Acting Up

My musings, thoughts, rants, and discoveries. - Scott Maddock

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Location: Redmond, Washington, U.S. Inc. (Formerly U.S.A.)

Allie's Journey

For the next several months this will be dedicated to information pertinent to Allene M. Maddock. Her care has been assumed by Hospice as of 06Apr12.

Please feel free to call or write her. If you call be patient and take time to explain who you are. Currently she remembers, but you have to help her focus so she truly knows who she is talking to at the moment. We have to do this too, and I frequently say something like, "Yes this is Scott, your oldest."

Her phone is area code two-zero-six, and the number is 216 3816.

Her Address:
Allie Maddock
c/o Queen Ann Manor
100 Crockett Street
Seattle, Washington
    98109

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Youse Gotta Problem?

There is no doubt whatsoever, in his heart of hearts Scalia embodies the very worst of the modern republican. He gives an Italian gesture to the media, which appears to have many meanings, determined by things such as geography. For Scalia to say it is not an obscene gesture is fine and plausible, except for one little detail. It was accompanied by the obscenity, "Vaffanculo!" Google that. Literally it means "take it up the a**", and the accepted meanings are cruder. If I said to someone "F*** you in the a**hole!" and accompanied it with a salute or a peace sign, those become obscene gestures by context.

This at nearly the same time Scalia publicly all but told the world of his decision in a case for which he has not even heard arguments. His statement is more appropriate to a shrill politician trying to get extremist votes. If he doesn't believe in the rule of law, maybe he should rethink his career. He's acting like the power of his office has gone to his head. It wasn't all that long ago he defiantly refused to recuse himself when there was an apparent (and egregious in my mind) conflict of interest when ruling on Cheney's secret meeting with oil tycoons.

Does "Sonny" Scalia the notorious publicity hound see himself as capo to godfather w? Some flamboyant gangster film Mafioso? We know what happens to those guys. I'd advise him to stay away from toll booths. At least until there is a more moderate president to appoint a replacement.

PS - The ***'s redactions are so republicans can read this. This because the mildest to the vilest of obscenities can't be handled by conservatives, unless it comes from one of their masters.



Monday, March 27, 2006

Degrees

The multiple homicide on Capitol Hill in Seattle hasn't affected me directly. As it unfolds I expect to find only a degree of separation. I imagine some of my friends know some of the people involved. Two of them worked at Madison Market, and I've a number of friends who shop there a lot, including Steve and Paula who only live a block or two from the market. I thought about this a bit commuting to class and drill the last two days. "Piano" mentioned it in her blog, and I responded:

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The club/bar they started at shares a building with one of the theatres I hang out at. It is a great place, and usually produces outstanding shows. I've seen many productions there, though not worked at that venue yet, which is two and a half blocks from the studio I'm studying at. I've hung out at the bar a number of times after working on shows or with people who were in a show. There's an edginess in the back of my mind about this, as it is possible I might know someone. Thus far only a few names have been released.

Today as I was driving in for morning drill, I stopped to let some people cross the street, and looked at the street sign, seeing I was on 12th and Republican, just 9 blocks from the house where the shooting occurred. (21st and Rep.). It was a surreal moment. Life goes on as it should, yet there is a weight in the air.

I think of the many gregarious and generous young actors I have worked with, and pray none of them were there. I know the chances are very slim any of them were involved, but logic doesn't keep you from being concerned about people you care about or love.
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The victim's names have been released now, and I don't recognize any of them. It may turn out I was acquainted with one of them, but I may never know for sure. They are all too young, and the 14 and 15 year old kids are heartbreaking. Thus far it sounds like the victims were warm good hearted and generous people, and several of them talented artists.

Several of the news accounts have mentioned this was the worst killing in Seattle since the Wah Mee Massacre in which 13 people were executed at a gambling club robbery in 1983. I was driving a cab at the time, literally. I think it happened during or just before a shift change, so I was likely within twenty blocks of that when it happened. The cab lot was about half way between the two crime scenes separated by 23 years.

It is amazing how things like these can connect to us. I was fresh out of Seattle University in 1983, and felt connected to the area through going to Seattle University. Now, I'm studying at an acting studio two or three blocks from my alma mater. I'm a lot more connected to the community now, even though I don't live there.

I'm not a gambler, I'm not a raver, but circumstances gave me a feeling of personal connection to both events. Should I dwell on that? Or focus on all the great connections and relationships I have as a result of those very same circumstances? Duh. I suppose there are a lot of people who will be less accepting with strangers and that is a shame, to let fear rule you. I can understand for those intimately involved. There is a risk inherent in existence, and a risk necessary to exist meaningfully. Where is the balance? Do you shut off the world because of danger? Or do you embrace it, and in so doing make it a safer and more vibrant place?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Curses!

On Wednesday I had great rehearsal with my scene partner, using the space reserved for ETI at Antioch University in Seattle. Antioch provides the official certificate and the umbrella under which limited financial aid is available. A room is available for us Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings, one with no adjacent classes scheduled for that evening, so our volume won't distract other classes. There are other privileges, such as use of their library and the UW libraries, though with my schedule and east side residence and job locations I haven't been able to make use of that.

We worked hard for a bit over an hour and a half instead of the 2-3 hours we'd reserved, as my scene partner had to be home a little earlier than we expected. The more directed work in the shorter time ended up being more effective, at least this time around. I headed home had a nice meal, which doesn't mean much these days. Only that I had time to bake a frozen entre, instead of microwaving it. I'm looking forward to actually cooking again.

I got out some apple wine I made several years ago, and this one aged very nicely. Granny smith apples make a better wine in the long run than do gravensteins, which make a very nice wine about a year out and tend to cloud or throw sediment which slightly degrades the flavor after four years or so.

I had two glasses of wine with my dinner. No problem, even though I'd forgotten the homemade wines tend to be a touch stronger, between 14 and 17%, like a chardonnay. I was watching something on TV which was actually engaging, and it wasn't until after my second glass of wine with dinner, I realized I'd already had two glasses. Despite my size, that is enough to leave me feeling ooky the next day. Not nearly enough for a hangover. Given my family's history I'm usually glad to have a low threshold. My (naturopathic) chiropractor noticed I was still out of whack Thursday evening -- that appointment helped.

Back at home on Thursday I was feeling better, and a haircut usually makes me feel even better. So, as I mentioned in the last post I put the guard on the clippers, which are very quiet now that I found a nice light oil for them. I was just about done. My head was trimmed to 3/8", my beard to 1/4", and the tapers finished. This is the shortest length that doesn't look in between bald and intentionally short, and what I'd cut it to about a week or two before this quarter's ETI recital goes up. My head looked slightly fuzzy so I quickly put the 3/8" guard back on to clean it up, and starting running it up and over. A surprisingly smooth feeling for a cut or two. As I was thinking about it I tipped my head forward a bit, and that is when I realized the guard had parted ways with the clippers.

How about that? A nice reverse mohawk. There was a moment of incredulousness, where you're slightly stunned. No shock as I like shaving my head when the mood or sultry weather hits. It was that "Oh shit!" moment you had when breaking something belonging to your parents or other grown up as a kid. Nothing you can do will undo it. It seemed like a long time, but in reality it was only a few seconds. Nothing to do but continue. Shaving my head felt a little like fessing up to breaking something as a kid. It really reminds me of when we had a sidewalk poured when I was 5, plus or minus a year. It was so exciting, and I couldn't wait to put my handprints in it.

The parents weren't so excited when I asked if they'd help me write the date or some other bit of archival information. It was too late to retrowel the concrete, but the contractor was still there, and he simply sprayed the finished layer off. I was upset my art was gone, but I thought it looked cool. That was around 1962, and it was the first exposed aggregate sidewalk I remembered seeing. They became quite popular in the next fifteen years. Unlike the sidewalk adventure, my hair will grow back.

Done with the elaboration, now for the follow-up. My peers in ETI really liked it, and Lori thought it gave me more of a real warrior look. I've seen a couple productions of The Scottish Play, and Mac was played as a wimp in both. I thought that was wrong five or six years ago as a novice actor and watcher of Shakespeare, and feel more strongly about it now. Read the beginning of the play, Act I, Scene II. It is reported how Mac charged into the midst of the enemy, hacked a path straight to the enemy commander and cut him down. Makes Rambo sound like a pussy. This man ain't a wimp. He's simply well aware of slaughter and it's consequences. And remember, Lady M who spurs him, while ruthless in her own right is the one who goes mad over it. My read of the play is that his initial caution is to protect her, because once he is on the path nothing will dissuade him. I have to read the rest of it again, as I've a feeling he delights in his fatal defeat at MacDuff's hand. It is in battle where he excels and lives, and can find moments with no ghosts or spirits to torment him. We aren't doing that part of the play, but I want to read through that part of it again just the same.

Lori is in accord with my take on Mac (and she is great as Lady M). So, Mac will be bald, though maybe with a beard or mustache. Serendipity prevailed this time. That's lucky.

Still, I'll take Rachel's suggestion to heart and honor the curse in my blogs, at least while I'm working on the play, which I do in theaters anyway. For those not familiar with it, you aren't supposed to say the name of the play or two main characters in theater unless you're an actor saying it as written in a performance or rehearsal, hence it is referred "The Scottish Play", "Mac", and "Lady M." There are legends of terrible tragedies connected with this play, though details are hard to come by. I've heard another suggestion. This is one of the shortest (maybe the shortest?) of Shakespeare plays, and it's said it can be produced more cheaply than others. Thus, failing companies have often produced it. Not so dramatic as death and injury on stage. So, I kind of buy the second, but honor the first interpretation because it is more fun. And there are people who take the curse seriously, and I'd rather extend my respect to them. It's not particularly daring to say it in a theater, but it says something about you if you are more interested in showing your lack of suspicion than being generous. Besides, I have my hair to think about now.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Shit On a Shingle

I decided to trim my hair before going to bed. About a five minute job. Apparently I didn't get the guard on the clippers snugly, and it fell off. The problem is that it fell onto a towel -- no noise. Did a couple swaths, checked my progress, and instead of 3/8" I had about 1/32" of an inch of hair. Bother, so much for five minutes. More time is needed to get a very short cropping to look right. Maybe I'll be a bald MacBeth. At least I still have time to grow my hair and beard back to where I had initially planned for it to be for the show. Lori will be a bit startled, but I'll see what hair length works best for her as Lady M.

I have been cutting my own hair for years, about eight if I remember aright, and this is the first disaster. Maybe it will be serendipitous. Only time will tell.

G'night.

These Boots Were Made For Bikin'

I ordered new motorcycle boots. My old ones have been through two, er, unintentional dismounts, and are still pretty solid, but coming apart. The stitching is giving out, and with the nylon flap under the laces developing holes they aren't very water resistant anymore. I may look into getting them repaired, but they were just a little too snug. They have served me well, so I got the same kind. They now have darker colored soles available which will be nice as they have found their way on stage numerous times thanks to their heavy clunkiness. Great for a quite range of characters, including Mac.

Now all I have to do, is get the flat on the Guzzi fixed so I can ride the motorcycle.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Let's Hear It For the Little Guys

This is disgusting. I don't mean the abuse of Iraqis, which I've gone on about before. We convicted a 24 year old enlisted guy, and let the architects off the hook. Marines are being investigated for possible war crimes. This must be addressed, but again the architects are getting off in more ways than one.

How is this supposed to play out? Does the administration think these hapless scapegoats are enough to satisfy the majority of the world, and now this country, who think the administration is criminally responsible for this mess? Will it make the blindered Bush loyalists praise their clay footed icon more?

Is it supposed to help morale? This from a president who blames the little guys (enlisted troops following orders) for carrying out HIS policy? Who promotes the shyster who wrote the legal opinions justifying war crimes to the highest law enforcement position in the nation? This military pretender who has with the help of the former Director of the CIA (his daddy) and the former VP and President (his daddy) has hidden his military records so thoroughly that not one copy has come to light?

These neo-con cowards go on about supporting the troops, yet they persecute them for carrying out the neo-con agenda. The only people in the military who the neo-cons support are the very senior officers who have whored themselves in support of the administration's misinformation campaign, and the contract mercenaries who get the plum jobs and big, big bucks. Yet, the conservatives feel betrayed the troops who are doing the actual fighting disapprove of the war and don't feel supported.

Hey there neo-con! Putting a bumper sticker on your car saying you support the troops does not make it so, nor does it make you anything close to brave. If you had an iota of courage or patriotism you'd not be scared silly at the thought of asking questions of the president or the government, and challenge their integrity if there is a smidgen doubt. You'd pursue the truth as avidly as you did about a president staining an intern's dress. We're talking about thousands and thousands of human lives here you preening jackasses.


Monday, March 20, 2006

Happily Raging

Yesterday I had a nice productive day in class. Not like Friday which had a couple amazing moments for me personally. Just building on the confidence and experience from Friday, to get me in a better place, both in my journey and how I attend to my classes. It is funny, it has me thinking about our government in a harshly candid, but not angry way. It sounds angry, but it didn't feel that way.

I am utterly disgusted with the cowardice of both political parties which Senator Feingold has highlighted. Weak-kneed people like saying it was a bad political move, it made him and the other democrats look bad. Feingold because he's not playing by the unwritten rulebook, the rest of the democrats because it makes it appear they have no cohesiveness or moral compass. Duh! The truth seems to really bother all these cowering naysayers. Screw the spineless democrats, who only want to gain the reins of a corrupted state. F*** the republicans, who only want to keep getting away with more and more blatant corruption.

Shame on anyone who calls for making concessions before the battle for our country's soul has been joined. Anyone who disapproves of the current climate of corruption and is upset with people like Feingold for not being politically nice and meek had better take a very long look in the mirror. You won't see bravery in that mirror, and that is what is needed if there is to be change. Compromising truth, liberty, and integrity are not yet options. Let the fight start, because there is no way in Hell the people enjoying unprecedented powers and wealth are going to give up an iota of their new power without a fight.

What is the worst that can happen for having the guts to take a stand? More shills willing to openly support the privatizing our country into the ground will get into office. Does it matter if the shill is a spineless democrat or a grasping republican? Of course not. A spineless democrat may cave to corporate money slightly slower, but it is an imperceptible difference. I don't want to see power shift to spineless democrats. I'd rather wait another 4, 8, or 16 years, and get some people with integrity and a love for the founding principles of this nation in office. The likes of Kerry, Cantwell, and Clinton will not take a stand. They don't want to change course. They are simply standing in line for the goodies the GOP leaves behind.

Driving into work this morning I enjoyed the beautiful day. I realized what a wonderful privilege that is, thinking about people in Iraq. How often do they get to enjoy such a thing? I also thought about our government, which I wrote of in the previous three paragraphs. Despite the dark nature of these thoughts, I still felt great. Spring was officially a little over an hour away as I drove in, and my time is preoccupied with new beginnings. Things seem to be getting interesting at work in a good way. More significantly, ETI, which is over half way done is certainly ushering in new beginnings for me.

Do these new beginnings have anything to do with the depredations of our government? No. It simply makes one hopeful. I'm stretched pretty thin at the moment because of ETI, where I am training in my art. When I finish and get back to practicing my art I may be more effective in encouraging the courage and honesty which I know our society needs to rediscover. I bet I will be a better writer too, and the allegorical (or is it metaphorical?) play I have on the back, back burner may again see the light of day.

Well, my brave friends, enjoy the Spring. The simple pleasures are likely the ones which matter.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

This And That

Wow, class was great yesterday. A couple of the bits in Stage Combat played very well. A forward roll, which I just incorporated, and a better knap (a knap is the sound you or your partner makes, often with a slap, to give a blow its sound) and reaction for when my face is thrown to the ground. I loved hearing the gasps from the class audience when we did the face slam.

In acting we ran our MacBeth scene, and it went very well. I'm getting past the stage of stultifying intimidation when working on Shakespeare, and really enjoying the work and the text. We had great session, getting at some great stuff which really affected our classmates watching -- in a good way.

I went on about this in more detail in my class journal, more of a process, education, and philosophical related exploration. Something to remind me later, either as an actor, or possibly further in the future as a teacher.

Here, I think I'll talk more about how it affects my current state of mind and such, which will bring up some different philosophizing. You've likely noticed this quarter has been eating me alive with all the new challenges. Plus a rather rough spot at work, due to some extra duties and Murphy driven timing for process changes for those duties. I suspect I've lost most of my readers, but since I've never thought a site meter was something I wanted to worry about, so I can't back it up except a vague feeling the number of comments has declined.

It is nice indeed to have work that is heavily complimented by your classmates. What is even nicer is when it is a result of the work itself, and not a propitious scene. The last couple assignments have been juicy and especially challenging for me. In beginning classes I was generally assigned roles which were not a big stretch. At that point it was appropriate, as I was finding my feet. Pursuing progressively advanced training and productions has been quite a journey towards not only opening myself up more, but becoming more professional in my approach. These indicators are a big deal for me personally as well as professionally.

Synergism. The growth in being able to open more parts of myself to the art and the growth in approaching it more professionally have fed on each other. I have a long ways to go, but for the first time I'm developing an approach that will keep me moving forward on a path. I'll still take classes and workshops, but that feeling of being adrift when left to my own devices is fading. How can I tell when I am immersed in intensive training? For me there is not a clear demarcation between working in study in production settings. There is a difference, but they overlap in a way I've not seen in any of my education or training outside theatre. This merging of the academic and 'real' worlds is part of what enthralls me.

So, back to the original premise for this post. I feel terrific. The technical and professional skills I'd wanted to get from this program are beginning to pop. I know it will take at least a couple years to assimilate it all, but to feel results already has been great. It sure helps keep me out of that mode of "I'll not give up.", which I am so familiar with, and puts you in rather a numb place. Also, I'm finding that my acting skills are improving more than I expected. The very stuff I've studied up to this point, and particularly in classes like Meisner. That is a boon I hadn't expected. If I'd thought about it, I would have, as action, objective, needs, desires, intention, and such are always just below the surface, and a big part of our instructor's process.

I know that things will feel bleak again at some point, and it these moments of excitement which keep it going. Those in between times too, even more so as they are more perilous than the valleys. That area between the peaks and valleys is the home of complacency. These experiences reinforce the desire and perceived advantage for having and pursuing a process. For me, getting away from the complacent place is perhaps the biggest challenge.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Showtime

I'm hoping to see two shows this week. Burning Bridget Cleary, which Kate Wisniewski our voice instructor is in. She, the playwright, and the director have been collaborating on this for several years. Hopefully Thursday -- the last pay what you will night.

On Friday or Saturday I hope to see 'night Mother. I know, and have worked with both Betty and Heather, both of whom I like and are wonderful actors. In Meisner, it was one of the scenes which was worked, and while it is heavy piece I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Other than that, I hope to get lots of sleep and homework done the next few days.

Monday, March 06, 2006

G'night For Now

So, a week ago I blogged about a bit of a breakthrough in my acting conservatory, the Ensemble Training Intensive. I talked more about the experience on my class journal/notes blog. It came two weeks after the dream epiphany which I'm still processing and resisting. Last night another interesting experience in the text analysis/acting class. My scene partner and I were complimented several times on how our rehearsal work outside of class made an amazing difference. We never owned up to the fact we didn't have a chance to get together on Saturday, to really work over the Friday notes. This continuing deepening and release has paid dividends, even though as I mentioned there are aspects I continue to embrace and resist. It is a difficult motherfucking journey for me, and fucking beautiful at the same time. (Amy, commented how motherfucker is a very Shakespearean curse. Thinking of the meaning, sound, and articulation of the word I have to agree wholeheartedly.)

So why do I think I we were able to do well enough that it seemed obvious we'd spent a lot of time working the scene? I became a better partner. Trina has some amazing gifts, and being more present and generous let those gifts shine. I'm not running myself down, but recognizing the power of your partner. It was pretty inspiring, and exhausting. Amy Thone told us that the good scenes could tell, because they'd be all sweaty. I guess we were a good one. There is still something I'm trying to figure out about that epiphany. I trust myself more, or am more daring. It let me trust my scene partner more, so I wasn't holding her back.

God almighty, I hope it doesn't sound like I'm patting myself on the back. I'm trying to figure out what I finally did right, because it has been forging some changes. I bounce a lot of it around here. In a way I'm trying to understand how I didn't fuck things up. Yup, the ubiquitous actor confidence crisis management. It is important to acknowledge and explore things which go right. We are harder on ourselves than any critic, and need to chase a little light to dispel the darkness we tend to draw to ourselves.

It absolutely bizarre. Here I am deeply involved in a profession, where perhaps the most common characteristic is to run ourselves down. Yet this pursuit leaves me more fulfilled, happy and confident than anything I've done before. You figure it out. I want to wind up this entry and get some shut eye.

Even though I'm feeling on a nice upswing personally, here's a cry to the universe regarding the determined path self-destruction the United States of America is intent on. I'll likely edit it over the next few days to get the song in the words closer to what I want, or delete it altogether. I hope it gets across a muted rage rather than a maudlin whine.

The Wedger's Legacy
Doh! Don't need to post it here, just link it.