Jun 18, 2011

My New York Diaries - Part 9

I'm in the process of writing my story of when I was living in NYC studying acting. There's a lot to my story and for many years it's been so private and special it was hard to even talk about. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times :) If you're just tuning in, I suggest you start at Part I for it to make sense. All links in order at the bottom of this blog entry. I promise it's a juicy read. These entries often include actual journal entries from that time in my life. I'm so grateful I documented so much! Once I finish here, I hope to expand into a book. I'm posting these frequently but they'll also be interspersed with real time blogs :) Thanks for reading & supporting!

*All names are changed

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I couldn't sleep for three nights leading up to David Mamets visit.

March 25

"I feel as though I'm married to my career. Sometimes I feel it's my career, other times I feel like I'm just kidding myself. Is it a big deal I pursued my dream? It never feels like it. Is there something to be said for what I've done? Am I really about to perform for David Mamet tomorrow? If I live through it...what does it say? What does it mean to be picked? My birthday is in two days. What does it mean to be twenty? What should I have accomplished? Am I giving it my all?"

David Mamet was scary. There we were, students from every class crammed into one of the bigger studios. It seemed like an eternity waiting to perform. When it was finally time I was beyond nervous. We never got through the entire scene. Some scenes did and some didn't. He kept stopping to critique, make changes, have us start again, etc. That was basically what his master class consisted of. It's all kind of a blur.

I just remember he was loud and intimidating. I do remember that later he had picked an unassuming older red head girl from another scene to be in one of his movies. I was always in awe that things like that really did happen and bummed that he hadn't chosen me to be his next star. All in all, performing in school for David Mamet is something not many people can claim, and I'm very proud of that.

Master classes were something that happened regularly at school. My two favorites were John Ritter and Mary Steenburgen. John was so funny and made me laugh out loud. My favorite part was (which was in line with the schools philosophy) when you're onstage "it's all in". If you ignore something happening it's no longer believable. Yes, it seems obvious but you'd be surprised. He told us about an example of a glass shattering all over the stage and the barefoot actor actually walking across it, refusing to address it! His impression of the actor doing this was hilarious. He also told us about timid actors who didn't take the stage and a performance where an actor basically stood half in the curtains and shadows on the side of the stage! Again, his reenactment was hysterical.

There'd be a time the next year I'd get to have a long conversation with him. More on that later.

Mary Steengurgens class was one of the most inspirational experiences I've ever had to this day. I'll never forget it. She's so beautiful in person, she glows. She spoke to my heart. Even now, writing about her I get choked up. She spoke of her time in NYC going to school, training and doing plays still on a very small scale, just trying to "make it" like any of us that were sitting in the room listening to her. She talked about looking in the mirror and asking herself if she'd be happy if this was it. If this was "as good as it gets". It made me immediately ask myself. Oh my god. Would I be happy? Could I live like this? At this point I'd only done school and community theatre. If that was all I ever did or could do, would I be satisfied? Would that be enough? What if that was as good as it got?

She also told us the story of getting cast in her first big movie alongside Jack Nicholson. She was sent away because she wasn't physically right for the part. She'd had it. She took a risk that day and did something completely out of character. She refused to leave and demanded that they see her! Can you imagine?! She then sat down and kept her head down, scared and not believing she'd just done that. A pair of shoes appeared in front of her and she heard a voice telling her she was going to be seen for the audition. She slowly looked up. It was Jack! She stayed up all through the night rehearsing her sides for the callback, read with Jack the next day and was cast.

There are more stories of guest speakers and teachers coming up later as my story unfolds.

Anyway, after I survived Mamet it was time to turn twenty. My birthday was March 27th and Oscars was just a few days later. We scouted a few locations for a party. We made fliers and hung them in The Lounge. We were set to celebrate on March 29th.

On my actual birthday, it was a school night and my first birthday away from home. I think I just wanted time to myself. I bought myself a second row ticket to AIDA. I often liked going to the theatre alone, as it would often make me emotional. A friend in school, Kim had a best friend who worked at the AIDA theatre. She said she'd meet me there when the play was over for a tour of the stage and a meeting with Adam Pascal. I wasn't sure how I felt about that. I've never been the type of person who wants to "meet a celebrity". I mean, that'd just be weird. What would I say? We're all just people. I certainly didn't want to look like some super fan. But then again it was Adam Pascal.

I was hoping Kim would forget. In a crowded theatre I could surely sneak out. But of course I bumped right into her on my way out and before I knew it I was up onstage looking out toward the audience! And then we were going down stairs toward the dressing room. Halfway down, Adam came up. There in the stairwell we were introduced and I think I spoke chinese. He. Was. So. Handsome. He had very blue, twinkling eyes and was so nice. To this day, for whatever reason only meeting him (and Gavin Creel) made me nervous. It's something about theatre actors. It's something about just having seen someone give an incredible performance and still processing it and being blown away and then there they are before you can even collect yourself...it's overwhelming. Far different than a random celebrity sighting on a NYC street.

In the end I admit it. I like the bragging rights of meeting Adam Pascal backstage after AIDA and I realize how truly sweet that was of Kim to meet me there, alone on my birthday and do something so kind for me.

Then the party happened, and this would truly mark the beginning of my journey with The Guy.

Part 1: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/new-york-state-of-mind.html
Part 2: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/new-york-state-of-mind-part-ii.html
Part 3: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/my-new-york-diaries-part-3.html
Part 4: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/my-new-york-diaries-part-4.html
Part 5: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/my-new-york-diaries-part-5.html
Part 6: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/my-new-york-diaries-part-6.html
Part 7: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/im-in-process-of-writing-my-story-of.html
Part 8: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/my-new-york-diaries-part-8.html
Time to Press Pause: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/time-to-press-pause.html

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