Grad School Adventures

Dec 27, 2009 by     No Comments    Posted under: Thousands of Stories

Hey Y’all,

So I have contemplated whether or not to blog about this particular subject because I don’t know what levels of public humiliation I can endure these days. But, as they say, once you have lost your reputation you can live quite freely. I hope to do just that. After only a few, long months, in the “Big Bad Apple,” I have decided to attempt getting back into the comforting bosom of education. I have decided to apply for MFA programs. Amend that thought: I have decided to apply for programs that I feel can offer me the specific training that I seek and need (but I am not applying to grad schools for the sake of grad schools). I am applying to programs that just happen to be grad schools.. if that makes any sense.

Let me try to clarify: I am applying to Juilliard, Yale and NTC (National Theatre Conservatory in Denver). I am not applying to any other schools because I don’t want to go to grad school. It is not the experience of going to any grad school just because it’s a grad school that I crave. I crave an in-depth and focused training that I feel I am finally ready for. I always wanted this conservatory style approach when I was going to undergrad but it didn’t want me. And now I know that I was not emotionally mature enough to devote my life and myself to the art of theatre. Now, I am. And if they still don’t want me… they WILL someday.

So, I am applying. In fact, I have applied. I am auditioning various weekends in January. The first is Yale and that is the BIG DADDY of all schools. If I got into Yale…  well, lets not get our hopes up. Then is the NTC audition and the last is Juilliard (not an MFA program but, its fucking Juilliard so I am applying).

I need to focus on my auditions and what pieces I will be doing. This is the point I am at right now. Over the past weeks I have written my essay (artistic statement, statement of purpose, etc) for the various programs and thus another reason I have been absent from the blogospheres. Perhaps I will post this essay but that will take some balls for sure. Not today. Someday. … Er, we shall see. But: Auditioning.

1) contemporary comedic

This is where I have my first road block: what to do? I have some comedic monologues but they all seem so trivial and far too “easy.” I am looking at more Vogel because I love her and I have performed many of her shows. Perhaps a L’il Bit, black comedy or just stick with my Mineola Twins monologue on what it is Lesbians really DO in bed…

2) contemporary dramatic

Again, roadblock. In high school I really wanted to do a monologue from Beauty Queen of Lenane but the accent threw me. I still feel it is too wrong for grad school auditions but that is where I start my search. I have done some Shepard and though Savage in Limbo is way over done, I was thinking Curse of the Starving Class. Or perhaps I should just stick with The Goat by Edward Albee though I am far too young to play the role. Or maybe I should do a Native American piece like Rez Sisters. Or perhaps I should do something dealing with disability like Greta Good Time or Lie in the Mind. Gah. The clock is ticking.

3) classical comedic

Check. Done and done. Luciana from Comedy of Errors is lovely but I think I am going to go with Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing. I did this show this summer with CSF and though I played Margaret, I feel that Beatrice is a genius lady and one with much humor, wit, physicality, and a bit of a lover/ingenue. Good times all around.

4) classical dramatic

Check. And surprisingly so: I was sure I would do Queen Margaret from Henry VI part 3. Alas, though I love the monologue, it is a masturbatory performance. I am far too young, no one knows the piece, and though I love luxuriating in the text and vocal transformations, it’s just not grabbing. Instead, I had an epiphany! I will do Hamlet. I played Hamlet in Hamlet this spring and I absolutely adore, and rock the socks out of, “What a piece of work is a man.” Now, advice time: typically I would say stay away from changing gender or doing something controversial just to be controversial. But, in this case, I have played the role so it isn’t completely self-indulgent for me to attempt something like Hamlet. And I play a lot of male roles and strong women. If you are a lover all the way or a villain or a clown, then maybe a Hamlet monologue isn’t for you.

5) song

Maybe I Like It This Way – Wild Party

(this is the one song that I know but, like Ben said, 85% rule. It’s good enough! And, truth be told, it’s very good)

Now why am I going on and on and on about this? Well, many of you are actors. Many of you are in school, just out of school or contemplating going back into school like myself. Ben is working as an actor in LA. Joe is studying improv as well as working as an actor in Chicago. I am… trying to work as an actor in NYC but I find that my path is different from that of Joe and Ben. I posted a while back on the thought that there are too many performers and artists these days who think that they deserve one thing or another because of what they have completed. That the industry owes them something. Well this is untrue. Art is about evolving and growing. There is never an end point or a point where you are owed anything. It is the TRUE actors, in my mind, who never stop learning. Ben is learning through doing (as he is so fortunate to be able to do), Joe is learning through doing, self reflecting, and, improv classes. I want to learn through intense and specific training with no outside distractions. My goals are also different. Ben is film. Joe is improv (and contemporary drama/comedy). I am classical work, contemporary drama, and maybe film in the future but… that would be a lovely cherry on top if it were to actually happen. And, in classical, big stage: I need training.

This is my journey. It is NOT a handbook or an essay on how-to-get-into-grad-school. I don’t know how to! I am trying, applying, auditioning, and seeing if they want me. Through the course of this journey, I will learn things and share them. And I may not get into any of these three programs – this year, anyway. But I will learn from this first try and try again. For, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.