Due to societal pressure to please others before herself, her option was to take her own life—an emboldening statement of redemption and salvation. This is not uncommon in many lives of trans women and trans femmes. In 2014, Cincinnati, Ohio, a 17 year old transgender girl named Leelah Alcorn stepped in front of a tractor trailer on Interstate-71 after posting a suicide note online saying “My death needs to mean something.” In her note, she mentions “When I was 16 I realized that my parents would never come around, and that I would have to wait until I was 18 to start any sort of transitioning treatment, which absolutely broke my heart.” In Leelah’s heartbreak I see the story of Juliet—a suicide not driven from love, but driven from social abuse that prevents the embrace of and ability to love. Adaptability of transgender stories into mainstream stories is possible.

           I dream of transness in theatrical spaces to be acknowledged, not as a cause for muse or a reason of dismissal. I dream of this phenomenon of theatre as a safe space for LGBTQ+ people beyond cis, white, gay, flamboyant men. I dream of trans girls and trans femmes of color like me celebrated on stage as much as we do advocacy off stage. I dream of people who hold power in theatre to mobilize their privileges, and hold themselves accountable to take it further to tell stories that matter, stories that marinate in truth, stories that can impact the audience yet provide benefits for those involved, because it is the right thing and it is doable if you care enough.

           Make them happen. If the show must go on, do not leave some of us behind.

On Groundhog Day and bootlegs:

This isn’t a post about bootleg discourse; we’re not interested in hearing pro- / anti- arguments, and will be ignoring anything of that kind that comes our way in response to this.

We’re sure that most people know there are now two video boots of Groundhog Day - one from the somewhat infamous first preview, and one from around the middle of previews. We’re primarily talking about that second one, here.

This is just a post to say that (in our opinion, as people who have now seen the show and watched the boot) if you actually have concrete / highly likely plans to see Groundhog Day in person, we would hold off on watching the bootleg.

Especially with regard to the more complex elements (the car chase springs to mind), the video really doesn’t do it justice at all and we’d highly advocate waiting to see that live for the first time (trust us, there are few theatrical experiences we’ve ever had that were as genuinely delightful as being in the first ever audience to see that car chase!).

That being said, if you’re not going to get to see the show live and you want to watch it, go for it - it’s a fairly decent capture, and you don’t miss too much (although there’s some spotlight washout and some blackout parts). If it’s the only experience of the staging you’re likely to get, and you’re inclined to watch boots, then you should! But it should be noted, too, that the video was recorded about a week before the staging was locked, so even then the only ‘proper’ video we have of the show isn’t the final staging.

Also, we’re going to be posting gifsets from the show - if you’re avoiding spoilers, you can blacklist the tag ghdspoilers! :)

the patti lupone ask meme

evita: what was the worst theatrical experience of your life?
helena rubinstein: can you do any accents? post audio of you doing one?
stop taking pictures: post a selfie!
sweeney todd: who would you want to commit crimes with?
yellow diamond: what’s worst thing you’ve ever been called?
sunset boulevard: ever been fired?
bernadette peters: is there anyone people assume you don’t like?
andrew lloyd webber: you get one bullet and diplomatic immunity. who dies?
stephen sondheim: anyone ever sent you a nasty letter? (or text or email)
cell phones: what drives you crazy?
chickens: what’s your favorite animal?
rose’s turn: patti or bernadette?
cinderella: what’s one role that you want to play but you never will?

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THE COMET IS COMING HERE

I saw Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812. This has taken me a while to post. I saw it 5 days ago and am still trying to fully process what I just saw. No words can do it any justice. Hands down the most unique theatrical experience I have ever had. 

The music is brilliant. It’s a perfect mix of traditional and contemporary and so much fun. Heck, they even break into a club/rave scene filled with strobe lights and the ensemble dressed in glowing neon and a DJ with a computer clubbing it up. What show does that??? I also got a pierogi thrown at my face and I love free food.

The show is perfectly cast. Josh Groban. Josh freaking Groban. He is much more than a pretty voice used to up ticket sales. He is perfect. His voice fits the music and the part of Pierre perfectly. He is literally an angel. And his acting moves you to tears (Dust & Ashes was a definite highlight). And let’s just talk about the fact that he learned how to play the accordion just for this role. He’s been waiting for the right opportunity to accept a Broadway role and this was definitely the right one to wait for.

The rest of the cast was brilliant as well. Denee is so youthful and beautiful. Lucas Steele was a definite highlight. He has the part of pretty-boy down. I could only watch his facial expressions the entire show and still come out extremely entertained. Amber Grey and Grace McClean were also AMAZING.

The Imperial Theater isn’t even recognizable. The staging, set, and lighting is mesmerizing. You truly become a part of the show as soon as you walk through the doors and enter into 19th century Russia (not to mention get delicious pierogis thrown at you). And there is so much fun audience interaction. Some highlights include audience members having to pass a letter from Anatole to get it across stage to Natasha, Natasha + Mary taking stools and awkwardly sitting at some tables on stage and singing across the tables in the midst of the audience, Anatole kissing so many women’s hands. I sat in the orchestra but can only imagine that those stage seats are worth the price tag.

I’m already extremely excited to see this show again, I can’t see it only once. 

Are you ready to wake up now?

asgorealmighty  asked:

You don't have to post this but I am a fan of old cartoons and love sing all you sinners. I think that Sans would be more likable with this type of music so you can get the haters over to your side. Many swing tunes were originally put to cartoons so that audiences would hear them. Just thinkin'. Gotta get some sleep, worked night shift. AA

Oh trust me, Swing You Sinners is one of my favorites of all time, not only for its score but for being a groundbreaking surrealist piece and one of the first ever mainstream theatrical shorts to experiment with surrealism to begin with, and I could talk your ear off about inkblot cartoon history and how popular music of the time (jazz) was put in cartoons to advertise and sell records/piano sheet music, which is why the overwhelming majority are interrupted by random musical performances every 2 minutes (they were basically music videos with a plot), But Sans’ genre is written as country to complement his voice type and personality in UNDERSONG, and changing his style would not only require a complete rewrite of all of his numbers, but a completely different vocal interpretation, more a Cab Calloway instead of Tenesee Ernie Ford.

For reference, the songs that most inspired Sans’ character and “Ruin Door” were “Big Bad John” by Jimmy Dean and “Sixteen Tons” by TEF himself, which, ironically, are both songs about working hard, but the resigned, melancholy style resonated strongly with sans’ plight to me, and that’s why Sans is as he is in UNDERSONG.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUpTJg2EBpw

And besides, our jazzy stars are Napstablook and Mad Dummy, so there’s plenty of Jazzy music in the show, and I wouldn’t want to take the spotlight away from a pair of ghosts that definitely deserve them (whether they want it or not.) :P

-RecD

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Tonight we watched a completely unique theatrical experience in The Great Comet. The staging and lighting were spectacular! The energetic and talented cast included Josh Groban and Denee Benton, both in their Broadway debuts.

2

For someone so angelic-looking, many of Murphy’s parts involve him inflicting physical or psychological brutality on his co-stars.

A great new photoshoot + interview in The Sunday Times. He talks about Heath Ledger, Philip Seymour Hoffman, family life and competitive dieting on the set of Heart of the Sea (he lost a stone for his role!)

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Fire Sign Moon- Burning Bright inside:

Fire sign Moons- Creative, Temper, emotionally expressive, passionate.

Moon in Aries- Drowning in Lit Gasoline- These inner firecrackers may have bursts of intense emotion, that may not last too long but can make a fierce impression.They have an inner pioneering spirit with a definite need for Independence. Hurtful words or actions may be said in the heat of the moment, but they are usually quick to regain control over themselves. Not usually ones to hold grudges, they prefer to move on than hold onto past injustices. heavy emotional displays may make them feel weak, but this may cover their ability to become easily hurt. Incredibly protective of the vulnerable, these warriors will not back down without a fight when they are needed. Their reflective moon is covered with the flames of a fierce Soldier, but then the flames subside, and reveal your baby powder heart.

Moon in Leo- Drowning in Scorching Jewels- These people may have an inner regal quality with a strong sense of dignity and loyalty that is enduring due to the fixed nature of this sign. With a taste for the theatrical, they may experience dramatic emotional outbursts releasing the fire in their bellies when they feel unloved of shunted. Having the moon in Leo can create and childlike emotional temperament, where they can be emotionally demanding and proud. They usually have an underlying confidence that shines from the inside out which may become more apparent when they are alone or with those they trust. Usually generous and loving, they wish to protect the vulnerable with their fiery soul and view it as their duty to do so. Their taste for splendor is reflective of their inner majestic world where they often play the role of King or Queen.  

Moon in Sagittarius- Drowning in Forrest Fires- Lunar Sagittarians likely carry an optimistic, expansive spirit, where escaping to the roads or lying under trees may become your emotional sanctuary. As a mutable sign, you likely need change and variety when under emotional strain, where you’re free inner spirit can roam free without restriction. Think of this sign as your inner Nomad, where a love of travel and learning may be the perfect antidote to emotional upheaval. They protect freedom to the core, and will never forfeit it without a fight first. This sign also may revel in challenge, but one thing is for sure, out of all the moon signs, the term “between these four walls” may be more restrictive than comforting for your free spirited nature. 

In the Zone

Yesterday I had my second ever audition for a professional gig. (It just so happens to be a murder mystery improv group which in itself is outrageously awesome because all I’ve ever wanted was to be in Clue.)

Improv auditions are interesting because they do not require a lot of preparation. No monologues, no bars of songs from your favorite musical. From what I gather, it’s all about your ability to be fun, friendly, and in the moment. Can you keep the story rolling? Can you engage and react to uour scene partner? Added bonus: are you funny?

I should note that while I’ve watched a ton of SNL, and improv-based television shows, I myself have never regularly acted in any improv groups or performances. I do have a lot of stage and theatrical experience, including teaching and coaching, but all the same I was nervous.

When you go to a traditional audition, you can combat nerves through rigorous practice! But for an improv audition, what are you practicing? How to open a Can? How to realistically drive a car? (How to make sure you’re appropriately anchoring your imaginary broom a la Liz Lemon?) So of course, the nerves kept coming.

Now I’d like to take this moment to shout out my husband for putting up with my Disney binge in the car because thay was my chosen mode of nerve-busters.

One of the things I was nervous about was plainly that it’s been so long since I last acted. Even including the year that I taught theater and coached an acting student, it’s been about two years! What if I forgot everything about character and movement? What if my voice didn’t project as far as it used to? What if the fact that I’m pregnant hindered my range of motion and I didn’t fill the space???

Worrying is not really in my nature, though, so I told myself “once an actor, always an actor” and to just go with the flow. Use this audition as a chance to re-wet my feet and establish where to get started on improvements.

I more or less this to work. I didn’t not expect what actually happened. Observe:

I’m standing in a large banquet room. There’s me, my scene partner, the director and assistant director. They tell me my character’s motivation (bridezilla who’s groom is missing minutes before the wedding). I pull up a chair, sit down, take a deep breath, and when I open my eyes, I’m suddenly sitting in front of a vanity mirror, half-made up, trying not to cry as i yell at no-good best man Brandon (my scene partner) to hurry up and find my dumb husband!

Rush of adrenaline, voice spikes 2 octaves, my body physically shaking as I try to control myself because damnit I spent SO much money on rhis wedding and it will be BEAUTIFUL!! *voice screeches into oblivion*

There were two other scenes that mounted in much the same way, and as I walked out of the audition room, trying to talk myself down from the spike of Stage Adrenaline ™ I remembered Stanislavski. It turns out “once and actor always an actor” is more profound and powerful than even I expected.

Because acting is not about pretending in the least. It’s about pulling your own experiences into the character you’re portraying; finding the truth in the caricature and playing that as honestly as possible. And I am nothing if not honest!

Ugh, you can only imagine the thrill of realizing and remembering! It doesn’t matter if it’s been three years. It’s still there in me! Performance is in my blood.

Now, I just have to commit to perfecting some monologues *insert cheesy, knowing eyeroll*.

youtube

American Theatre Wing: Sign Language Theatre (a mini-documentary about Deaf West Spring Awakening)

Sign Language theater has come to the forefront of commercial theater through a production of Spring Awakening on Broadway.  However, from the days of Charlie Chaplin films to the work at National Theatre of the Deaf and Gallaudet University, deaf actors and creative team members have produced some of the most incredible theatrical experiences.   Follow members of the cast of Spring Awakening, Gallaudet University, and more as we explore the creative process, the history, and the joy that comes from sign language theater.  

anonymous asked:

Major props to you- people are being a little rough on you and you're being so kind. From my experience of seeing DEH and GC, DEH hits closer to home in an emotional sense, while GC is truly 1 of the best theatrical experiences I've ever had. I personally would've pick GC for best musical just because of what I said earlier-its the greatest theatrical experience you could ever have, however, its completely understandable why DEH won, as it has more sentiment and is more of a traditional musical

Thank you

I can totally understand why people love Great Comet but people are getting aggressive beyond need. I’m still defending it though because while it for sure has issues, I was still very moved by it and really enjoyed it.

I’m glad you had great experiences with the shows!! You can love both!
I wouldn’t really call DEH “revolutionary” but I have seen many say it for Great Comet and I’m really happy they have had so much success!

slate.com
The Korean Gothic Lesbian Revenge Thriller That’s Captivated Cannes

It’s a shame that popcorn isn’t allowed in the grand theaters of Cannes, because if ever a movie called for binge eating out of a tub, eyes riveted to the screen, it’s Park Chan-Wook’s The Handmaiden (French title: Mademoiselle), which jolted awake every bleary-eyed reporter at its packed debut screening Saturday morning.

An adaptation of Welsh author Sarah Waters’ kinky, award-winning 2002 historical crime novel Fingersmith set in Victorian England, Park moves the action to 1930s Korea under Japanese colonialism, where class and tradition still loomed large but a rich family could flaunt status by having electricity—which plays a dramatic role in the movie—in their big homes. ”Was that as good as I thought it was?” a fellow critic asked as the lights came up; this Cannes selection has been disappointing thus far, so it was hard to discern if we both loved the movie because it’s actually good or because it was just the metaphorical drop of water in our drought. Luckily, Amazon, quickly establishing itself as a movie distributor with art-house tastes and respect for the theatrical experience, bought the rights in February, so you will get to see it on the big screen.

HELLO WHAT’S THIS

Substitute

Request: Gabe x reader (hunter). They used to date but had a messy break up that gabe never got over. readers in school/university and gabe is the sub. The reader trys to act like she doesn’t know him but he keeps like flirting/innuendo during class. And Gabe is SUPER possessive and jealous and leads to fun times ;)

Warnings: bad break up, sexual innuendos, possessive and jealous archangel, language, semi-public smut, Professor!Gabriel, College student!Reader, slight mockery of Christianity on Gabriel’s part with using some events as innuendos…so if you’re really religious I’m sorry..but I figured it would work with the request…no real hate against anyone or religion though in here, and some cute fluffy parts

Word Count: 3974

Gender: Female

Author: Gwen

Thanks for the request. I’ve been thinking about writing a Teacher!Gabriel for a while now and now I’ve finally got the chance. Let your inner dirty schoolgirl rejoice.

Your name: submit What is this?

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