Friday, November 20, 2009

Cracking into the writer within...

It's been almost 3 years since I first saw "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind", the ever changing Off Off Broadway show that is brought to the stage of the Kraine every week by the talented theatre group called the New York Neo-Futurists. I am blessed to call almost all of them friends but since I started volunteering, working & learning from them these last 2 1/2 years, it has opened up my creative side, especially the writer in me.

If you are unfamiliar with the Neo-Futurism style of writing/performing, the 3 main points you need to always know are:

1. You are who you are
2. You are where you are
3. You are doing what you are doing

Basically, whatever you see or hear, is real. No one is lying or making shit up.

If you would like to read more into Neo-Futurism, you can go here: http://www.nyneofuturists.org/site/index.php?/site/whats_the_whatism/

People constantly ask me to describe the show, "Too Much Light" & "TML" for short, and the only thing I can honestly tell them is that it's an experience. It can't really be described - sure I can tell you that they attempt to do 30 plays in 60 minutes & all the plays are different & somewhat short but really that's a far cry from what you will experience from the moment you walk in the theatre.
I suggest you check it out. It's @ the Kraine Theatre on E. 4th St every Fri & Sat Nights @ 10:30pm.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is one of the first plays I wrote within the Neo-Futurist style.


“My First Time”

[Neo sitting DSL on a block w/ mic & mic stand. Light on Neo (spot/clamp light?) Some 90s grunge song (Spacehog - “In the Meantime”) plays in the background.]

{Monologue spoken almost as if Neo is being interrogated}

I remember my first time, as most people do, I suppose.
It’s February 1997 & I’m 16 years old.
This girl I was friends with, Jen Minieri, convinced this guy she was dating to throw a party at his house while his parents were gone one weekend.

I recall there being a lot of people at the party there I didn’t know – looking back on it now, I still don’t know most of them.

It definitely wasn’t a planned thing, more of an impromptu meeting; one that would cause a deep love/hate relationship of sorts to this present day. He wasn’t much taller than me but had the clearest blue eyes. He wasn’t the perfect, all-American football type but the opposite – exactly the type you don’t bring home to your parents.

He said I had nothing to worry about.

I was nervous & a bit worried. Did I have any idea what I was getting myself into? I mean I wasn’t na├»ve, but going to an all-girls private high school didn’t exactly give me much experience with something like this. I didn’t want to seem disinterested or worse, act un-cool. Typical teen peer pressure was hitting me harder than a ton of bricks.

He said I had nothing to worry about.

It wasn’t the most enjoyable experience - It was quick and sort of rough. I knew at one point I was making one of those awkward uncomfortable faces – you know the one you make when someone asks you if their baby is cute & you can’t say no because it looks like an alien but can’t say yes either since nothing at all is redeeming about their child, so you just make the awkward face & say “it looks just like you!”

Afterward, he said “that was great.” He was sweet.

[3 Neos – 1 with a podium, 1 with a shot glass & vodka, and the last with a slice of lemon & sugar – put them CS & walk off]

In hindsight, I probably should have waited for a million reasons I could list now, but they would just be excuses for giving in to peer pressure, lack of self-esteem & falling into those crystal blue eyes.

[Light up on podium Neo gets up, walks to podium.]

This time I’d like to do it on my own terms – not because of some sandy-blonde, blue eyed skater guy or peer pressure – but because I want to…[Neo does lemon drop shot]

…but I know I will always make that awkward face.

Curtain.


N.Strawbridge
11/2008

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Proust Questionnaire

The Proust Questionnaire is a questionnaire about one's personality. Its name and modern popularity as a form of interview is owed to the responses given by the French writer, Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.

Here is the basic Proust Questionnaire & my answers:


1.What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Finding true love. Having fun & being able to enjoy life more, free from sadness, worry & anxiety. Being loved & appreciated for who I am & what I do.

2.What is your greatest fear?

To be forgotten. Being alone for the rest of life. To have done nothing productive, meaningful or successful with my life.


3.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

My laziness & lack of confidence in myself.


4.What is the trait you most deplore in others?

lack of respect for others' feelings, opinions & overall being.


5.Which living person do you most admire?

Tina Fey, my Mom


6.What is your greatest extravagance?

I honestly don't know... I don't own much of value. The one thing I spend a lot of money on that people would consider extravagant is tattoos (my most recent one cost me $400) so I guess I'll say that.


7.What is your current state of mind?

Confused. worried. over-analytical. indifferent.


8.What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

How can a virtue be overrated?


9.On what occasion do you lie?

When I don't want to tell the truth.


10.What do you most dislike about your appearance?

That people classify me as 'young' & 'cute' - I feel those adjectives should be limited to use only in describing babies (human or animal). Even though I know I look young for my age (I've been getting told this since I was in high school), I am not a baby anymore and wish not to be referred to as cute. I feel as an adult approaching my 30s, I wish I could be called 'attractive' or 'appealing'. I know I'll never be sexy or hot (I'm just not on that scale) but I'm so done with being cute.


11.Which living person do you most despise?

it's a 3 way tie between Miley Cyrus; any person that goes on a reality TV show expecting to it to a)be awesome, b)make them famous or c)make people like them; & anyone who is just a plain ol' douchebag.


12.What is the quality you most like in a man?

being compassionate & understanding goes without question but also one that can communicate what he needs/wants/feels.


13.What is the quality you most like in a woman?

loyalty & understanding


14.Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

awesome, 'good luck with that'


15.What or who is the greatest love of your life?

i think that this 'technically' should be 2 questions since you could have a love for something & have a person great love in your life, so:

What is the greatest love of my life? Music

Who is the greatest love of my life? i don't have one unless my cat, Lucy, counts.


16.When and where were you happiest?

doing things I love with friends/people i care about


17.Which talent would you most like to have?

I would like to have better singing abilities - have better range & more talent.


18.What do you consider your greatest achievement?

still being alive.


19.If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

If I die, I don't want to come back as anything.


21.Where would you most like to live?

Manhattan


22.What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

loving someone and not having the love be reciprocated or not being able to act on your feelings.


23.What is your favorite occupation?

something i enjoy doing + getting paid for it + people i enjoy working with/for = formula for the perfect job



24.What is your most marked characteristic?

I've been told that my smile and/or my cheekbones are what people notice most. I guess my tattoos could also qualify as an answer.



25.What do you most value in your friends?

honesty, compassion, understanding, sense of humor


26.What are your favorite names?

Jane, Emma, Kate, Abby, Sam, Luke, Lucas, Jack


27.What is it that you most dislike?

i dislike MOST things but if here are the top things that irk me: country music, idiotic drivers, winter.


28.What is your greatest regret?

that I didn't have the guts to stand up & pursuit (or at least attempt to follow) my dreams.



29.How would you like to die?

young, quickly & hopefully not forgotten.



30.What is your motto?

i don't have one but i've always like this quote by Abe Lincoln I discovered in 7th grade: 'Whatever you are, be a good one'.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Blackholes & Revelations

Daylight Savings Time ended last weekend. We all got an extra hour to sleep, work, eat, drink or whatever you like to do in your spare time (technically I had the extra time to post this, but well I didn't - sue me) In return for turning our clocks back, we get to feel like we live in Antarctica during its 'the sun is so fucking far away we won't see it again for 6 months' period. Well, I know what that means for me...
:cue depressive entry:
(don't say I didn't I warn you. no one's making you sit there & read this...at least I hope not, then I might have an iota of sympathy for you)

I don't do well with Winter. I know I've written about the weather. I'm not talking about just physically dealing with Winter, with the actual cold, shitty weather conditions (which I do HATE), but I'm referring to mentally. There's less daylight & warmth. The baseball season is already long over & done with and pitchers & catchers can't seem to report soon enough. If you say you like the Winter Olympics better than the Summer Olympics, I would like to punch you in the face and ship you off to Norway or the South Pole. Everything's dead or in the process of dying. It just seems like, especially in the Northeast, Winter forces you to remain inside, closed off from the world. Even animals say "Screw this shit - We're hibernating for a few months". People tend to keep to themselves and isolation seems to start to blossom...

What's that? "What about the Holidays" you say? Well, the Holiday season should be something to look forward to but for me, the Holidays BLOW. Mainly due to reasons with family issues (most of them just being 'family'), I haven't really celebrated a Thanksgiving or Christmas in over a decade. So I fly solo. Believe me, it's an excellent alternative to spend one of the most festive & enjoyable times of the year if your family either a) hates celebrating holidays b) hates the rest of the family or c) hates you.

Also I should mention that I have this small little issue that I've been dealing with for awhile called major depressive disorder. Usually around this time of year (and at times during the Winter) my mood & attitude can really take a beating (and that's an understatement). And you may say to yourself, "That sounds like a real fancy way of saying you're sad sometimes" or "You're crazy?!?! Holy Shit! That explains sooo much!" I really can't tell people what to think or say about a given topic. I'm not going to get all Tom Cruise here, getting into a debate/fight/cagematch over Psychology or even attempt to describe to someone what it feels like to have & deal with an issue like this. I don't go up to people who have Diabetes and say "Hey, Just lay off the sugar & you'll be fine! No big deal." It really just isn't that simple. There are no clear explanations or answers and I think that's what makes people skeptical about thinking Depression is a disease. What you've heard, read, seen about Depression through the media - The commericals for all the medications, TV shows/movies that try to give some light into the issue - most don't do it any justice. It's like having any other illness or issue in life - everyone deals with it in their own way & how they think is best to deal with it. Everyone is different. As Lewis Black would say, "We are all Snowflakes."

I wasn't diagnosed until college but I've been dealing with Depression (and some other issues) in one way or another since high school. Unfortunately for me, no combination of any pill and/or therapist have seemed to keep my Depression under wraps. It's been a roller coaster ride of ups & downs. Something might work for awhile or I may be in a place in my life where things are going well and are stable, but then I hit a bump in the road, that becomes a pothole, that turns into a sinkhole that I just can't seem to get out of. It's like I'm in my own personal Blackhole. No matter how well I think I can be doing at a given time, my Depression never completely escapes me. But it's times like this, with the impending change of weather/seasons, that is the hardest for me to deal with. The last 2 years around this time have been emotionally rough for me. A bad breakup & a move back to Westchester in 2007 & last year new anxiety with a new job, living back on my own & relationships (or really the lack there of). I remember I went to a friend's wedding last year & I distinctly remember saying out loud "I don't want to go. I can't be around people right now, especially celebrating & being happy." It had nothing to do with my friends getting married, I just couldn't deal. (I ended up going to the wedding but kept to myself really & left early.) I've been told by some that maybe I just have a case of "seasonal affective disorder", which is a good point, but I know it's more than that. I know that the Winter doesn't help someone like me, but I also don't think my answer is as simple as something also known as 'the winter blues.'

It's a struggle I deal with every single day. I can be fine when I wake up & take a turn for the worse by a simple conversation or act I encounter. I could wake up feeling so horrible that I don't think it's worth it to get out bed - but I do & end up not having such a bad day after all. It's those days that I try to remember. It's little things people say to me or do. Sometimes it's something I experience that makes me smile or feel better that I try to keep with me. I need to remember those for these upcoming months of darkness & cold...

I guess I could always resort to hibernation.