What has two thumbs, a great rack, tickets to NYC, and was newly bestowed the 2010 Black Theatre Alliance Award for Best Actress in a Play? THIS GIRL DOES!
|Recipient of the 2010 Ruby Dee Best Actress in a Play Award for Fedra produced by Lookingglass Theatre Company|
What a week pisano's! Let me play catch up to those of you who may be thinking this posting is filled with nonsensical jive talk that you don't quite understand. Actually endless vacuous prattle is my specialty-- I say lassie, good use of those big words! Wait, what was I on about?
Oh yes! So prepare to wipe up the premature ejaculation because Slick is back in the mothafuckin game! After a rather stressful and disheartening week, I was close to giving up on world. It felt like everywhere I'd go, people snatched the rug from under my feet, all the while smiling. I think a few times I may have even screamed out "By the hammer of Thor I will impale the next person who shits in my mouth and tells me it's pudding!" I was pissed and ready to give up. I was ready to abort planet earth and return to Krypton. So I pulled out my living will:
"To my gays, I bequeath you with my finest lace front Indian Remy hair wigs, weaves and falls."
"To the Chicago Theatre community, I bestow my vintage copies of Perform Ink magazine"
"To my asshole ex-boyfriends I leave you a waste basket of dollar store tampons, and this vial containing chlamydia."
"To Generation X, I leave you my New Edition CDS, New Kids on The Block sweat shirt, My couture collection of Used, Damaged, Gibaurd Jeans and mint condition British Knight sneakers..."
"To my stoners, A dime bag of Romulan, my recipe for pot peach cobbler and my one hitter."
"And finally to my ever loving blog reading possums, Mummy's flask and one under-wire bra."
Buuuut I can pump the breaks on giving up completely. I had a few guardian angels pull me out of a hole. And let me tell you, my hole wasn't nearly as bad as the ones that had the Chilean trapped minors. Seeing that many men climb out of a hole, made me miss college all over again. Nah I'm kidding. Welcome back amigos! I'm sure Ray Ban sunglasses will want to feature you in their new ad campaign "I Wear My Sunglasses At Night". All jokes aside, bless the gods for keeping and holding you. Go Chile! Go human beings!
I was stressed about the upcoming New Black Play Festival in New York this week. The first play that I ever wrote Black Diamond: The Years The Locusts Have Eaten will be staged for one performance. It will star Obie Award winner P. Francois Battiste and the brilliant Alana Arenas. Don't get me wrong it's quite the honor to have my work showcased...especially in New York, but because this happened in a whirl wind fashion all things considered from casting to flight arrangements and everything else was time sensitive. Aside from the business aspects of it all, I hadn't touched that play in 3 years. In fact, after a successful run at Lookingglass Theatre, critical acclaim, award nominations, script inquires from 2 film companies and general buzz about the script---it just died. People seemed excited about it, but no one was really putting their money with my mouth is. So I sheepishly backed away and became afraid of it. I'm serious, I hadn't been able to revisit the story...revisit that world. I wanted so badly to have the play produced again, especially in New York. I along with a team of soldiers worked our asses off to get the play from the page to the stage. So when BD did not get extended or find a second producing home I felt like I had failed. I was a failure. I felt like a rapper guest starring on a TV show that never got invited back because people thought that lighting could never strike twice. Plus the producers were ass clowns in the first place to hire a RAPPER instead of a trained ACTOR for the part of the pedo eye surgeon who kills clowns for their stem cells to... WOW what the what?? A fucking breakthru. Cue Gabriel Byrne for a session, because I feel like I'm In Treatment.
I know, I'm not some rapper taking work from actors but--look who said paranoia and self doubt ever fucking made sense. I cannot help it when I feel depressed and alone---oooh look a squirrel!
If you know me, I get distracted too easily to truly get depressed. But frankly at one point, I wondered if it was going to all fall apart, this festival production. And once again I would be exposed as a fraud like the great wizard...a frail little creature behind a machine. I don't know how these silly notions get into my head. I think most writers are paranoid to some extent. Its not like being an actor...its a different kind of vulnerability and neurosis. And let me tell you, people don't think twice about criticizing your work TO YOUR FACE. I've had to restrain myself from fucking a few people up at cocktail parties. They get right in your face and yammer on about the plight of Lithuanian honey bees and how they wished your second play was more like the first. Or how they didn't like the production. Or ring you direct and ask "why didn't you cast me in the part?" Oh yeah...people come at you from all directions.
It's soooo hard to do Jager shots with your sound designer when some monocle wearing jack ass theatre goer tells you what grinds their gears. Half the time I'm at parties I'm thinking about Iron Chef, ways to cure an itchy urethra, or Black Power. Okay okay I'm not that much of a hyper sensitive jerk. I don't expect everyone to be dick riding for J. Nicole Brooks. In actuality people are wonderful to me! (but all those things really have happened to me--and yes I do think about itchy urethra's at parties.). People have been gracious, supportive, and giving to me as an artist. This summer at the TCG conference--which is like theatre camp for grown ups, Martha Lavey artistic director of Steppenwolf turned to me and said "I like your work dear girl. It's fierce." And with that, she and Tracy Letts sauntered up the hallway. I promptly creamed my pants and did the ugly cry.
I appreciate the fear and the criticism, because it keeps you on your toes. Feedback when not prescriptive can prove invaluable. I will never allow my ego to inflate that way. I might bitch&wine, but like Colonel Black Diamond I will never retreat. Never surrender. I'm a bull that charges red waving flag. So after a few deep breaths, I re-read the script for the first time in three years. Wanna know what I discovered? I actually liked Black Diamond. I giggled at the dialogue and marveled at the physical feats we performed. I had stiletto gun wielding actresses descending from the catwalks. Blood packs that sprayed into the audience. A design team made you wanna rub your nipples. And jaw dropping performances from the ensemble. 3 years ago when we produced it, I didn't have time to take it in. I was so far in the trenches, all I could do was look at each performance and try to figure out how to make it better.
It was a life altering experience. God blessed me, and the spirits walked with me. Once I let go of the fear and false failure--just like that, all of those voices returned...and they guided me with what they wanted to say. Some of the edits, and rewrites are effortless. Bu the puzzle pieces aren't all there...there are still parts of the story I want to improve and have difficulty with. But one step at a time.
Step 1. Admitting I am a playwright.
Step 2. Accepting that I am not perfect.
Step 3. Reminding myself that I AM NOT ALONE.
And so possum, mummy is back in her warface.
And she commands you to get in yours.
Ciao for now kiddies,
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