29 January 2009

Bookworm Meme

I was tagged by Nessa in this and am already fascinated to see what happens. Here's how this thing works. Open the closest book to you, not your favorite or something you have to go searching for but whatever's closest to you right now, and go to page 56. Starting with the fifth sentence on the page, transcribe three to six lines directly from the text. Once you've typed those lines, tag five more bloggers to do the same on their blogs.

Okay. Grab whatever book is physically closest to me. Well...alright.

Page 56 of Theater Theory Theater, which is one of two texts used in Theatrical Theory & Criticism. Fifth sentence.

The Plot in fact should be so framed that, even without seeing the things that take place, he who simply hears the account of them shall be filled with horror and pity at the incidents, which is just the effect that the mere recital of the story in Oedipus would have on one.

Following sentences.

To produce this same effect by means of Spectacle is less artistic, and requires extraneous aid. Those, however, who make use of the Spectacle to put before us that which is merely monstrous and not productive of fear, are wholly out of touch with Tragedy; not every kind of pleasure should be required of a tragedy, but only its own proper pleasure. The tragic pleasure is that of pity and fear, and the poet has to produce it by a work of imitation; it is clear, therefore, that the causes should be included in the incidents of his story.

This excerpt is from Aristotle's Poetics, a work I found interesting for what it said, but dull in the way the material was presented. What Aristotle is doing for his fifth-century BC audience is disecting the structure of a play and presenting it in a scientific manner. In my opinion, this is dull. In most people's opinions, generally speaking, this would be dull merely because it's academia.

Rather than get on my soap box and proceed to wax eloquent, I'll finish up and do the tagging.

Lezlie over at Books 'N Border Collies (Two of my favorite things ever!)
The Biblio Brat (Well written book reviews)
The Redneck Mommy

28 January 2009

Slush and writing

Not much has changed here. My routine was, unfortunately, hardly interrupted by the chilly weather. However, I didn't have to go to Spanish today and I got an extra three hours worth of sleep. That makes it all worth it, even though I'm wide awake now. My friends are all kept busy by rehearsals while I am not. Instead, I'm keeping caught up on my homework, getting to watch them all sweat as they try to get everything done. I suppose there's always an exchange of some sort to be made. I'm just glad I didn't slide too much while walking through the slush - those patches of ice always seem to find me!

I just finished reading Lysastrada, a bawdy ancient Greek comedy. It was a very quick read, only about twenty pages long, and I'd never read it before. It was a pleasant change from Oedipus Rex. These days, I'm trying to talk myself out of any serious recreational writing, at least until midterms and our back to back February productions are over with. Sort of hard since there's a storyline rolling around in my head.

For what feels like years, ever since my interest in writing became serious, I've heard the old saying of "write what you know." Every time I've tried that, I've grown bored. I know my characters and the situation, I know what they'll do, so why write about it? This new idea, like so many of my old ones, has potential, a lot of potential, but I'm trying to talk myself out of it. Maybe because I fear failure? In itself, this worry is beyond ridiculous because I don't show my fiction writing to very many people. At this point in my life, its just for me. Of course, it doesn't help that I've never been able to type the phrase 'The End' and finish any of my stories. They all end up gathering metaphorical dust in my computer. I go back later and read through them and think 'my god, why didn't I ever finish this; it's such a good story!' but that's all that ever comes of it.

I've tried sharing my work with others. NaNoWriMo was a little easier this year knowing I was competing against Mom, but I wrote less than I had last year, two more incomplete manuscripts that will probably never see the light of day. Writing may not be my future. It may never be a career path for me, but does that mean I can't do it? I don't think so. I just have to figure out how to finish what I start...

15 January 2009

The Green Room

Traditionally, a green room is a room located close to a performance space. It is used as a place for actors to hang out before their cues are called to prevent them from lurking behind the set and disrupting the performance. The green room is also intended to be a public area, somewhere for members of the audience/actors' family to come after the performance to meet the actors and technicians and mingle with them. Blessedly, these rooms usually aren't painted green. At least, ours isn't...

Apparently, this room is welcome to anyone - or so I heard one of my theater professors saying while giving a tour to some people I didn't recognize - but the theater students have claimed it as their own. Its our territory, our hang out place, our turf. Some of the strangest and most interesting conversations I've ever heard have taken place on those dark green couches. I'm not sure which is more interesting: being in the conversation from the start or walking into the middle of it. Some of the topics we've discussed include:

the election - This was very interesting since everyone has such different feelings when it comes to politics. My best friend is a Libertarian and most of the students around me are Democrats. I don't hold to a straight-ticket vote, but I know I'm more Republican than Democrat. I also know that, more often than not, I'm seriously outnumbered in this room.

the inauguration - See above. Though I do support the President Elect, I saw no real purpose behind stopping the lecture so we could watch the inauguration. Then again, I've rarely understood anything that disturbs my studies, so it's nothing personal against Obama.

our school's parking problem - Man, am I glad I'm not commuting anymore!

how do mermaids have babies? - I won't even go into how this subject came up...or the answer that the carpenters came up with.

gripes about professors, parents, other students, the school's administration, etc. - An old standby. I always try to take my classmates' opinions with a grain of salt when it comes to the question of which professor to take.

if you were a serial killer, what would you want to be known for? - I've had fun with this one. Scared a few people too.

a costumed rehearsal dinner for a wedding (Marvel on one side, DC on the other) - One of the carps shared this tale. It sounded like something to be at.

what's your drag queen name? - According to the formula (first pet's name + first street you've lived on) mine would be...wait...what was the first street I lived on? Mom!

redecorating the green room (murals, an effigy of the department head, posters from shows, etc.) - This subject has been hashed and rehashed. Conclusion: the ideas are too far-fetched, we don't have enough space, we don't have the resources, and/or we're working too much during the semester to bother with decorating the space we all seem to live in when we're not in class.

dog grooming - Somebody else's hobby/side job. A few of the folks in the department can get pretty caught up in this. I usually head out to the loading dock when this comes up because they can (and have) talk for hours on end.

what new look might be required for a certain play - Since the designers of whatever production are usually sick of the script, they're not always involved. If they are, it's likely to be through sharing what they've done or explaining the guidelines they were provided by the director. Sometimes, this can be fun - if you leave the director and the money out of the picture.

which plays we will never be able to perform (Rent, Arcadia, etc.) - "Gee, I wish we could do {insert title of play here}" This list always seems to grow. We don't have the money/talent/numbers for the cast. The list of reasons is blessedly shorter.

"This one time..." - Stories of past productions... Like the time our now graduated master carp moved a platform that measured 8' x 10' and was hanging 8' in the air, supported by struts. It needed to move mere inches, but would take a lot of people...or so we thought. The 6' 2" guy, who looks like he should be named 'Bubba,' gets on a stepladder and swings his fist. Yes, he [I]punched[/I] the second floor of the set into alignment. All of a sudden, people stopped goofing off in the scene shop...

During Godspell, one cast member injured four or five other cast members in a single performance. The story is that she had made a deal with her mother - $20 for everyone she incapacitated without missing a cue. Then there was the time an actress' nose was broken by an actor's foot in the middle of a performance. And, of course, the headset chatter of the techies during any performance or the "very different story" of Godspell given by the shadows on the wall - a claim made by the stagehand who spent 2 hours a night crouched under a platform with nothing to do until the finale of the show. So many interesting stories. I love collecting them.

And that's just a small glimpse of a few of the conversations that take place in the green room. Which did you least expect? Which was your favorite?

Relaxing and wondering

The first week of classes has almost come to a close. I've spent over $100 on textbooks and will be able to bump that figure to over $150 once I get my book for health, which was sold out when I tried to buy it today. In these next weeks, things will start kicking into a higher gear, the pace continuing to pick up as the spring season officially starts. After that, I'm sure I'll miss this week, its slower pace, its moments of boredom. We've got mid-terms right after our second production, West Side Story, which it seems the entire department is involved in. Perfect timing, as usual.

Although I know all this is coming, I'm not as stressed yet, possibly because I'm holding smaller roles in these first two productions. For the children's play the first week of February, I'm running the sound board, getting to monitor and operate about a dozen microphones while listening for cues to play sound effects. Since I'm not the sound designer, I don't have to find them. Right now, my job is easy. I get to worry about nothing other than class until the costume parade. While everyone analyzes the fit, overall look and color of each outfit, I'll just be making sure I can attach a mic to it. After that, though I'm sure I'll get to help with the alteration, my work doesn't really start until the first dress rehearsal.

As part of the run crew for West Side, my job will be similar and easier at the same time: no costume parade to worry about unless I'm given a project in the shop, someone's outfit to help make for the show. I'm not sure what I'm doing in that play yet; I just hope I'm not stuck backstage as a dresser. That role just doesn't interest me. I'd much rather get to do spotlight op again, like I did for Godspell.

Other than wondering about what's coming, I don't have much to do. I've done what homework I'm capable of before my textbooks get to me and have been reviewing where I could, like in Spanish. I'm attending all my classes, even health, which I'm already hating. Still, I'll grit my teeth and muddle through it, if only to keep from having to repeat the boring class. I just can't fathom the way these coaches speak, telling their classes that we'll be working out one day a week as if it were some sort of fun treat. Sure, it's a break from lecturing, but I wouldn't consider it fun by any stretch of the word. It's possible I'm still seething from the $60 book that I won't be able to refund at the end of the semester since its an unbound text.

Oh well. C'est la vie!

12 January 2009

Back to school

Slipping back into my routine has been so easy and such a relief. I've called home a few times (quite a few times) over the weekend because I was so bored. A month from now, I'll have forgotten what the word "bored" means.

Classes started today and I was off and running like a herd of snails. The day started spectacularly when the alarm on my phone failed to go off at 7 am. Instead, I woke up at 8 and had to rush through my morning preparations - exactly what I didn't want to do. Breakfast was...well,it was food. It was edible. The fact that I woke up feeling like a drill bit was biting into my temple probably didn't help much. The phantom drill bit is still there now, but greatly dulled, so I'm not complaining. I just keep telling myself it's stress, nothing more because I can't get sick. It's just plain not allowed.

My first class of the day was Spanish, a language I have not touched in a month. Just my luck: the professor comes in speaking Spanish, so I got sit and nod along, completely lost and utterly dumbfounded, picking up about every third word. A couple of theater students were in the class, so I'm feeling a lot better about it since I know people. :) After class, we all went to the library for coffee, which I'm hoping won't be a daily habit since it made us a few minutes late to the next class.

Tech theater was enjoyable. It felt so good to be surrounded by theater majors again with Ms. Glitter standing at the front of the class. I'm sure this feeling won't last since the prof. gets distracted even easier that I do and I can't stand it when we go off on tangents without ever getting back to the subject we were discussing. My friends have already said they're going to make me socialize more since I'm on campus and no longer have commuting as an excuse. I'm really looking forward to that.

After classes were over, earlier than they usually will be since there are no labs today, I ran some errands. Getting my post office box, taking care of some last minute paper-work, just more things I needed to finally settle in. Hopefully, I'll get to meet my roommate soon. All I know about her is that she's a senior and a music major. Right now, however, it's time to make flashcards for my Spanish vocabulary and grab some lunch - not necessarily in that order.

09 January 2009

Calm waters

Things here are starting to look like they might calm down. Logically, I'm thinking this simply because I'm heading to campus tomorrow...or I'm thinking this way to avoid thinking about heading to campus tomorrow. There's really no telling. I'm looking forward to the move - really I am. This will ensure a lot more time to hang out with friends, a lot less time spent commuting, and, coincidentally, a lot less money going towards gas for my new/old 'Stang.

However, I'm really going to miss a lot about home. Never mind that I'm less than an hour's drive away. I'll miss my oh so sweet and logical mother who is my best friend and my coach. She has always helped me stay on task and I've done the same for her.

I'll miss cutting up and joking around with my stepdad, who I call Elrond. I can always go to either of those two any time I have a problem. Despite his demanding work schedule, working two jobs and holding an assistant manager position at one, Elrond always makes time for me and anything he knows is important to me or Mom.

I'll even miss my hard-as-nails grandma, never mind what I might say to the contrary. A lot of the time, her heart's in the right place. She still needs to teach me how to cheat good when we play games. ;) I guess her secret is number crunching; after all, she always acts as the score-keeper.

I'm going to miss our awesome neighbor Nessa and her family. Her kids are so sweet - if they don't keep up with their homework and do what is asked of them, I'll come home just to straighten them out. Nessa has always lent an ear if I find myself needing to get away or get hacked off at Mom or just want to yammer about Twilight. We've got an open door policy between our two households and I don't think we could've asked for better neighbors. I can only hope my roommate and suite-mates will be half as sweet. :)

I'm also going to miss TV. The best I can get in the dorms is basic cable, which is hardly worth the effort. While I don't watch TV all that often, I do have shows I follow: House MD, Top Chef, Project Runway, Top Design, Shear Genius, Solitary, Criss Angel Mindfreak, and Wife Swap to be specific. (I know it sounds like I'm a reality TV junkie, but I swear I'm not.) Although I say I'll miss this, logic and experience both tell me that I won't have time. My first semester on campus, although I still didn't get much done, I don't remember ever touching the TV. Besides, why haul the heavy thing and put it the only place it'll fit - the top of the closet - just so I'll have to climb onto my end table whenever I want to turn it on? Such a headache (plus a backache for Elrond, who is glad I'm on the first floor) when my laptop is lighter, more conveniently placed, and much more portable if I want to lounge on my bed while browsing youtube.

I'll miss my two year old half sister, who lives with my Dad. Yeah, I know I can come home every weekend if I wanted and visit her. I could even come home and take her back to school with me for the weekend, I bet. Still, I'm just going to miss being able to go to Dad's house anytime I want and see her big blue eyes and her smile and hear her yell "Sissy!" before rattling off the names of all five of our dogs, asking if she can go see them. My world revolves around that little angel anytime she's near me. Who could resist this face?

So, tomorrow, I will leave the safety and familiar routine that is my home to go to school, go back to theater, and hang out with some real characters. My best friend, for one, who just got his own apartment and is so proud of his new place that I just find it adorable. This guy is like my other half when I'm at school. Each of us is the other's eyes and ears amongst our gossipy classmates. Not that we're not just as bad. ;)

It'll be good to see the professors too. I actually miss a few of my teachers! Namely my theater teachers. The department head is, I'm almost sorry to say, the only man with a walk that can be described as "fussy." The more irritated he gets, the fussier his walk. Then, there's Ms. Glitter, who I didn't have in class last semester and whose quirkiness I have missed so much! She's teaching two of my classes this spring. :D I just hope my ADD can tolerate her constant verbal flitting from subject to subject during class. She's very easily distracted (might be ADD too?) and the students take full advantage of it since we get no such luck with the dept. head. Our newest prof just joined the department last semester and I wish I had her this spring. Not that I won't still see her, of course. She's the sound specialist and boy did she teach me a lot last fall! The last one of the bunch is the costume shop supervisor, who I've never been taught by in a classroom setting. Since I'll be learning how to sew (groan...) I'll get to spend more time with her too.

Oh, I can't wait to get back to school!

08 January 2009

Drama belongs onstage

Anyone who has been reading Nessa's blog or my Mom's blog has no doubt been following a lot of what's been going on. Mom reminded me I needed to blog and that I sure as heck had plenty to blog about, so here we go: the one subject I didn't want to discuss here. This is my view on these issues. Nothing more.

I hate it when real life starts to feel like some sort of stupid soap opera. So much drama has been revolving around these four little angels: two year old twins, their four year old brother, and six year old sister. Although its been revolving around them, nobody who has been directly involved (their family, the people who are supposed to care) has cared at all about those same kids, instead putting them in the middle of a tug-of-war. They're not releasing any information about what condition the children's father is in, although they've allegedly been in town the past four days instead of at the hospital while we had the kids.

They've got them now. I'm sure they'll be taken out of the state and away from their Mom as soon as the courts allow it. These poor kids have been in such turmoil these days, never knowing what they'll be doing or where they'll be from one day to the next, not having any sort of routine, asking questions about whichever parents they're not with. The rumor mills in our super-small town have been churning and chugging away; I'm doing all I can to ignore the predictions of what's going to happen, what did happen, and who did what to whom.

Right now, I'm trying my hardest to keep my focus on this coming weekend. I'll be moving back to campus, away from whatever fallout this might have later. I'll be able to get back into my regular routine at school. Boy, is this semester going to be a busy one! Here's a glimpse at my schedule, which I may end up detailing in a later blog.

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: Spanish is first at 9 am. Joy. Ever so much joy and rapture. *eyeroll* At 10, I go to Tech II and get to learn about costuming. (Pardon me while I groan piteously.) At 11 is language lab, followed by an hour break for lunch, then three hours worth of lab work for my theater classes. School day officially ends at four.

Tuesday, Thursday: First up is the theater department's writing intensive course, theory & criticism at 9:25 am. Seems I plugged my two most difficult classes into my morning routine. This is good, I keep reminding myself, because I'm generally more focused in my morning classes. At 10:50, I'll go to makeup design, which I am so looking forward to. Maybe the professor can tell me something about putting on makeup that won't disappear once I put my glasses on... These are my short days, ending with health at 1:00 and 2:15 signaling the day's academic end.

What a way to start 2009...

02 January 2009

The holidays in ten sentences

What an enjoyable, relaxing holiday I've had! On Christmas Day, we visited my stepdad's family and my stepbrother came to town to announce his recruitment into the Army, which has us all both proud and nervous. I made out like a bandit in the gift department, even without counting the car amongst my presents. Some of my favorites included the kick-ass pair of boots, the brand new iPod, the perfume, the old books, and the giant stuffed shrimp.

The books are amazing, all of them first editions with copyright dates ranging from 1875 to 1912 and subjects ranging from a beginning Spanish dictionary to etiquette to a brief study of the ancient Romans to works by Washington Irving and Herman Melville. However, I've been neglecting this blog, which I hope to stop shunting aside and procrastinating over. The final count on baked goods was 66 dozen and the leftovers from X-mas dinner are slowly being emptied from the fridge. My Twilight reading has progressed, although I'm using audiobooks, which is irritating and makes comprehension difficult. The cabinet I built, which measures 6' x 4' x 1' and is made of medium density fiberboard, is still on the porch; I hope to get it inside and anchored to the wall this weekend. Although I'm still nervous about a lot of things, not the lest of which is the fear of flaking out and failing, I can't wait to get back to school and back to my usual schedule.