Saturday, March 10, 2012

A little DSC theatre retrospective.

Tonight is closing night of Fiddler on the Roof, which is my last undergrad show at Dixie. I've been crying about it off and on all day. So, in honor of all of the wonderful people and experiences I've had here, I'm making this post into a photo timeline of the productions I've been involved in.

Dancing at Lughnasa
(from L to R: Rebecca Wright as Maggie, me as Rose, Lindsay Johnson as Agnes, Lindsay Jeppson as Christina, and Whitney Morgan Cox as Kate.)

This was my first show as an official student at DSC, and the experience as a whole is what made me decide to change my major from English to theatre arts. The levels of collaboration and professionalism were incredible, and I will never forget my first on-stage interaction with the lovely and talented Whitney Morgan Cox. She is one of my acting heroes, and has become one of my close friends. This cast also included Jarom Brown as Michael, Spencer Potter as Father Jack, and the late Scott Pederson as Gerry.

Pirates of Penzance
(Back row: Katie Cluff, Natalie Hathcock, Aubrey King, Holly Gladden, Heather Gibson; front row: me, Kristina Harding, Jarom Brown, Anisa Plastow, Meleah Ridd, Lindsay Jeppson.)

Pirates was wonderful to be a part of for many theatrical reasons, but it did much more for my social life than anything else. I was in the middle of some really unpleasant personal stuff, and this show gave me the chance to further develop friendships with some really astounding women, including Crystal Bates (who played Mabel) and Kristina Harding (who played Kate). Without them, I would have thrown myself off a bridge a long time ago.

The Crucible
(From L to R: Lindsay Jeppson, Miriah Kessler, me, Ginger Jensen.)

This was one of the first (somewhat) experimental productions I had the opportunity to be a part of, and I loved every minute of it. It was also my first time working with Guy Smith, who is a mind-blowing actor, singer, artist, and an all-around first class person.

Almost, Maine
(Guy Smith as Dave and me as Rhonda.)

This is tied for first place in the "favorite shows ever" category. Between my costume designs (which I'm still very proud of), stripping onstage, and getting to work with the least dramatic cast in the whole entire world, there was no room for unpleasantness or negativity. "Seeing the Thing" -- the scene I did with Guy -- is, I think, some of the best stuff I've ever done, and I'm convinced that it's because working with him was so freaking easy.

(Me as Lady Macbeth and Travis Cox as Macbeth.)

This is my other "favorite show ever," and there are so many reasons why. First, Lady M is/was one of my dream roles, and I was only twenty years old! Second, I got to work opposite Travis, which was both fun and challenging (in good ways). Third, look at that dress. Fourth, and probably most importantly, it's a chance that I never would have had if I'd gone to school anywhere else. Michael (the director) had a lot of faith in me, which was such a boost to my self confidence, and I absolutely loved the chance to work so closely with him on a Shakespearean script, as that's what he specializes in.

Trojan Women
(Alex Gubler as Talthybius, me as Andromache, and Keely Tree as Hecuba.)

This is probably the most difficult show I've ever done -- not in terms of physicalization or concept or even characterization, but in terms of relationship development and emotionalism. I had to use the "magic if" a LOT as Andromache, because I'd never (A) lost a husband, (B) been the citizen of an invaded country, (C) been raped, or (D) lost a child. I also had to focus a lot on the literary/poetic elements of the script, as my scene was basically a six minute long monologue that was occasionally interrupted by other people's lines. I loved working opposite Alex and Keely and the entire female ensemble. It was frustrating, but delightful, and I learned so much.

And now there's Fiddler on the Roof, my second post-high school musical, in which I've performed my first vocal solo and have actually danced (sort of) well, which is a miracle in and of itself. I've made a lot of wonderful new friends (Brigham, Mindee, Ami, Jacob, Lizzy, Corinne, Julianna, Danica, Jillian, Jordan, Andrew) and have had an awesome time continuing to interact with old ones (Grace, Koby, Gabby, Trey, Bryant, and all the others). I'd have to say that this chapter of my acting career is definitely ending on a high note.

I love everyone I know, almost as much as I love theatre.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Untitled Post #24 (in Which Hannah Complains About Bad Friends, and Congratulates Good Ones)

I was raised by some pretty incredible parents. I'm not just saying that because I'm old enough to realize just how many things they were right about. I'm saying it because they taught my siblings and I a number of important -- dare I say, essential -- skills for socialization that seem to have been lost on many of my friends. (This might be due to the fact that these skills are somewhat rooted in philosophical and poetic ideals. Honesty, for example, is much more difficult to master than the art of small talk.) For the most part, I can accept the fact that there are people who have a hard time with being truthful, respectful, empathetic, etc. As the saying goes, "different strokes for different folks." However, the one thing I cannot tolerate an absence of in other people is consideration.

Every aspect of my life is dependent upon considering others, whether I'm worrying about their feelings, their health, or their general existence. I hold both my parents responsible for this. My Dad's favorite question when we were growing up was "Are you being selfish, or selfless?" Naturally, I was conditioned to prioritize selflessness. That doesn't mean I'm perfect at it, but it's important to me. It means that I try my very best to do what's good for other people or what makes them happy, regardless of whether or not it's easy or comfortable for me.

I'm still in the process of discovering that this isn't how everyone else works. For the most part, people prefer to do whatever requires the least effort, and if that's inconsiderate behavior, so be it. I have friends that operate this way, and I hate it. If I were the Queen of the World, there would be laws against social self-preservation. People wouldn't be allowed to bail out of relationships because the dynamics changed or they became inconvenient. If they wanted an out, they would have to talk about it -- to communicate, which is the considerate way to handle any situation, even though it's often more challenging than avoidance. As far as I'm concerned, consideration simply requires people to choose a course of action, while selfishness just encourages people to withdraw.

Fortunately, I have more friends who are considerate than friends who are inconsiderate. I hung out with a few of them tonight, and it was the most fun I'd had in a long time. I'm convinced that this is mostly because I trust them to be considerate people. They're honest -- I don't have to worry about them keeping secrets from me or hiding from me or being douchebags about anything. They're just straight-up thoughtful, and I love that. If it weren't for people like Brandon and Corinne and Trey and Jaden (the people I hung out with tonight, specifically -- there are many more!), I would probably want to punch everyone in the face all the time.

So I guess the moral of the story is, if we're going to be friends, be considerate. The end.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Feng shui and secrets.

It's been almost four years since I graduated high school. There were like 45 people in my class and, with the exception of three extremely heinous girls, I'd say I was friends with all of them. However, there are only a few of those 2008-ers that I still talk to. Christina, Max, and Aaron are good for discussing music and subversive social opinions (both of which we all have in common); Brycen is one of the most darling people I've ever met; Becca is my only female soul-mate.

And then there's Jaden.

I don't think I've ever met a more honest, open-minded, and excitable person in my whole life. I love him because he is himself, and he doesn't make any excuses or apologize. One of my favorite memories from high school is the two of us driving to seminary in his Scion, listening to "My Heart Will Go On" at full volume... and then ditching out early to get coffee at the only gas station in Ivins.

He's one of my best friends. I know I can tell him anything and he won't judge me, preach to me, or tell me I should feel differently. He just blinks, and then says something like "Well, shit, Hannah. That's rough." Which is usually exactly what I need to hear.

Tonight he and I went on a little drive and told each other some secrets, which was so therapeutic. (We know each other's friends enough to be interested in the details of whatever drama is going on, but not well enough to be involved in it.) After I'd filled him in on the ridiculousness that is my social life, I told him something I haven't really openly admitted to anyone: I'm unhappy. Everything's ending -- Fiddler is my last show at Dixie, and it closes on Saturday; I'm graduating from a program that I've been a part of for over ten years; people I've spent the last several months getting close to are drifting further and further away from me. I don't feel as though I have any sense of purpose.

True to form, he replied enthusiastically: "Well, what do you need in order to become happy? What can we do for Hannah today?"

Of course, I have no freaking idea what to do. Fortunately, he had a flash of inspiration.

It turns out that his answer was feng shui. One of my favorite things about Jaden is the fact that he is far from a trend-following neo-yuppie -- at that very moment he was able to explain to me the entire philosophy behind the practice of feng shui, as well as the layout of the bagua, and had examples of how switching up the energy in his apartment had made a difference in his life. He also told me that I should make a dream board ("It's like the Secret, only real!")

I just made a map of my room, diagramming where all my furniture will go based on the bagua. I'm already feeling so much more positive and inspired. That's one of the best things about close friends, I think. They usually know what you should do long before you do.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Well, it's certainly been a while.

I haven't written in this thing in a million years -- not because I haven't had anything to say, but because I've had too much to say. I'm having a really hard time of things, lately. It's like I'm in this endless Groundhog Day-style loop of relationships that start out with hours-long conversations and unbridled hilarity, but taper off into weird, emotional stalemates.

I don't ever intend for things to happen this way, but they do, over and over again. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm doing something wrong.

Another thing that's been difficult is recognizing how casually my friends approach life. After spending so much time with Spencer -- who is just as single-minded and passionate as I am, and who has just as many convictions -- it's really strange to find myself among this cohort of people, none of whom take anything seriously. None of them will commit to anything, even something as simple as "having fun," which is incredibly hard for me to understand, because if I think something I think it, if I want something I want it, and if I do something I do it -- no holds barred, 100%.

I don't know how to interact with people who aren't sure who they are or what they want.

Finally, of course, there are boys. I'm using the plural form because, for the first time in my life, there is more than one to deal with. As a matter of fact, there are 4:

Boy #1 is my best friend (with the exception of Spencer, who is kind of like the emperor of my heart). He's a sweet kid, and he's talented and he has about a million things going for him, but he's incredibly confusing. 90% of the time I can tell exactly what he's going to do or say before he does it or says it. I can tell when he's making something up, when he's upset, when he needs a laugh. The other 10% of the time, he's about as easy to read as a James Joyce novel. This is frustrating because one of my biggest pet peeves is inconsistency (either be transparent or be enigmatic, but don't go back and forth!). This is also frustrating because 10% of him is a stranger.

Boy #2 is someone I used to be friends with and is now trying to get back into my life. I kind of kicked him out of it because he was using drugs, and he was using me, and it was an all-around bad situation. He moved away for a while, but now he's back, and he wants me to try to put him together again. And he's still on drugs, and he's back at school, so I can't avoid him.

Boy #3 and I have a lot in common. We like each other (liked? I can't remember what tense we were speaking in at the time). I know a lot of his secrets. He's the first person who's ever told me that I was wonderful because I was smart (which is usually something that guys make me feel shitty about). But there are triangles and quadrangles, and then there's the fact that he's one of the casual people I mentioned earlier. And he's casual about some things that are kind of an issue for me. So there's that.

Boy #4 is someone I've known for a long time. He's really unhappy, but it's a secret. And I worry about him, because we're friends and because I love him and because he's an incredible person who deserves to have everything that he wants. I don't think he knows how awesome he is, and I don't know how to help him.

Anyway. That's the majority of what's going on in my life right now. Nothing exciting, mostly this sort of large-scale thematic shift.

On a completely unrelated note, I just Facebook chatted with Spencer. We were having a conversation about the usefulness of his iPod Touch, and then this:

I cried. I miss him so much. For as rough as we've been on each other, he's the only person I've ever met who really understands me, as a human being. We're equally matched in passion and single-mindedness, and we both have really intense ideologies. He's my best friend in the whole world. I love him. And getting this message made my week -- maybe even my month.