HANDS ON A HARDBODY - Refuge Theatre Project, Chicago, IL,
directed by Christopher Pazdernik

Rekindling piano love.

Getting to know a piano key accordion half my size.


THE GLASS MENAGERIE - The Tennessee Williams Theatre Company,
New Orleans, LA, directed by Augustin Correro

THE TURKEY - from Liz Kaar films


Dream Cloud (commercial) from Onion Labs/Purple Stuff Prod.


Free Your Mind. . .

. . . and the rest will follow?

In April principle photography wrapped for an indie feature film, "The Turkey".  It was written, directed and produced by local film maker, Liz Kaar. (Strong women in film.  Yes!)  I was surrounded by some of Chicago's best improv and stand-up artists.  Never done a film, been many a moon since I've stretched my improv muscles.  And I've only waded into stand up waters.  We worked from the script, embellished with improv and occasionally the director would ask for an improv version of an entire scene.  It was collaborative and collegial and hilarious and - well - a little scary.  Before shooting began, I wondered and worried and considered and quaked.  These  people are funny.  Am I funny?  What if I'm not funny?  And an assortment of similar self defeating questions.  As the start day approached, I developed a weird calm.  As with most films the scenes were not shot in script order, which immediately unscrewed one bolt in my theatre head.  And there was no real way of knowing when and where improv would come in to play.  (And I do mean "in to" versus "into")  Unscrewed another bolt in my theatre head.  In theatre, improv is generally a part of the rehearsal process.  A living breathing production will have moments of improv if the actors and actresses are truly listening to each other during performance.  But the script, as written start to finish, does not change.  Very unlike stand-up and improv.  Between the shooting schedule and the looming certainty of flying without a parachute, my brain finally said "Screw it babe.  Let go."  I took a deep breath and then a leap.  And it was the most freeing, energizing, exhilarating work I've done in a while.  A literal release.  I don't know how funny it was, but I'm hungry for more.  I didn't realize how much I missed it.  So I may follow this road for a bit to see where it takes me.   I like a good leap of faith. 

Kick some arse. . .

Kick some arse. . .

It's so, so easy to be weighted down by those who say you aren't, can't, shouldn't, didn't.  It's toxic.  It's paralyzing.  And it's the death of growth, hope and creativity.  The more patina I acquire, the more I believe that if you never go out on a limb you'll always have an obstructed view.  (Copyright, TM, my fantasy lawyers will come after you.)  It may break, you may fail, you may experience some difficult losses.  But I love trees and I'm staying out on the limb.  When the fall comes, I'm gonna keep getting up off my arse, examining myself, learning from my mistakes and finding a new limb.  It's harder to get back up sometimes, but it's always worth it.  Now more than ever.  

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On the villain. . .

On the villain. . .

Last spring I was thrilled to be a part of the Raven Theatre cast that brought THE OLD FRIENDS to the midwest.  (And only the second full production in the U.S.)  I got close and cuddly with Julia Price, a brash, glamorous, desperate villain of a gal who will stop at nothing to retain her position as beauty queen, power broker and man magnet in Harrison, Texas.  Stuck in a forced marriage with a man she hates, she is a lonely, angry gal who has filled the emptiness and lack of love in her life with booze, men, and vanity that is carefully preserved with her big, big bank account.   That loneliness is carefully masked with a brittle gaiety, charm and acidity that breaks only when pushed to the farthest extreme.  In the meantime, she'll cut your legs out from under you as soon as look at you.  Cross her at your peril boys and girls.

And what did I discover?  A deeper understanding of fear and loneliness as powerful negative energy sources.  And playing the villain is a blast.

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On bitchy imps. . .

August 2015

This summer I was fortunate to be a part of an extremely unusual production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM at Two Pence Theatre Company.  Under the direction of Shannon Fillion, 7 actors stripped the worlds of the play down and interwove them from the ground up.  No setting in another time period or stage sex, just a complete exploration of Shakespeare's text and characters that left us free to turn a few things on their traditional heads. 

One of which was Puck, a thrill for me and one of the most difficult roles I have worked on.  Puck was a definite she.  And while I did my share of Puck cavorting, I was definitely more than perturbed about the goings on in the wood.  I mean, it's not a play that is friendly to women by and large. "What fools these mortals be."  Ha, ha but not.  So Puck went on a journey of laughter, mischieviousness and downright anger.  It was strange and delightful and exhausting.  In a wonderful review, "The Reader" noted the fact that "canonical characters appear in unfamiliar attitudes", further describing Puck as "bitchy and insubordinate, an oddly bitter imp who irks us by refusing to take pleasure in mischief". Insubordinate? Yep. Bitter? Sometimes. Imp? Always. Bitchy? That's touchy when applied to powerful female figures, human or no.  I know I had a hell of a time wielding magic at my whim, (with all due respect to Oberon).  Bitchy imps rock.   

Trees, the Desert and Music - in no particular order

The limbs on the trees. . .

If you follow my Tweets, which have been minimal of late, I equate this profession of theatre with the act of going out on a limb, practically on a daily basis.  (Maybe that's why I love the treeees.)  And my mantra is:

"If you don't go out on a limb, you always have an obstructed view."  

Yes I wrote that incredibly pithy, brilliant statement - after a critic's remark about a character I inhabited that was way out there.  Purposefully.  And I'm glad she was out there.  Because I love that limb.  Sometimes it's long and lithe.  Sometimes it's hard to grasp the stub.  And sometimes the damn thing breaks and you bust your posterior.  That's the soul soaring, soul crushing world of theatre.  Ain't it grand?

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