Archive for March, 2009

How to disagree…nicely

March 30, 2009

Many things have been pressing on the family lately:  Trying to care for an infant, trying to care for a house when I’ve never been Betty Homemaker, trying to cook when I’m not Betty Crocker, dealing with a sudden departure of our part-time babysitter.  We’re also considering moving and buying a home.  Once in a while there may be * SHOCK * disagreements.
We thought of ways that may help us improve our disagreements:

Try to cool down before talking.

Try to refrain from saying hurtful things that you may regret later.
It’s important to realize that words are extremely powerful.  Why say damaging things in the heat of the moment?

If you’re really mad, take a walk.  (BUT TELL THE OTHER PERSON WHERE YOU ARE GOING)

After you’ve cooled down, try this exercise:
One person “gets the floor”.  That means, for three minutes, they are sharing what is on their mind.  The other person completely listens WITHOUT forming opinions, arguments, tangents, evidence or conjectures to force their own opinion (this is what lawyers do but for matters of the heart, this does NOT work.).  The key here is listening completely with body and mind.  When the three minutes are up, the other person gets to have their say.

Other solutions include: hiring a maid, getting a personal organizer, getting another babysitter.  Cheaper solutions may include checking out Flylady.net.  Also trying to laugh at the situation and realizing how things are temporary (the baby won’t be a baby forever).

5 Reasons To Do a Solo Show

March 24, 2009

Here’s the scenario:  4 weeks to workshop and write a solo show.  2 weeks to rehearse and be offbook and perform at a KICK BUTT off-Broadway venue.  Impossible, you say?  We did it!

I teamed up with another kick butt actress and we did two of our pieces to a super enthusiastic audience.  Many of my friends (actors and not) came up to me and said: “I want to do that too!”.  And they should!  Here’s why:

1.  Everyone has a story to tell. And I mean everyone.  Your Aunt Biddy, the mailman, your next door neighbor.  Sharing a story doesn’t have to be done solely by actors.  By sharing where you come from, expressing what you have on your mind, you make the world a better place.  It’s important to follow a story structure, having a consistent persona, overcoming obstacles AND having the lesson learned.  For more info on that, check out Matt Hoverman. He is one of the most underrated, talented teachers in New York City.  If you are thinking of doing a solo show, he’s the go to guy.

2.  It’s fun! When people are laughing with you and captivated by your story, it’s exhilerating.

3.  It’s Challenging It is not easy to write a show.  If you write a historical piece or an autobiographical piece, it can be challenging.  You hit road blocks.  If you set out to perform your piece, it’s REALLY challenging.  Your mind tells you that you’re crazy, that you shouldn’t be doing it.  It threatens to go out on you while you’re on stage.  When you successfully read your stuff or perform on stage, you trancend your negative thoughts.  It’s very empowering.

4.  It can be good for your career If you are an actor or thinking of pursuing an acting career, it CAN be good for your career.  The actors that I’ve admired have been writers themselves (John Leguizamo, Hugh Laurie, Liz Lemon…uh Tina Fey).  Most recently I learned that Aasif Mandvi, corespondent on The Daily Show had his big break after he performed  his solo show.  And why not?  It seperates him from all others in his “type” and puts him in the spotlight.  There are many actors who complain that their agents suck, that they are not getting the opportunities to be seen.  As an actor, you must make your own opportunities and “products”.  This is how you get seen, by putting yourself out there.

5.  Your show can make people happy After my show, I had one friend call me and tell me saw me face my fears about a certain topic and she had the courage to overcome an issue she was facing.  Another friend said that the show made him think about life and his son.   People’s eyes and faces were shining with smiles.  Yea, they had been touched by the story, but most of all (and most important to me) they had been ENTERTAINED.  With all the doom and gloom in the news, it feels fantastic to make other people feel good.  Yea, we’re all in this together 😀