Thursday, February 3, 2011

Organized Chaos

[organized chaos. no particular method to the madness, but I know where everything is]
***note: THAT'S the desk I salvaged and refinished this past summer. Not too bad, if I say so myself :)

I've done a lot of documentation of my thoughts recently - completely in my head. Each time thinking to myself "Yeah, yeah, yeah, hold onto that thought; you'll write it down later."

Well, here we are.
And here I am.
...but where did those thoughts go?

And where have I gone/did I go/am I now? In a very literal sense, I am currently at my desk, in my room - at about 2am - attempting to process both the freshly-ended weekend and plan out the upcoming week. (Mental preparation is key.) We are THREE rehearsals away from the sitzprobe and proceeding tech weekend for Company, which means that we are 11 days away from opening, 14 days away from the first rehearsal for Hamlet, and 19 days away from Company's closing performance. There are 71 days until I turn 23, and 96 days until graduation.

But who's counting?

So far, I'm much more sane than I thought I would be at this point in the semester - we're three weeks in, but, it feels like it may as well have been three years. Or maybe three hours? I'm not sure. At any rate, being enrolled in two classes is definitely a major factor in my higher-than-average sanity level. But there are many other contributing factors as well:

1) Physical discipline (which was almost the title of this post, but felt too thematically constricting). A dancer, I am not. A sword fighter, I am not. And yet, this semester finds me attempting to do both of these things. The result?: soar ankles, tight thighs, and an overwhelming awareness of my own lack of coordination and physical prowess. There's clearly some sort of short circuit between my brain and my limbs; it's a bit embarrassing, but, I'm powering through AND I JUST DON'T CARE WHAT ANYONE THINKS SO THERE.

That being said, I'm a bit disappointed in my inability to execute synchronized kicks and pull off a casual-yet-sophisticated jazz square without nearly tripping on my own feet and impaling myself on my cane. Thanks, Company.

So what's the solution to all of this? Well, mostly it's all about really trying to focus (what a concept) during class/rehearsal and repeat repeat repeat repeat EVERYTHING until it feels "natural" - or at least not like an out of body experience. But really, what this run-in with my physical self has done for me is remind me that I really miss being physically active and, oh yeah, physical activity is GOOD FOR YOU. In response to this delightful realization, I'm working myself back into a nice work out routine and (!!!!) I'm running again. And it's been a long time since I've done that. AND... it feels great. I've only been running for about a week now, but, already I'm at a point where I look forward to going out and getting a run in before classes every day. The first day was more work than anything, but every day after that has been an incredible release of emotion. The days are more vibrant, I feel focused and energized, and everything just seems easier after a cathartic run (albeit under the dismal fluorescent glow of our gym's track lights). Aside from production work, this addition to my daily habits is the highlight of each day. I am thrilled, thrilled, thrilled to be challenging and taking care of my body this way, for the first time in so long.

2. Company has, so far, been an escape from stress, rather than a source of stress. Maybe I'll feel differently when rehearsals are ending and we're really getting to the wire, but, for now each rehearsal is a welcomed challenge. For that feeling, I owe the most thanks to our incredible music director. This man has given so much to the cast - so, so much. Everyday he reminds me what the term "artist" truly means; he carries more energy, vibrancy, and love within each of his strides than our cast could muster in an entire day. He doesn't take no, or, I'm afraid for an answer. And from that I have learned that there is truly no limit to what you can do when settling for less than your absolute best is completely ruled out as an option. The man is 66, and he leads our rehearsals like a freight train from beginning to end; how do you say thank you to someone who brings so much to the table in that way?

3. I love my friends. I'm not sure what else to say about that except that I am truly blessed to have each and every one of them. The trust and unending support we share is invaluable to me (and hopefully to them). Both new and old, I just cannot - say - enough - how - happy - I - am - to - know - these - people. To work, live, and play with them is what gets me up every day and keeps me pushing ahead through the snow, the work, and the angst of life's daily blizzards of catastrophe.

You may have heard that there was a blizzard last week (what?!). In those three days that Parkside's campus sat dormant in the drifts, I spent my time on campus with my friends; we cooked and cleaned together, dug cars out of snow banks, drank hot chocolate, cuddled during movies, and, sometimes, sat in complete silence, basking in the glow of 72 hours of absolute nothingness. As I was cleaning the stove the first night of the storm, watching some folks tidying up the kitchen as others simultaneously prepared food for the group, I thought about how wonderful it is to work with the people I love. Some of us spend nearly every waking hour together - we go to class together, have rehearsal, and go home to the same apartments, always together... and it just feels right. How often can someone say that their job is where their passion is? How often do coworkers and friends become family in the truest sense of the word? Maybe it's more often than I think, but, nonetheless I can't help feeling incredibly special when these days and nights arise when we become our own commune of escape from all the junk that's constantly knocking us down.

Anton Chekhov said: Any idiot can face a crisis; it's this day to day living that wears you out.

The man knew what was up (duh). And I, for one, would like to say it is my friends (coworkers/family/commune) that get me through the day to day living. Each and every time.

Well, them... and the vodka. We're talking about Chekhov, after all.

[I love the way the paper from these sketches has aged over the past year. I also love the middle sketch's absolute refusal to sit parallel to the others. It's the little things, I guess.]

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