Ensemble: Or, Inside Jokes Made Manifest

Wonderful words from another ensemble member. Discoballtartuffe is the other mom in the ensemble, and a HUGE source of encouragement, and inspiration for yours truly.

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Here we are: 

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From left to right: MP, AD (a guest artist who understudied for JL while she was off having a baby), JL, me–ms discoballtartuffe herself, JM and MD. This Is Water Theatre’s first acting ensemble. 

We closed Going Dark on Saturday night. Nice big crowd and good vibes. It was a really solid closing show. Like I thought, once the show started I was too busy staying with it to be sad. Ain’t nobobdy got time for that, especially Vee. She had some havoc to wreak and being nostalgic wasn’t on her schedule. And, when everyone left the venue one by one that night, we all said some version of “See you Tuesday” to each other.  Because rehearsals for the next show, Spake, start in earnest on Tuesday and we have work to do. (Memorizing lines! Developing staging! Speaking Russian! Writing almost-Cyrillic!)

That’s thing with theatre…

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So, how did you pull off doing a show with a newborn?

Dear reader, 

Short answer: I didn’t. 

Long answer: an awesome understudy, a fantastic family, a lot of half-assery, and a little bit of luck.

Eli was late. REALLY late. As in, by the time he finally decided he was ready to meet the world, I was spending about an hour every day (on a good day) crying out from my bathtub “Why am I still pregnant? What did I DO? Does he not love me?!?!”. My hippie did an excellent job of hiding his laughter, reassuring me that our son wasn’t trying to punish me for anything, and not reminding me of my girth by grunting whilst helping me out of our slippery bathtub. He was a champ at pregnancy. Me? Notsomuch. But I digress…

Our little stinkpot waited so long to show up, that the week he actually arrived was precisely the week I had PLANNED on going back to work. Not only had I missed two weeks ALREADY, I was going to miss two MORE (at least) so that I could recover from birthing a babe. Anemia. Not a joke when you’re preggers, as it turns out. Luckily, I’m not in much of this first show of our inaugural season, And I already had my lines memorized prior to his birth.

But staging? Having the time to “play” with my other actors? Spending the time getting to know my character? Building a trust with the rest of the ensemble, and director? NOPE. I didn’t get that this time. This time I got two weeks of rehearsal, one of which I wasn’t allowed to really move, courtesy of the whole ‘we don’t want you to hurt yourself and start bleeding again’ thing. No big deal. I had a week. One. 

Luckily for me, my primary character (I have two this show) is a creepy dead girl in a flashback. For some reason creepy with a side of sadistic is really easy for me to play. I have no idea why, and usually just try really hard to NOT think about what that says about me as a person. Since creepy is easy… well. There you have the half-assery. 

Our next show, that is just not possible. I play Jessica (irony. I love it!), and she plays a MAJOR role in the story. Half-assery is not in the cards. I get to grow up, figure out how to learn my lines, do character study, play with my staging until it feels natural, bond with the rest of the ensemble’s characters, while simultaneously changing diapers, soothing away baby fright, rocking him, singing to him, obsessively taking pictures of every smile, coo, and giggle, and fretting over how he’s growing up too quickly. 

It’s possible. And I believe in me, the same way I believe that the Easter Bunny lives across the street from me (he does! I’ve seen him, dadgummit!). 

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But that’s not to say I won’t be eating my feelings a lot this next month. 

Sincerely,

A “remind me to tell you all about the time I ran over a raccoon last night” me

A Play in a Brewery

Hi friends! A fellow member of the acting ensemble wrote these thoughts on his character in the show we’re currently working on. You could read them. Y’know. If you wanna.

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photo1 I’m not the type to blog. Let’s start with that. I’m not the type to post my experiences for anyone (or no one as it will probably turn out) to see. The ironic part to that is that I’m an actor. A profession that thrives on attention, while I remain the greatest introvert of all time. I recently joined a professional theatre group, and a fellow ensemble member started a blog on this site. What she said touched me in a way, and I couldn’t help but share my thoughts as well. She recently shared a post about the “marinating” of actors. It was the truest post on acting I have ever seen, and I wanted to share my story on the subject.

Let me start with this summer. I took a twelve day trip to New York City to audition, see shows, and attend workshops. Long story short, I attended…

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More about my little family, and a touch of schmaltz.

 

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Dear reader,

This is we. We are three, and we are adorable. That was taken maybe an hour after Eli was born (*cough*with no drugs whatsoever, lord have mercy I DID that?!?!?!*cough*). Serene, no? Birth is a beautiful thing. A beautiful, screamy, “I can’t do this! Do it for me! Oh, dear GOD that thing is not going to fit through there” thing. But I digress…

The one on the right is my hippie boy. His real name is Stephen, but the nickname pleases me, and he likes it when I am amused, so hippie boy he shall be. The one on the left is me. I had just given birth. Be nice. The one on my chest is Eli. “Ninja” to those of you who knew him before he was living on the outside.

Stephen acquired his nickname because when we met, his hair was longer, and more luxurious than mine. Out of my jealousy a nickname was born.

Eli (Elijah) acquired his on account of being so darned sneaky. When we discovered our little ninja was on the way I had recently made a permanent (or so we thought) move to the Dallas area, so that I could actually be paid to act, occasionally. I was almost halfway through the pregnancy before we finally tracked down the little stinkpot in my uterus.

We began the process of slowly adjusting to one (steady) income so that I could stay with Eli  during the day, and go to rehearsals (we hoped) at night. I had accepted a show contract* in Irving, and taken on a day job nannying two of the most fantastic kiddos ever known to North Dallas before finding out about our little surprise, so I had to stay where I was for the time being. Thus began the most hellish commute of my life. I spent my weekends in Bryan/College Station (henceforth to be referred to as BCS) setting up our new home, and soaking up time with friends before becoming a mommy. Monday mornings (or afternoons depending on how well my hormones were behaving) I drove back to Dallas in time to pick my kiddo up from school, and teach her to sing for a little while before taking her older brother to his fencing lessons. I plead the fifth anytime someone asks how long it takes to get from BCS to Dallas. Speed limits are just suggestions, right?

When this all began I was four months pregnant, and already exhausted from the sheer effort it took to try to put my pants on in the mornings. “Try” being the operative word. Those of you who know me well (or for more than five minutes) know that I am little obsessive about my appearance, and won’t be winning awards any time soon for my ability to be still for extended periods of time. By the time I stopped commuting, and moved back to BCS I was at the end of my third trimester, severely anemic (somehow my doctor didn’t catch that. Thank you God for my amazing midwife!), royally freaked out by the beach ball that was my stomach, my inability to walk without waddling, and the fact that I couldn’t get through the day without taking a minimum of three naps per day. Usually each of those three naps were each three hours. What can I say? I like symmetry.

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever will I move in my third trimester ever again. Ever. Neither should you. It’s awful. Just say no.

Anyhow, courtesy of Andrew Roblyer (who quickly became my new hero), the ‘This Is Water’ Theatre Company was founded in BCS, and I became a founding member of the ensemble of actors. I was able to move home with my hippie to the small Texas college town that I loved, give birth to my son surrounded by friends, family, and functional family,  AND… continue pursuing my career in a professional setting. He, and the rest of the ensemble welcomed my huge, over-emotional, exhausted, waddling, and often crying pregnant self into their fold, and thus I have my life. I love it. We struggle to make ends meet sometimes, but we’re happy. We feel like we have it all, because really? We do. We both do what we love, we have each other, and our unexpected, blessing of a boychild. What else is there, really?

Sincerely,

A “yes, I’m writing this backstage. Appropriate, no?” me

*The show contract I accepted before the discovery that I was preggers outside of wedlock? ‘The Sound of Music’. I played a nun. The best part is that I wasn’t the only pregnant nun in that cast. Apparently God enjoys irony just as much as I do.

Maybe if I'm extra pious the Reverend Mother won't notice...
Maybe if I’m extra pious the Reverend Mother won’t notice…

Ok, so apparently I’m doing this.

Well, hello there! This is my blog. Thank you for reading it. I haven’t ever blogged before, so I am new and prone to making mistakes. It’s ok! I said the same thing about my kid when he was born.

In case you accidentally stumbled upon this blog through some google mishap, I shall now go ahead and barrage you with fun facts about my radiant self.

Fun facts about me!

  1. My last name is Lemmons. I was taunted muchly for this as a child, and to this day I have nightmares about being squeezed into lemonade.
  2. I became what I wanted to be when I was 5 years old. I’m an actress. It doesn’t always pay too well, but I’m happy, and the wolf isn’t at my door.
  3. I hate black olives with such a passion, I felt it important to add that fact to this little list.
  4. I am girlfriend to my hippie boy, without whom I’d be utterly sunk. We are mom and dad to the (obviously) most perfect little stinkpot ever created.
  5. I like multiples of 5.

Anyhow, I intend to write about my life as a mom in the lucrative (HAHAHAHA!) entertainment industry. That’s right. I’m a new mom, and I still perform. The way I see it, I don’t really have a choice. I lose my marbles entirely too quickly when I don’t have a show to work on, so there you go.

I think that is enough for now. Mayhaps my creative juices will be more abundant the next time I post. We shall see.

Thanks again for reading!