Last night was one for the record books.
Dairus and Twig written by Caleen Jennings for the stage was opened in the Family Theater at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. I was the sound designer.
Since I visited the Kennedy Center back in 2011 with KCACTF I dreamed that one day I could design a production there, maybe one day even in one of the larger theaters. And then the dream came true. What do you do when you've reached your goals in life? What do you say to someone when they ask what you hope to do in life? "I've done it already?" No, that would be far too prideful; and yet, somehow satisfying internally to even have the knowledge that you have made a goal of your life come true.
What it boils down to, and this is something I have felt in my own life, is being willing to push yourself, mind, body, and spirit to the absolute point of breaking, and then taking a moment to realize that you're not broken, and continue forward to another point of breaking. Life isn't easy, life is not a journey to be taken on alone. We in theatre are collaborative beings all striving towards one common goal. The production on opening night.
It is absolutely wonderful to get to opening night and watch everyone breathe a sigh of relief. Our work is complete, we present it to a paying audience, and we move along to the next production. We also get crazy and take photos in front of step and repeats, we gather together as a whole company and laugh, drink champagne, eat cake, chat about the fun and the moments we enjoy in the production and make promises to work together again really soon.
I swear there is a moment where Walt Disney himself comes in, waves a magic wand, and suddenly we're all transfixed and transformed into this beautiful moment that we cannot explain, we all are at a "ball" so to speak, dancing the night away and feeling on top of our games. Of course, there is the moment after when everyone is departing and the magic slowly fades away, like a well executed series of cues called by a stage manager in just the perfect way, that you begin to realize that you didn't breathe, you didn't know that the night had slowly slipped away, and you're in an Über driving to your next event of the night... somehow your pumpkin carriage turned to a pumpkin again, and you're riding on the backs of four white mice, a goose who's driving, and a dog who barks that midnight is passed.
More to come,
Articles I'm looking to expand on:
- Sound Designer Visibility in the Workplace
Funding of Sound Design Education
Hello friends, readers, and colleagues,
It has been a long time coming, but I finally have decided that I will be blogging again on my website. After a few failed attempts at figuring out what it is I want to write about, and more importantly just get ideas and thoughts off my mind and chest, I turn to your brains, collectively and more importantly your hearts to not only read, but respond and be a part of my journey in life.
Some things have changed.
I now call Silver Spring, MD home. This happened by way of attending Grad-School at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for my Master of Fine Arts Degree in Sound Design for Theatre. As a part of my education, students from the previous 5 years of graduation are allowed to apply to the William R Kenan Jr fellowship at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC. I applied, interviewed, and was accepted as a sound design fellow. As part of my duties in this position, I am the resident sound design assistant at Theater J in DC where we just closed a World Premiere Play: Queens Girl in the World, and are now in rehearsals for Sons of the Prophet. After that, I will be designing their show: Stars of David. Additionally, I am able to do other design opportunities that arise, such as Darius and Twig at the Family Theater in the Kennedy Center, I have also been a part of Shakespeare Theatre Company's over-hire list working on TedXMidAtlantic and The Atlantic Live: Washington Ideas Forum. I have designed 4 Millennium Stage events at the Center, and hope to continue this very great opportunity.
Adjusting to new life.
It's been a huge adjustment the past 6 months or so. I packed up my entire life, I finished my thesis, I graduated with an MFA, I moved home to WI for 6 weeks, I was in my best friend's wedding, I moved to Chautauqua NY for the summer, I worked with a vast array of incredibly well known people, I acted and performed onstage with Carol Burnett in front of nearly 7000 people, I said goodbye to a few chapters, I moved to DC, I started a dream fellowship, I've worked with incredible artists and humans who make me a stronger and better person, and I've refocused my energies in my own life.
They say it can take time to recover from grad-school's intense and rigorous experience, and that certainly is true for me. I will never play a victim, but I certainly felt the taxing effects of top-notch education. I became unhealthy, I fell back into really old and gross eating habits, and now, struggle to find the balance that I had in 2012 and 2013 with my life. Fast forward to today, and I am heavier, bigger, and mentally foggy when I want to be crystal clear. Insert the voice in the back of my head: "You can do what you've done before, it took time to refocus your health, but you did it then, you can do it now." So, here I sit, at my desk, having only had 12 oz of coca-cola when I would have had 32. Water, and aspirin are my saviors while attempting to kill a caffeine headache.
While grad school, undergrad, and professional life in theatre is certainly not easy, nor does it leave much time for outside activities, it does wear and tear on a person who is single and feels semi-alone in the world. I'm always honest, to a fault at times, but have never let that stop me. I think being raised as an only child benefitted me in making me be self sufficient early on in life, but as many have told me, it can be extremely relieving to lean on others for day to day struggles. I am my mother's child. There are many times I open my mouth and swear I've heard my mom talking next to me, only to realize that only my mouth was moving and the air I had previously brought into my body was expelling her tone and words to a "T." She raised me to be a tough cookie, when bullied and threatened in my early years of education, she was there, teaching me how to standup for myself, wiping away the tears, telling me I am stronger than my attacker. She kept an avid eye on me when I think she figured out I was gay, before I knew what that meant. I know that when I finally figured everything out, it was into her arms I ran when it felt that the world had not crumbled down around me after I came out. It took a while to realize that I had become like her in so many other ways too. She led a solid life before meeting my father at an off-chance moment while working 5 jobs. I guess the busier we are, the more open to opportunities? Who knows?
What's coming up, where am I going? Time can only say. Check my "Upcoming Opportunities" on my home page for current shows, but right now, my fellowship lasts until the end of April, after that is a wide array of opportunities. I hope to continue in some capacity with the KC, I love it there, I fall in love with the building every single time I walk in. It does not "get old" to walk in those hallowed halls of art and performance and realize I've stood where some of the world's greatest individuals have trod. I also plan to continue designing full time. I have loved my incredible opportunities to create with others and to open doors that were previously unseen within rehearsals. Teaching is still very much at the forefront of my mind. I continue to collect information, materials, and relevant experience I want to bring into my classroom one day. I don't know where that will be, I am but a cloud in the sky, willing and able to go where the wind should take me.
I know that in today's age, we are all about immediate gratification, we've forgotten to be kind and lead with our hearts. I live life by the heart and soul. Stay tuned for more details and more updates! My goals are to create new blog updates once a week, with extra posts when something should arise. In the future, it is possible that I may start YouTube-ing and just connecting with my friends, family, and colleagues in multiple forms. Let me know what you'd like to know in a comment below, maybe we can search the world wide web and life experiences and come up with some solutions to life's questions.
Peace and Love.