Sunday, May 26, 2013

Theatre: Rant edition.

A few weeks ago, an article came across Twitter with the title: Heroic Theatergoer Smashes Cell Phone, Gets Thrown Out. Of course, I'm all about hearing how people handle things themselves, especially when it comes to events in or about the theatre. (Seriously, before you continue reading this post, read that article. It's hilarious.)
 Everyone hates noisy audience members. There's nothing more distracting than someone who is not respecting the actors or the rest of the audience. Common courtesy, that we're all taught in Kindergarten, says that you shouldn't interrupt or talk over other people. Wait your turn. In the theatre, that translates to: As long as someone on the stage is talking, or performing action, your trap should be SHUT.

So let me tell you what happened to me last night. And I'm going to do it with Storify. (Which is really cool and good for putting your long Twitter stories/rants. all in one place.)

So. Please. Think about the people around you when you're an audience member.
 It's distracting to everyone,
 including the actors, and they are not paid enough to have you yapping in the seats. 

Thank you. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

I have an idea.

In a world full of differing opinions, denominations, sects, beliefs, degrees, upbringings, etc... we often take our discussions to Facebook. It can be a good forum for expressing thoughts, having book discussions, talking about pop-culture, and politics, religion, everything.

But if you're like me, sometimes it takes a few days to process your thoughts and form full sentences. and by that time, the thread is done; everyone has said what they wanted, and it's been moved lower on the timeline. Posting something now might be seen as trolling, or argument perpetuating. So then you're just sitting there, with all these thoughts and no place to put them.

I posted an article the other night, and a friend commented on it, and it was long, and I read it of course. But by the time I got through it, I had forgotten what I agreed with or found interesting in the first half of the comment!
That's when I had the idea. 

Facebook, in their ever prevalent obsession with staying "hip" and "fresh," should add a "Highlight" option for long comment threads. 

So, when someone leaves an extra long comment on a post you can highlight it and come back later after you've formed your thoughts. 

How cool would that be? I wonder what Mark Zuckerberg's personal email address is...
                        No? ok.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Dreamspace -5/19/2013-

I walked onto the stage.  There was a man at the table
There was a body on the ground, bloody; bruised; beaten. 
he said "You know she would have wanted me to do this to her." 
Instantly I knew where I was. 
Everyone knows not to think about your dreams. Or you'll loose them. 
I refocus. Two more men at the table. It was clear who the one was:
rich. status. wealth.
But you could tell it was all fading into the past
And then I saw her; there she was. 
The most beautiful woman I had ever seen.
Anyone you talk to knows that she is tragically wrapped up in a beautiful lie of a life.
I sat next to her, suddenly aware of my large sweatshirt and sweatpats. 
She was clad with diamonds; pearls; love; tragedy.
I took her hand. 
She pressed mine against her cheek. 
I did the same. 
She looked deep into my eyes. 
And I wept. 
The rich man placed his hand on my shoulder and directed my attention to the slats in the back wall.
"There it is. See it? It's blinking. Like a heartbeat." 
The Green Light. 
I wanted to go there. I wanted to follow it's pulse, I wanted it to sweep me away. 
In my awakespace I knew that it was real at one time. I didn't know if it still existed. I never longed to know.
But seeing it now, I needed to go there. 
The beautiful woman drew a ragged breath, and said those iconic words: 
"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." 
There is a beat; darkness; applause. The magic is gone.
 The icons fade. 
The body had slipped away, changing into curtain call clothes, I assume.
 I'm left with normal, everyday people, dressed in parts. 
We gather for our bow. 
I realize it's a dress rehearsal. 
I approach and do a goofy curtsy. 
We all stand centerstage;
 laughing; joking; talking about sports. 
Everything-- normal. 
We get lectured on curtain call etiquette. 
a boy questions: "Wait, we have to grab hands? Who does that anymore?" 
"Every Broadway cast." i reply. 
I turn to face the back of the stage. 
The light is gone. It was just a lighting effect.
Ironically, without it, my hope fades.
What do I trust now?
I sigh 
I'm back. 
My awakespace slowly creeps in, and I reflect on the details. 
I realize:
 Even when I awake, I'm drawn to it. 
I'm determined: 
Someday, I will chase, and catch, that green light.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What I Wore- 4/26/2013 (Photo Set)

One morning my friend Ashley posted on Facebook wondering if she could pull of a maxi dress even though she's on the short side. My friend Luke and I were planning to see one of our former students sing opera choruses at his university that evening, and I had struggled for days with what to wear. But Ashley's question inspired me. 

I assured her that yes, she could! Just find one with a nice pattern and pair it with some high wedges. Or if you pick a solid, you can belt it! The trick is to show off your shoulders, so a strapless or thin-strapped dress is perfect. (Capped sleeves are also always a good option).

 Throw on a cute cropped jacket or sweater over it, to change the look completely. Add a fab pair of platforms that will elongate your legs, and make the whole dress fall easier. Make sure your accessories that highlight your face and arms-dangle earrings, bangles, or a statement ring would be perfect. The other important thing is to try before you buy. Not all maxi dresses are made the same. They have different waistlines, lengths, bodices etc… it’s important to know what kind of maxi dress fits your body type! 
The good news is, lots of stores have these dresses for cheap, so you aren't in danger of breaking the bank. Target has great ones, which is where I purchased both of mine. (In addition to the one in the picture, I have a solid yellow one.) If you want to splurge, Nordstrom has a wide variety of maxis. Really, they can be found anywhere. It just depends on how much you want to spend!

I’m a huge advocate for wedges, and my favorites are the Dolce Vita ones I’m wearing in the picture below. They’re comfortable and super cute. I've had them for two years and I wear them with dresses, jeans, skirts, and shorts. Dolce Vita brand can be found in many department stores, so don't sweat the price! As usual, I got mine at Target.  Once again, try before you buy! 
I carried a brown leather purse and a took a jean jacket. The jean jacket makes it casual, but sometimes I'll wear a white cropped sweater over the dress. I wore pink drop earrings that were a gift from my sister, and I pulled my hair back into a maiden braid and pinned the rest to the side. 

Maxi dresses are appropriate for weddings, going out with friends, or a nice walk downtown. Really, you can't go wrong! So go wild, and find one that fits your personal style! 

Shine Bright

My ring is from Lia Sophia, and my nail polish is "I Just Blue Myself" by Wet n Wild. 

Camera: Canon Rebel t3

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Working Theatre Manifesto

This was my final, working manifesto for my senior seminar in the fall of 2010. It's pretty self-explanatory. Questions/comments always welcome. 

Theatre is what I thrive on, and what motivates me. It’s where I can go and be completely surrounded by people who have a passion for the same things I do. 
I am wired to create. 
David Mamet, in his book “True and False,” says "Art is an expression of joy and awe. It is not an attempt to share one's virtues and accomplishments with the audience, but an act of selfless spirit."  He tells me that I have a gift to share; not for my own good, but for the good of the people observing the art that I have created.

When Liesl and I led a kid’s theatre camp at her church, one of the campers, AJ, completely captured my heart. On opening night, we all stood in a circle and joined hands to pray, and AJ was the second person to pray, and what he said moved me to tears. The simpleness of hearing a child say “God, help us to remember when we’re performing tonight that we’re doing it for your glory” struck a chord deep within my spirit. I have carried that sentence in my soul ever since. What AJ said is going to be a constant reminder for me as I continue my life and work in the theatre.

The theatre I believe in involves a give and take relationship. In a production, no matter what role a person is playing, they are constantly asked to pour forth and take in ideas, emotions, reactions, directions. Theatre, while not always outrightly asking the audience to participate, still requires some sort of emotional response from the spectators. Todd Johnson says “theatre (like “sacramental” or presence filled worship) is a process that demands our participation.” In the same way, our relationship with God begs, pleads, pines for some kind of response from Him. 

The theatre I believe in is honest, and I know that the biggest, most difficult gift to give is that of honesty. God requires of us our whole hearts, and I feel that as theatre artists we cheat the audience if we are not completely honest in our performance, or presentation of our gifts. Being  open to anything that happens onstage is the epitome of honesty. I have learned that while working with a scene partner I can find honesty within them, and then together, we can convey that honesty to the audience.
Theatre must be an open line of communication; between the director and actors, the actors and the audience, and ultimately, between God and His children. We have to remember that what we do we do for God’s glory, and for the enjoyment of others; but it shouldn't be an inward achievement checklist for us to cross off.

The theatre I believe in is spiritual. Why? Because there is no denying that we are spiritual beings. An article in Relevant Magazine stated: "True art taps into the spiritual realm. When artists are being authentic, they reflect the truest expression of who they are--either revealing aspects of their weakness or reflecting the heart of their Creator. Those expressions can inform our spiritual journey, and God can reveal Himself to us through them. Because we are spiritual beings, all true art-even secular eventually reveals the sacred."

I want to be spiritual; in my art and in my life.
I want to be honest; onstage and in offstage.
I want to be creative; to reflect the work of my creator,
 for the enjoyment of the audience; not for my own enjoyment.
I want to do all of these things for the Glory of God.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Long Distance:A Short Piece

If you had told me in May of 2012 that a year later I would be dating someone who was two hours away, I would have laughed in your face. I would have said, "Nah, dude. Just going to have a showmance this summer. Nothing more, nothing less." Fast forward to July. God was like "Just kidding, here, try this instead..." There was a boy, and we spent the month just taking walks, talking, going to and from rehearsals together, and just having fun.Then August came, and that's when I ended up 180 miles away from him, back in my small town. It was weird. It wasn't like it was the end of the semester, and you pinky-swore to be BFFs forever. This was our first real, grown-up relationship. And we would not be together everyday. 

Being in a long distance relationship is unlike anything I've ever experienced. It's not tragic like some romance movies make it out to be (Example: "The Notebook." 365 hand-written letters all confiscated by a mother? Ain't nobody got time for dat!), and it's not as tumultuous and promiscuous as "Like Crazy": The movie with that sweet young couple who was separated by the Atlantic Ocean and mountains of Immigrant visa paperwork. (It also has really great poetic moments, and good picture-quotes: see below).
No, we are fortunate enough to have supportive parents who make sure we get to see each other, we are in the same state, and both of us are legal citizens of the U.S., so deportation is not a threat. (Side note: for those of you who don't know, my sister lives 15 minutes from my boyfriend. Convenient, right?)
In spite of all the positives, our long distance relationship, like any non-scripted relationship, has been anything but glamorous. 
The last 9 months of my life have been un-matchable. Peppered with so many emotions, a lot of prayer and growth on both his part and mine, and within our relationship. I think some of the challenges we are facing in our separate lives, (I'm trying to finish school, he's actively job-searching), would be overblown if we were together all of the time. Being apart has let us learn about ourselves away from another person. I'm not attached to his hip or relying on him for every little thing. I've learned how to read him even over Facebook Chat. I've figured out when to think before I speak as to not overwhelm him, (this is a shock to my system...I don't know how to handle it sometimes), and I'm getting better at adjusting to his busy schedule even though I have far less to do than he does. Seriously, I have functioned without him for 24 years, I can survive being two hours apart. 
Is it rewarding? Absolutely. Honestly, I am learning a lot about life and dedication and this has been one big exercise in patience for me. 
Is it sometimes awful? Yes. Some days it feels like this: 

Is it frustrating to see other people upset and missing their significant other even though they're a short distance apart? Incredibly. It baffles me. At first, being apart was just frustrating. But now, I try really hard not to whine about the distance. But other people do complain and it gets annoying. It got to the point where I created a meme about it and laughed for a long time.
At the same time, I have mad respect for military families who do this multiple times a year. They are the true champions of long distance relationships, and I admire them a lot! 

It was right after the meme that I was discussing this with a friend. He reminded me that the people who tend to complain about their relationships aren't in them for very long. It reminded me that I need to be thankful for what I'm learning while I'm in this season of my life, instead of wishing away the days that I do have. I have a feeling that kind of contentment will come in handy once we are ready to be geographically together. 

There's not real formula to successfully surviving long distance relationship; Trust me, I've looked.
My advice/reminders/pep-talk to myself and to anyone in a long distance relationship is simply this: 

 I refuse to complain about the distance aspect of my relationship. It's been 9 months. It is what it is. It's not perfect, but it's handled. With maturity comes acceptance. And the willingness to persevere and push through the sludge&distance and have faith in your relationship. Trust God, trust each other, trust yourself, and trust the "us" and the "we" and the "together" even if you're apart.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cats vs. Men: The Great Debate

Cats or men? I like men. I also like cats. But being a cat lady was never appealing to me. Even when I was single. These thoughts are exclusively my own. Comments/discussion is always welcome. 

Lately, (always), I've been seeing girls talking on social media about being alone, being betrayed by a guy or becoming a cat lady in the future (most recently 15 Reasons Why Having A Cat Is Better Than Having A Boyfriend). Honestly, I think that is silly.
Now, I know everyone has a story, and I love and respect that so much! I love that there are girls who are focusing on their careers, or other pursuits, and feel that single is the way to go. Relationships aren't for everyone, and value and self-worth don't come from being linked with someone. I love reading dialogue about being your own person, and how the person you will marry won't "complete" you or be your "other half." It's so cool to see so much positive growth and learning in single ladies that I love and/or look up to.

That being said: I hate feeling guilty about being in a relationship. Now, I know what you're thinking: "Well Star, it sounds like you should examine your blah blah blah priorities, blah blah blah, guilt complex, blah blah blah." 
I see that attempt at rationalization and I raise you this: I am one of the least guilt-ridden people you will ever meet. So, it's not that. I just...feel bad that not everyone is happy. Once again, I know true happiness doesn't come from being with someone in a romantic relationship. But I see so much hopelessness from a lot of single girls, and in my gut I just feel...guilty. I never would have guessed that this type of guilt existed in relationships. So, a note to the single girls, you aren't the only ones affected by your feelings when you are single.
I love cats! But when I see articles like the one above, (especially #9: my boyfriend is the LEAST distracting person in the world), I just want to say, "I have a boyfriend, but I love Cricket and Tater-Tot too, and they're my favorite cats EVER!"
I don't say it enough, but I appreciate and I'm incredibly proud of the man I'm in a relationship with. He accepts me for who I am, and we balance each other out very well. He's a hard worker, incredibly motivated, and graduating with dual degrees this weekend. Pretty sure Tater-Tot is just good at swatting at my behind when I walk through the door. Score 1 for the boyfriend.
I don't know...maybe I'm making too big of a deal out of the cat thing...

I'm pretty sure I was doing the whole "thank GOD I'm single" thing about 14 months ago, so I'm not faulting these girls at all. I just wish there was a way to say: "Hey...being in a relationship is not totally bad, so let's just try to avoid generalizing and stereotyping." I would never, ever consciously post something on social media that said "Girls who are single are that way because [fill in the blank]" or something to purposefully bring up negative feelings in others. And if I do, please tell me. {Note: I blog about my relationship because it's a part of my life. I really try not to brag. I promise.}

I don't value someone based on their relationship status. I care about them as people, right where they are, no matter what's going on, and I support them in the expression of their feelings. But I think that we do ourselves a great disservice by assuming how our lives are going to end up. Positive thinking yields positive results. Negative thinking yields negative results. Whether you believe it or not, God and you have great control over what path(s) your life will take.
Additionally, out of all the threats I see about being cat ladies, I see a lot of the same girls post about good, healthy relationships, whether they are romantic relationships or deep friendships. The good news is, you can have it both ways!
Cats are great, and so are real human relationships. In fact, you can learn a lot about humans from cats (and/or most animals), and vice versa.  No matter how furry, annoying, or distracting, neither should be neglected. They should be nurtured, and cared for, and loved unconditionally. Right where they are: if they're on the couch next to you watching ESPN, or sitting on your desk giving you an adorable face.
I'll let you decide which is the cat and which is the boy.

PS: Here are pictures of my cats. Cricket is the grey one, and Tator-Tot  They are cute.