2013 Buzz

Bookings, Auditions, Inspirations, Stories of the Month and more!

December 2013 (check out my Story of The Month at the End)

This month was all about two things:  OTHELLO and two weeks’ off.  Both were delicious.  I had no idea how much fun Shakespeare could be and I had no idea how much catch-up sleep from a very busy season I needed.  OTHELLO saw seventeen classically trained actresses sing basso profundo, man-dance, engage hand-to-hand combat, slash weapons, and bind breasts and do some damn good acting for one SRO performance at Aaron Davis Hall, produced by Harlem Shakespeare Festival, directed by Lisa Wolpe (also playing Iago), starring Debra Ann Byrd as Othello.  This was my first time performing Shakespeare, which is curious since I am classically trained and have always found the language to be simple and clear, beautiful and moving, and the male parts so so powerful.  I loved every single moment of the rehearsals, the fight choreography, the singing deep and full, the dancing, the amazing talent I shared the stage with, the audience which talked back and grunted and laughed and was with us every moment.  I simply loved it.  I may just be happy to play men in all-female Shakespeare productions for the rest of my days.  May just be.  See my story of the month at the end of December Buzz for more on this subject.

An added bonus to the month was being invited by playwright Eric Conger to be a part of the Mile Square Theatre Company’s reading of his new play Beautiful Boy.  Laughter, tears, warm hearts, cold hearts, deceit, discovery – this play has it all. This is my second time reading Richie, and I find more and more about her with each study.  The audience received us well and I hope the company decides to add Eric’s play to their season.  Most importantly, Eric was very happy with the evening. 

OTHELLO and two weeks’ vacation kept me from much of my normal doings – as they should.  No time for voice lessons, but I do a vocalise practice regularly, fit in two Yoga classes and one 35 minute lap swim, plus a couple of long walks in the woods, all of which help to keep me juicy.

I had two theatre auditions with nary a nibble, harumph.  Thanks to the SAG Foundation and its NYCAP program, I met a busy heartfelt and straightforward casting director.  I saw one theatre piece, Lee Breuer’s and Mabou Mines’ La Divina Caricatura, with an old Neighborhood Playhouse chum Maude Mitchell gracing the stage.  I continue to catch up with Breaking Bad and Orange Is The New Black, plus saw films The Trance, The Wall, August Osage County, and Dallas Buyers’ Club

January … still in our dreams. 

December’s Story of the Month

I wore a "Johnson" for a few hours this month whilst playing a man in Harlem Shakespeare Festival's OTHELLO. It was really just a jock strap with a plastic protector cup inside, $18 at Paragon, but it looked like a Johnson from the outside. Director Lisa Wolpe declared I "was packin'." 

I've always loved being female yet am very often acutely aware - even as a very little girl - that being female means being treated as having less power. But I never wanted to be a male. I never wanted a penis. And I sure wanted the power that came with male and penis.

Working during the rehearsal process with being a man was quite a rich trip. I started to learn how to move and think like a man. I learned an awful lot about myself. An awful lot. But the Johnson for the performance unexpectedly was the thing that tipped the scales.

I finally get it. I finally understand the whole man power thing. The Johnson makes you stand and walk and sit with your legs apart, and I can't explain how empowering that is. I'm not kidding. I think all women should try it - for at least a few hours in their life. Cayce Crown thinks Johnson Wearing should be a class in school for little girls.

I'm telling you, I will never be the same actress or the same person since feeling what a Johnson does. I don't need the Johnson anymore. I got the power now. 

November 2013 (check out my Story of The Month at the End)

Two castings this month!  The first is a film lead.  I was cast on a Tuesday … and uncast Thursday.  Budget concerns.  FGS, how much less could they have paid someone – it was payment deferred!  Sheesh!  But the second casting is delicious – a member of the Ensemble of the all-female cast of Othello, directed by Lisa Wolpe (also playing Iago), produced by Harlem Shakespeare Festival, with Debra Ann Byrd as Othello, for December.  I’ll be playing various male senators and officers, singing, stage combating, composing a drinking song or two, and generally pinching myself to be having so much fun.  Othello marks my eleventh stage project since 2010.  Yo.

I had three theatre auditions, two film auditions, one TV audition (with a talented bold-faced name, which is a way more fun and satisfying way to audition than with a bored or frightened reader), one go-see and thanks to SAG Foundation a general with a busy casting director.  The bold-faced name project put me on hold for five days, then alas released me.  He would have been a blast to work with.  Fat lady hasn’t sung yet!

Six Yoga classes and four voice classes to keep me juicy in spite of the last week of the month spent on holiday.  And I’m registered for my first dance class in twenty-five years - a six-week workshop at Steps’ Ultimate Introductory Adult Theatre Dance Class starting in January.  Although I have decades of dance experience, those decades are way long ago, so “Introductory” is the way … for now! 

Our yet-to-be-named film project had its first official pre-production meeting.  Three folks puttin’ on a show.  Hey, maybe that’s the name of the project!  More will be revealed …

So much fun to attend the premiere screening of a film I shot last Spring called Running With Sharks, have a reunion with the gals and one guy, have a little nosh, beam with pride at the final cut.  Major congrats to Nancy Vitale (writer, producer), Nilou Safinya (producer) and Suha Araj (director).  BTW, Suha announced she has been hired to direct a six month travel series, headquartered in Dubai.  Go Suha!  I attended a gathering produced by Nora Armani (I co-starred in her 2012 film Moving Stories of Cannes fame) of her Socially Relevant Film Festival scheduled for early next year.  And the sweet and sassy and funny B-Side film is still hitting the festivals, being invited to compete at the fourteen day Beloit International Film Festival in February 2014.  This group of folks (Amos Posner, writer/director; Joe Uchill writer; April Lamb producer) gave me one of my shortest but favorite film jobs and I’m rooting for us all!

Theatre I attended included Analog.UE by Daniel Kitson at St. Ann’s Warehouse, Martha Clarke’s Cheri at The Signature, and a second viewing of Tennessee Williams’ The Mutilated, directed to rave reviews by Cosmin Chivu, starring the one and only Mink Stole as well as the one and only Penny Arcade.   I saw this last piece at the Provincetown Williams Festival in September and it was fascinating to see how it’s transformed since.  I loved both of Cosmin’s productions equally well for different reasons. 

And thanks to SAG Foundation, I saw two incredibly moving films with two incredibly moving talk-backs:  Casting By with a talk-back including director Tom Donahue plus casting directors Jen Euston, Rosalie Joseph, Marcia DeBonis, Paul Schnee and Todd Thaler; and The Lone Survivor with a talk-back with director Peter Berg.  Thanks to SAG Film Society I saw Nebraska and The Invisible Woman (enjoyed them both immensely), thanks to Netflix I saw Kabei: Our Mother and Tetro and HBO gave me Identity Thief, which had me laughing out loud despite my unwarranted misgivings.  In my spare time (HA!) I’m still enjoying the catch-up for Orange Is The New Black and Breaking Bad.  No spoilers, please!

December – rehearsals for Othello and more …

November’s Story of the Month

We actresses and actors are pretty much on-the-go kinds of folks. If we’re not auditioning (or trying not to wonder how it went for “them” or why we didn’t get a call back or book the job), we’re making connections with people who might hire us, spreading the word about our projects, looking for every opportunity to show our work, checking with friends in the business about the pulse of the life … like I said, on-the-go kind of folks. And it’s a lot of fun and a lot of work and we get responses - yet sometimes the seeming lack of response to the effort extended can feel a bit out of balance. And we go on. Every once in a while, something happens that makes me step back and say “Hey, more people are listening, watching, getting me than I realize.” I launched my website January 2013 and have sent out monthly updates ever since. I get lovely responses, but in early November, when I sent out my October updates to my industry folks, don’t you know I got an email back PDQ with an audition invitation from a casting director I had shown my work to quite some time ago and hadn’t seen since. You know I said yes, and you know I went in. And it was lovely. She was lovely, the reader was lovely, the script was lovely (lovely “written,” not “lovely” to prepare – it was absolutely terrifying to prepare and more absolutely terrifying to perform – I had to sit for twenty minutes afterwards, munching on an apple in her waiting room, before I could gather myself together enough to return to the world outside from the world of a mother watching her daughter be in deathly danger – and I’d gladly do it again – it’s what I do). So, I’m thinkin’ what’s behind the scenes is probably not our business. The scenes in front of us probably are. Somebody told me many decades ago to take the action and let go of the results. I may be starting to understand that.

October 2013 (check out my Story of The Month at the End)

October’s days were a lot about the film Switch, which had one last rehearsal in town before shooting for five days on location in Western New Jersey, plus all the prep before and all the reorganization after principal photography was complete.  An Indie short SAG ultra low budget film that has all the niceties of a bigger project is an awfully good job to have; sensitive and intelligent director/screenwriter Sarah Charlee Harrison, eagle eyed director of photography Justin Ayers, assertive yet friendly 1st AD Carlos Zozaya, multitasker YiYi Han producer, talented co-stars Hunter McNair and child actor Nicky, a friendly crew, a most lovely hotel, and a chef on set (who sent me back to my mini-suite most nights with a wrapped dinner - I actually learned how to use a microwave). The scene grabs I’ve seen are absolutely beautiful.  This will undoubtedly be a festival favorite.

I had a go-see, three theatre auditions with one callback, two film auditions and one TV audition this month.  Now in the early months of my fourth year back to acting, I’m starting to book more auditions for higher profile projects.  I like that.  I like that a lot.

I had three Yoga classes and four voice lessons this month to help keep me fluid and juicy.  To keep me in the loop, I saw three theatre pieces, one film and attended one film festival. And I’m streaming Netflix now, watching Orange Is The New Black and, rather late to the game, Breaking Bad.  I’ve finished the first season of House of Cards - wow.

Shakespeare’s Sister at LaMama enjoyed Winsome Brown’s playful magic; Julius Caesar at St Ann’s Warehouse enthralled and scared the heck out of me with the all-female cast from Donmar Warehouse, and I even got to stay for an unexpected talk-back with the full cast, the artistic director of the Donmar Josie Rourke, and the director Phyllida Lloyd; Sean Patrick Monahan’s talent as writer, actor, singer and dancer (still in his very early twenties!) shone with his solo show Diva at Theatre Row.  I saw the film Kill Your Darlings thanks to SAG Film Foundation.  And the films of the Gotham Film Festival, a new-ish local fest showcasing short films, technically coordinated by Board member Cayce Crown (who did MUCH more than technically coordinate and be a Board member), were so varied that it was kind of mind blowing.  Luca Elmi, Italian filmmaker and all-around wonderful guy, won not one but two “Best” awards for his already award-winning film Do No Harm – he’s most proud of Audience Favorite but also won Best in his category.  I went to CENFLO film festival in Florida last year with one of my films, where I first met Luca and saw his film there, and never tire of it.  Well deserved awards for Luca.

Films I’ve worked on still running the festival circuit continue to win awards.  B-Side won the Breakout Award at the Flyway Film Festival as well as being nominated for best film and best director at Orlando.  And the adorable Tobias Segal won best supporting actor also at Orlando.  Continued congrats to Joe Uchill co-writer, Amos Posner co-writer and director and April Lamb producer!

My Story of the Month:  in this business, once in a very rare while, a very very rare while, someone takes you under their wing.  Over a year ago I was invited by a director I had worked with to do a reading of a new play and when I read the script I was excited.  What a play!  What a role!  Our public reading went very well for all involved and when I next ran into the playwright, some six months later, he was happy to tell me a terrific regional theatre was producing the play early 2014, and that he’d love to get me into the auditions, but they only had budget in their studio productions for local hires.  Fortune has it that my little cabin in the woods is well within commuting distance to the theatre, so I indeed would be a local hire, and he said he’d see what he could do.  Well, six months pass and the audition time is getting near and eureka! the theatre invites me to come in.  I let the playwright know of the good news, and he said he wanted to help me prepare for the audition because “if they don’t hire you, at least they’ll know how the part should be played.” I immediately made a date with him!  I felt the audition went well, I got a callback, and didn’t book the job merely because of age compatibility with the actor cast as the main character of the play.  So, here’s the thing:  what an effing win! The disappointment of not getting the job was very short lived because I got everything BUT the job.  I got the audition, I got the playwright’s personal help, I got the callback, I got to show my work to the casting and artistic and play directors of a regional theatre with a terrific reputation, who then called me back, which is an awfully nice way start to our relationship, AND I got the reason why I didn’t get cast.  Now that I have proof positive that this kind of magic can be afoot, I’m listening for the next angel’s wings to swoosh into my path.  Thank you angel!  Thank you.

I'm usually pretty good with auditions; low on the nerves, high on the excitement to meet people and show them my work.  We actors always hear about how little control we have over getting a job, how seemingly arbitrary casting decisions are made, how talent is hardly the criterion on which booking rests. Yet our natures seem to default to not booking somehow being “our fault.”  That’s certainly been a struggle for me to reconcile at times.  This experience really drove the realities of booking home.  All the “reasons” we hear for not booking seem more believable to me now.  When I know I did a damn good audition and don’t get a callback or a booking, it all seems way less personal now, way less rejecting.  I usually have great satisfaction getting, prepping for and actually doing an audition.  And now, I’m even more relaxed about it.  Bring it on!

November … more will be revealed!

September 2013

See my new Buzz Feature, Story of the Month, at the end of this month’s Buzz.

Ah, September ... the start of my fourth year back to acting. After having July and August gloriously taken up with my tenth theatre project, I spent the first week of the month at the beach as an homage to the waning summer inspired by the sun and salt air. I hardly had any time to wonder when my next project was arriving when there it was – the film Switch I auditioned for in March! I’m kvelling telling you that the director continued with her casting search all summer and always came back to my audition tape. My “son” had to drop out before our first rehearsal due to schedule conflicts and I’m thrilled to report that one of the many actors I recommended, Hunter McNair, snagged the part. So I’m on location in Western New Jersey for five days mid-October and I am so looking forward to it. We squeezed in one table read rehearsal before month’s end. Switch marks my sixteenth film! Kvelling again …

September auditions were rare, with one for theatre and one for TV. And because of travel plans to the Tennessee Williams Festival in Provincetown later in the month, I had to forego another TV audition plus a print go-see. Choices, choices, choices. The Williams Festival was rich; I saw three plays, one of which contained the very best Brick I’ve ever enjoyed – in fact, I understood Brick for the first time thanks to the actor Steven DeMarco. Irene Glezos’ passion enthralled with her turn at In The Summerhouse. And my favorite was directed by Cosmin Chivo, Slapstick Tragedy: The Mutilated, starring Mink Stole and Penny Arcade – really inspired theatrical directing and, of course, tantalizing Penny and Mink.

I somehow managed to get in six Yoga classes and six voice classes despite my being in town only three weeks of the month. Both practices are so very meaningful for me on so very many different levels, and the bottom line is they keep me juicy.

And did I see theatre and film! In addition to the Williams Festival theatre, I saw Boeing Boeing, The Bonus Army (Mark DiConzo was superb and I loved every moment of the whole show), The Hummingbird’s Tour (directed with brilliance and heart by John Augustine), Fetch Clay Make Man (eye-opening) and No Hotel. Films Mud, WADJDA (first film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and first film ever shot by a Saudi female director - who had to stay veiled and in a parked van to do her job), The Butler (simply amazing), Blue Caprice (wow! followed by a talkback with star Isaiah Washington), Newlyweeds (see story below) and Rush. I even got to enjoy a night at the Phil with their evening of Hitchcock film scenes and their scores narrated by Alec Baldwin thanks to Cayce Crown treating!

Now, the kvelling trend continues with films I’ve worked on and their new festival schedule announcements. I sure can pick the successful projects! Casual Encounters (Best Feature, Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, 2013) was announced for Santa Fe, Timeline NOLA, New Jersey and Twin Cities film festivals – you go Will McCord filmmaker and Andrew Li producer! Running With Sharks showed at Broad Film Festival in Venice Beach (the organizers sign their emails “The Broads”), with congrats to Nancy Vitale (writer, producer), Nilou Safinya (producer) and director Suha Araj. And B-Side (Outstanding Achievement in Music, Newport Beach Film Festival) was invited to Flyway and Orlando Film Festivals – yay! Amos Posner filmmaker, Joe Uchill co-writer and April Lamb producer.

Speaking of B-Side, guess who saw the film for the first time at a private screening for cast and crew at The Walter Reade theatre at Lincoln Theatre? Kvelling …

And my story of the month: Riding the subway a couple of years ago, a tall and handsome charismatic man got on asking riders to spend $10 for a DVD of his films to help him get through NYU, studying film. How could I not? He was moving quickly, hustling, yet took a moment for a few words of thanks; I told him he could thank me by considering me for upcoming projects; we exchanged cards; the shorts on the DVD were good; I've stayed in touch. On September 18 I sat in the audience at Film Forum and watched Newlyweeds. This is Shaka King's first feature - funny, real, polished, moving, good acting, ambiguous ending. I feel a little proud - at least $10 proud.

And on to October’s wealth … unknown, but wealth

August 2013

August was all about Einstein, the new play by Jay Prasad I was a part of playing two Mrs. Einsteins, Albert’s mother and Albert’s second wife.  We had sixteen exciting performances at the wondrous Theatre at St. Clement’s in Manhattan’s Theatre District.  The experience of leaving the theatre after each show to walk through the teeming theatrical ‘hood on my way home was thrilling.  I cannot say enough good about Variations Theatre Group, especially producer Rich Ferraioli and all the professionals he hires to get the job done.  We were a cast of ten; not only talented but good, heartfelt, professional, funny, mischievous, lovable actors.  Beginning this project was tenuous, rehearsals were intriguing, tech was hell (as it seemingly must always be), first preview was actually our dress rehearsal (with apologies to our audience), the run was filled with all the best of what a run brings, the audiences were warm and unpredictable and eccentric and very alive, the final performance was happily heart-wrenching, good byes were dear and I have honored memories and people in my heart.  Sincere thanks to producer Rich, director Randolph Curtis Rand, and playwright Jay for hiring me.  And, on to the next project! 

I spent a few hours with the film folks of Rattlefly for post-production ADR.  The rough cut looks amazing.  What an interesting project this has been playing a mean old coot – I mean MEAN!

And I had my first-ever press interview.  I asked my agent if there was anything to know about giving interviews and she gave the best advice:  “Light a candle, tell the truth, and let go of what they write because you have no control over it anyway.”  Check it out under What They Say on my website.

While August can be sleepy-time on the audition front, I did get in one each of theatre, film and commercial auditions.  Some good feedback, no nibbles, and so it goes.  

I’m not quite sure how I managed to fit in eleven Yoga classes and six voice lessons, but I did and while neither is the easiest way to spend an hour or two, I greedily lapped up every moment offered.  Of course the obvious benefit to Yoga and voice lessons are keeping the body aligned and tuned.  And I’m not quite sure exactly which is the more spiritual practice for me.  I never expected voice lessons to be the intimate self-discovery they are, but thanks to Jeff Halpern, I’m on the precipice, if not free falling, much of the time we spend together.

In spite of the play’s time demands, I surprisingly got to see quite a bit of film and theatre this month.  Theatre brought me The Nance (adored each moment), Old Friends (ahhhh, Lois Smith), and Very Bad Words (playwright Jacob Presson – a rising star to keep my eye on!); film entertained me with Touchy Feely (Thanks SAG Foundation!); and I finally got Netflix streaming and stayed up way too late night after night watching House of Cards (yea!, Beau Willimon!). Highlight among highlights:  Love’s Labour’s Lost at the Delacorte.  Shakespeare in the Park is likely my most favorite event of a year in Manhattan, and winning the free virtual lottery just seems like heaven on a plate.  And I got that heaven on a plate this year!  Each crumb was delicious.  

We hosted a cast party for all the Einstein folks and the night’s weather was delightful, allowing us to spill out onto the terrace instead of just inside our tiny apartment spilling onto each other.  Giggles and guffaws, crooning, schemes made, huge pot of chili et up, libations, backstage deals bandied about, even a little smooching here and there, watermelon – hard to end the evening.  Thanks to Cayce Crown for pitching in despite her own overwhelming professional schedule.  

Award winning filmmaker, producer, actor and beloved friend Luca Elmi graced NYC and ourselves with his presence for a few days in from Milan.  He had us laughing so hard listening to his new film in preproduction about prostates.  I offered to play the role of the prostate, but I think he’s going in another direction with that one.

A film I worked on, B-Side, was accepted to the Orlando Film Festival in October.  It’s already won an award (best music) from Newport Beach Film Festival, so fingers crossed and best wishes to the funny funny Amos Posner filmmaker and uber cool April Lamb producer.  And another film I worked on, Casual Encounters, was accepted into the New Jersey Film Festival in September-October.  Casual Encounters won Best Feature at Art Of Brooklyn Film Festival earlier this year and I’m sure it will make its mark at this festival as well, thanks to Will McCord filmmaker of still-waters-run-deep fame and Andrew Li producer, whom I made cry at my audition by being so GD mean and ornery (as the part called for).  

And the grand finale for August:  Another week spent closing out a chock-full month at our sweet cabin in Bucks County PA.  Breathing, kayaking, creating, laughing, dreaming, watching birds at the feeders, planning (man plans, god laughs), eating farm-fresh food, catching up with PA friends, remembering what otherwise-busy sweethearts are for, and so it goes.

September – who knows?

July 2013

July’s most important event:  I spent the first week on vacation at our cabin in the woods of Bucks County, PA.  Time for R&R, space for creative thinking, and all the wonderful things a week in the woods with a beloved sweetheart, farm-fresh food, kayaks and library books brings.

OK, OK, I admit my agents called with an audition with a very interesting filmmaker, so a fast trip back to NYC was a minor interruption to the vaca, but I was so glad to meet this woman that there was no sacrifice involved at all.  I also had two more film auditions, two TV auditions and one TV callback.

Einstein, the play, kept me quite engaged with rehearsals for the month.  I play two Mrs. Einsteins:  Einstein the Mother and the second wife Elsa. I really enjoy working with the director Raldolph Curtis Rand and his unusual rehearsal style and I can’t say enough about the all-around talented goodniks cast and crew and producers.  We’ve got a good show for 16 performances in August and, more importantly, a cherished experience and new friends.  Thanks to Variations Theatre Company for hiring me.

Eight voice lessons and eight Yoga classes – mathematical symmetry with body aligned and instrument tuned!

So happy to see The Assembled Parties on Broadway and Beckett In Benghazi Off-Off Broadway, with such beautiful language in the first; provocative fun and messy mayhem in the second. 

Movies aplenty this month what with the time off to catch up on Netflix and a few retro moviehouse visits:  Frankie Go Boom, I’m So Excited, Casablanca, Red, Man Of Steel, The Lone Ranger, Twenty Feet From Stardom, The Last Metro.  Highlight:  lots of younger folks in the sold-out house for Casablanca.  While the twenty- and thirty-somethings were aplenty, the 9 year old in front of us was literally on the edge of his seat after the first twenty minutes and looked quite spent, albeit happy, by the credits’ roll. 

Thanks to the SAG Foundation, I attended a panel dedicated to the creation, production, and performance of the solo show.  Remembering clearly the enormous work that goes into such an animal, I’m doing my prep before I leap.

My film Moving Stories, which has had quite the round of film festivals, played at yet another – The Golden Apricot in Armenia.  Film is just everywhere on the globe, right?

July was filled with highlights, but if I were forced to choose a favorite, it would be my first press interview for the aforementioned upcoming new play at St. Clements in Manhattan for the month of August, Einstein.  The Jewish Press found this Irish lass an interesting choice for playing two Jews, and so it went.  I asked my agent beforehand if there was anything to know about giving a press interview, and she said “Light a candle and tell the truth.  They’ll write what they write, and you have to be OK with that.”

I love my agents.  And, on to August!

June 2013

June was eclectically busy what with a film, a national commercial, two TV primetime and three theatre auditions, resulting in one callback – so far.  I was also confirmed as playing Mrs. Einstein the mother and Mrs. Einstein the second wife in a play called … wait for it … Einstein.  That’s 16 performances in August at St. Clement’s, invitations pending.  I did a very fun public reading of Vanda’s new play, The Forgetting Curve, at The Soho Playhouse, directed by Christopher Carter Sanderson of Gorilla Rep, recently of the smash hit play Will They Serve Beer On Broadway.  The fascinating subject matter of the play drew neuroscientists and psychologists to the audience, which made for a rapt full house, despite the downpours.

Further eclectica:  I’ve been in contact with an author of a stirring new novel regarding optioning her book.  Producing has been a percolating interest, and this is my first foray.  And I directed a series of videos for a Bucks County politician for her campaign, shot by video vixen Cayce Crown, whose tag line is “Shooting Your Friends And Relatives So You Don’t Have To.” Now, why would you ever hire anyone else to shoot you?  Cayce is busy with editing all the footage, says it looks great, and we’re all eager to see the final products.  And I finally met casting director/director/producer Risa Bramon Garcia, a most lively and interesting woman.

Keeping the instrument tuned and the body alive, I had five pilates classes, three yoga classes and eight voice classes.  Singing teacher quote:  “You’re the most improved in the shortest time of any singer I’ve ever worked with.”  More than a good feeling, that.  Thanks, Jeff Halpern!

As always, what’s out there is important to me, and my favorite film this month was made by a Facebook Friend, Terracino, and is playing on HBO called Elliot Loves.   I went upstate to Chenango River Theatre to see the always-brilliant Laurel Casillo in Miracle On South Division Street, saw The Caucasian Chalk Circle at CSC  (thanks TDF!), plus The Weir at Irish Rep, with the glowing and talented Hollis McCarthy as hostess. 

Disappointment of the month:  (You’ll rarely see this heading on my Buzz; I’m not the disappointment type) I never hit it on the virtual ticketing for the Delacorte’s first show at this season’s Shakespeare In The Park.  This is always a highlight of the highest delights for me each summer, and I just couldn’t get that going on no matter how diligently I entered the lottery.  Next show, hopefully, yes.

Frostings on the cake: being invited by Andre Gregory to the final dress of Wally Shawn’s The Designated Mourner at The Public.  What a night that was – three hours flew past without having any idea of time passing.  Plus it was so sweet to see many of my compatriots from The Master Building project, not to mention Wally, Larry Pine and Deborah Eisenberg on stage.  B-Side, a film I did in 2012, by the sweet and smart and funny Amos Posner, produced by the one and only April Lamb, played in competition at Coachella’s new AMFM festival.   

The whole kit and caboodle:  well, call me what-you-will, but I just adored everything about this year’s The Tony Awards presentations.  Some day I’ll be watching them live in the theater, but this year home on TV was simply terrific.

Now off to the cabin in the woods for ten nights.  Ah, summertime!  Rehearsals commence immediately upon my return.  I’m diggin’ that.

May 2013

What a fun month May turned out to be! I had two theatre auditions with two callbacks with two bookings. That’s what I’m talkin’ about. And I wrapped two films, Rattlefly and Running With Sharks, which were both terrific experiences. Rattlefly was the typical very very long days of filmmaking but in a beautiful setting on a stream with a waterfall in upstate NY plus a Chinese mom chef who would make you anything you wished for snacks and meals anytime. Running With Sharks, an Indie short written by Nancy Vitale, directed by the amazing Suha Araj, produced by Eyes Up Here’s Nilou Safinya and Nancy Vitale, shot in the beautiful John Jay College swimming pool and I got to be a water rat for eight hours. As a kid I was in the water anytime possible, so I was happy to suit up and dive in.

I also had another theatre audition, a film audition, a voiceover audition and a commercial audition and haven’t heard back from them … yet. Plus, I met a busy busy casting director and showed him my work through NYCAP (what a great resource).

Thanks to TRU, I attended a panel on solo shows, led by some movers and shakers in that field. I’m in the “pre-redevelopment” phase of my show Ridgewood, so it was good timing to be a part of the discussion.

Keeping the instrument tuned and the body alive, I had six pilates classes, one yoga class and seven voice classes.

What’s out there is important to me, and I was a bit busy to be able to see as much as I like, but was completely charmed by Pierce Brosnan in Love Is All You Need with SAG Film Society, the new Star Trek film was a real crowd pleaser, and I was predictably both baffled and amused with Richard Foreman’s new Old Fashioned Prostitutes at The Public, co-starring my beloved David Skiest. The talkback after the show was fascinating, with Mr Foreman at the helm, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone use the word “rhetoric” so many times in one sitting.

Frostings on the cake: my first feature way back in 2010, Casual Encounters, won Best Feature at Art of Brooklyn Film Festival. Filmmaker Will McCord (director, screenwriter, editor ) and producer Andrew K. Li (you couldn’t meet two nicer guys in the biz) spent eight years to complete this project, and it certainly paid off! Plus B-Side, a film I did in 2012, by the sweet and smart and funny Amos Posner, produced by the one and only April Lamb premiered at Newport Beach Film Festival and won for Best Music! Next stop for B-Side: Coachella’s new AMFM festival in June. You go, B-Side!

May turned out to have a definite theme: the fortune of working with truly talented and truly heartcentric artists. #luckyduck

April 2013

Now, this was a busy month on a lot of fronts. Booking a job is always exciting and I booked three films, two of which started production this month. Extra exciting when one booking comes from a self-taped EcoCast on ActorsAccess and another comes from a producer I worked with in 2012 calling and offering me a part. I’m just passing the 2.5 year mark on my return to acting after a 20 year hiatus, so my agent’s wisdom “it’s a small community” rings true. Relationship, relationship, relationship. Looking forward to shooting Running With Sharks in May.

I had a film audition I haven’t heard back from yet but had many laughs with the casting director and filmmaker during it, plus two theatre auditions, one of which was my first singing audition through my agent. Unexpectedly elevating to have a first singing audition under my belt!

I had a glorious run as Esther with the play Eulogy (thank you Jason Jung for writing her and Adam Delia for directing me), shot Wingwoman Testimonials (RJ Lucci knows how to run a damn fun set) and started production on Rattlefly (difficult character, typically long days, wondrous locale, director, cast and crew).

Keeping the instrument tip-top, I had 12 Pilates classes and 9 voice lessons, and started a lovely daily practice with the book “Just One Thing.”

I submitted my application to MacDowell Writers Colony winter residencies for the redevelopment of my solo show Ridgewood. Fingers crossed.

And three of my films, Casual Encounters, B-Side and Moving Stories, were admitted into film festivals (Brooklyn, Newport Beach, Monaco, World Arts).

And wow, did I see a lot of great stuff: Theatre gave me Old Hats (David Shiner and Bill Irwin just get better and better); The Last Will (Austin Pendleton taking the lead very late in rehearsals – intriguing performance); Rise (Crawford Collins shines); Of Mice And Men (Frank Licato’s direction is mesmerizing); Oo-Bla-Dee (Delroy Lindo’s direction stirs); Words, Razors and The Wounded Heart (I can never say enough about Less Than Rent’s productions – these young’uns are my number one favorite theatre company in town); and Mayday Mayday (very creatively directed solo show). Films Showing Up – A Conversation About The Audition (strangely calming to see boldface names’ trials and tribulations); and, Disconnect (had to sit a while before I could get up after that one). But my singular number one film event of the month was going to the pre-screening party and mingling with old and new buds, then off to Film Forum to see the official opening of Cindy Kleine’s documentary, Before And After Dinner, about my honored and intriguing director André Gregory. Some of our Master Builder rehearsals were included in the footage and the whole thing was just wonderful. Congratulations to Cindy and André for their accomplishments.

March 2013

Booked two parts this month:  auditioned, booked and started rehearsals for a lovely role in Jason Jung’s new play Eulogy (opens in April), directed by Adam Delia and co-starring Joe Stillman; was offered and gleefully accepted the role of “Depressed Woman” (via FB message, no less – gotta love social media) in Whitney Hamilton’s new Indie Short TuLips – and if you know me, you’ll know “depressed” is a stretch for me!  Auditioned for Royal Pains (TV); auditioned for Metropolitan Playhouse, with a callback (my second audition for a well-defined Jewish woman this month, in spite of my Irish heritage – but, I’m an actress, right?); auditioned for Ain Gordon’s  If She Stood;  was invited by the Artistic Director of The Attic Theatre Company to submit myself for her next project; was invited to self-submit for two voiceover jobs; was invited by director Laura Moss to audition for The Pillowman, but alas it’s non-Equity so I had to pass on that one (best of luck for the production); auditioned for a NYU student film; got stood up for another  NYU student film audition (do I really need to do any more student films!?!?).  Keeping up the instrument and inspiration with eight vocal lessons  and eight Pilates sessions; saw the talented Master Builder alumnus Jeff Biehl in Isaac’s Eye at EST; saw OZ, The Angel’s Share and NO with SAG Film Society plus paid full price(!) for Zero Dark Thirty; saw the sublime Holland Taylor perform her powerful and heartfelt Ann at Lincoln Center; saw The Drawer Boy at Oberon Theatre Co; saw The Testament of Mary at The Walter Kerr with the superb Fiona Shaw with theatrics inside and out of the theatre (protestors chanting The Rosary outside and Ms Shaw enthralling us with her courage minute by minute inside); and, to end with a BANG:  was invited to re-sign for another year with my beloved and happening agents at Judy Boals Inc, which I did, of course!


February 2013

OK,OK, I admit to having lost control of my schedule for February and can only say I was so happy to work on the audition materials and then get those auditions done well.  So, I can tell you I had a bunch of them including LaJolla (theatre)  and Smash but every other is a happy blurred memory;  had four voice lessons;  accepted an invitation from filmmaker Cindy Kleine at Film Forum for a sneak peek at her new film “Before and After Dinner,” about my esteemed director from Wallace Shawn’s version of Ibsen’s Master Builder, Andre Gregory (I’m in the documentary, too);  absolutely adored KneeHigh Theatre Company’s The Wild Bride at St. Ann’s Warehouse; and that’s it for specifics for a memory-blurred February 2013 … except for four R&R nights at Kiawah Island, SC – much needed … obviously!

January 2013

January’s dead in show biz? Nuh uh. Three auditions and one go-see; Nora Armani’s Indie Short Moving Stories (I co-star; Cannes premiere May 2012; Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre December 2011) scheduled for London debut at Shoretitch Hall in February 2013; finished Demo Reel and video clips; one on-camera class; six voice classes; backstage at The Belasco for Golden Boy directed by Bartlett Sher with Demosthenes Chrysan meeting James Crawford, Danny Burstein, Noah Himmelstein; saw Spirits of Exit Eleven at The Lyon directed by Frank Licato; saw Peggy’s Shaw’s latest solo show Ruff at Dixon Place; saw Sari Caine’s The Chess Lesson at IRT; saw Catch Me If You Can at Philadelphia’s The Academy of Music; saw The Impossible and Gangster Squad with SAG Film Society.

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