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Why Carrie Fisher’s Death Matters

I haven’t blogged in a year (exactly) but I heard today that Carrie Fisher had died.  I am heart-broken.  It seems 2016 wasn’t necessarily done being an awful dumpster fire of unexpected hardships and utter bullshit.  It still had some awful left to expunge.

Star Wars came out in 1976, when I was 11 years old, and Carrie Fisher was 21.  Even though she had smaller roles in lesser films, Star Wars was her break out.  I first saw it in Madison, when my sister (also 21) worked at a multi-plex.  I was able to see it twice that day, as Mary worked a longer shift than she had planned.  I was in heaven. I saw it later with my dad, who loved it almost as much as I did, but he described it as a dog-fight movie.  I described it as a Princess movie.  That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy other aspects of the film; I loved the adventure, the folk lore, and of course, I had the obligatory crush on Luke Skywalker (Han was too dangerous for 11 year old Liz) but it was Princess Leia my eyes were glued to.  She was everything I wanted to be.

As a kid, I was usually too loud, too assertive, too snarky and was usually too open with my opinions.  I was reminded frequently (if not daily) to rein in my all too loud, brassy behavior.  This was usually met with failure, but not for lack of trying.  It just wasn’t in me.  I tried so hard to be a quiet and good Cinderella or Princess Aurora, but I just couldn’t get a handle on it. Then came Leia.  She was opinionated, smart, strong, always gave her opinion, and better yet, she was listened to.  She never had to rein it in, she just reigned.  In a world of Barbies, I needed a Leia.  I adored her and everything she stood for.  Princess Leia, (later General Organa) got me through middle school, and then some.  If I ever felt overwhelmed with life or school, I would pop on a little bit of John Williams’ soundtrack, specifically Leia’s Theme, and be transported to a place where a woman could fight for what was right.  It gave me an odd kind of strength.  She made me want to be leader.

Later in college, I stumbled across Fisher’s novel Postcards from the Edge.  It was transformative, not so much the plot but the writing style.  It was funny and dark and real and harsh and then even more funny.  If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.  (And watching the movie doesn’t count, even though she wrote the screen play…read the book.)   For a student taking Creative Writing, and patting herself on the back with a few passable short stories, it was a slap of wonderful writing smack across my face.  I loved reading it and loved rereading it even more.  There were lines on every page that I wished I would have written.  I coveted her style and her effortless snark.  She made me want to be a writer.

Many don’t know this, but there were countless scripts of favorite movies that she quietly “doctored” and ultimately saved with her wit and her sense of story and plot; she worked on Sister Act, Hook, Lethal Weapons 3, Wedding Singer Outbreak, and she also quietly contributed dialogue to the Star Wars movies she appeared in.  I am confident my favorite jokes from the Oscars were hers as well.  She was quietly, a very prolific writer for films and TV.

Later, I loved watching her on chat shows, especially Graham Norton. She was so incredibly brave, funny and honest about her struggles with sobriety and with mental health; I can’t imagine how many people she helped or saved with her candor and honesty.  I know she helped me, a loud and strong-minded girl who never seemed to fit in.  I think she helped my kid too, as I have indoctrinated her (strongly) into the ways of the force, and all the amazing female characters that are currently coming out of the Star Wars universe.  In fact, we ssummer-08-140aw Rogue One last night and that ending couldn’t be more poignant today…”hope”.

Her death is another blow after a tough year of losing artistic vanguards, but this one hit me harder than I expected.  I never met her, I never knew her, she wasn’t my friend, but damn, she felt like one to me.

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We are all Frosty

I have to admit, although I don’t consider myself a Christian (I haven’t set foot in a church in earnest for over 30 years) I desperately love Christmas. I love it all: the lights, the trees, the presents. I’m a sucker for it, and I buy-in hard when it comes to the holiday season (whoop de doo) I also love Christmas music.  I love it a lot.

light paintings 2015 002

My fondest Christmas memories as a kid are of listening to Julie Andrews or Bing Crosby on the big record player console and sitting under the heavily decorated tree, making present piles, counting to see which of us had the most gifts. (Funny how it always ended up exactly the same…well done mom.)  I have tons of fond memories of my family at Christmas time. I cannot remember a “bad” or unhappy Christmas. I am a very, very fortunate human being. I am grateful for my pleasant, happy and even-keeled childhood. As I have aged, and learned more about other folk’s childhoods, I realize I owe my parents a huge debt.  They kept us pretty sheltered from the shit in our world.

I am also aware that it is my duty as a parent to try to raise my child with the same type of idyllic  life. A safe, happy and even keeled upbringing. Part of this for me, naturally, is a love for the holidays and the music that goes with it. Usually, the day after Thanksgiving, I am all too happy to force Christmas music on my non-Christian family. They don’t love it as much as I do, but they indulge me. Tree and decorations usually go up the weekend after Thanksgiving and most of December is spent with fires in the stove, cocoa in mugs, and skis on the hill; also, there is lots and lots of Christmas music.

bokeh

A few weeks ago, I was listening to my favorite Pandora station (Christmas Jazz – I highly recommend it) when on came the classic version of “Frosty the Snowman”. That particular tune isn’t necessarily one of my all-time favorites, or even in my top 20 for that matter, but I kept it on, knowing that Michael Buble had to be just around the corner.

As I listened to Burl Ives bravely and precisely deliver this cheesy tune, I caught myself pondering the lyrics; believe it or not, there is something weighty there. One lyric struck me and gave me pause, “Frosty the snowman knew the sun was hot that day, so he said, ‘let’s run and we’ll have some fun now before I melt away.’” That was an incredibly brave response, wasn’t it? Frosty didn’t freak out, or get moody, or ask, “why me?” but rather he used up his time having fun and celebrating the very thing that would be his demise. Frosty was going to die. He knew it. He didn’t get maudlin or sappy. He didn’t allow any self-pity. He didn’t even check off any snowman bucket list items. He spent the rest of his precious time making the children around him happy. He lived for others, even up until the end.

I think that is pretty stellar response from a snowman. He didn’t lock himself away in a freezer. He didn’t find the nearest air conditioner. He got out there and lived big.

We are all Frosty. Our time on this rock is finite, paltry and way too short. The sun is out, people. Regardless of your health, or your lifestyle, or your religion, we are all going to die at some point. How are we going to spend the rest of our sunny days? Do we panic and try to find shade? Do we mope and cry? Or do we bravely find the sun?  I know it will be difficult, especially in the face of the inevitable, but I hope I can muster up enough courage and happiness to find the sun.

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Commencement Address 2014

I was lucky enough to be asked to deliver the commencement address for Ashland High School.  A few friends have asked to read it, so here it is.

 

Thank you so much to the senior steering committee for asking me to speak. It is a great honor and I don’t take it lightly. I have had the pleasure of working with many of you this year, and I can tell you, you are a bright, wonderful class and each and every one of you has earned your place here today.

I thought I would limit myself to 3 talking points today, because you have, like 1,245 valedictorians, so we need to move the ceremony along a bit. Today, I want to talk to you about humanity over technology, deferring to kindness and pursuing your passion. Lots of area to cover, so let’s get started.

You lucky people live in an amazing age. In the past 20 years, we have seen such amazing technological advances, that they have actually redefined what we consider to be intelligence. Redefined intelligence. Seriously. 30 years ago, intelligence was quite often tied to a good memory. The smartest person in the room was the one who remembered how to find the square root, or remembered who won last year’s Oscar for best film or remembered the names of the constellations in the night sky. However, your phone has made that skill obsolete. Think about it, you can fit the entire encyclopedia Britannica in your pocket. Today, perceived intelligence is now closer to creative problem solving and has little or nothing to do with memory. Technology has changed the way we perceive intelligence, and that’s kind of a game changer. Your smart phones are amazing and awesome tools. Just make sure they don’t replace the people in your life. Make sure you don’t spend more time online that you do with real people. Make sure that when you are having dinner with your folks, you look into their eyes more than at that screen. Also, there are some things that should never be texted…like break ups, first “I love yous” and marriage proposals…oh, and important apologies – all those things should be done face to face. Make sure that your smart phone doesn’t become your best friend. That would just be sad, and weird.

Onto my 2nd point, which involves kindness. Of course it makes sense to be kind, and you should do it. But there are some times in your life when it will be hard to do it, but you should do it anyway. I hate to break it to you, but there will be moments in your life, and I am so, so sorry to have to tell you this, when you will be in a room with someone who doesn’t like you all. This person may want to diminish you, or punish you, maybe want to get you fired or for you to lose all dignity. The normal human reaction in this situation is to lash back – to get angry and to say awful things right back to this clearly, unhappy, sad person. However, trust me, I know from experience, that decisions made in anger usually only end up hurting you in the end. The older I get, the more I can see the truth in this. So, what to do when someone is being an absolute jerk about 3 inches from your face? Defer to kindness. When you find yourself in those situations, I hereby challenge you to be the best person in the room. I challenge you to find the courage to be kind. I challenge you to take a breath, hold your tongue and try very hard to find the dignity in yourself and all others in that room. It will be hard, that is certain, but if you can do this, if you can be the best human being you can for those brief minutes, your tomorrow will be better for it. When you don’t know what to say, or what to do, defer to kindness. I’m not saying roll over and let people walk all over you, but I am telling you, you can be better than the jerk sitting across from you.

OK – wrapping up, because it’s humid and those metal chairs are uncomfortable. To conclude my address, I want to talk about 2 former students who graduated from Ashland High and they couldn’t be more different. For the record, they both know I am doing this, and I have their blessing to share their stories with you. One was a young woman who studied hard, was very attentive in class, and she got straight A’s while being involved in extracurriculars. Her name was Andrea. The other was a young man who didn’t really like school; he often skipped his morning classes and when he didn’t, he would frequently sleep in class. The only area he did well in was band. He barely graduated. His name was Ethan.

Andrea went on to college; she majored in history and ended up getting graduate degrees, and even ended up being a professor of History at a college in Minnesota. She was happy. And while Andrea was happy, she realized that there was more. She had always loved to write, and one day, she allowed herself to follow her passion. She wrote a book. It was a wonderful success and in fact, it was a New York Times best seller. She has since written over 6 books and has stopped teaching altogether to follow her passion of being an author. If you haven’t guessed at this point, Andrea Cremer Robertson is her name. She followed her passion and she is currently very, very happy.

After high school, Ethan played music. He got a band together and they hit the road, and even though it was tough work, he stuck with it, because he loved it. He pursued his passion. He never gave up. See, the reason Ethan slept in class was because he was up all night, making beats, or recording music in his basement. He pursued his passion early and it paid off. Currently, he lives in Berkley California and Ethan Parsonage, a.k.a. Headnodic, is one of the more successful and sought out producers in the area. He has recorded a solo album that was well received. He followed his passion and he is very, very happy.

So, what’s the take away? You can get there from here. Both of these individuals received roughly the same education you did, regardless of G.P.A. What did they do? They followed their passion, and I cannot stress the importance of this. Don’t worry about the money, because when you do what you love the money will come. When you do what you love, you have no choice but to do it well, and therefore, you will excel at it. Trust me. You can get there from here. Just do what you love with passion.

So, to wrap up, humanity over technology, defer to kindness, and follow your passion and you will be just fine. Congratulations class of 2014, go do great things.

 

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The Actor’s Studio

I’m a fan of the BRAVO channel; one of my favorite shows is Inside the Actor’s Studio with James Lipton. I think he is a gifted interviewer; it is clear he loves actors and the process and all that great stuff. It makes me happy. He asks good questions, and it is the perfect mix of interview, gush, and insight. I like to see who squirms and who basks in the glow of attention. There are some awesome interviews with amazing actors: Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Robert Deniro, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Kate Blanchet, and the list goes on and on. There have been some wonderfully talented people on that show, really incredibly talented actors. I would love to be an acting student in the room when one of the greats is being interviewed.

However, there are some interviews of some folks that I have a hard time taking seriously as “actors.” For example: Brooke Shields, Mickey Rourke, Sharon Stone, Jay Leno, the band Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, the cast of The Simpsons, and Kanye West. These people have actually, legitimately been on the show as guests. Sure, Mickey Rourke made that one good film, you know the one I mean, right? Yeah, I can’t remember the name either, but sure, he made one. Then he turned into a freaky looking dude and made fairly odd choices in his life, but who am I to judge? Kanye West? As an actor?

It also bugs me when Lipton asks these famous people, “If not acting, then what?” they wistfully look up and take a deep breath and nine times out of ten, they say, “I would have liked to have been a teacher….” Really? Put them in a classroom for a month, on a teacher’s salary and then see what they say. I can just imagine a downtrodden, tired, not-so-good-looking-without-that-facial-every-week Tom Cruise (pre-Hollywood smile) addressing his class. “Why aren’t you listening to me? Listen to me! And put that desk down…”

Sure, teaching seems noble, fun and perhaps even a bit fabulous to the casual observer, and sometimes it really is noble, fun and fabulous, but it’s also hard work, both intellectually and emotionally, and frankly, after eating school lunch for over 24 years, losing a BIG chunk of my salary due to Act 10, getting chastised by a few parents, as well as their children and watching my profession be brought to its knees due to standardized testing and budget cuts, well, that kind of nonsense can get under my skin. There are days (more than a few) where I would absolutely change places with Meryl Streep or Julie Roberts in a fraction of a heartbeat. I totally understand the likelihood of that ever happening is about as good as Kanye West winning an Oscar for his acting, but it is fun to daydream about.

Here’s a fun-fact. Lipton’s famous questions at the end of every interview were first made popular by Bernard Pivot on a show called Apostrophes. They are great questions.  If I ever make it on “The Actor’s Studio” these would be my super spontaneous, authentic answers.  (Feel free to answer them too in comments.)

1. What is your favorite word?

-F*ck. By a long shot.

2. What is your least favorite word?

-Moist.

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

-Winning praise of people I admire and respect.

4. What turns you off?

-People who drop the ball. And slavery. And misogynists.

5. What is your favorite curse word?

-F*ck. By a long shot.

6. What sound or noise do you love?

-Little girls giggling, particularly my own.

7. What sound or noise do you hate?

-Instruments that are out of tune. And angry men shouting at children, women or animals.

8. If not acting, then what?

-(Wistfully looks up) Teaching…

9. What profession would you not like to do?

-Cleaning out porta-potties.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

-“Nice job kiddo; you did good. Now, get back in there.”

I’m now less than a decade away from retirement, and on occasion, my mind drifts toward daydreams of that time when I no longer teach. Will I stay busy? Will I miss it? Will my brain turn to mush? If not teaching, then what? Directing? Writing? Learning a new language? Distilling my own vodka? Regardless of how that plays out, I plan on making a really great retiree; I bet I still do all kinds of noble, fun and fabulous things.  However, I bet I still spend some time of the couch watching old reruns of “The Actor’s Studio.”

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Carmen, my Garmin

I have a love/hate relationship with my Garmin. I call her Carmen. Carmen the Garmin. She’s actually pretty great because my sense of direction is fairly pathetic.  Honestly, I have gotten lost driving around a block.  She helps a lot, but here’s my beef. Sometimes she is actually too good at her job.  With all of her knowledge of “maps” and “roads” and “north” she gives me a false sense of security and I get dependent on her within minutes.  I have used her to get home from the store, which is absurd if you know where I live.  “Turn right on Rittenhouse, drive 4 blocks to destination.”

Recently, when driving in the Twin Cities, which is fairly stressful for me to begin with, (city driving makes me nuts) Carmen says, in her clipped and serious tone, “Drive 3.2 miles; take a left on exit 3A Excelsior South.”

“That’s easy” I think to myself.  “3A – I can do that.  I can totally find 3A – wait, it was 3A right?”

“Carmen, was it 3A or 3B?”  Sadly, she doesn’t answer.  (Remember when we used to actually write directions down on paper?  That would be handy right about now, but no, I have a Garmin.)

I tap her screen a few times, trying not to swerve, and she repeats, “Drive 3.2 miles and take a left on exit 3A Excelsior South” but I swear to God, she sounds a little pissed off.  There is definitely something in her voice.  Now, I am getting a little overly sensitive about her tone, and I’m thinking “3.2, exit, 3A, Excelsior South.  3.2, exit, 3A, Excelsior South” and I’m starting to freak myself out a little. I’m not necessarily looking at the road the way I should be; all I’m doing is looking for 3A Excelsior South and waiting for her next instruction.  I’m a people pleaser; I don’t want to disappoint Carmen.  It would be awkward and weird if she were mad at me, because it’s just the two of us and it’s a long trip home.

I get closer to the ramp, but along with the ramp, there’s also an exit; it’s a complicated spot, made only worse by road construction.  I get a little freaked out about the orders she is barking at me, “Turn right on exit” and I don’t know if I should take the exit or the ramp. At this point I’m at a loss to make my own decision.  It’s as if I have no will of my own. Carmen is my leader.  She has reduced me to a lemming. I can no longer think critically on my own or make any decision whatsoever. I don’t have the capacity to simply look up and see the exit for “Excelsior” next to the ramp for the turn around.  (I hope to hell airline captains don’t feel like this once they pop off the auto-pilot.)  A year ago, I would have had a paper napkin clutched in my fist, and scribbled on it “L – Excelsior” and I would have been fine.  That would have been all I needed, but now, I am incapable of making a decision.  Exit or ramp?  Exit or ramp?

“Turn right…” she barks. “Turn right!!!  (sigh)  Recalculating…”

I have never driven down the wrong side of a street in my life; however, after purchasing my Garmin, I have done it twice in a year. A few months ago I was in Madison and Carmen said, “turn right” so of course I immediately turned right and somehow I managed to end up in an oncoming, left-only turn lane and a soccer mom who looked at me, (from behind the wheel of the mini-van I am now blocking) as if I started Armageddon.  Her jaw dropped in amazement at the very same moment her middle finger went up.

I think it would be better if Garmins were designed to be a little more user-friendly and not so dictatorial in their tone.  For example, rather than, “Drive 3.2 miles and take a right on Excelsior exit 3A” we would hear, “Hey, up here, you want to take Excelsior.” That’s how a friend would give directions, right? It would be so much more relaxed!  And as you get closer, Carmen would remind, “Yeah, I think it’s up here on the left.”  And instead of, “recalculating” when you missed it (because of course you missed it, because you have been reduced to a kool-aid drinking drone at this point, freaking out because you have to take a right and you don’t know which right you should take) she could say, “Hey, dude, you missed it, but it’s cool. Just take the next exit, I think it’s 36. No worries.”

But no, you hear her cold, impersonal, “recalculating” all the while she’s probably thinking nasty things about you and your driving, not to mention how you let your daughter eat junk food during long car rides. Her silence speaks volumes.  Carmen can be a real bitch.  It’s gonna be a long drive home.

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What I Have Learned from Directing Plays

When I started as a teacher, part of the reason I got hired was because of my background in theater.  Aside from needing an English teacher, Ashland had an opening for a drama coach. Sure, I had performance experience; I had been on stage since I was 14, but there was one small detail I left out of the interview.  I had never directed a play in my life.  Never.  Not even in college; the closest I had come was directing some student scenes, but honestly, in school, I only studied acting.  I didn’t take any classes in technical theater, lighting, set design, directing, and here I was, about to hold auditions.  My sister gave me great advice. “Fake it ‘till you make it.”

Oddly enough, that first play, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown was to this day, one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had.  Back then, I was 22 years old, and my cast members were mainly 17 and some 18 year olds.

 (Guess which one is the student?)

I was closer in age to these kids than I was to my co-workers.  We took it to state and won awards; it was a success.  It was great fun, but more importantly, I learned a ton.  I had a crash course in lighting design, set construction (although six boxes isn’t much of a set) and the dangers of letting the cast have too much power.  Now, I work more with adults than kids, but I still learn boatloads from every play I direct.  I learn things about theater, psychology, ego, and ultimately myself.  After directing over 30 plays in the past 20 years, this is some of what I have learned…

1. Always get good people to be your “crew chiefs.”  Delegate to them, trust them, stay out of their way, and then ride their coat tails for all they’re worth!  Take all of the credit for their hard work.   After all, it was your vision, right?

2. It is easy to work with people who have little or no experience on stage.  They have an energy and enthusiasm that is infectious.  With little or no ego, they take direction well, and learn fast.  They often are the ones who shine the most on opening night.  They are like puppies; they love the attention, they are full of joy, and their breath is often quite pleasant.

3. It is easy to work with people who have had lots and lots of experience on stage.  They are professional, they can take a note (a.k.a. doing what the director says) and they know their craft.  Their ego is strong enough to take criticism, even if they don’t agree with it.  They don’t have to shine on opening night, because they glow throughout the run.  However, their breath often smells of cigarettes, coffee, whiskey and if you’re lucky a cough drop.

4. It can be very difficult to work with people who have only appeared on stage a few times.  This isn’t true for all, but sadly true for some.  These people only have enough knowledge to be a danger to themselves and to the cast.  They often don’t take notes, because after that successful run as the butler in the community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest they now know all they need!  Often, they’ll even go one further, giving other cast members notes. (This is really frowned upon in the theater world, trust me.)  These are the actors who will usually drive the costumer nuts with ridiculous requests…

These buttons are a black/black; my suit is more blue/black”

and also eat up a lot of time with the director asking exactly “how” to deliver those three lines of dialogue:

“When my character says ‘Hello’ I’m thinking she is more angry than inquisitive.  I’ve done some internal background work, and my character has had a horrid morning.  I would like to discuss it at length later, but for right now, I really think I need to have more anger here. ‘HELLO!!!’”

They try too hard to shine on opening night.  Their breath smells horrid because they “don’t eat before a show…”   Unfortunately, I was this kind of actress for a very long time.   I’m lucky I never directed myself.  I mean that.  (Also, currently I am lucky enough to be working with a crackerjack team who always have nice breath and take notes very well.)

5. Always kiss up to your costumer.  Often, he or she doesn’t get paid the same as the set designer, but puts in as many hours.

Also, the eyes of the audience will go to the set for the first five minutes of a show, but those same eyes will stay on the costumes for the entire night.

Good costumers make your actors look good, or in some cases, not so good. They often live on cookies and coffee.  Make sure they get plenty.

6. Be appreciative, but clear with your set builders.  At least in my case, I have been walked over too many times and have had to put up with something I didn’t intend.  (For the record, the past few plays I have directed, I have been very happy with the set.)  Also, this next rule is absolute and will never change.  No matter who he is, what he says, or what he promises, the paint on the set will be wet for opening.  Period.  Live with it, accept it, roll your eyes and move on.

7. Never, ever, ever underestimate the importance of a good lighting design (please to revisit lesson #1.)

It can make an ugly set look like a Buckingham Palace, and make a dingy, uninspired costume look like an Oscar gown.  That being said, work closely with your lighting people.  If you leave them alone, your show will undoubtedly look really, super-arty and cool, but often, it will be too dark and your actors will be bumping into things and each other.  Nothing says “pro” like an actor waving his arms in front of his body as to avoid running into anything. (You could always pass it off as an interesting directorial choice…)

8. Make the cast acknowledge the crew, and thank them often. They don’t get the glory.  They live in the dark shadows of “backstage” and frequently talk smack about the snottier folks in the cast, so be wary.  Also, they all seem to be a bit dark and emo, and therefore, capable of messing with the actors or directors in deceitful and wily ways.  Of course, they will have covered their tracks so well, they escape blame.  That prop that fell apart?  The light that blew?  That nail that ripped the costume?  Just saying…

9. Watch out for cast crushes, especially when directing high school kids.  Although it isn’t necessarily the director’s business, it can soon become the director’s problem.  (For the non-actors out there, when actors play characters in love, it is way too easy, and in fact, all too common to develop a crush on your opposite leading man or lady.)  This is one more advantage to working with actors who have a lot of stage experience, because they’ve “been there, done that.”  Otherwise you have love-sick nonsense backstage that can alienate or disgust the rest of the cast.  Also, it can mess with the acting.  How on earth are you supposed to hate that woman on stage when you have her lipstick all over your face?  (Again, it was an interesting directorial choice.)

10. Never, ever, ever give up on a show.  That is a cardinal sin, and unfortunately, I committed it a few times in my past.  It was before I knew any better, and shame on me for it.  It is never too late to give a note, or try to clean up a scene.  Don’t ever throw in the towel on a show.  Even on the last matinée, a director should be vigilant.  Don’t ever let an actor “phone it in.”

11. Directors will be hated at some point in the rehearsal process.  Like the wet paint on opening night, it is inevitable. Undoubtedly, someone will not like a note, or the crew will feel slighted, no matter how many Snickers you buy them. The cast and crew will talk some shit about you.  That’s the unfortunate side of leadership.  The good news is that it is usually forgotten the minute a standing ovation happens.  Always serve the play rather than the actors.  It may make the journey more challenging, but the goal will be far greater for it.

12.  Every cast becomes a family, and every cast is special.  By the time the curtain goes up, you will love everyone involved in the show very much, in spite of the smack-talk.  You will also miss them terribly once the play is over.  You may, for a week or two, consider bringing it back and doing it again, but don’t.  You never really recapture the magic; it just prolongs the agony, like pulling a band-aid off slowly.  The good news is that the blues you encounter after a show closes will fade in time.  And after all, there’s always another show.

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Hello and how do you do.

I’ve been a teacher, writer and performer for a long time, and it finally dawned on me to start a blog.  My friends seemed to think it was a good idea.  It sounded even better after a few vodkas, so here I am.  (Yes, that’s right.  I am a teacher who enjoys vodka.)  I’m really hoping none of my current students find out about this blog.

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