Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"Everyone enjoys watching a good train wreck, and you did it so well!"

Halfway through Week 4! Time keeps whizzing by, almost as fast as the cabs in this city. Luckily, I haven't been hit by one, yet. I've been exhausted this week, but before I shut out the lights tonight I figured you could use an update, and I figured that I could think about the amazing memories I'm making here! You know that feeling when you look around and realize that you are in exactly the right place at exactly the right time? It's complete contentment and that hit me at some point in this process, but I'm just now realizing that I've known all along that this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing this summer.

Saturday (Part II): Another feeling I know well is being annoyed with every single tourist. I was sitting in a Starbucks reading a play that I had picked up from the Drama Book Shop while passing the hour of free time I had before I was going to meet my friends, which is when I heard the thunderous thud right next to me. I understand that most tables were taken and it's nice to be able to sit down. What I don't understand is somebody literally taking a table out from under me. This family of four from a European country said that if I was reading, I didn't need the table. Oh? I thought that was my mistake...On the flip side, it was really cool that I can consider them the tourists and myself the resident! (Even if the terms of residency are only temporary) No big deal though because before I knew it I was walking to 34th and 7th Ave to meet my small group of friends to embark on a lengthy journey. Well, that's a bit of a stretch. We had to navigate Penn Station and get ourselves on the proper train to Long Island for the weekend! And yes, the confusing signs and insane amount of people that we see in huge stations like this may be stereotypes that we see in the movies, but stereotypes evolve out of SOME sort of truth, right? After the labyrinth and mental trials, we get our tickets and begin our mini-vacation. On the train, we got one of those sets of benches with 3 chairs that face each other, so we had some hilarious moments in the 45 minutes to Manhasset. We (Jenn, James, Megan, Jonathan, Kelan, and I) are headed to our friend Steven's house on Long Island, which was a complete surprise to me. I didn't know what to expect, but there is a complete difference between the buzzing pavements and highrises of Manhattan versus the serene trees and spaces that are found in Long Island, more specifically Hicksville where Steven's house is located. AND WHAT A HOUSE!! I am blessed to have been able to experience such a beautiful place, especially with such a beautiful family. You know, being in a family setting again was interesting, but if anything it just made me realize the differences of the fast-paced life I've been living on my own. Being in a home again rather than a temporary room was really comforting. The only other thing I can use to describe it is the feeling you get when you breathe in as much air as you can, hold it for a second, and then let out a nice long sigh. Steven and his family are incredibly hospitable, providing an amazing dinner and welcoming us into their amazing home. I will say, THERE WAS SO MUCH FOOD. ALL THE TIME. It was so generous of them! Generally, my friends and I just hung out in the pool playing the classic games like 'Marco Polo' and 'Categories' and never feeling the slightest bit immature! Those games never get old, and it's always nice to be a kid again anyway! Besides the flips off the diving board and random pool trick contests, I loved getting to sit in the hot tub and just talk to my friends and make some wonderful memories while we relaxed in a beautiful place. After a while, we had an epiphany. What would any co-ed gathering be without a little Truth or Dare?! We played for a while and just hung outside among the mosquitoes and lightning bugs, enjoying the silence of the night which might as well be a stranger to us inner city folk. Before we end a wonderfully unforgettable day, we play a game called Essences. This is where someone picks another person in the group and tries to capture the essence of their spirit and person by answering creative questions like, "If this person were a kitchen appliance, what would they be?" It's really fun because everyone sees each other differently, and it's interesting to see how others perceive the essence of the being that you put out in the world for others to enjoy. Around 4AM, we decide that going to sleep would be a good idea, and the next thing I know I was waking up.

Sunday: It's another pool day after an incredible breakfast! Definitely better than the Clif bar and Gala apple that has been the routine for the last couple weeks. It's mostly the same as our pool shenanigans yesterday, but none of us care because this vacation is exactly what we need at our half-way point in the program. Wait. Halfway? When did that happen? Well, we don't have to worry about that now because we have amazing hospitality and amazing company. Basically, this feels like home, or the next best thing right now! These people feel like my home in NY, because I trust all of them completely and I feel like they know a majority of who I am. That's pretty incredible by my standards because we've only known each other 3 weeks. Around 5PM, a train back to reality is filled with a lot more laughter, especially because of an adorable baby who was across the aisle of the train from us who kept looking at us and wanted us to entertain her. Her mom was really friendly, and we got talking for most of the ride. Even still, I haven't met one person who has been exceedingly unkind or unfriendly who is from NYC. That really impresses me with all of the "warnings" i received before my arrival here, and I could not be happier that those preconceived notions are false. What is NOT a lie is the amount of food that my friends and I consumed over the weekend. I grab a small dinner after hitting the gym and realizing that I'm a little sunburned. I'm actually not too upset about being sunburned because it will turn a little tan soon and it's nice to know that I was outside! I run some laundry later that night and got hit on in the elevator! Hey, what can I say, I guess a guy doing his own laundry is pretty attractive. I mean, I do what I can ladies and there is plenty more where that came from! After this day, I better get some rest to prepare for Week 4!

Monday: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I had trouble with Staples in the past printing sheet music, but I figured that I should give them a second chance. Apparently, Staples is the kind of establishment that would like to accommodate you in every way EXCEPT the way that you need to be helped. Yes, I again went to 3 DIFFERENT Staples locations and left the store empty handed. On top of that, I'm sick! NO. I'm determined to not waste a single day of CAP, so I'm going to power through it with Vitamin C pills and as much water as I can drink. My scratchy throat isn't ideal, but I know that I will be able to at least do some of my vocal exercises. But I'm determined to have a good day! I'm learning in all of my classes! Through Ballet and Jazz I am really focused on sharpening my technique. Then in Audition Tech we have 3 rounds of the same audition so I am determined not to use me being under the weather as an excuse! I take direction from my teacher Randy and really start understanding some things about Auditioning! I end the day with my music theory class, and I now know that I have more knowledge of theory than I thought. Class is over, and I chill at CAP for an hour while I wait for my new acting scene partner so we can rehearse from 7-8! It's nice to actually relax in the place where I'm normally always on the go. I got the chance to really take in where I've been studying my craft for the last 3 weeks. After rehearsal, I took a quick stop into Barnes and Noble to look at plays, but mostly the rest of the night consisted of homework, AC, and Facebook, of course!

Tuesday: My throat still hurts and I feel pretty sick, but a Refresh tea from Starbucks gets my morning off on the right foot. Tap starts and I've realized that I'm really proud of my tapping skills! In Vocal Technique we are having something called Vocal Health Day, where we learn about all of the scary things that can happen to our vocal chords if we don't use proper technique. Who knew there were so many physical ailments for people who sing improperly! Good thing it is more common for girls to get nodes than for guys to get them. *knock on wood* However, the anatomy of the larynx and throat so that I really understand what's happening when I sing! I know I'm not even close to 100% with my voice...but I have a Vocal Performance song to perform today. The show must go on! Let's just say, that comment that my teacher gave me was, "Everyone enjoys watching a good train wreck, and you did it so well!" or something to that extent! It really was meant with the best of intentions, and I'm happy that I didn't apologize for forgetting a lyric or for missing some notes because I wasn't vocally at my best. It's alright, I get a second pass at this song and I REALLY like this one that I have! It's hilarious! My acting performance goes well and I'm out the door on my way home. I go to the gym to see if I can work this weird summer bug out of me, and I get tired! I grab a small dinner and get to bed because I know I need rest!

Wednesday: Last night was rough. I feel completely rested, but I woke up every 15-45 minutes for a majority of the night and I was convinced that it had to have been 750 degrees in my room. My AC must have not been working very well, but that's alright because I know that today is supposed to be a WARM one. After a really productive 9AM rehearsal with Lyndsey for "I'll Know" from Guys and Dolls which goes up in Musical Scene Study class today, I head to ballet. The combination of the work I do here and Jazz next is where I really start to understand what/where my core and center are. It's not your abs, I'll tell you that! Another thing I really learn is the BLISTERING heat! Today must be breaking records, because one person in our class even had to stop dancing because she was too hot and a little dehydrated! No fun! After lunch is over and I spiff myself out in dress slacks, a white button down, and my nice skinny tie. I'm feeling the umph that Sky Masterson needs to have, when I go to Musical Scene Study class. This is a very special class. I HAVE SO MANY BREAKTHROUGHS!!! First off, our teacher Aimee told us, "There are enough critics out in the world ready to judge you, so don't add one more by judging yourself!" That's something that most people forget. There is no sense in criticizing yourself. Know that what you bring to the table is worthwhile and your being has great value! I had preforming breakthroughs too! I don't know how to describe them, but for the first time I was truly interacting as my character with another character and not conscious of what 'Kevin the Actor' was doing. I was merely having fun, fulfilling the role, and being in the moment. It sounds like something that isn't very substantial, but it's really hard to do! I was also told that I breathed confidence and sex appeal! That's a new one for me! I leave that class on a bit of a performing high, and go right into Business of Theatre which still fascinates me! We individually go through the class' headshots and resumes, where I learn a ton about the professional world and how you present yourself. I learned that my physical look in my headshot is too old for my personality and performing style. It can be mature, but I need to accentuate my youth! Good to know. HOWEVER, my resume was really good. A stand out! THANK YOU STEVEN POUNDERS. I owe you because you made me really work at that in Auditioning class this past year! By the way, everyone knows who Steven Pounders is up here. I have him as a professor at Baylor. That is SO COOL! What is not cool is the weather today. Not only do we have record breaking heat, but the afternoon decided that it wanted to rain and hail cats, dogs, and frogs. picture a faucet in the sky. Now turn it on. Oh yeah, also picture my umbrella on 23rd and Lexington. My physical location is at 18th and 5th. You do the math and after some subtraction you might get that I was in for my second shower of the day, only this time I would be fully dressed with my backpack on. Soaking wet, I get onto the subway and head to Queens to hang out with Grace for the night. We eat at a place called The Burger Garage which got great reviews by locals, and they were right! It was nice to have a good old hearty burger! We head back to Grace's place and watch So You Think You Can Dance? which was kind of strange because I haven't seen the show in so long, which means I'm really behind. After all of this, I head home on the subway. Week 4 Realization #22: I really like the subway. I'm comfortable on the subway. I know where I'm going 99% of the time on the subway. It feels natural on the subway. Anyway, I take it a while to Union Square so that I can stop by Whole Foods and refill my stock of Clif Bars and Gala apples. I run into my Australian bud from CAP, James, as he is buying bananas. See? Even in a huge city, I can't go anywhere without finding someone I know! I guess you could say it's one of my hidden talents. I stroll home down Park Avenue in the still drizzling evening and I enjoy the cool air that came as a package deal with the rain. It's been a great day! There's only one thing....I'm still not completely positive what the area I live is considered! Is it NOHO? Is it East Chelsea? Is it the Village? Who knows. Whatever it is...I like it. Goodnight! Have a good rest of your week! I know I plan on it!

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