the past week has been pretty busy. i’ve never been an understudy before, so i’ve just been doing what i think would prepare me best for the role. i’ve been to every performance of “mysterious skin” and i have to say it’s draining seeing a play like that every night. it’s heavy duty, and the kind of role an actor salivates over. i guess that’s what makes actors so weird. where most people would run in the other direction, we’re the ones standing saying “yeah i’d love to get involved in making that real”.
speaking of which, i had my first rehearsal with the role today. playing around with the chreography of the fight, and rape scene (affectionately called “booty call”) i began thinking. just a year ago, i was doing “picnic” in ms.bohannon’s acting class first semester. now here i am on stage at the EastWest Players.
i’ve found an apartment with athena. it’s a great little place right between hollywood and downtown, which works for me. i think i’m due for a break from hollywood. relatively speaking, it’s no further away from school than i was when i was travelling from santa monica to school every morning this time last year. who knows, perhaps i can start going back to using the bus again. awwww, brokeback bus stop… good times. newly rennovated, new kitchen, granite benchtops, new bathroom, fridge and stove, all on the second floor of a secure building. and some friendly chaps outside selling clothes on their lawn…
i think it’s a fairly safe area. but just in case… does anyone know what “don’t rob me” and “spare me, take my wife” is in spanish?
acting is tough. really tough. to do well. so when you finally put together some strong work, it’s an intoxicating feeling. naturally, you want more of it. as actors, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to re-do a “good” performance. in fact, i’m positive every actor’s done this at one stage or another. during my month in fresno, i was given the advice to rediscover, and not recreate, and that made a world of sense for me. executing it may prove to be difficult.
i mention this because i’m laying on my couch in my steppenwolf shirt (not much else clean in my wardrobe to be honest), and i was flicking through a few pictures from july. i can’t help but smile as i think of the faces, the friends, the work, and moments we all shared. and as in life, as is in acting (as i’ve been finding more and more are one and the same over the past year) it’s not hard to want to recreate that kind of magic.
i guess to an extent, as i start my second year in the US, i’m a little worried sometimes. how can anything possibly top this past year which has been so great? and then i realise it’s just “parrots”. and that i should just look forward. and keep doing what i’m doing.
so the news. i’ve been cast as the understudy of “neil” in “mysterious skin”! it’s absolutely fan-fucking-tastic. i really don’t think words can do justice to what it feels like. to be a part of EastWest Players (that’s the theatre company i’ll be performing at), and to be taking such a big step is incredible.
if you’d like to come to support, please do, i’d love to see you there. that being said, i’ll warn you now it’s a pretty heavy duty play, and i don’t really recommend making it a family outing. as the understudy, i go on if the lead falls sick. as much as i appreciate the thought… please stop offering to break legs. david’s a tremendous actor. actually, without kissing ass, the entire cast put together some of the best work i’ve seen in my time in america on sunday. i feel a little out of my depth… bah. parrots.
i want to write more, but i’m a bit frazzled. i have 120 pages to look over. i’m treating the role as if it’s mine. this second year is quickly turning into my next freefall.
ps – i am vehemently against self promotion and “oh look at me and what i’m doing” on facebook… so i posted this announcement here where the few people that really care will end up and find out. plus i probably don’t want everyone knowing that i could potentially get my equipment out on stage should david fall sick.
i smell peaches. they’re not mine. they’re somewhere. fuck i’m hungry.
i’m in a shitty mood. i woke up at 4am to watch manchester united destroy everton 3-1, then went to sleep at 82 fucking minutes, only to have nightmares about dropping lines in an audition, wake up, and find that infinitely worse than my nightmares, manchester had let in two goals in injury time to lose 3-3.
im listening to boney m. “mary’s boy child” to be exact. a classic. at least for me.
i remember when i was about four or five, my grandmother “ma ma” (in cantonese is your fathers mother) came back from hong kong and had a present for christmas. it was a akai (does that brand still exist?) walkman. it was absolutely huge, a far cry from the coin sized ipods that apple released today. it was ugly, ran on AA batteries, and was heavy like a brick. and the only cassette tapes i received with them, was boney m’s greatest hits. ma ma didn’t really speak much english, but she was very religious. in fact, i imagine she bought the tapes because they sang some religious rock.
anyway, i just liked the fact i had a new toy. i listened to the songs non stop. until the batteries drained. i loved her to pieces for it. to be honest, i was very close to her. in fact, my ma ma and my dad. there’s always been some kind of special bond there. anyway, as a young kid, i used to talk to her a lot. i got to practise my cantonese, and she got to practise her english. she would dress me for my first years of school, and would cook me breakfast as some mornings mum would be at work early. i even remember learning to dress myself, and making my bed so that i could impress her. shame ive kind of regressed to my current dress sense and bed making.
along with the christian rock tape, i would read the bible for her in exchange for a stash of candy she kept behind her bed. personally ive never been as religious as when i spent time with her. her room would always have pictures of Mary and Jesus all over. thats something she always had. she prayed every morning and every night.
i wasnt always the best kid though. sometimes kids just say things. i remember one particular dinner conversation. i said out loud i didnt like having ma ma and yeh yeh (granddad) at the table. for whatever reason i dont know. i didnt realise that shed understand. my dad firmly reprimanded me, and i made the obligatory apology. but i couldnt look at her. i was pretty ashamed, and to this day i still dont remember why i blurted that out. but that night, i still couldnt face her. so i wrote on a note “i love you” and put it on her table. while she was there (i guess i wasnt good at subtlety back then either). she grabbed me and hugged me, and i remember feeling so relieved that she didn’t hate me.
i was six when she was diagnosed with cancer. i was too young to really understand what that meant. but i guess because she was never scared, neither was i. she died in 1991.
i feel a little guilty that i think of her so scarcely. it’s strange to think it’s been almost 20 years. boney m brought back a few memories as i sat down tonight. and looking back i have such warm memories of her. when i get to thinking about her, i often wonder what she’d have thought of me wanting to be an actor. and now, after being in LA for a year, even though people in my life are starting to come around for me, i just know she’d have given me the thumbs up from the start.
i felt the need to post this here and in my journal. getting that text out.