Musical Theatre

November 17, 2010

Let’s talk about musical theatre and its role in perpetuating identity and inadequacy complexes in people who are already unhinged.

Every year at the Newman Center in Columbia, Mo., we put on a fundraising musical. The whole musical is student-written, produced and directed. I have been involved in the musical since I came to college. I was in it when I was a freshman, I wrote/adapted it when I was a sophomore and I was also in it. Last year as a junior, I co-wrote it and directed it. This year, I co-wrote it again and I am going to direct it as well. So it’s safe to say that I have a very long history with the Annual Newman Week Musical. I have been a part of it’s preparation and production for the past three years and a part of its leadership for the past two.

In addition to my experience with the Newman Musical, I have a fairly extensive theatre and acting background. I have been taking musical theatre, acting, and vocal lessons since I was 6 years old. I’ve been going to auditions for as long and I was in a commercial when I was 8 years old. Suffice it to say, I know my way around theatre, I know my way around public speaking and I know my way around auditions.

That being said, I have been rejected more times than I can count for all sorts of roles. I’ve auditioned for so many commercials and plays, I don’t remember half of them. I landed a few roles. Most of the time I didn’t. It was difficult the first few times, especially since I was 6 years old, but I gradually learned not to take the rejection personally. Hell, my freshman year when I auditioned for the Newman Musical I didn’t get a role until one of the original cast members dropped before winter break. Sami had to call me the week before I left after the first official read-through to ask me if I would step in instead. So trust me, I’m no stranger to rejection.

And let’s be honest. Rejection sucks. It makes you feel small, inadequate and all around not good. And, if you get rejected enough times at an early age, it can cause all sorts of complexes that will manifest themselves in awkward and kind of creepy ways when you get older. And that was me. I was all sorts of rejected when I was only 6 years old. I know what it feels like. I’ve felt it more times than I can count.

That being said, I thought that the receiving end was the worst. Little did I realize that the giving end was just as bad.

Last year, just enough people auditioned that we were able to give everyone a part in the musical. Alas, this year was not the case. Seventeen people auditioned for an 11-person cast. There are six women in the cast. Guess how many women came to audition this year?

Twelve.

And it wasn’t like in my sophomore year when just one extra woman came to audition. They didn’t want to have to tell her no, so the directors called me in (I was the writer that year, remember) and asked me to create a new character on the fly. So I sat down with them as they made their casting calls and created a new character out of thin air. That was easy because it was just one extra person.

We couldn’t do that this year. We’d have to create six extra characters to accommodate everyone and I don’t know if you’ve seen Newman’s stage, but it is minuscule. Not to mention, it would completely screw up the entire musical structure.

So it was obvious that we were going to have to make some pretty substantial cuts, bigger than in years past. We had to cut six girls and unfortunately since I’m the director, I was charged with the happy task of calling them and letting them know.

What was worse was that some of these girls are my friends. I had to tell my friends (even people who were in it last year) that we couldn’t offer them a role. I could practically feel the disappointment radiating through the phone.

You know how much that sucks? It might be worse than being rejected.

But THE absolute worst is when people get angry with you for the rejection. Which is what I feel is happening right now. I seriously don’t know how people can do this all the time. If being a director was my main occupation, I’d literally rip my hair out. I’d be bald by now.

I guess I have to remind myself that this is just a CHURCH FUNDRAISER. In the grand scheme of things, IT REALLY SHOULDN’T MATTER.

And I hope that others can remember that as well.

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Thursday Three: TV edition

November 12, 2010

Because I’ve been brain deep in school and papers and test, the biggest things that happened to me this week all happened on TV. Yeah, don’t judge me. I have a life, I swear.

**HUGE FLAMING SPOILER ALERTS TO EVERYONE WHO HASN’T SEEN THIS WEEK’S EPISODE OF GLEE OR GREY’S ANATOMY. DON’T READ ONE OR TWO UNLESS YOU’VE ALREADY SEEN/DON’T REALLY CARE.** You have been warned.

1. OMGZ, GLEE WTF

I was watching this week’s episode of Glee in the Newman Center Student Lounge with a couple of friends. Ian actually doesn’t really like Glee and Jami could give two phalluses (Should the plural form technically be phalli? Food for thought.), but I refused to miss the episode, so I made them sit down and change the channel for me.

First of all, they sang “Teenage Dream” which made Ian and me crack up because we were basically singing that the entire weekend while we were in Ohio. Ian even called Victor and told him to turn the channel. And let me just say, those boys sang the heck out of that song. To be honest, Katy Perry could probably retire because a boys acapella choir sang her song better than she did. The only thing she can do to save face at this point is to bow out gracefully. She’ll never top them. Ever.

Second of all, I love Coach Bieste. I don’t know why. I just love the crap out of her. Maybe it’s because she’s a female football coach. Maybe it’s because she’s got that softer side to her. Maybe it’s because she’s just kind of a badass. I don’t know. I just really love her. She might be my second favorite character, right after Sue. So when Mr. Schue kissed her, I felt kind of warm and gooey and happy. COACH BIESTE NEEDS A BOYFRIEND, DAMN IT. Just sayin.

Third of all, OMGZ, KURT GOT KISSED! Okay, so a bunch of people are telling me that they saw that coming but I DIDN’T. Holy crap, when it happened Jami and I both screamed and jumped out of our seats. Ian gave us this sanctimonious like, “I-totally-saw-that-coming-you-simpletons” look, but Jami and I were too busy pointing accusingly at the TV with our mouths agape to care.

And honestly, I don’t know how I feel about that kiss. I really don’t. I mean, I almost shat my pants so it was surprising as hell, but what does this mean for Kurt? Does this mean that douchebag football player might come out of the closet and start dating him? Or does this mean that he’ll stay in the closet and secretly pine for Kurt? And does this mean that Kurt is going to go out with Blaine? Because I don’t know about that. I think Blaine is kind of a flat character and I don’t care for him that much.

But whatevs. I can’t wait for next week because Gwenyth Paltrow is going to be singing “F*** You” by Cee Lo Green, except it’s going to be the “Forget You” radio-friendly version. And I’m less excited that Gwenyth Paltrow is going to sing it because I could honestly give two phall(uses)(i) about Gwenyth Paltrow, but more because I love that song. A lot. So excited.

2. Avery sucker-punched Karev for April

A of all, I totally knew that Karev and April weren’t going to do it. April is a virgin and she shouldn’t give it up to a tortured d-bag in an on-call room. And when she begged Karev to take it slowly and he snapped, I knew he was going to walk away and she was going to lay there and feel like crap. I knew it. I called it. And quite honestly, if the idiot had just walked away from the situation to begin with, she wouldn’t have to go running to Avery.

Second of all, Avery sucker-punched Karev. Which may or may not have made my night.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Karev, especially two weeks ago when he sang to that girl who needed a trachea and worked round the clock to save her life. I love sweet Karev. I hate d-bag Karev.

I also love Avery. I have this undying love for all the underdogs and for me, he’s the biggest underdog of them all. And watching him take out all his anger at his inadequacies on Karev was especially cathartic for both of us. And why is it that every time Karev gets punched, he goes down immediately? George punched him way back when in season one and it was a knock-out punch. For all the shit he talks about being a tough guy, Karev seems to suck at fighting.

Also, I miss old Cristina. That is all I can really say on that subject.

3. I really want to plan a teen movie marathon night

Said teen movie marathon night will include teen movies from all decades. Actually, it’s probably going to be a bunch of nights.

So far for the ’80s, I have:

  • St. Elmo’s Fire
  • The Breakfast Club
  • Sixteen Candles
  • Weird Science
  • Pretty in Pink

For the ’90s, I have:

  • She’s All That
  • Never Been Kissed
  • 10 Things I Hate About You

For the new millennium, I have:

  • Mean Girls
  • She’s the Man
  • John Tucker Must Die
  • Saved!

Now, here’s where the controversy comes in. Obviously there are more teen movies than that; those are just the basics. But this is a kind of nuanced marathon. All of the above are comedies or dramatic comedies. Should I include non-comedies, like Cruel Intentions? And what about the American Pie series? And for the new millennium, should I include The Princess Diaries? What about Juno and Charlie Bartlett? Or even A Walk to Remember? There are just so many teen movies out there. WHERE DO I DRAW THE LINE?

That’s the Thursday Three, folks. Tune in next week, when I plan on actually having a life and blogging about it.


Thursday Three!

November 5, 2010

The lovely Kristin Marks suggested I should call it the Thursday Three which is so much better than the Friday Three.

1. “Just a Dream” by Nelly is currently the best song on the radio

I do not know what it is, but I am freaking OBSESSED with that song. I was never a big Nelly fan when I was younger. I mean, sure, I sang along to “Ride Wit’ Me” even though I didn’t know what the lyrics meant at the time and “Hot in Here” was the shizz when I was in sixth grade. But Nelly was always kind of like a budget 50 Cent, but instead of a bullet-induced slur, Nelly had a Missouri twang. Then he came out with that weird crossover with that one country guy Tim McGraw which was not only weird, but also obnoxious as hell.

But now that “Just a Dream” came out, I have been listening to it every chance I get. Luckily for me, it plays on KISS FM every half hour, so I get to hear it a lot. I’ve almost got all the lyrics memorized. Give me a few more car rides and I’ll have it down.

However, since the song gets so much airtime, I foresee myself getting really effing sick of it, but right now I’m in that honeymoon phase. I can’t possibly imagine getting sick of this song because I’m seriously so in love with it. If you haven’t listened to it yet, do yourselves a favor and look it up. I don’t care who you are, it’s the best pop song on the radio right now. If you don’t agree with me, you’re a butt head.

2. I really want to take up knitting

My mother is a super crafty woman. She knits, she crochets, and she makes jewelry. I’ve never had to buy a hat or a scarf in my entire life. I also never buy jewelry because my mom gets pissed whenever I do and she pulls the Filipino mother voice and says, “Why you waste money on that? I make for you! Ekaw ang tanga!” And my mother is a really wonderful craftswoman. I want her to open her own shop because seriously, she could make a ton of money off the stuff she makes.

But lately, I’ve just had this really strong urge to take up knitting. I don’t know where it started, exactly. I guess I’ve always wanted to knit, but the hunger was reawakened when I saw a statue of Thomas Jefferson on campus wearing knit leg warmers. I thought it was hilarious when I saw it and I couldn’t help but wonder how the genius got them on. You can’t really slip them over Jefferson’s feet because they’re planted on the ground, but that’s not the point. The point is seeing the knit legwarmers made me want to go knit my own legwarmers. This, however, requires that I learn how to knit in the first place.

If anyone knows how and would like to teach me, I’ll love you forever.

3. I’m going to OSU this weekend!

Victor (AKA The Victor Tran), Jordyn (AKA Klack Attack), Ian (AKA IAAAAAN!), Kristin (AKA Markles) and I are all headed to Columbus, Ohio, this weekend to help OSU’s Newman Center with their Awakening retreat. I am so excited, you have no idea. Awakening is probably the most amazing retreat in the entire world and I’ve been on quite a few retreats. I’ve said before that if I could be on different Awakening staffs for the rest of my life, I would be content. And I would. If I could make that into a career, I’d be spiritually set for the rest of my life.

We’re also going to OSU because two years ago OSU started their Awakening retreat, and since they were just starting, they wanted to see how other schools ran their retreats. So they sent some people to Mizzou to see how we ran ours, and I miss those kids like you wouldn’t believe. They were such amazing, fantastic people and I’m really excited to see them again.

However, riding out to Columbus from Columbia means we’re going to be in a car for 16 hours total. And granted, I’ve been on similarly long road trips, but I’m kind of worried for Victor because we’re taking his car and he’s the only one who knows how to drive it because it’s a stick. So yeah. He’s going to be really tired when we drive back on Sunday because Awakening is a notoriously known weekend. It’s called Awakening for a reason: You don’t sleep. If you’re lucky, you’ll get eight hours for the entire weekend. If you’re lucky.

It’s going to be an experience. If you’re at all religiously inclined, pray for us! And pray for OSU’s Awakeners!


Elections and journalism

November 3, 2010

I like to use rhetoric whenever I write. I come from a musical theatre background, so rhetoric is kind of my thing. Unfortunately, rhetoric isn’t always appropriate, but since this is my blog and I get to do whatever I want with it, rhetoric will probably be my main writing style of choice. I say this because I’m probably going to say “let’s talk about [insert chosen topic here]” a lot, and when I say that, I don’t really mean let’s talk. I actually mean, I’m going to talk and you’re going to read. (Or not read, depending on how pissed off you get about what I have to say.)

That being said, let’s talk about elections.

Today was midterm election day, and as a greenhorn government reporter, I was excited. I was so excited, in fact, that I got up at 5 a.m. to talk to people going in to vote right before they went to work. My editor warned all of us ahead of time that there were going to be people who would brush us off. There might even be people who get angry and personally affronted. Luckily, I didn’t meet any angry voters. I got the brush off once, but that was because the lady was in a hurry. But it was really cool for me to go out and talk to voters. A lot of them had really emotional opinions and I felt so honored to be able to share that with my paper’s readers. I know that sounds super cheesy, but that’s how I felt — completely honored.

With that invigorating feeling, I returned to the newsroom and received my assignment; to hang out at a candidate’s watch party. I drove almost an hour out of the city to hang out with a really chill crowd in a tiny room in the back of a Pizza Hut. No one was very excited, because I suppose they all knew that their candidate was going to lose, but they were good sports about it and they talked to me. I sort of geeked out when I realized there was no Internet in the Pizza Hut, which meant that I would have to dictate field notes, like in the olden days. HOW COOL IS THAT? I really wanted one of those fedoras with a card that said PRESS tucked into the ribbon. Anyway, despite the fact that my candidate lost, I had a great time reporting on the watch party.

Bottom line: I was excited about this election. I even had fun covering it. Covering elections and doing things like this for newspapers is why I love being a journalist. I get to play an active role in preserving democracy. That’s what journalism is about, isn’t? We’re the fourth branch of government, put in place to inform the people and empower them. Call me a n00b if you will, but elections are exciting. They make the late nights spent in the newsroom totally and completely worth it.

So when I got back to the newsroom and listened to my fellow journalists, my comrades in arms grumble about staying late and complain about partisan crap, it made me so…indescribably sad. One editor even said we should try monarchy for a while so we wouldn’t have to deal with biased partisans. And yeah, I realize it was a joke and yeah, I agree that partisanship is bullshit, but monarchy to me isn’t funny. I believe in the power of journalism so thoroughly that the idea of monarchies make me indignant and furious, almost as pissed as this editor was about partisanship.

Anyway. I like elections. And I love journalism. If that makes me a nerd, then so be it.