Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Quality of Descent

Oh, hey, I wrote a story and you can read it! "The Quality of Descent" is over at Lightspeed Magazine. It’s about a girl with wings, love, falling, theatrical lies by way of magic show, and faith. I actually love this story a whole lot, though it took me forever to write and kind of hurt along the way.
"The trick begins like this: The magician throws an egg up into the air, where it flies — small and white and full of import — up and up, high into the black reaches of the proscenium. We await the descent, holding our breaths, expecting at any moment the crash of slapstick hilarity, exploding like a bomb. But the egg simply vanishes."
They even made an audio version for their podcast. As a fan of audiobooks and radio plays and most situations that involve having a story read to me by someone with a nice voice, I’m over the moon about this. It’s the first time I’ve heard one of my stories read aloud by someone else and it makes me giddy.
The lovely Liz Argall also interviewed me about the story here.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

our show is so beautiful and it's making me sad

So, Peter and the Wolf, the show I've been working on since January with Sharp & Fine​ has turned out to be one of the most frustrating and most wonderful projects I've ever done. With three other dancers and four musicians, we've been figuring out how to tell a story in new ways. We have the musicians moving (even dancing) and the dancers sunk deep inside their characters and everyone making things up in the moment onstage, but all inside a structure and a story that we've spent months drafting together. It's been exploration that turned into excitement that got railroaded by frustration and beat up by strife that slid into anxiety and then, somehow, flew into the theater in a thousand pieces and transformed into a beautiful monster. It was a hard and sometimes awful process (Shan and I fought a whole lot over this one... nasty, truly sisterly fights), but the thing it's turned into lives up to the most surprising and meaningful parts of the stuff we found during it.

I think it might be the best show that my sister and I have made so far. Everyone in it is extraordinary. We've had two shows already and each time I've been onstage having a hard time not falling out of my own character because I'm so flattened by their goodness. It's exactly what I wanted the show to be, even though I didn't know what that was until it was done.

But, hardly anyone is coming to see it and I am so heartbroken about this. I feel like I'm letting our little band of tenacious, brave, and exceptionally, generously skilled players down because they're onstage, pouring so much effort into this story and it's spilling out to such a sparse audience. They deserve to have hearts to move and brains to challenge.

Reasons you should come see Peter and the Wolf tonight or tomorrow if you are anywhere near San Francisco:
  1. These artists are totally, fucking amazing. Let me give you their names: Katharine Hawthorne (Peter), Marissa Brown & Joshua Marshall (the Wolf, Josh on tenor sax), Carson Stein & Theo Padouvas (the Duck, Theo on cornet), Shannon Kurashige & Max Judelson (the Cat, Max on cello), Aram Shelton & me (the Bird, Aram on clarinet), Stephanie Buchner on lights. The dancers are really good. Like, some of my favorites ever, continuously forcing me to abandon my jadedness. And the musicians are incredible. And Stephanie is a magician who transforms a weird, brick theater into a surrealist interpretation of a forest going through a day and a night.
  2. It's a really good dance show. And a really good music show. And the musicians dance too. 
  3. I have no idea when or if this will ever happen again. The thing about building a show on top of the talents of particular individuals is that it ends up fitting them exactly. I can't imagine Peter without every person already in it. Dance shows so often have such short public lives. One weekend and they're gone. 
  4. It's fun. People laughed out loud. An old couple (strangers, shockingly) stood up to clap, all alone in their row. My three-year-old cousin watched the entire show, happily fascinated.
Please come. It'll make me happy.
Peter and the Wolf at ODC Theater, San Francisco
Saturday, 10/25 at 8pm; Sunday, 10/26 at 2pm
Tickets: $23 in advance, $28 at theater, $18 students/seniors

Here are some more pictures to tempt you. All of these were taken by the marvelous Benjamin Hersh.

(this one is me, with Aram, doing our bird duet. It's one of most enjoyable duets I've done in ages)