Monday, November 27, 2006

So Rises A General . . .

While granting a disclaimer stating that I believe myself to have agency within my circumstances, it nonetheless seems that those circumstances conspire sometimes to leave me without blogging time. So this will have to be quick.

All of the projects named and described in previous posts continue; I'll get to those towards the end. The big NEW news is that I will be playing the role of Titus in Titus Andronicus, which is being produced by Balagan Theatre at CHAC. We start rehearsing on December 5th; we'll have a generous holiday break, followed by a big push in January. The show opens January 18th. If you live in Seattle, or have any chance of getting to Seattle during the three weekends of the run, I'd really like to see you there. I'm terrified, of course--Shakespearean tragic leads are a new thing for me, and I haven't had to play a character some 20 years my senior since I was in school--but very excited. Titus is one of my favorite of Shakespeare's plays in performance, even if its primitive, end-stopped pentameter makes it one of the shakiest on paper.

I was actually given an opportunity to understudy for a show at one of the big houses, with a paid contract and the works. Unfortunately, it would have interfered with both my vacation plans for Thanksgiving (wherein 'Stine and I visited The Krause House) and, potentially, with the classes I'm teaching. The sacrifices were too great, the rewards too intangible (the understudy gig would have represented a good professional leg-up, but as you should all know by now, my exuberance for the ART of acting is more than matched by my profound ambivalence regarding the current state of theatre and the acting PROFESSION). And it seems to me to be a not inconsiderable karmic/cosmic coincedence that I declined the understudy position on the very day of the callback for Titus. Serendipity plays a strange game.

Other than that . . . my kids are doing great work. I got back from vacation to see that a couple of my most devoted students have really taken some initiative, and shown some leadership, in concocting some remarkably well-formed vignettes around the idea of wordless, symbolic combat-dancing; they've even found some creative ways of applying combat principles in completely non-combative context. If I ever create an adult class out of this, I may invite some of my older students from this leg to be my assistants, because they're doing fine, fine work. I'm tearing up a little just thinking about it. Frankly, they're so good that I have to assume it's really nothing to do with me; I was simply the vessel by which they discovered the principles they needed to unlock their own potential.

Still waiting on publication of my articles (the issue comes out in a couple of weeks), but the review editor emailed me the new list for the March issue, so I guess they were willing to have me back. And there are some sweeeeeeeeeeeet offerings in this batch; I can't wait to start my new stroll through the dubby, proggy, trippy, dark, and atmospheric. A celebration of my first publication, meanwhile, should be fortcoming, pending the arrival of December's issue on newstands. Locals, stay tuned.

Let's see . . . the new James Bond movie is awesome; Daniel Craig is both the strongest actor and sexiest presence ever to play 007. Vacation in Albuquerque was lovely; Amanda's kids are darling, and of lovely disposition, and I love playing the crazy, funny uncle from Seattle.

OK, that's it, news, frivolities, and all. Be well.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Slapdash & Slipshod

They have said--and they will continue to say--that accomplishment is a function of preparation. And they have been--and they will continue to be--wrong. Preparation is what we do to keep our own sanity. Accomplishment is the accident for which you must prepare, not the fruit of that preparation.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Someone who, unbeknownst to me, keeps up with my goings and doings almost exclusively through my blog pointed out today that it had been a while since I'd posted. I have to admit that I didn't realize just how long it had, in fact, been. So I'll try to catch y'all up a little, and I'll do so as quickly as possible.

I'm about 2 1/2 weeks into my teaching project . . . and loving it. I don't know if I'm any good at it, but I'm . . . well, I'm tremendously proud of my kids. To be fair, it's only been KIDS for one class; it was KID for most of our time.

Our class is growing slowly. But then, what I'm teaching, while hardly new or radical, is a little esoteric. Offering to isolate the philosophical and responsive principles of martial arts for the sake of creating physical, improvisational, generative theatre exercises is confusing enough for the average layperson, or even for theatre practitioners unaccustomed to generative work, let alone to young people of limited-to-nonexistent theatrical experience who have strugged within the public school system.

But for all of that, the kids who HAVE come to study have been enthusiastic, receptive, occasionally enraptured. The girl we've been teaching at the beginning has not only been studying at home, but has been teaching her roommate the exercises, and finally dragged the roommate to the class on Sunday (she'll now be joining us every Sunday, being unavailable for our Tuesday and Thursday classes). Even the parts of the training that may seem more hokey to some--like the recitation of the Dojo Kun (an absolute article of faith for me)--are going over like gangbusters.

Now, I don't have any illusions that my teaching is what's making this click; I'm just happy that it's clicking for my first formal teaching project. I wonder whether there isn't an unsavory, paternalistic character to the satisfaction I derive from this project, but I can only hope that my doubt and fear that this might be the case means I'm checking in on my intentions adequately, and making offerings in good faith.

Anyway, if all goes well, I should be able to head up a second, more advanced class in this sometime in the next year, and then maybe a version for paying adults sometime in the next 3-5 years. Or not. Right now, I'm just focused on teaching the class as is.

In other news, the magazine for which I did some writing in September and October has been contacting me about creating a subheader, a blurb for the cover, and a synopsis for the table of contents, as well as a photograph and a bio for the "Contributors' Page". So it looks like the article is getting published. No word on the reviews, but they're better than the articles, if only because I have more experience writing reviews, so it all bodes well. I intend to throw myself a little party when the issue comes out.

I had an audition today, and I have another one on Sunday. Today's didn't go all that well, I think, but I've had worse. The people for whom I was auditioning were roundly pleasant, though, so it's not a total loss.

Okay, that's it. Sorry I couldn't come up with something more well-written, but I'm afraid this entry is what I could squeeze out between my many other obligations.

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