A new artistic home

I went to the first rehearsal of TheatreWorks’ Warrior Class today- my first activity as a Fellow! Some 40 people, ranging from artistic staff to marketing and development staff to box office staff came to introduce themselves, show off their designs for the show and offer information and guidance to others in the room. I’ve never been in a production at TheatreWorks, so getting to see how warm and generous everyone is was really lovely. And their new digs are great!

Warrior Class explores the divisiveness of our current American political landscape through the lens of racial identity and how it affects our life trajectories. How serendipitous for me that my first production as a Fellow features an Asian American in the central role! The part is played by the amazing Pun Bandhu, who recently wrote this thought-provoking article on access and equal opportunity. During a break, Pun and I were talking about the author and sociologist Malcolm Gladwell’s assertion that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to excel at something, and how many Asian artists have to play catch-up as they enter the field because they weren’t encouraged to explore their interest in theatre at an earlier age. I personally knew I wanted to become an actor when I was nine years old, but was discouraged by my family and couldn’t start to take classes or pursue my interest until I moved away from home. How many more hours would I have banked towards that 10,000 hours if I could have started at the age of nine? And how many Asian artists have we completely lost because after they graduated high school, they thought it was too late?

This conversation with Pun quite beautifully merged the two components of my fellowship together- a time of profound artistic growth, and a community outreach effort to provide information and resources to people who might be sitting on the sidelines when they should be busy banking towards their 10,000. I’m more excited than ever to dig in and see what these next two years bring, and just plain grateful. 🙂

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Theatre artists: the true Warrior Class.

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The adventure begins…

As some of you know, I’m a Round 8 TCG Fox Fellow! (for info on the Fox Fellowship, click here. The lovely and wildly talented Mia Tagano suggested I start a blog- so here goes! I’ve never blogged before, but what the hell! Let’s see if I can keep this thing going. 🙂

So, the first lesson I’ve learned so far is a big one: Do the thing for its own sake- fully and with no mind toward the outcome.

I had heard about the Fox Fellowship a while back. I wanted to apply but didn’t think I was a viable candidate. There are hundreds of applicants per round, and the recipients are often Broadway vets. What chance did I stand? Earlier this year, my best friend Des sent me the application link and encouraged me to apply. I went through the gamut in my head: There’s no way I can get this, I’m in rehearsal- I don’t have time to write it, blah blah BLAH.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the process of auditioning lately, and how a great audition shouldn’t be about trying to get the role, but about throwing yourself into the experience and walking away with the sense that you gave it everything for the sake of connecting fully to that moment. So I just decided to fuck the odds and write the thing for me. Just throw myself completely into it, do to satisfy my desire to do it, and enjoy the process, rather than worry about some fantasy product I may or may not get. So I wrote first thing in the morning, on rehearsal breaks, after rehearsal until 2 in the morning. I wrote and rewrote until what I had on those pages was the closest, most meaningful way I could express myself as an artist, and what I wanted to do to through my art. And after I submitted it, I forgot it. Like I’m learning to do with auditions (still learning).

Then, I got it. Who knew?? I’m still shocked that it actually happened. But the cool thing is, I’d still be proud of myself for writing it, regardless of whether I got it or not. I think I’m going to keep living my life this way. Feels pretty nice.

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