PTSD & Improv

Avoidance: Diagnostic Criteria for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder 309.81:

C. Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by one or both of the following:
1. Avoidance of or efforts to avoid distressing memories, thoughts or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s).
2. Avoidance of or efforts to avoid external reminders (people, places, conversations, activities, objects, situations) that arouse distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s)

Source: “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders”, Fifth Edition

I haven’t directed since grad school.  Actors make me super nervous.

The only reason I can improvise?  THEY CALL THE ACTORS IMPROVISERS.

Invisible

    
I have a need to be seen and to be heard. 

I have a need to 

write something/say something/do something 

That communicates my 

history/experience/feelings 

I write into ether. 

I speak into ether.  

I do into ether. 

All I hear is the echo of my words. 

It’s loneliest when you believe that you aren’t alone

In your feelings. In your life. 

And it turns out there’s no one there to hear you.  

Secretary

I’m glad I found a job as a secretary.  They call it an administrative assistant, but who they bull shitting?

I’m a secretary.

If I didn’t have this job to define myself by then I might have to consider whether my talent and my intelligence mean I should try to actually do something, something maybe worthwhile. Maybe, I might even be forced to achieve something.

Good god. NO.

Instead I go to work every day safe in the knowledge that no real challenge awaits me and no unnecessary displays of brilliance will be demanded. I don’t have to produce a masterwork. I don’t even have to produce a lot of rough sketches of terribleness with just a hint of potential.

I am a secretary and all potential withers at my feet.  All flashes of insight dissipate into a wisp of smoke. The siren call of creativity is but a whisper of intense systematic organization. The random incongruities, the potentially funny moments I see, assemble themselves into neat rows of numbers in a spreadsheet.

Thank god. Do you know how much work it is to take responsibility for yourself?

I need a nap and maybe a half-day of vacation just to recover from thinking about it.

9/11, 10 years later

I wrote this in 2011. I was living through an infestation. I was never comfortable or at peace until I looked at the window of my soon-to-be home and let go of the fear of what I would bring with me. I wrote this that evening, Frankensteined together from various blogs entries over several years.  They travel with me, like baggage.

I post this in remembrance of that day and this city of people.

I’ve just moved into grad housing at New School in the West Village a month ago. My apartment faces South down 7th Ave. I have the perfect view of WTC and have opted to give up my a/c in favor of the view. I frequently sit at my window and stare out, marveling at the fact that I live in NYC, and am actually studying dramatics. The towers fascinate me because they are so large I can’t believe they’re real, and yet they are. Frankly, I’m fascinated by skyscrapers, they are like manmade mountains to me, and make me feel impossibly small and frail.

In the week afterwards, I lived with a friend on the Upper West Side. I would go grab a cup of Joe at a local coffee shop, and chat. One morning, I ran into an old guy—a dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker. The Towers came up and he let off a speech of absolute rage that they had been built. He’d actually been really active in the fight against building them in the late 60s, and he hated those Towers. They were “an architectural crime, and empty much of the time.”

Monday, September 10th, 2001 is the first day that my mind has started to leap across the space from my window into them. I wonder who goes to that building and why. I look through the cloudy, gray mist of that day and wonder if anyone is looking back at me. Are they happy to make scratch or do they envy the freedom others have to be about and not in an office? The North Tower looks like a ship’s mast when it first breaks through the fog. I promise myself I will visit the top soon, as I frequently do with the Empire State Building.

So I said, “I guess you’re not wanting to see them rebuilt then.” Continue reading “9/11, 10 years later”

Directing, Creative Freedom, and Vandalism

I love to reinterpret writers work, but there’s a line that ought not to be crossed.

Bitter Gertrude

From endlessorigami.com From endlessorigami.com

Once upon a time I worked at a theatre that received two cease-and-desist orders in two seasons– one for copying dialogue from a Disney film word-for-word and performing it without permission, and one for rewriting the lyrics to Godspell. The artistic director of the company told me, “The New Testament is so boring! Stephen Schwartz would have LOVED what we did with it if he had seen it. Ours was SO MUCH BETTER.” She then proceeded to tell me that she had learned her lesson, and asked me to write a commission contract for a playwright that would give her “total artistic control” over what the playwright wrote. “It’s my idea to adapt [name of book she didn’t write nor for which she possessed the adaptation rights] into a musical, so I own it.” Instead of writing her contract, I quit.

Around this same time, Boxcar Theatre…

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