to fly or not to fly

I was taking the train home tonight and I was struck by something. I hate flying...HATE it. All I can ever do the whole time is worry about whether or not I'm going to crash and die. But, I am completely transfixed whenever a plane flies overhead - I could sit and watch planes fly over for hours. Whenever I'm on the highway going past that spot by O'Hare where the flight path goes over the highway... I love it, the whole thing excites the hell outta me.

Now why can't I take that enthusiasm over how amazing the mechanics and engineering of flying are and apply it to when I'm actually ON the plane???


less than 2 weeks...

...until our road trip!

I love when you're planning something - an event, an evening out, or a vacation, and you've planned the thing months in advance, and at the time all you can think is "I can't wait until X happens!". Then, the time ghoes by and you're in the position I'm in now... where all I can think, after 5 months of planning, is "I can't beleieve we leave in less than 2 weeks!"

I plan on trying to blog from the road so I can keep everyone up to date on our travels.

The plan for the trip (so far) is to leave the Chicago area around 2pm on Friday the 31st (Sara is picking me up straight from work). We are planning on having a cooler of food so we dont have to stop as much (just for the occasional pee-break). Our goal Friday is to make it AT LEAST as far as Erie, PA. This is completely do-able: I made that far driving back to Mass. with my mom back in 2001.

Sara is actually going to be OFF on that Friday, so she's planning on sleeping in as much as she can so that she can just keep driving until she can't anymore.

(Erie, PA is the goal, but if we can POSSIBLY make it into NY, we're going to try)

Then, on Saturday the 1st, we'll get up around 8ish and be on the road by 830-9am. Depending on where we stopped the night before, we should get to my mom's neck of the woods by 5pm - 7pm - hopefully just in time for dinner :)

We're staying at a cabin just a short 10 miles away (in Maine, you would call that "down the road a piece").

Here's a shot from the back porch of the cabin:

How can you NOT get excited about someplace that cool looking?

I can smell the pine trees already...


color question

Tony has raised the question on his blog today about color http://jayraskolnikov.blogspot.com/2007/08/race-and-theatre.html , and it's something I've thought about a bunch lately.

There's lots of discussion going on in "blog-land" about community and theatre's place in it, and this is certainly something that is a part of that argument.

For SRT, we have never done what one could identify as an "African American Play" or a "Hispanic or Latino Play", etc. , however we have certainly have had several different minorities be a part of some color-blind casting over the years. (Not a pat on the back, just laying out the facts)
Unless we happen to have an artist of color join the company as a company member, I don't think we'll actually DO an "African American Play" etc and here's why - we are an ensemble-based theatre company, so we choose a season that will not only challenge us but also reflect the ensemble.

Recently, though, we had our annual playwrighting festival, which we now have a panel of theatre professional sit in on and help choose a "best play" - we also ask for these panelists opinions on the festival as a whole, things they liked, things we can improve. And one panelist said that they wished they had seen some more "diversity" to the evening. I agree with him - at a festival we should certainly be making our best efforts to showcase diversity, HOWEVER... here are some challenges we have with that.

First, as we don't recieve pictures of the playwrights with the submissions, we simply need to select the BEST plays we can, and hope for diversity amongst those. This past festival, we recieved 3 plays that featured characters of color. One, that featured some Asian characters, and two that featured African American characters.
The one that featured Asian characters almost made it into the festival, but the technical requirements of the piece forced us to say no in the long run.
The 2 that featured African American charcters were simply not good plays. We have no idea of the race of the playwrights, but in my opinion, the way the charcters were written - if the playwright was white, then they were racist, and if they were black, then they were just perpetuationg some of the worst African American racial stereotypes - and I'm not about to be a part of that.

So, now, on to auditions and casting.
For the 6 plays that were chosen by the 6 directors, only ONE play really had any kind of NEED for white characters. The premise of the play was a middle aged couple who goes on a trip to India and to really capture the "fish out of water" sense of the play, a white couple would certainly capture that BEST, but if the director had seen actors of color who were BETTER, I'm sure she would have chosen the quality of the acting over the skin color.
For the remaining 5 plays? No racial or ethnic "needs" of any kind. Just a mixture of relationship plays and 2 that both had some fantastic surreal qualities. Any of the characters in the shows could have been played by anyone of any color or look. (I directed one of the 6, and I can personally say that I didn't care about what colors walked through the door.)

For the auditions, we had a handful hispanic and latino actors come, one African American (I think) and one asian american.

This happens all the time.

We put out the audition notice, and we always say that we enourage all ages, all races, colors, ethnicities... and then we get no more than 5 or 6.

We did cast ONE hispanic/latino male (because he's GREAT! He's actually so great he was in 2 of the 6 shows) and the rest was the usual. White women, white men 20's to 30's.

How do we change this? I feel as though we need to broaden our audition advertising , but how do we do that?

This is not something I know the answer to - I'm looking for the guidance - and looking for other people's experiences.


Sean looking all powerful and shit....

I was looking for a picture to write another story about, and I came across this one, which I LOVE. This is a great shot that Michael took of Sean during tech for our last show, "The Past's Present". I don't know what it is... the rich colors in the background... the intense stare on Sean's face... I can't explain it... this picture just...MOVES me.

It's kind of like that song you can't put into words what it means... thats what this picture is to me.


great picture... great memory

My stepfather Timo was in no uncertain terms, a right bastard. But thats an entirely different post. However, his only shining quality was his love of hockey, and he loved to play with my brother and some of the neighborhood guys.

When he was younger, Timo was an accomplished swimmer and won a bunch of medals for his swimming back in his homeland of Finland.

What you are seeing in the picture is the end of a great game of Everett street hockey, where Timo let all the guys wear one of his medals, so they could act like they'd won the olympics or something. He had a really soft side for the kids (when he wasn''t drinking -- again, for another day I promise), and this picture is just such a great representation of my youth. (My brother Danny is all the way to the left... even in winter he's wearing his Little League championship jacket).



Have you ever looked back at something you did, and feel such an overwhelming wave of regret….but not be in a position to actually do anything about it effectively?

Have you ever done something that was so completely out of character, for truly selfish and stupid reasons, and not been able to take it back?

Have you ever been in a position where you chose one path, and you wish that you could go back and get a different option? And now its too far along to make any change, because you don’t want to hurt the ones you chose but you can’t believe the hurt you caused to those you didn’t choose?

I wish…..

I wish there was a way to go back
I wish there was a way to CHANGE what I did.
I wish I could write all of this without needing to speak in code :)
(although, no one ever reads my blog, so I guess it doesn't really matter)

So, without sounding all flowery and poetic – I hurt someone. This was a few years ago. Whether or not the person “deserved what was coming to them” is open to personal interpretation and opinion, and I’m not about to debate that. The manner in which it was done? Hands down – it sucked. It was underhanded and slick and over-all it was unprofessional. When the main argument against the person in question was a matter of professionalism, then one would think the matter should have been presented to them professionally. Yeah…one would think…

So how does one express regret to someone who a.) isn’t speaking to them at present and b.) will likely scorn everything you say?

Also, how do I make it sound like it’s genuine without sounding like a total ass-hat?

And if I try to express regret, is it solely to make myself feel better? Is that too selfish a reason? What if that other person could care LESS if I have regret? Perhaps they have moved on completely and I don’t even enter their mind, not even in a bad way? If that’s the case is it even worth the effort?

This sucks. I made a choice and it was wrong. Sure, we’ve all done it before, but did it change the fabric of a large part of your life? It did for mine.
It sucks that I can’t DO anything about it and I can’t SAY anything about it. (too many people involved)


thank GOD its Friday

This was a LONG week at work, lots of crap to do. I'm so jazzed its Friday, and that I'll be able to sleep in a WEE bit tomorrow.

Vitality closes tomorrow, and I would have to say that my first foray into the world of direction was successful (at least to me). My actors are happy with the piece and the audience has defintely responded to it... what else can you ask for?

Also, the first read-thru for Coronado is this Sunday evening. I cannot WAIT to hear it aloud from the actors!


August 9th

wow... 2 posts in one day, Brownlee will be beside himself...

August 9th is a GREAT combination of days.

FIRST - My baby sister ( I guess not so baby anymore) was born 27 years ago today. Man, I remember that like it was yesterday - she was like a little doll with dark brown hair. Some of my BEST memories of childhood are with Heather. Watching "Annie" for the millionth time, listening to Madonna songs together and signing along, playing with barbie's (yes, I was a girl once), going camping... the list goes on.
Happy Birthday baby sister! You're a treasure, and I wish you happiness and love.

Well, today is ALSO me & Sara's 6 year anniversary.
HOLY CRAP! 6 YEARS? really?!?!?!??

Yes, really. I was 26 when we first met and fell in love (and Sara was a mere 22). Now, 6 years later, we own a car, we're making small plans for a condo (within a year, hopefully...), plus Sara wants be pregnant before 30 if possible....
We did that "live apart" thing for a year, and without voicing it, I know that our friends were wary - they probably thought we wouldn't make it. Strangely enough, it made us stronger and all the best ways. We appreciate each other more, we don't take each other for granted anymore and we TALK about what we're feeling. We hardly ever argue anymore even! We take the time to say not only that we love each other, but whatever's on our mind at that moment (things like "Your hair looks really cute today - I love it" or "I love your smile", etc).

She's the best thing that has ever happened to me.
hands down.

Vitality V

Speaking Ring Theatre Company
proudly presents
Vitality V
This is the 5th year for our annual playwrighting festival. This year's theme is 'Breaking Out: The Moments when we Shake Free of our Constraints and Eclipse the Past'

For this year’s festival, the following plays were chosen:
I Want You to Find Me
by Ryan Burkett * The Madness of Sophie by Tanya M. Chase
Kamasutra by Tom Coash * Kings of Cabbage by Thurston Cobb
Rising by Kristyn Leigh Robinson * Submerged by Kristyn Leigh Robinson

The playwrights are also competing for an audience award of
"Best Play" which is voted on by YOU!

This year's directing team includes:
Dianna Driscoll (Rising), Brian Troyan (I Want You to Find Me),
Lydia Millman (Submerged), Adam Webster (The Madness of Sophie),
Lavina Jadhwani (Kamasutra), and Erin Rooney (Kings of Cabbage)
  • This is the final weekend! August 9, 10, & 11.
  • All shows are at 8pm and all tickets are just 15$
  • All performances are at American Theatre Company, located at 1909 W. Byron, Chicago (corner of Byron & Lincoln)
  • Ticket reservations are available by calling the SRT Box Office Hotline (312.458.9374) and leaving a message or by emailing at info@speakingringtheatre.org.

Please come out and celebrate