Friday, August 30, 2013

Theatre History (Debstyle)

Tomorrow is the birthday of the man who got me hooked on theatre.  Every year when his birthday rolls around, I get to reminiscing about those early days.  I remember it like it was yesterday...yesterday...yesterday.......
When I was fifteen years old, my best friend and I were obsessed with the Beatles and anything remotely related to them.  Barb (my BF)  had moved to Philadelphia but we still sent numerous letters to each other every month with any Beatlesque tidbit we could find.  My mom and I went to Philly to visit Barb and her mom and we found out that Jane Asher (who was then Paul McCartney's girlfriend) was playing Juliet  (Name That Play!) in the Old Vic touring company that was in NYC, just an hour trainride away.  Now, I was expecting to get all giddy when I saw Jane Asher step on stage, and I was, sorta, but I was not prepared to be totally blown away by the play itself.  And all those people on the stage doing said play. It was like eating chocolate, and having sex, and drinking beer and giving birth and..well, you get the idea.  Pretty fucking awesome.  I turned to Barb after it  was over and said, "That's what I want to do." 
My mother was not exactly thrilled with the news.  She had always envisioned me as a sort of Eleanor Rigby Librarian, tucked back in a corner, wearing my face that I keep in a jar by the door kind of thing.  Sound like me?  Yeah.  There's a reason I've gone through therapy.  ANYROAD.....
At that time, my mother's favorite person in the universe, her brother (he was always her favorite person in the universe, not just at that time), was engaged  and Ma was all about impressing Uncle Paul's fiance, Marie.  My mother was dead set against me doing anything about my theatre leanings, when Marie said she thought it would be a good idea if I took acting lessons and she heard they gave them at the Pittsburgh Playhouse on Saturday mornings and they weren't very expensive.  (Pause for a Hallelujah Chorus to my Aunt Marie.)
Side note:  The reason my mother was vehemently against me having a Life in the Theatre was because she was convinced that actresses were really whores.  I only wish I had have half the sex my mother thought I would have had by now.  Frowny Face.
So, I took a 10:00 a.m. acting class at the Pittsburgh Playhouse.  My teacher was Thom Thomas.  And my life changed forever.
The first thing he had me do was Amanda Wingfield's monologue from "Glass Menagerie".  I loved it.  And never looked back.  Well, I did for a little while, but that's beside the point.
During the course of the course, Thom announced that he and his partner were starting a summer theatre that summer and they needed apprentices, who would do tech work but also get a chance to act.  I somehow convinced my parents that this was a good thing (I may or may not have played the Aunt Marie card)  and I spent the next seven summers working at Odd Chair Playhouse.  It was magical.
Thom taught theatre at Point Park College and I refused to apply to any school other than Point Park.  That was a fun fight (and Ma and I had a bunch of them),  but I won and got in and continued to be in awe of Thom and theatre.  Until the morning I  looked back and got scared and left for 26 years. 
But, still, I came back and don't intend to leave again until they carry me offstage feet first. (Exit stage right, please.)  And I owe it all to Thom Thomas.  So thank you, dear friend, and a very happy birthday.   

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Post on a Current Topic

I didn't see the Miley Cyrus thing on the VMA's because I had to choose between watching them or giving myself a root canal and dental health is important.  But I, like everyone else, have been inundated with various rantings and ravings on the subject and a thought occurred to me that I haven't heard expressed yet.  (Doesn't mean it hasn't been.  I don't get around much.)
I am certainly not "in the know" on how award shows work on television.  But here in Normalville, the content of a show is a known quantity before the show is actually performed.  So, I'm guessing MTV knew the inappropriateness of Miley's performance and said it was A-OK.  (The A in this case standing for Ass.)  I'm not particularly surprised.  So why is anyone else?  Isn't this the show where  Madonna open-mouth kissed Brittany Spears, or whoever was Flavor of the Week at the time?  The VMA's have nothing to do with the quality of the music videos, because, frankly, you could put a bunch of chimpanzees in a room with a bunch of hot chicks and some horny guys playing guitar and come out with a decent video.  It's about once a year MTV getting some publicity because the rest of the year the country thinks that MTV stands for Motorized Television, or the old Mary Tyler Moore network or some horrible neuromuscular disease that cripples you.
And this is the only way they can get said publicity.  Live sex on stage.  Wow.  Too bad the Romans never thought about...oh wait, they did.  It's not very original.  But, it did get the desired effect.
I guess the only other thing they could do to stir up some world-shaking publicity is actually start showing music videos again, but that's just crazy talk.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Chapter Three-in which Doris gets her oats

At the risk of sounding like an old fart, I have noticed an upsurge in media reports of young people randomly torturing animals or even killing another human being because they're bored.  That was the excuse they gave when arrested, "Bored".
Now, even though I have a black belt in being naive, I have no doubt that this kind of behavior has been going on for centuries.  There will always be, sadly, people (young and old) that are mean, sadistic and prone to violence and suffer no remorse after their crime.  I have dated a few, so I know whereof I speak.  But in this case, I am struck by the fact that in two,  unrelated cases of violence, the perpetrators used the excuse (??) of being bored. 
I know bored.  I do bored for a living.  I spend 40 hours a week doing NOTHING.  I get paid for being bored.  I'm not complaining.  There are many advantages. I'm lucky to have a job.  Blah, blah, blah.  But even at the height of my boredom (which usually occurs at 2:45 on Friday afternoon) it has never, ever crossed my mind to torture kittens or kill an Australian baseball player.  So for the assholes who did those things this week to think it's okay to excuse their actions by pleading boredom heightens my anger with the human race. And THAT is actually my topic for today.  Sorry for the Intro Rant.
I don't really care for people.  In general, I mean.  I have the best friends in the universe, and the most amazing children on the planet and I love all of those people so much sometimes it hurts.  But the rest of the human race....meh.
I don't like parties.  Being surrounded by a lot of people makes me nervous.  I can guarandamntee you that I will do something stupid if I'm with a group of people I don't know.  Actually, I can guarandamntee I will do something stupid with a group of people I do know, but they're used to it and will either just pick me up, or pretend they didn't hear me,or apologize to the people at the table next to us,  or drive me home and act like it never happened.  That's the Dionne Warwick Code, and that's how we roll. 
I realize the General Public isn't running around immolating kittens and slaughtering Aussies, but the truth is people annoy me.  People should be running around laughing and singing and hugging random strangers (in an appropriate manner, please) and creating unicorns and rainbows and free beer.  But they aren't.  They're too busy being "human".  Pfft.  Whatever.  Everyone should be more like me, cause I....oh, wait.  I guess I'm not actually doing any of those things either.  I'm bitching about how I don't like people.  Which kinda ends up making me be like all those people I don't like.  Oops.  I am experiencing a George Bush "Mission Accomplished" Moment.  Let me pause.
Okay.  Sorry.  Please ignore the last three paragraphs, obviously I didn't think things through, but at least I have a good excuse.   I was bored.

Monday, August 19, 2013

This One's A Big Deal To Me

During my short-lived career in real estate, I trained with two women whose names were Faith and Hope.  I, logically, called myself Charity, because that's what I needed when it came to selling real estate.  I did not get it.  Nor did I get selling real estate.  Anyroad...
That slightly amusing but totally irrelevant rambling is my obtuse way of leading into today's discussion of faith.  Faith is a tricky thing.  And more difficult (at least for me) then you would think.
If you are one who has faith in the guy with the long white beard or the guy with the shorter brown beard or the guy I can't describe because they can't post pictures of him,  then faith is probably a no-brainer for you.  Wait, that sounds like I'm saying you have no brains, which I'm not at all.  I will never diss anyone's beliefs, that is totally uncool.  I'm just saying that it has been my observation that people who have a strong religious belief tend to accept faith as a matter of course.  But I have been struggling with faith for years, and I think it's because I was looking at it from the wrong angle.
I got off on the wrong faithfoot when I started going to Sunday School.  At six years old, I was told by Sister Mary Elizabeth that if I sassed my mother in the morning, when I got home from school they'd be carrying her out on a stretcher.  I was supposed to have faith in a diety that exacts that kind of retribution on a six-year-old for simply being a six-year-old.   It didn't make sense to me, but  I was told to accept it, so I did.  The upshot being I had faith in God, but not myself.
Added to this liturgy of punishment-based theology, was the constant "Why can't you be more like your sister?" litany I got from my mother.  While said sister assured me she wished I had never been born and tried to kill me when I was a baby by stuffing a rattle down my throat.  I found it hard to be zippity-do-dah about myself.  I just felt sad and confused, and didn't understand what I had done to piss everybody off so much.
The answer, of course, is nothing.  They were all being fuckwads.  It took me a loooonnggg time to accept that fact without feeling guilty about accepting that fact.  Again, tip o' the habit to Sister Mary Elizabeth and her crew for that. 
The Ultimate Truth is, if I don't have faith in myself, I can't have faith in anyone or anything else, omnipotent or just plain ol' potent.  I suppose that church and family figured I arrived here with a self-faith package installed, but, unfortunately, I missed out on that software.  So my tiny kid soul sponge just soaked up all the fire and brimstone without the self-love asbestos  pillow underneath to put it in perspective. 
 I hate that it took me so long to figure this out, but I thank the Universe I figured it out while I still have some time left to enjoy it.  So, damn the religion, full life ahead!

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Post So Boring I Can't Come Up With A Name For It

I get paid for being bored.  That sounds like a good gig, I know, but by the end of the week, I'm tempted to go postal.  And, by going postal, I mean I'm ready to apply for a job with the U.S. Postal Service.  Which, what with people there tending to actually go postal, is probably not a good idea.
You see?  The last paragraph reflects the glob of gelatinous goo my brain is reduced to by Friday.  I have trouble concentrating.  None of the books I'm reading hold my attention.  Bingo Bash no longer provides endless hours of enjoyment. And I keep waiting for Morgan Freeman to come in and feed me pumpkin pie.  Sadly, this has never happened.   I love pie.
Also, the *little* things the attorneys here do to bother me by Friday become *BIG* things.  Therefore, not only do I walk around muttering Shakespeare (First, kill all the lawyers), but I also develop a deeper appreciation of Lorena Bobbit.  So, I guess there is a plus side.
But, the indomitable human spirit pushes through, and by Monday my love of a roof over my head and beer will cheerfully convince me to sally forth to the Desk of Dulllsville once again.  Though I may just take a Mental Health Day next Friday...

Friday, August 9, 2013

Absolute Truths

That's a great novel by Susan Howatch.  Anyroad....
You all know I'm a fan of lists. Well, you do now.  And I have a list of Absolute Truths.  They have changed over the years, and may well change again, but below are some that are currently on my hit parade.
DISCLAIMER PARAGRAPH:  These are Debbie's Truths.  You have your own.  You may agree with some, but it's more likely you won't.  You may think some are incredibly dumb.  You're welcome. (And probably right.)  It's Friday.  Enjoy.
1.  Not giving a shit is harder than it should be. Sometimes.  Sometimes the reverse is
2.  I think best when pacing.
3.  I therefore look weird a lot.
4.  Having fun is awesome.
5.  Being sick is the pits.
6.  It's all very well to say, "You make your own happiness.", but I must have copied the
     recipe for happiness down wrong, because it never comes out right. 
7.  I'm not a very good cook.  I don't care.
8.  I'm a helluva lot of fun to be around. And, by invoking the transitory theory by
     employing #4, I am, therefore, awesome.
9.  Cats are awesome, as well.  And sometimes fun to be around.
10. The first sip of coffee in the morning and the first sip of beer post show are two of
      the most perfect moments on earth.
I could go on, but you are probably scrolling down your FB page by now anyway, so I'll stop.  I have written nothing earthshattering here, but lately the things that have shattered my earth haven't been very happy, so I'm okay with being Cheerfully Mundane. 
And that makes #11.