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If you know me at all, you know I am a self-professed musical theatre junkie. I even occasionally flirt with the idea of ditching grad school and running away to join Broadway. An impractical life plan if there ever was one, but one that has appealed to me in some way or another for as long as I can remember. As a result, I think about the practicalities of life in musical theatre more than most, and I am particularly interested in the role of age in stage productions. How old is too old to play a role? Could I, creeping up to 30, convincingly play the teenage Natalie in Next to Normal? At what age is an actress, for this does seem to be, as it is in Hollywood, a larger concern for women than for men, relegated to “mother” roles?

Since I think about this so much, I was thrilled to come across Melissa Errico’s article in the New York Times Theater section, “I’m 46. Is That Too Old to Play the Ingénue?” The piece is witty, well-written, and thought-provoking. I so wish I could go and see Errico’s new take on Sharon. As always, the first bit follows and the “keep reading” link will take you to the rest on the original site.

The ingénue police are at my door.

Is this Melissa Errico? The actress? Do you understand that Sharon in “Finian’s Rainbow” should be around 27 years old? Would you please come with us? 

Then I wake up.

Sleeping actors are known to forget their lines, or what play they are in, or where their pants have gone. When I was offered the chance to perk up my curly curls and scrub up my Irish brogue to portray the fairylike Sharon McLonergan in a coming Off Broadway revival of the musical “Finian’s Rainbow,” this version of the actor’s dream crept into my subconscious and made plain thoughts I was already thinking: At age 46, when does an ingénue hang up her ponytail? When is it time to stop dancing with leprechauns?

 

[…KEEP READING…]

Quoted

Everybody has an inferiority complex when they step into a room … When I was young I had so many inferiority complexes. I had an inferiority complex because I didn’t got university … because I didn’t train. Then it gets tiring. And you get bored of it … “Fuck it” is my guiding philosophy.

— Helena Bonham Carter

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

Carl Jung. It’s for the thesis, but I am finding it far more lucid than I recall it being last time I picked his work up in undergrad. This may simply be because a lot of the other things I’ve been reading have managed to give me headaches after only a sentence or two.

 

Watching…

Season 2 of You’re the Worst. I know I wrote about this one in last week’s post, but season 2 deserves its own shout out. This season has the most compelling and realistic portrayal of clinical depression I think I have ever encountered on television. The writers knocked this one out of the park and Aya Cash turns in a truly powerful performance that knocked the wind out of me more than once.

 

Listening…

I’m still on a “songs you could have found on a diner jukebox” kick. Latest addition to the rotation is John Lee Hooker. Blues done right.

Read This

I cannot begin to count the number of times someone has tried to sell me on meditation as a way to deal with anxiety. This concept is laughable to me. Like, I literally burst into laughter most times it is suggested to me. I know it works for many people. I know it is a practice, and therefore I might need to, you know, practice if I want it to be useful down the road. But, honestly, right now, at this point in my life, meditation does sort of the opposite of what it is supposed to. As I once told a dear friend, “Yes, because what I need is more time alone with my thoughts.” So when I came across Casey Johnston’s “A Guided Meditation for the Anxious Mind“, I couldn’t stop laughing. Welcome to the inside of my brain.

Welcome to your Buddha Buddy five-minute guided meditation. During this practice, we will focus on your body and breathing awareness, in an attempt to soothe the mind. Find a comfortable seated position somewhere in nature. Now close your eyes and take a deep breath. Picture your front door. Did you lock it when you left? Even if you did . . . well, we can’t guarantee anything.

As you let your breathing settle into a steady pattern—eyes closed, arms at rest, palms face up—ask yourself, is that a pain in your forearm? You haven’t even done anything yet today. How can your forearm hurt, when there are hardly any muscles in there? Resist the urge to poke it. If you poke it, the pain won’t go away, and it might even get a little worse. Yes, it does feel worse. Do blood clots cause pain?

Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let it out—slowly, very slowly—through your mouth. Draw another breath in, and feel your belly fill with air. Your pants are awfully tight. You haven’t been to the gym in several days. Has it been two weeks already? It seems like you’ve been extra bloated after your last three Seamless orders from the Thai place downstairs. Food poisoning can cause bloat, can’t it? On your next inhale, fill your belly just a little bit less. Stop at, like, eighty per cent full. Maybe not just when you’re breathing, but when you’re eating, too. Just a thought. Now let it go.

[…KEEP READING…]

Quoted

As a girl, I was not sure how to be. I said things I did not mean. I said things I did not understand … As a woman, I still have moments of being outside of myself. But as a woman, I know now to ask what they mean, to try to understand, to not only be the help I need, but to ask for it as well.

– Cleo Wade (via her Instagram)

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

I Know What I’m Doing and Other Lies I Tell Myself by Jen Kirkman. I’ve been on a personal essay collection kick lately, and I picked this one up because I enjoy Kirkman’s standup. It is less comedic than I expected. That’s not to say that it isn’t darkly funny. It’s funny in the way that I am often funny: through self-effacement and a recognition of both the absurdity and the disastrousness of life. I’ve been most struck, though, by Kirkman’s brutal honesty. It’s a resonating book for me, even though I’m not in the same life space she is, and sometimes those are the most gratifying resonances to find.

 

Watching…

You’re the Worst. I don’t know what it says about me that I find the deeply fucked up relationships between deeply damaged people in this show almost endearing, but it makes for compelling television. Season two drops on Shomi today, and I am so stoked.

 

Listening…

The Next to Normal soundtrack. On loop. I don’t think the angst of this show will ever stop resonating with me. Bonus points for these videos of recording sessions. For some reason, I really love watching recording sessions for musicals.