lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

A New Level of Nerd October 8, 2016

I have officially reached a new level of nerd. And this is coming from the girl who thought she was going to marry Alexander Rozhenko, has dressed as a TARDIS for the last three Halloweens, and craves the Walking Dead like a walker craves juicy, live-person flesh.

But still I have reached a new level of nerd. I have officially started playing Dungeons and Dragons. And… I like it.

I sort of feel like I might be entering an episode of Stranger Things by playing D&D, but if the upside down is where I’m headed, at least I’ll have a good proficiency with my long bow. I mean, I get +7 with whatever I roll on that one, so the Demogorgon should be no problem.

Though truthfully my character isn’t doing so well. (more…)

 

Panties Predicament October 3, 2016

I’ve been onstage a few thousand times at least. I’ve made my living for my entire adult life on stage. But there are certain times that having years of muscle memory built up can bite you in the butt.

I just opened Anything Goes this week. It’s a super fun show that I’ve never had the opportunity to do before. I’m an Angel in the show, which in this case means a sultry backup dancer. Rather than design and build the costumes for the show in-house, the company I work for decided to rent the tour/Broadway costumes. And that’s great! They’re beautiful, but they are meant to fit other people.

So while all the costumes are meant to have bloomers (show panties) built into them, there is one costume where the bloomers had to be taken out so I could tunnel into the costume instead of stepping into it. All the other girls get to step into their dresses, but me, with the boobies and the bootie, cannot get into that costume in the customary direction. (more…)

 

The Effing Fife August 20, 2016

I’m having problem writing a blog for you all at the moment. Mostly because I have awesome writerly news that I can’t tell you, and it’s all I can think of.

So, right.

Here’s a good story for you. The Story of the Effing Fife. My husband has an admirable life goal to learn to play as many instruments as possible. He can play the piano, the guitar, the ukulele, the mandolin, and the effing fife.

He never set out to play the fife. Never had a hankering for a fife in his life, but now he can!

We were doing a show near Gettysburg, PA, and there was a big Civil War reenactment going on. My mom was in town, and since we did a bunch of reenactments when I was growing, we decided to go. It was a fairly decent reenactment; there was singing and food, and my husband was fairly entertained for the most part. But when we started looking at the costumes and textiles, he got a little bored.

So my mom, trying to be awesome, bought my husband a fife to keep him occupied while we looked at corsets. He, being him, figured out how to play a few notes in seconds and then found an actual fife player to show him how to play them better. By the end of the day he was walking around the reenactment playing the Harry Potter theme. Yes, it was just as dorky as it sounds.

It was great for an afternoon activity, and I thought that would be the end of it. I was so, so very wrong. (more…)

 

That Time They Trusted Me with Fire August 13, 2016

I’m a little accident prone. Okay, I’m significantly accident prone, especially when it comes to fire. Kitchen fires, camp fires, I can destroy things like a pro. And for the last few weeks I’ve been playing the Wicked Witch of the West, complete with real live fire shooting out of my hands.

It’s a little, flash paper device, but it does make a nice little flame.

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Sometimes the thing won’t go off at all; occasionally a ball of fire forms around my hand; and one time I caught a tiny bit of the set on fire. Just the little strings hanging off the twine decorations, but still, set on fire all because of me! Woot woot (and hope I don’t get fired)!

And not only am I supposed to shoot fire out of my hand; I’m supposed to aim for people! Mostly my lovely roomie who plays the Scarecrow. Which is terrifying. Looking at a person, pressing a button, and hoping that fire shoots at them. (more…)

 

The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Crying August 8, 2016

Being a child in theatre is almost worse than being an adult in theatre. I mean, true, for me this job pays for food for me to eat and health insurance that I use liberally, but I still think it’s harder for kids. Rejection on a grand scale is still super new. Stakes opening night feel like a life or death lottery. And aging out is a constant struggle. 

You learn all the words to Mary Lenox’s song in Secret Garden and shoot up two inches so you’re too tall to audition. You really want to be Annie, but it’s not even the singing that knocks you out of the running — you’re too tall.

You can’t be Liesl in Sound of Music because you’re too young, but you can’t be any of the others because you’re too old. 90% of childhood in theatre is your own quickly growing body being too something for you to be cast. And don’t even get me started on the poor boys who get cast in a show and have to drop out cause their voices start to change. It’s a brutal, brutal world. 

When I was little, I was desperate to be in the Sound of Music. I wanted to be a Von Trapp child. Any Von Trapp child — I would have happily played a boy. My mother dutifully took me to the audition where the other little girls were dressed up like Toddlers and Tiaras, and I was dressed in the one dress I hadn’t torn to shreds playing in the yard. They lined us all up, and we had to go on stage one at a time to sing in matching(ish) groups of potential children. The group of pale, gangly brunettes was near the end, so I made my mom take me to the bathroom so I could panic in peace. 

But the bathroom was filled. Girls primping, girls crying, one girl wailing like a freakin’ banshee while her mother pinned her and put lipstick on her. It was terrifying! Why were we there!

I asked my mom to leave, but I had signed in so she made me stick it out. I gathered with my gangly group, we all sang, a few cried, and then we got rejected. It was terrible. 

And it didn’t get any easier. Not for years. Too young for teen chorus, too old for the little kids. It sucked. When the local girl booked Annie on Broadway, it sucked. When I got cast as a tap dancer in the Nutcracker, it sucked. 

But I did it. I stuck it out and became a big kid performer. I feel like I should give some speech about how the trauma was worth it, and for me it is. I mean, this is how I make my dollars. I play pretend for a living. But as far as fun hobbies for a kid, I don’t know… do mathletics or save puppies. Yeah, that’s all I’ve got.

 

It All Depends on Who Shows Up August 6, 2016

Well, the time is coming folks. My birthday is around the corner, and I will officially be O.A.F. True, I feel like that every year, but this year I feel like I really am getting old.

On the plus side, I do feel like I have accomplished some things since my last birthday. I wrote four books, had a Christmas story released, and signed a contract for a new series. But there is always that little voice in the back of your head that says, But you wanted a literary agent by this birthday. YOU FAILED! MWAHAHAHA!

And it’s true; I wanted a literary agent by this unnamed birthday, and that didn’t happen. Though there are some potentially promising emails that have arrived. Not that that really means anything.

I’ve also recently been told that I was too old for an ensemble part in a show. I’ve heard too tall, to curvy, too soprano, but too old is a thing I haven’t been told since I aged out of Annie auditions. Truth be told, I really don’t think I’m too old at all. It’s more like too tall with a side of big boobs, but whatever.

But with the agent thing and the too old for ensemble dilemma, I have to remember something my mother told me: It all depends on who shows up.

You may be great for Maria in Sound of Music, but if Julie Andrews shows up, you aren’t going to get the role. It’s just that simple.

If a pack of four girls who look like they’re nineteen can be in the show, you’re right, I do look too old. I look like a woman – not an old woman – but still a definitive woman. And that’s okay.

Same with agents. I recently exchanged a pleasant string of emails with an agent who truly liked my writing but had a book about high school theatre already on his list. I’m really grateful for that interaction, because it reminded me that it really all does depend on who shows up. They might love my YA Fantasy, but if J.K. Rowling shows up, she’s going to get the contract. It has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with who else is in the room or rather the query inbox.

So going into my O.A.F. birthday, as terrible as it sounds, I hope I can end up in a show where the chorus girls don’t look like wee babies and end up in an agent’s inbox who hasn’t heard from J.K. Rowling lately. And who knows? Maybe in a few birthdays I can be singing “The Ladies Who Lunch” while the chorus girls work a hell of a lot harder than I do for less recognition, and I’ll be the new J.K. Rowling of the book party.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep trekking on. I may have big boobs and no agent, but dammit, I’m a working actor and a published author. And that’ll just have to be good enough for this O.A.F chorus girl.

 

On Terrifying Small Children July 25, 2016

I’m not a mean or evil person. At least I like to think I’m a somewhat decent human. But I was asked in a talk back recently if I felt accomplished when I made small children cry.

I’m playing the Wicked Witch right now, and I know more than one tiny human has had to be rushed out of the theatre by a parental unit because my being onstage caused spontaneous freak outs. I’m supposed to be mean and scary, but I don’t want to make small children cry. (more…)