Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Wow...I'm so tired right now, I'm not even sure this blog will be coherent.  As I write this, my costume designer is at my house, sewing machine on my dining table, and making last minute alterations....except...the alterations are much bigger than she expected.

It's past midnight.

Meena, my collaborating performer, is out cold on my couch.  She's going to stay the night because otherwise she would have to bus it back out to Mid City.  Yeah.  She doesn't have a car.  In L.A.  Can you believe it!  She's my hero.  Amazing.

And me?  Well I've just been to Norway and back in the last 6 days.  That's 20+ hour journeys back and forth, with a performance in between.

I am so ready to hit my bed, but we need to get these alterations done because Tiffany is working on the set of a TV show right now, and she has 12 hour days, so there's no other time!

Anyway, it's all coming together, but of course, the last week is going to be a HUGE push.  I hope that everything goes smoothly, but I expect it won't.  I expect the worst, so that I won't get steam-rolled.  I expect the worst, so that my hopes don't get dashed.  I expect the worst, so that I can prepare to put out the best.  And like I said in the last blog, no matter what, the show will go on!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sing Out Loud!

Community Performer Rehearsal #2!

On Sunday September 16th we had our second rehearsal for our community performers.
It was a bit stressful in the beginning because I got a message from one of the performers that she couldn't make it.  She got a job, last minute and had to take it!  She's a free lancer, and money's been tight.  I totally understood, but it does make my job harder.
Still, we managed.
We just held a space for her in the choreography and will quickly get her up to speed the next time we meet, which is this Thursday for our first and only tech rehearsal!

Anyway, the rehearsal went well.  We reviewed all the material and figured out a system of cueing.  Very high tech...Myrrhia, my awesome stage manager will basically call one of the performers on his cell phone, and that will be the community performers (aka CP's) cue to open their umbrellas.  Then 30 seconds later, she'll call again, and that will be the cue for them to start walking.
There's no other way to do it!  A walkie is too big for the CP to carry throughout the piece, and with the starting point for the CP's all the way out by the ocean, and Myrrhia up by the beach house, the cell phone saved the day.

What was nice about this rehearsal is that we talked a little about "intention" for the CP's.  I wanted to make sure, in the short rehearsal period that we have, that they can connect to the work and understand their role and intention, because that makes all the difference in the performance quality, and in their enjoyment.  We also had a lovely moment after lunch.  While we were sitting in the courtyard, I taught them the song "How Deep is the Ocean".  Some of the older women already knew it.  The rest learned it, and we sang out loud, with people all around us.

I told the CP's to sing with abandon - to not be shy.  Sing in a way that others want to sing with you!  We still have a lot of work to do to get them to that level, but hopefully it will just be there for the show, because we don't have much more time!  This whole process is so compressed.  They are really going to have to just give it their all, whether they feel totally prepared or not.  That's showbiz.  : )

Another really nice thing that happened is that the CP's started taking ownership and coming up with ideas, problem-solving together for the benefit of the show.  That made me really happy.  The team-work aspect is a huge part of doing ensemble performance work, and I'm glad they got to experience the pride of coming up with good ideas and seeing them implemented.

Onward and upward!

Till the next,


Monday, September 10, 2012

Our First Community Performer Rehearsal

On Saturday September 8th we had our first rehearsal for our community performers.  There will be 7 brave and spirited members of the community who are not professional performers, but will be performing in my new piece at the Annenberg Beach House on Sept. 28, 29 and 30!

Rehearsal started at 10am with the "name game".  This is a great ice-breaker and a way for all of us to remember each others' names and get a little movement work-out at the same time!  Basically, we stand in a circle and one by one, we put a gesture to our name.  Everyone learns the name and the gesture, and then we move on to the next person, accumulating  until we have a whole phrase that consists of everyone's name and gesture!  It's really quite fun, and the participants all seemed to get into it!

After that, we did some exercises that help with focus and awareness while moving.  Basically, a lot of the choreography that the community will be doing will be about moving as a group or moving in canon.  So, rather than "dancing to the music", the group will be dancing to each other.  They watch and listen each other to know what comes next!

Eventually, we made it outside where we put our ideas in the actual space.  I gave everyone a beautiful salmon/coral colored parasol, we walked down to the beach, near the water, which is where our performance begins.  Then slowly, with the voiceover of a Rumi poem in the background, followed by me singing the 1930's love song, "At Last" by Etta James, the group moved as a unit, with parasols moving in unison, from the ocean up to the boardwalk.  The group did fabulously, and we got a lot of people wondering what was going on.  "Is it a wedding?"  Of course, I'm sure it looked like a rehearsal for a wedding.  And considering that the theme of my piece is "duality" and the relationship between the Personality and the Soul, between our self and our higher self, between self and the beloved...the metaphor of a marriage ceremony is quite apt.

Standing in the sun isn't easy.  I know.  I've been dancing in it this whole summer.  I've noticed how difficult it gets to focus when outside under the hot sun for too long.  My brain starts to melt.  This definitely happened with our group.  After lunch as we worked on the middle section around the rock and palm garden, I could feel the energy of the group start to wane.  Back were getting sore.  Brains were melting for sure.  They were troopers.  We took plenty of water breaks and sat in the shade whenever possible.  At least the idea to work with parasols had an aesthetic AND practical purpose!

My next rehearsal with the group is Sunday Sept. 16.  We will be reviewing and refining everything that we learned and working with some new material for the motivational talk show scene, when I invite my Soul as a guest on my show.  : )

Meena is in Canada for a couple weeks, so our rehearsals are on hold until she is back.  We made a lot of progress in the last week of intensive rehearsals.  Still a bit to do, including finalizing what happens in the fountain and our scene together in the motivational talk show.

More to come!