I belong to a church that is based in the performing arts and my career is constantly validated by the 85% who belong to the same industry. The challenges of being a faith based woman is that the majority of my friends and associates are progressive and wary of religion of any sort. It's not like I can't understand on some level. The latest stories representing people of faith have been less than flattering bordering on lunatics. Every time I hear someone says how this climate change is the fault of homosexuality, I just have to find a place to pray for strength.
My faith is tested regularly and I struggle sometimes even sitting in church. There are members in my church who's faith seems to withstand Hurricane Sandy and there are times I feel I fall short on the ability to believe monitor. This monitor of course, is all in my head there is no competition and everyone's spiritual journey is their own. There always those that believe they know the right way to salvation but of course that is ridiculous. If you are of the Christian faith, the Bible provides a road map but how we read that map can be different for each person and how that maps directs you is based on what you view as east, west, north or south.
I have always been of the mindset , we don't have to share the same Faith but you have to believe in something greater than yourself or science. I have had very strong feelings for two men who were Muslim and someone who was "spiritual". I do believe if you are a person of faith, its crapola that you can just feel your way through your spiritual development. If we can take the time to study for our career, how to drive a car or how to manage our money, how can we give any less to the protection of our spiritual health. I feel that is just an easy way out of having to be responsible and face your own inner challenges. Your study may not look like everybody else's but it worth some effort on your part.
My hope is that my Faith will be like steel, that I will be able to rely on it like a well oiled muscle and it will silence the constant fear and doubt that plague me at times. The struggle of being political progressive and spiritually focused is real and it creates such division amongst many of the people I know. Not being able to mix company and it seems like I have two lives. The irony is, my political commitment is fueled by my spiritual commitment. It is the responsibility I feel to contribute to the world, to walk in the path that the Divine has paved for us. If I didn't feel that spiritual responsibility, I would never have the energy or desire to see things through. I don't receive financial rewards and many times I feel like an outsider at these political outings. The sting of classism and racism still permeates even the places that are looking to create a "better tomorrow". I sometimes go to phone banks, where I am merely tolerated or just not seen or rally's where I am ignored. It doesn't matter, my motivation doesn't come from a need for community but to be anyplace where the work is to create justice for all.
The stronger or deeper my relationship with the Divine, the more I sensitive I am to images and sounds. I am a fan of SVU but I realize that I used to be able to watch marathons, I cant now. Hearing and experiencing painful images of assault and degradation just doesn't sit well with my anymore, it feels wrong. Television shows that rely on insulting or talking rough to one another disturbs me and I cant watch it, songs that degrade someone over and over and again I just cant tolerate. My need for beautiful imagery or thoughtful conversation becomes even stronger. Trust, I can always enjoy sexual imagery but it has to be done in caring way. Even if the result is just for momentary pleasure, there has to be some connection.
I have never enjoyed violence, I don't like action movies but now I cant even watch someone being shot, I have to turn my head. When I was watching 12 Years a Slave, I was practically doing spins in my chair because I had to turn my head so much.
Whatever your spiritual choices, it must and has to change you. It has to deepen whatever is strong within you and bring to light your challenges. I believe that is the purpose of bringing the Divine into your life, your soul, your being is to change you and always for the better.
Just came for an audition that has really done a number on my being...the role was for a blk woman who has a plethora of health problems and her style of communication is a little on the retro side..."Lawd Have Mercy a smaat white boy'', you get the picture. I have no problem with doing a dialect, there is no shame in it, we all have our country cousins. The disturbing element is that it was written by a white woman and it was based in 2013 in the New York City??? In addition I just received notice that an audition that in my heart ,I knew I was made for, had received a call back for...I didn't book but yet here I was sitting at a table for three white auditors doing mammy chat . Outside the audition room, going over the sides, I nearly broke into tears. I had no desire to be there, I couldn't find the email to cancel and the theatre community is too small to just blow off people, it can come back to bite you in the buttackas!
Sitting there in the room, I couldn't bring myself to read in that dialect and that didn't create the best of impressions. It was just an unpleasant experience on both sides of the table.
Walking out of the room, the actor after me had such a pleasant, gentle disposition that I could picture her in the role and she seemed ready and willing. I wish her lucked and left the building.
Now, at my survival job trying to keep myself together, I am faced with the same demons that have plagued me more and more over the past couple of years. How much longer can I continue to stomach these disappointment, failures and heart wrenching experiences. The older we get the deeper those scars penetrate and the weariness just sets in.
I have no resolve and no "positve quips" to make it all better, it is, what it is and there is nothing but to get a Soy Chai Latte from Starbucks after work, and take a walk along the Pier.
I am fortunate, to have a survival gig, that allows me to be late 2hrs because I was at an audition, I am fortunate to know alot of actors who you can share your experience with, I am fortunate to be live in walking distance of the Pier which is a place of reflection and I am fortunate to have a passion that I care so deeply about.
I am aware of the blessings BUT this ache hurts and its real and no amount of deflection will make it disappear, only that real break, that moment when I know the breakthrough has finally appeared...
My journey to become a writer has been a long and circuitous one. I dont know if I ever would official give myself the title of writer exclusively but I definitely have been playing in the literary playground. My initial reason for joining this theater company was to explore directing and writing since I actively have been performing in since my return to New York ( hand to heart with extreme gratitude) When the project for came up in company meeting I shared absolutely no interest. I have never been into the Tudor's or the history of the monarchy.I was one of the few Americans who did not watch the Royal Wedding nor had even the slightest interest. Then when I noticed my name had been listed as a contributing writer to the project, I didnt resist. The process has been one of a collaborative, with the work being created in the rehearsal process, I am personally not a fan of that because of the lack of structure but since my experience is more limited in this area it was an opportunity for me to learn. During the process, I assumed me and my writing partner would just contribute maybe a paragraph or a suggestion here so it seemed benign enough. After a couple of weeks, one of the actors asked if and I had any text for them. Initally I was quite surprised, I had no idea I was expected to create actual dialogue. I was nervous, this was out of my realm of experience primarily burgeoning as a slam poet. I spoke to one of my acting buddies, who insisted that I take part in this project. My writing partner and I have had no previous working relationship, actually no relationship of any kind and we were expected to take this information that had been collected and create something from it. We had our intial meeting and we realized we really had no information. We talked about writing prompts and I lead the improv work in two rehearsals. Then we came back and miraculously we actual began to work together. For many who do this all the time, this is probably routine but for myself I was actually shocked how it all sort of came together in a slow unraveling. He is extremely laid back to my Native New York neurosis so, ( at least for me) it had made for an enjoyable writing experience. I know understand Richard Rogers only do one project alone, there is something great about collaborating with another, it makes you more confident in your own abilities, ironically enough. Also, it is very time consuming, each monolgue we have written takes time. Understanding the character, how they speak, thier experiences, thier influence and remaining consistent. When you have two people bringing that together, the time can just get eaten up. After almost 4 hours completing the first 3 of 7 monologues and thier death sentences, he sent them to the group for review. We were expecting notes, comments about why some things were omitted etc. That is the process of collaboration but when I recieved a video with pieces of text being moved and lines where speeches were supposed to be I was a little numb at first. Then nhe and I got together for the next 4 monologues and we have spent another 4 hours churning these out, I see another email from another part of the team and the lines are even in a more chaotic fashion, I am disturbed. All of a sudden a light went off in my head, I understand why writers have protection, now I understand intellectual property. To see the work you have spent hours on changed into something else entirely is difficult to witness. When you are not getiing financial compensation, it becomes almost pointless. Where the journey will take me from here, I dont know but it has been a true learning experience. My fellow sister and lover of words, Sophia suggested I put this experience on paper. It has been an unexpected my necessary journey in my development. Who would believe at this point in my life, I would still be learning new things but here we go again!
An Actor/Director sharing her thoughts on creativity in this crazy metropolis, New Yawk Citay.