20 September 2009

In Search Of A Monologue

I am determined to find around four monologues to learn for my grad school auditions by the end of this month. I've read through some of the plays already in my possession. Surprisingly, I found that I own quite a few plays that I haven't gotten around to reading...shame on me...and have piled them up on my night stand as a constant reminder to get on with it!

So, in review so far of what I've read are the following plays: Neil LaBute's Reasons to Be Pretty, two very good monologues in it but questionable as to whether I should choose anything from this when it's about to be put on in London, Wendy Wasserstein's Uncommon Women and Others, loved it and really relate well to the monologue I found in it as well, so it's a possibility. Ibsen's A Doll House (a re-read actually, read it first ages ago in college) and The Wild Duck. Neither have monologues in them I'd like to use, though I do enjoy reading Ibsen. Trying to figure out what lesson he wants his reader to learn is half the fun...the other half is constructing feminist arguments in my head against what I think he's trying to say. He'd be an excellent playwright to dissect in the classroom. And last, but so far my favorite, is Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband.

I've read The Picture of Dorian Gray and fell in love with the story line, the prose, the ideas he made surface in my head. For some reason it's quite visual to me when I'm reading his work. I can't believe I haven't read more of his plays or poetry. Just Dorian Gray...and I did that on my own initiative. How can have made it through multiple English and Theatre classes having never read Wilde?? Well that needs to change immediately.

Before the end of the month I've set lofty, unobtainable goals (aren't those just the best?) to read two more Ibsen plays, Hedda Gabler and The Master Builder, as well as multiple Shakespeare plays starting with Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew, and Troilus and Cressida. I also have a book of eight tragedies that I need to crack open.
.....ahhh the optimism...so free flowing on a Sunday night after one has just consumed half a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and has moved on the Chamomile tea...things will probably be colored cranky first thing in the morning I predict....

At some point in between the plays and the blogging and the movie watching (Thanks Netflix!) I should probably secure myself a day job as well as find my roommate and I a new apartment. Easy-peasy I'm sure.....right? Right?!? Now where did I put that ice cream.....


16 September 2009

Best. Coffee. Ever.

I would just like to introduce everyone to the place in D.C. that I'm pretty sure makes the best coffee ever. (Although I'm always up for a taste testing debate when it comes to this topic.)

See I always knew that being too poor to actually do anything would develop good things for me at some point. As I wandered around, too poor to do anything, I stumbled upon this little treasure called Cowgirl Creamery over at 919 F Street NW, just past the Spy Museum and the Smithsonian Art Gallery. Of course I couldn't not go in, what with a name like that and the mere fact that they have cheese (and me being a known cheese whore and all...)

Well this place is so awesome that I didn't even make it to the back portion where they kept the cheese. I was too busy in awe of all the imported foods, beers and wine! I'm afraid to say it, but I'm totally giving away where everyone is getting their gifts from this Christmas.

I got really distracted/excited/would-be-jumping-up-and-down-had-I-already-been-caffeinated-but-wasn't, when I saw that they had imported coffee beans and they grind them up and make you a cup right there.

I picked the one that had the key words I needed to see associated with coffee, dark and "hints of chocolate". Sold. The coffee lady even let me smell the coffee beans before she ground them up and made me a cup with this neat little contraption. Had I possessed a spy camera, I would have taken a picture of this coffee contraption (wow, hey there English degree holder, you're amazing with the words), but I didn't and therefore did not want to pull out my camera then and risk the chance of scaring the coffee lady who was at that moment making my coffee. Priorities people.

Now normally, I'm a little bit o'sugar, little bit o'cream kinda gal, but I took one sip and, miracles upon miracles, it was too good to add anything too it! It's a first for me people.

Best part-I took another sip, swallowed, exhaled....and there were hints of freaking chocolate!!! I feel like such a coffee connoisseur now.

Of course, as a small, teeny tiny side note...this delicious cup cost me $2.20, which is around $0.70-$0.80 more than a Starbucks cup of joe. But when I'd rather have this beautiful cup of deliciousness than have chocolate....well then, poorness be damned! I shall have my coffee!!

Always caffeinated,
Lindsay xx

15 September 2009

Celebrities on Stage

Just read from Actress in the City's blog that Lily Allen is taking a stab at theatre. Now, normally, I think it's kind of great from an audiences prospective to be able to watch a celebrity on the stage. It's always fun to see if they'll surprise you with amazing talent or just end up another gossip rag favorite trying to gain street cred by taking over spots on stage that should have been given to more well deserved players.

In this particular case, and after reading up which play it is she's doing on The Guardian's website I'm a bit devastated actually. Neil LaBute's play Reasons To Be Pretty is one of my favorites and, coincidentally, where I was going to get one of my grad school audition monologues from.

Now I'm not sure that's such a good idea.

I'd love to hear from other actors/people in the arts industry about what their thoughts are on Ms. Allen taking to paid theatrics. Also, should I be doing a monologue for my very important grad school auditions from a play that is currently splashed all over the news? (If not, does anyone have any helpful suggestions of monologues I should do? Now is the time to comment, people...)

Yes, folks...instead of freaking out over where I can get a paycheck, I'm pulling my hair out over Lily Allen and monologues. Hello, priorities.

Where's some large quantities of baked goods when ya need it??


Up & Coming Domestic Goddess.

Can I just take a minute to talk about how fabulous I am becoming in the kitchen? I am so proud of my recent recipe creations that I just need to toot my own horn.

Let me just start by saying, I really don't know how to cook at all, so it's a feat of amazing proportions that I am managing to feed myself away from my parents kitchen. Since living in London during my junior year of college, I haven't really had to cook for myself 24/7. Senior year didn't count because I was always busy and either threw together a sandwich or ate at one of the many fast food joints around campus. The staples of my diet then consisted of sandwiches, pasta dishes or rice dishes. And lots and lots of cereal.

And oh, what a long way I've come from those cereal days!

Right now I am trying to eat my lunch as slow as possible because that's how good it is! I read in one of my recipe books (not sure which one) about making a dressing that consists of olive oil, juice from a lemon and crushed garlic. I am all about making my own salad dressing. I haven't had store bought dressing in years. It's just too easy, too healthy and much cheaper to make my own. Trust me on this.

So I made a salad with chopped red onion (I freaking LOVE red onion...will try and include it in just about every dish I make outside of breakfast...and sometimes even then), then made the dressing separately in a small cup. 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice (squeezed from one lemon slice was enough), crushed a small piece of garlic and mixed that with the rest of the ingredients. I tossed the salad with the dressing, took a bite to test and see if I'd like it (first time using lemon juice in a dressing)...mmm, good, check....next ingredient added was left over canned tuna (bout 1/2 the can), taste test....check, delicious...then I sprinkled some crumbled feta cheese on top, tossed some more, taste test....and CHECK, freaking amazing!!!

It's like a flavor explosion in my mouth. I luuuuuuvre it!!! I've only got a few bites left and I'm already getting the Awesome Food Blues. Ya know, where you're half way through eating something phenomenal and you get sad cause you know it's going to end soon. Know what I mean? Who's with me on this one??

I got the Awesome Food Blues last night as well, mixed in while a little British Blues because I made a jacket potato for dinner (a baked potato stuffed with your choice of food, very common dish in the U.K.). A Jacket Potato was the first thing I learned to cook on my very own, thanks to my English roommate Laura.

Recipe: Prick the potato in several spots, coat in olive oil and dried rosemary. Microwave for 2 1/2 min, flip, 2 1/2 min on other side. Put in preheated oven at 425 degrees for 20-30 min. Take out, cut open, stuff with 1/2 can of tuna (after you've drained the water from the can) and some corn. I know that sounds weird, tuna + corn, but it is amazingly good. And because it was baked with olive oil on it, it's nice and crispy on the outside. I ate the entire thing and then wanted another one, it was that delicious.

Other recipes I've become obsessed with making (just lightly touching on them, if you want more detailed instructions, let me know and I'll provide them in the comment section): Roasted veggies (red onion, tomato and red pepper) mixed with penne pasta, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and feta cheese. A Morningstar Spicy Black Bean Burger (that's not really spicy, but instead flavorful) with homemade guacamole on it (ohmygod, cue mouth watering now). Whole wheat couscous mixed with roasted veggies and feta cheese. Kidney beans mixed with red onion, tomatoes, olive oil, and red wine vinegar (can be served as is or over pasta).

I hope to learn how to cook meat dishes really well...but for now, I don't want to spend the money on the meat not knowing if I'm going to mess it up or not.

And my lack of meat recipes should also indicate to you that I am constantly craving a burger or steak. Wanna hang out? We'll probably be eating somewhere with meat. Deal with it.

Sincerely (and hungry again now, thanks),
Lindsay xx

10 September 2009

First Play Seen in DC--Shakespeare Theatre's Free For All

Oh the joy that free theatre brings to an unemployed gal living in the big city. There's nothing like it! And it was Shakespeare too, eeek!

The Shakespeare Theatre Company here in D.C. puts on a play every summer as part of their Free For All program, presented by Target this year. This year's play was The Taming of the Shrew and it was done inside the Sidney Harman Hall. I guess in the past they use to do this outside under the stars, which would have been amazing, but they've pulled it inside so as to avoid being rained out. Which really is a great idea, it allows all the performances to be available so everyone can find a chance to come and see.

Friends have told me that last summer they had trouble getting tickets, so I made sure to get their bright and early. I choose to go to a noon performance on a Wednesday and, turns out, that was probably the best decision. Tickets were handed out at 10 A.M. and I was fourth in line starting at 8:45 A.M.

The show was fantastic and so entertaining. I haven't laughed that hard at a Shakespeare performance in awhile (not that I'm able to attend hordes of those these days, anyways...) The audience, filled with people over the age of sixty and high schoolers (helllloooo, it's a noon performance on a weekday, whatdaya expect?), was the best kind, laughs and applause at all the right places, screams and giggles at all the lewd parts....it enhances your experience when the audience is that receptive.

The actors performed beautifully, I always admire the actors that can pull off Shakespeare well, and it is a difficult task. To be able to perform with those words, use your whole body and do it in a way that helps translate the plot to the audience is a gorgeous talent. I never tire of quality Shakespeare performances. My favorite people were Ian Merrill Peakes playing Petruchio (Hi there, cut-upper-body, you may be dressed in a woman's gown, but you's still hot....sigh), Sabrina LeBeauf as Katherina (she pulled that character off sooooo well, she deserved that standing ovation), Louis Butelli as Grumio (I need to see more of his work) and my absolute favorite was Bruce Nelson playing Tranio....that man has comedic prowess under his belt.

I can't stress enough how much of a benefit it is to a Shakespeare play to have full on physical comedy happening. The audience loves it and I think it helps pull you into what's going on with the characters. It just shows you how important it is, for an actor, to be in tune with their body because they can use it in so many ways to bring the story forward for the audience, especially useful with Shakespeare, when a lot of the time people can get lost because of the language. If you had seen this performance, you'll know what I'm talking about, like during the fight between Kate and Petruchio after they first meet.

I was thoroughly impressed with the creative use of lightening and the cash machine (cha-ching) sound effects. Who's the one that comes up with that stuff? The director or the tech people? You gotta respect the work that goes on behind the scenes...I know, I've done it....it takes a lot of creative energy and effort to pull off a great show.

I would love to meet the directors of this show, Rebecca Bayla Taichman (original director) and David Muse (listed as Director, for this show). The Taming of the Shrew is a good example of how Shakespeare's plays can be interpreted in so many different ways. I know my little sister saw a performance of it in London while studying abroad and she said she left feeling depressed and like she just witnessed a woman go through an abusive relationship, one where the husband wins. Where as I left this performance feeling like I witnessed a romantic comedy, full of insights into relationships and how men and women deal with each other. There is a fine line between love story and abuse story when it comes to this play and The Shakespeare Theatre really pulled it off in a great way. I love it when it's performed in this light. I think I need to go back and read it again...and it's moments like these that make me miss college and want to go back asap. Just so I can have like minded individuals, people with my same passion in theatre and the arts, to have a discussion with about plays.

Sigh....eh well...hopefully next year if I can get my freakin' act in gear.

Anywho....yeah for taking advantage of the city and doing it for free!! I'll keep ya'll posted on other such shinanigans that I can get myself into, hopefully for free as well. ;)

Charmed, Linds

08 September 2009

Book Reading...For The Unemployed...

So since I've been in a new city, with no cable mind you (AHHHHHHHH! The horror!!), my reading habits have picked up considerably. Which is good considering I own around 250 books that I've collected over the 5 years I've worked in the book industry and have yet to read. I actually see these books as my babies and have dragged just about all of them, or the amount my family allowed me to drag with me, here to D.C. I get pangs of guilt and pleasure when looking at them because a) I feel so bad about neglecting them and b) I'm still so excited to read them when the time comes.

And apparently the time is now. Welcome to my unemployed reading list!
First of all, I'm 3/4 the way through Bitter Is The New Black by Jen Lancaster. Best book to read if you're a girl and you're unemployed. LOVES IT. She's amazing and makes me feel better that someone as fabulous as her has been through what I'm going through. I can totally relate. It makes you feel better when you know you're not alone, am I right? (Blog world responds with a resounding 'Duh!')

Before Bitter I finished Cormac McCarthy's The Road that I borrowed off of a friend. It's not normally the type of fiction I'm drawn too (see above reading material) but I really wanted to be able to say I've read something that's won a Pulitzer...at least once. (As an English degree holder, I should be ashamed of myself.......am I? Not really....) My official review, it was....interesting. It is a great book to read when you feel all depressed about your life because then you can say "at least I'm not forced to live a life of desolation and loneliness, with only my young child at my side, trying to fend off cannibals from eating him." McCarthy's prose was also very well done. It was an easy read but still made you deal with big issues. Kind of like tricking you by getting you sucked into the story with his little words and easy text. The bastard. And so you can also tell, not really an upper. I think he was trying to leave the reader with a feeling of hopefulness at the thought that man will always survive, no matter the conditions, and the human heart will prevail, good over evil. But still....not an upper people.

Quickly, before I bore you to death, the other books I've recently finished are as follows: Alexander McCall Smith's The Careful Use Of Compliments, Emily Giffin's Love The One You're With, and Stephenie Meyer's The Host. McCall Smith, I love you and everything you write. I can't even adequately review his stuff for you because unless you've read through any of his massive collection of works, you won't understand the love. Truly like a warm bath and a glass of wine after a long, hard day.

Emily Giffin always pulls me in, even if it's on a topic I hate (like cheating spouses or people considering cheating) and she'll make me love it. Anything you write Giffin, I will submit to knowing I don't stand a chance of staying away.

And Stephenie Meyer is officially the Queen of Happy Endings and creating a world of perfect fantasy. Not fantasy like, hey there Star Wars and space jets, but fantasy like, "that is SO not going to happen in the real world, but I melt and hope for it anyways". She is that good, people. Cynics need not apply. This was her most science fiction-y book yet and still I was sucked in. ( I don't normally get excited about that genre...well, actually, I didn't so much Pre-Doctor Who obsession, but Post-Doctor Who obsession I'm beginning to try new things...and I like it!)

After I finish Bitter Is The New Black I will have to up the amount of plays I'll be reading and then shall hopefully write about them here. I'll try not to make the book/play posts too boring...I may even throw in a free glass of wine. Of course whether it be for you or for me is up for debate...

Warmly, DinsyDay

Stress Eats Me For Breakfast.

Things have been crazy stressful since I got back from my weekend in Ohio. (Which was mad fun, yo. And I learned so much, like red wine should not be drunken in excess of 2 glasses really.) It's only Tuesday, so this does not bode well for the rest of my week.

In good news, I got word on Friday, while in Ohio, that I am officially being offered employment as a part-time house manager at a prominent theatre here in D.C. I'm super duper excited...even if it is part time. I'll get to set up and organize the box office before shows and lectures and poetry readings. I think I'll get to watch them for free as well...I assume. As most of my resume is littered with customer service jobs, I am fully prepared to deal with the audience members. I'm actually jazzed about it. If there's anything I learned from working in a bookstore, it's that doing customer service is so much more fun when the customers like what you like. And if you hadn't guessed already....I heart theatre.

Outside of this good news things are going......eh. I really need a day job and my searches aren't going well. I'm a bit worried about using a temp agency to find work because I'm not sure if I want to commit to a regular work week and do the part time job in the evening and on weekends. When will that leave time for acting?? I want to be able to pay my bills, work at a job or two that doesn't make me want to kill myself and have time to dabble in theatre. Is that too much to ask? Apparently.....

To just add to the stress-pot that is my life, my first grad school audition in NYC is coming up in November. And it's for Central School of Drama in London, a BIG deal theatre school. I don't have anything prepared and it's my goal of September (outside of finding employment) to read some plays, find some good monologues and start getting my act in gear. Yeah fun times.

I don't really feel like I can handle all of this stressful stuff that's going on right now. I've definitely been drinking a bit too much red wine lately as well....not the best of coping methods, eh? I'm going to try and shape up and get myself into a set schedule, starting tomorrow. I want to work out a bit everyday and find time to read (and blog) everyday.

Yeah....we'll see how this goes. Tomorrow I will hopefully be getting a ticket to the FREE showing of Taming of the Shrew put on by The Shakespeare Theatre here in DC. They do a free play every summer I guess. If I do manage to secure a ticket, that's what I'll be blogging about tomorrow. I know you're just shaking with excitement right now, aren't you?

xxoo, Lindsay

P.S. Why yes, I will be watching the premiere of Melrose Place tonight. Don't judge me.

07 September 2009

Totally not worth the expense.

I was trying to be all healthy getting the 100 calorie pack of nuts...completely forgetting that nuts aren't necessarily diet friendly, calorie-wise I mean. Bastards. 100 calories is not what I'd call satisfying.

Just wanted to share this monumental disappointment.

03 September 2009

A Weekend Worthy Of Squealing

So technically I should be getting on the road now, heading towards Ohio for one of my college friends wedding, instead I'm trying to get well and truly caffeinated before I leave...and of course I need to blog about all this cause who know when I'll get the time to get online this weekend.
I have loads that I do want to write about, like the fact that I've been tentatively hired at the place I've had 2 interviews with already. I say tentatively cause I have to pass my background and reference check first. There's no reason I shouldn't pass those, but with my luck I refuse to get too excited until I have my first day and my first paycheck. Also it's only part time and no benefits, but it does involve working in the theatre and it will look fabulous on my resume! Will discuss more about it once the tentatively has been removed.

Can I just say that I can see myself falling in love with D.C. if the weather continues to be as heartbreakingly beautiful as it has been? I'm talking 79 degrees, sunny, small fluffy clouds and a beautiful, light and forgiving breeze. I really could do away with this humidity business that the city has been messing with for the past few weeks. Here's some pictures to show you just how gorgeous it was yesterday as I meandered around the city.

While I was out and about I experienced the wonderful theatre mecca that is Backstage Books, which is amazing. It's a tiny shop at 545 Eighth Street SE, packed to the brim with costumes for performing arts people and apparently people on the lookout for mad-awesome Halloween costumes. All that and loads of plays. I swear, as soon as I get some money I will be hitting them up for material. Grad school auditions are coming soon and I need some new monologues STAT! Oh...and that topic will be for a whole other post.

Another place that I need to mention, my favorite cafe to kill time. Le Bon Cafe is amazingly cute and they have delicious food! It's only really busy around rush hour times, so it's been a great place to chill mid morning or mid afternoon to read a bit, caffeinate, and read. And for some reason I always seem to be hanging in the neighborhood of the Library of Congress (which is where this gem is located). So yeah...try that. Look at me all helpful.

Hopefully will get to post this weekend but we shall see.

P.S. Oh and not too excited about reading this little news nugget before heading off for a weekend of hanging with my bestie's from college...meaning drinking too much and taking far too many questionable photos.