Acting Up

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

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

Back to Blogging

I haven't blogged here since 2012. Why am I making a stab at it again?

I realized two things about social media I wanted to get away from. First was that I was often using it as a journal, which is boring and maybe TMI for those platforms. Secondly I was using it too much for my taste, so that I felt like a tool for marketers rather than using social media as a tool for my ends.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Shot In The Dark

A co-worker who sits across the hall and one office down from me, was grievously wounded in a hold-up. I don't really know him, as we've not worked together on a project and his window has a poster I like on it, which blocks him from casual view. So I can't picture what he looks like, though I'm sure I'd recognize him as a co-worker.

It is strange when someone you are acquainted with is the victim of a sudden senseless tragedy. In a case where it is a co-worker with whom I assume I've exchanged pleasantries and can't place there exists an empty feeling of regret. There is nothing I can do, and the regret centers on that and the thought that were I better acquainted there would be more I could do than feeling helpless.

I'll bet this is a universal type of feeling. It is the counter-balance to the not so charitable side which leads us astray as individuals and communities when we give in to fear. That nearly irrational regret we feel when we want to be of more help gives me some comfort and faith that we fallible humans have the potential to become better as a society.

There is a realization when tragedy strikes that in a heartbeat our lives can be unalterably changed, and not for the better. My leg still hurts every day from breaking it three years ago last month. Usually below the awareness level, but with over-exertion and/or bad weather moving in it can be excruciating to the point where it takes hours to get to sleep, and then wakes me back up. I thought about how minor my leg was after watching a painful post on B.D.'s World Monday. Now this. It somehow makes me understand how people let themselves be overcome by fear. As long as we are able give more attention to our compassion, maybe the world has a chance.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Not Bored On The Boards

Troilus and Cressida opened this weekend. We had good houses, good not great with regards to size, but great with regards to enthusiasm. It's a complex play and not one of the Bard's well known pieces so I was pretty happy. Thursday was our preview, and Friday opening. Surprisingly Saturday was our smallest audience, and last night, Sunday for the 'early' 7pm show we had a good crowd.

Two of our cast had applied for an intense classical MFA program in DC. They are good friends and two of the co-authors for the The Elsinore Diaries, which I quite enjoyed and thought was a better piece of fun homage than Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) when I saw it a few years back. On Friday they heard. Jason told a few of us the good news, and we asked about Daniel. He told us of the two of them finally going in circles asking, "Well, what did you hear?" For the last month the first thing they said was, "Have you heard?" Then Friday neither asked for the longest time, and neither wanted to answer first. Happily they were both accepted. The whole cast is amazing, and like everyone else I've felt privileged to work with them. (For those of you who know the other co-author, Frank, he is in the show too though he didn't apply for grad school.)

I was chatting with one of the prospective grad students Saturday musing how a year from now he would be saying, "Only three more months of this!" Without thinking, I said it was a few days short of eight years ago I walked into my first introductory acting class. His response sounded emphatic, "It's a really good thing you stayed with it!" That is the best compliment I've received in the last year. It was as affirming as it was unexpected. Am I reading more into the compliment? What would it hurt? On the other hand diminishing the compliment would be bad for me and my work.

My bio for the show has a sappy spot, "He hopes you really are defined by the company you keep." The cast and crew for this show is amazingly talented, dedicated, and professional. And a bunch of cut-ups. I've gotten frustrated at times with rehearsals where you're sitting around doing nothing for hours on end, skimping on some scenes and beating others to the point they lose energy. In this production the weekly rehearsal schedule was very accurate, so you knew what days and times you were called. It allowed you to work on your own or get personal business taken care of when you weren't needed, and more importantly it made the rehearsal more productive. You want to work your scene, so you don't dink around when you have the chance to do it, and work to be productive. Within that framework the atmosphere was very conducive to trying different things. So it really has been a treat to work on this production. It is a process which supports artists who are serious about the work.

In addition to Priam and Calchas I also show up twice briefly as a Greek soldier, once bearing Patroclus' body and the other being chased by Hector and killed offstage. We hadn't gotten around to choreographing that short fight, so for the rehearsal I simply yelled while lifting a sword/club up high and ran off when Hector braced for my attack. Playing, don't you know. It is now in the show, and the humorous note it was to inject in the midst of the running fights worked out well. The fight director laughs every time -- I know because I return the club (police baton) to him in his Ajax role. Each of us has little bits like that. The director encouraged us to try things and kept many of them, and with a grace which encouraged further offers declined some of the other things we tried.

I hope the audiences appreciate the production half as much as I have the process.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


An Obama aide refers to Hillary as a monster. Not something which I found offensive, but given the typical shrillness of conservatives I can see how they would find it so with justification. Obama did the right thing, and let the aide go without delay or fanfare.

Now, I have not respected Clinton since she gave dubya his war game. When she pretended outrage over substandard humvee and body armor over a year after the story broke and outraged the average citizen I sadly realized her support of the troops was as calculated and deadly as that of the conservatives.

When Ferraro the apparent reverse-discrimination supremacist made a deliberately offensive and several times repeated passive-aggressive racist remark I couldn't avoid making the comparison the monster remark. Then she cries reverse discrimination like some hopped up closeted right wing screech show host. I have to agree with the tiresome liberal pundits. Clinton wants this issue to stay alive. Obama wanted the more innocuous (to my mind) comment to not become an issue.

I think it is loyalty to her cronies, but I can't dismiss the observation that it is a calculated racial attack. I'm not an insider, and I'm not a fan of either approach. Do we want another 4-8 years of dynastic leadership that refuses to acknowledge any responsibility other than loyalty to cronies rather than the nation?

This is a time of high stress in the campaign, and seems to be bringing out how our candidates respond in times of crisis. I suppose it's obvious who I think is actually ready and capable of dealing with a crisis in the more honest and effective way.

It's Elementary

I'm doing a different thing for the elementary school this year. They have to spend so much time preparing for the WASL's the fourth grade classes can no longer schedule in half hour weekly reading sessions. This other program is called Lunch Buddies, and I hang out with a student for the lunch hour once a week. It is quite enjoyable, though I prefer the reading to a class. Maybe 3rd or 5th grade next year.

I've tried to find things which are fun, but different. Simply playing board games or something similar would be fun for a kid and easy to do, but I want something more memorable for both of us. My buddy is in sixth grade, so we're nearly forty years apart, which is an opportunity. I suppose you could look at it as a generation gap challenge if you'd rather. Last week we did a modified improv exercise, where we took turns making up sentences to tell a story. It was a way to find out how we play at those kind of games, and I kept it slower by writing down the sentences so we could be more deliberate in our thoughts. Maybe I'll try doing it without writing later.

I think what was fun for both of us was getting an insight on how the other liked to be silly, as well as some generational world view similarities and differences. This week I searched for images of the nine cars I've owned and brought them in. I went through them going from least cool to coolest and he had fun with that, then I asked if he wanted to sort them in his order of coolness. We both picked the '79 Datsun hatchback as the least cool. Again a fun way to learn about each other's world view. It also draws out conversation about other things in an enjoyable way. If I get back to reading to a whole class find I'll try to find similar interchanges as a way to engage more of the students.

I had the Prius as the next to coolest, the Corvette at the top. Am I that old? My favorite ain't the coolest? Okay, if I let my ethics and technogeek out of the closet the Prius is my favorite. I thought it funny my buddy identified the Prius as a Toyota. Not a Prius. Not a hybrid. They still seem new to me, but they've been around most of his life, so to him they're just Toyotas. Kind of cool that it's a now normal car to younger folks. It's a little thing, but positive progress is ... positive.

Off Topic. I just saw a UPS ad, where they are branding "Brown." The poopoo reference is timeless. What are their marketing people thinking? Not much if they are like other marketers who strive to go beyond the bounds of any sense of good taste or ethics, while producing highly skewed analyses to show how well their worst ideas are actually doing. We actually have some good marketing people here at Expedia, but every other place I've been ethics and reality were not part of the marketing job description. All I can say to the UPS marketing drubs is, "Heckuva job Brownie!" Somehow a laughable reference like that does not tell me positive things about UPS as a whole.