Starting the Day with a Voice Lesson and Ending it With a Fire Burning Under My Ass (1/30/2020)

Coming into today, I really thought I was prepared for class tonight; I had read the play, and I interpreted the text to what I thought the correct answer was, only to be completely wrong after going through it. But more on that in a bit. The day began today with a voice lesson at 12:30. I really thought I had plenty of time, getting up at 10:45, walking into the living room, and chatting with Julian and Andrew for a bit before heading off to catch the train. I ended up catching the 4 which left at 11:24, and expected I would make it to my voice lesson right on time. Unfortunately for me, once I got to Fulton, rushing to get to the A, I actually made it RIGHT as the train was leaving, and so I had to take the C local up to 59th, before transferring to the A and finally making my way all the way up to 181st. By the time I was off the train and walking to Jason’s, the time was already almost 1PM, which meant I was INCREDIBLY late; I truly hate it, but I definitely need to get better about accounting for just how long this commute it for the voice lesson. I mean it’s 100% worth it, but it does take almost 1.5 hours to get there. I’ll always do it though because Jason is the reason my voice is where it is today, and why I’m steadily improving. Now getting down to the lesson, after knocking on his door and stepping inside, the two of us chatted for a little bit, just catching up before actually jumping into warm-ups; it seems like I was not the only one who was struck with illness in January. Seriously, I’m still baffled by the fact that whatever I had decided to stick around and last as long as it did! A solid 2 weeks or more before I was completely recovered- absolutely insane. Now finally jumping into things, the voice lesson itself actually went, really really well. Like I don’t know what it was, but the exercises just seemed to click today, and I began sounding freer and freer. Literally one of the exercises I managed to belt a B flat, which is higher than I’ve ever actually belted before! That alone made me so excited. Just before we ended, we just briefly went over a new song I’m gonna start learning- “I Believe in You” from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The thing I’ve finally started learning, and working to actually get better at, is trusting myself and my voice; because when I’m stressing about hitting notes, or worrying about this or that, my voice falls flat. But if I just take the leap and go for it- surprise surprise! I hit the note. It’s such a simple concept that is going to take me a really long time to get integrated into my system, but at least it’s a start.

Thanking Jason for the lesson, I hopped on the next A and rode it down to Chambers, where I got off and wandered around, trying to find a nearby Barnes and Nobles. I was hoping I could find and buy a copy of “The American Plan”, so I could have a physical copy with me, instead of just some sides. First I wandered through a Whole Foods, since apparently the Barnes and Nobles was on the second floor, and I wondered if the two were connected- they were not. After a couple of minutes I headed on back out, wandering around to the side of the building before finally spotting the entrance for Barnes and Nobles, heading up some escalators before stepping inside. Now I wandered around for a couple of minutes before finally asking a lady who works there “Where can I find the ‘plays’ section?” Of course I should’ve probably said scripts, or theater, but I mean I am looking for a play, so… The woman responded by pointing over to a corner section, saying “you’ll find theater, and yes ‘plays'”. I’m not sure if she meant to have this almost, elitist tone when she said that, like I didn’t know what I was talking about when I asked the question, but it definitely seemed like she was almost… I dunno, scoffing at my question? Frankly it didn’t matter; I thanked the lady and headed over to what was an incredibly tiny selection of plays and other theater related books.  I did not end up finding “The American Plan”, but what I DID find was “The Actor’s Life- A Survival Guide” by Jenna Fischer. I’ve seen other people read this book before, and honestly I figured I’d pick it up and give it a go myself; why not, right?

After paying, I walked over to Fulton St., heading into the 4 trains entrance, and catching it back to Utica Ave; getting out and heading over to the local Subway for a sandwich before heading home. Now I’ve made up my mind and decided that I’m going to work to cut down on the amount of sweets and bigger- cookies- that I eat moving forward; The amount I go through is absolutely not healthy, and I want to get better about it. So for once, instead of getting a sandwich, two cookies, and a drink, I just stuck with my usual six, and started walking on home. I debated going to the gym, but I actually got a message from my scene partner earlier on, asking if we could meet up to discuss before class today around 5:30, so I really didn’t have too much time to spare. I mean it was already past 3:30! As I walked down the street, I read the Foreword, written by Steve Carrell, along with the Introduction; and I don’t know why, but Jenna’s writing just really… resonated with me, you know? Having her end the Introduction talking about how she had a theater teacher saying if you have anything you have a passion before besides acting, do that instead because your life will be better for it, only to have Jenna not have anything else she wanted to do… I mean that’s how I am; that’s how I’ve always been, you know? Just like, two weeks ago I mentioned how I had a woman ask about my back-up plan, and I told her that I didn’t have one, because I don’t! Having Jenna say that she’ll act as almost a mentor through this book, and ending the Introduction with “I have faith in you”… it resonated. I think, even though I have family who tell me that they know I’ll succeed, this just hit different, and I absolutely cannot wait to delve deeper into the book; honestly I’d love to meet Jenna one day, chat with her, maybe get her to sign this book. More than anything though, I’d like to, and I’m going to, be successful. What a journey I will have though.

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**New York City at night man, what a surreal place**

Pushing forward, I got back to Andrew, Julian, and a third person I’ve met once before that Julian knows, all watching South Park together; I would’ve loved to have hung around and watched an episode or two myself, but frankly after eating my sandwich I really didn’t have time for that. After showering, washing up, and getting ready to go, rocking another button-up for another day of class, it was past 5PM, so I asked my partner if we could push meeting up until around 6 and headed off. After taking the 4 and transferring to the A at Fulton St- passing by some people I recognized from DialogueDirect chilling on their phones, taking a break before I assume getting back to it- I made it to 34th St. just before 6PM, hurrying over to the building the studio was located, putting in the PIN, and hurrying up the stairs. I greeted my scene partner, Natalie, and we got down to it- discussing our ideas of the play so far and running the scene a couple of times before class began; I also got to see Alex, from Eataly, who was in class today. It’s really great to see her again, even though we weren’t able to chat really before class began. Honestly coming into class, I was really ready to go; I felt like I had a handle on the text and was prepped to show my homework. The first group to go up just… absolutely nailed it. I mean these two, like everyone else, are absolutely, insanely talented human beings, but goddamn the amount of work they brought to this first showing was phenomenal. Alex and her partner went next, and after them…. it was my turn.

Going through the scene, I felt pretty good with where I thought the emotion was, and as things ended, though something seemed maybe a bit off, I didn’t feel awful about it. Then Jayd lit a fire under my ass and started roasting me; the gist of it was the fact that I really took things at face value, when there is so much subtext for me when it comes to this scene. It’s the beginning of the play, but even though it seems like just a chance encounter between to strangers, I mean of course it’s not. Jayd mentioned the reason he was weary about giving us the scene was BECAUSE of just how much was under the text- in between the lines. I mean I felt like an idiot of course, but Jayd mentioned that he was impressed I didn’t just, spiral down in self-pity; don’t get me wrong, I wanted to by all means, but at least Stacie pushed that shit out of me through my four years at FDU; I finally give myself a bit more credit. Despite these incorrect decisions I took, now I have a frame of reference moving forward, and I know I have a lot of work to do. As we were packing up our things, I was just… ICHING to get this on its feet again, so I could actually feel how the scene should feel with this new information. That’s also something I’ve learned about myself- I learn through doing; when it comes to memorizing lines I need to recite them outloud to get the words in my body, and when it comes to scenes, I need to run it to get all the information in my system; I know this scene is going to be hard, but I am so damn excited and driven to get it done properly. I’m actually meeting with Natalie tomorrow to go over what we’ve learned, so we can improve moving forward and hopefully have it on its feet as soon as the next rehearsal- I’m excited.

Heading home at long last… I gotta say it was a pain since the 3 was not running downtown today, which meant I ended up taking the 2 to the World Trade Center- that was running on the 1 line tonight- and then speeding through the World Trade Center to get to the 4, catching that next train home at last. Finally arriving at the Utica stop just past 11PM, I headed over to the bodega where I got a chicken sandwich and a Naked drink before finally heading home to end the night. Andrew and and Julian were both in their rooms when I got in, so I just enjoyed my sandwich in quiet before heading to my room and playing League for the rest of the night; I also watched last week’s episode of My Hero at last, which is as good as always. It’s already 3:10AM, but tomorrow I have my personal training session at 11AM so I need to be up and moving; I also am meeting up with Natalie at a cafe at 2PM, so that should be fun; I definitely need to run some lines before I talk with her though, but that’s for tomorrow’s Michael to worry about.

Until next time,

-Michael

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**Another acting class, another outfit I gotta bring out**

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