Salome opens March 13th at The Right Brain Project!

art below by Joseph Ramski

Salome Headshot

This one has been an interesting process for me, seeing how I am the Movement Director, Choregrapher, and playing Herodias. I think I might be a little exhausted. We’re all working our tails off for it, there is even an all original score by Trevor Watkins. We might all be a little exhausted.

Other things on the horizon:
I’m headed to Columbus, OH in May to culminate (for the time being) a two year outreach project headed by playwright Nicola McCartney hand in hand with Rachel’s House, a women’s recovery community in Columbus, Ohio. Through professional actors, the women tell their stories of leaving the criminal justice system and the difficult transition back to their communities while battling addiction and hopelessness.

Let’s talk about: Safety.

The Hotel Play at Infernal Bridegroom Photo by Dabfoto Creative / David A. Brown

The Hotel Play at Infernal Bridegroom
Photo by Dabfoto Creative / David A. Brown

YOUR safety as an actor. I wrote about this subject in my thesis and talked about it with my students. In the light of the horribly tragic news from Vegas, I want to share my thoughts…

Let me say first that the Cirque cast and crew are the safest and best trained in the world and that this post is not a direct response to their tragedy. It is a general call for every performer, every director, every crew member, to take their personal safety and the safety of their coworkers seriously. If an accident like this can happen at Cirque, it can happen anywhere.

That being said, I would like to challenge my fellow artists with the following:

We have all been unsafe on stage. I am perfectly comfortable as an actor, a dancer, a choreographer, a movement director and a director in stating that as FACT. We have all had inept set designers or carpenters who have said, “Oh, that beam that runs across backstage at head height in complete darkness? Oh, that’s fine, just make sure you duck.” We’ve all had directors say, “Fight choreographer? Nah, we don’t need one. Just go for it.” We’ve all had a props designer say, “Stage sword? No, I didn’t get you one, but this replica civil war era saber that I bought on ebay will work fine.” We have all had actors say, “I’ve totally taken a combat class. Yeah, like ten years ago. And it was only an afternoon, but it’ll be cool, I used to take tai-bo.”

So physical danger, that’s obvious, right? But we’ve all also put ourselves in emotional danger. We have all been in a physically intimate scene, whether it’s a love story or a violent rape, and been expected to jump right in without any acknowledgement  of the emotional and psychological danger we are putting ourselves in.

We’ve all felt uncomfortable in these situations and we ALL have, at some point, told ourselves, “Self, this is stupid. Just do it. If you don’t, they’ll think you’re not a professional or that you’re a diva or a problem actor and they won’t cast you again. Someone will tell someone else that you’re a chicken or overly sensitive and get labeled “hard to work with” and then where will you be? Just do it. Keep your mouth shut and do it. You’ll get used to it or over it and it will be fine.”

We tell jokes about it, trade horror stories, compare war wounds, measure scars.

I’m here to say, fuck that.

As an actor, YOU ARE ALL YOU HAVE.

SAY NO.

Don’t be an ass about it but make your issues known clearly and calmly. “I do not feel comfortable with (blank) because (blank) has not been addressed.” Ask to speak with your stage manager or, if you’re lucky enough to have one, speak to your show’s deputy and have them bring the issue to management.

We knowingly put ourselves in harm’s way, both physically and psychologically, and we need to make sure that all steps to protect ourselves and our fellow performers have been taken.

We all need to stay vigilant and have honest conversations with ourselves and our teams to make sure every step possible has been taken to make our jobs as safe as possible.

As for what happened in Las Vegas, my heart bleeds for a lost life…a truly extraordinary talent that was extinguished way too soon. The bright lights of Vegas glow dimmer without her. May her family, her children, her artistic family, her loves fine some tiny bit of solace in the knowledge that her loss is felt by the artistic community as a whole.

Living, Broken.

Living, Broken.

Now At Liberty

Little white love, your way you’ve taken;
Now I am left alone, alone.
Little white love, my heart’s forsaken.
(Whom shall I get by telephone?)
Well do I know there’s no returning;
Once you go out, it’s done, it’s done.
All of my days are gray with yearning.
(Nevertheless, a girl needs fun.)

Little white love, perplexed and weary,
Sadly your banner fluttered down.
Sullen the days, and dreary, dreary.
(Which of the boys is still in town?)
Radiant and sure, you came a-flying;
Puzzled, you left on lagging feet.
Slow in my breast, my heart is dying.
(Nevertheless, a girl must eat.)

Little white love, I hailed you gladly;
Now I must wave you out of sight.
Ah, but you used me badly, badly.
(Who’d like to take me out tonight?)
All of the blundering words I’ve spoken,
Little white love, forgive, forgive.
Once you went out, my heart fell, broken.
(Nevertheless, a girl must live.)

wit by dorothy parker
legs thru lens by me

Shame

Shame

Th’expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murd’rous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust;
Enjoyed no sooner but despised straight;
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had,
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait,
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit, and in possession so,
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
All this the world well knows, yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

words by william s.
flesh by my parents
photo by me

Theft of Hope

Thief with Good Taste

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Words
“Hope” by Emily Dickinson

Paint
“Woman” by Antonio Mancini

Theft of Meaning and Beauty
“Photo of Woman” by Me

When We Have Time

When We Have Time

We make things. Humans. Some of us make things even when we don’t have time. I aim to be that person every day but sometimes life breaks your brush or dries out your inks and sticks its ugly deadlines and lifelines in your face and yells that art isn’t important. Screw you, life. Get back on my schedule and we’ll be fine.

“Andrew at Mary Jane’s” Ink Print on Paper

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