Thursday, July 17, 2008

things around my house (with a side of emotional vomit)

This is being posted real-time (seems like I should shout "hooray!!" about that, but the circumstances that created free time for me are a real "boo-hiss", imho. Read on.).

For starters, let me do a quick Things Around My House Thursday. It IS Thursday, and even though I am not in my "house", I AM in my home away from home.

This is the little altar I have set up in the van. It's a statue of Quan Yin, along with a postcard photo of a monk I met a couple of months ago, and a prayer shawl he blessed for me. I will be posting something about my visit with him in the next week or so.

Now, bringing things current. And it's emo. So I'm not going to edit much after I type it because if I do, I will censor it. If you are new here, that means: pardon the typos, and the things that don't make sense, because this is all process writing ;-)

Things were cruising along pretty damn good, except for a few minor issues... like falling and obtaining a huge bruise on my ass, and frequent misunderstandings with another member of the company. But I did find the yarn store (OH. MY. GOD.---amazing) and I did find a super fantastic co-op health food store with a deli just a couple of blocks from the theater.

I also found my way through the new sections I was added to. See, this show we're doing down here is a conglomeration of several projects. The first part of the evening is a piece called "Oust", shown in its entirety. The second section is called "Testiculish", and I have no idea if we are running all of it or just portions of it, as I have never seen it before, nor was I ever in it (as I do not have testicles). The final third of the show is a few segments from "Annica", which was a full length piece that I performed with the company 2 years ago. It is within the Annica portion of the evening, that I have a very brief solo and a lovely duet, for a total of maybe 6 minutes of dancing. I have performed this 6 minutes over and over again the past couple of years, and even though it is nothing new, it always takes a bit out of me, because a) it is performed naked, and b) the score that I dance to is someone reading text that was written about my time spent trapped in my car during the car accident. In other words, it is hard. I feel vulnerable. But it is also old hat because it isn't new, so it's beginning to develop in me this very odd sort of numb feeling.

Anyhow, here is the thing with this tour for me:

I'm not making any real money (I mean, the fee that I will collect is not even covering 1/4 of what it is costing me to put the dog in the kennel). I did not ask to be reimbursed for fuel, as I refused to carpool down so that I could take my gas guzzling covered wagon. I wanted to bring it so that I would have a place to sleep (everyone else is staying on couches or on the floor, at the director's mother's house. No hotel reimbursement.) There are also the other "living on the road" expenses. Eating out often, etc.

There there are also the non-financial expenses. Things that I can't even put a price tag on, really. My love. My creative energy. My time (well, maybe I could put a tag on that, but if at this point I'm not getting paid even close to what I believe I am worth if I do that math). I have also called in all my chips with coverage for MyFavoriteKid so that I can be down here for 2 weeks and focus on my work rather than focus on being a mommy, so I have basically given up any "vacation time" of my own for the whole summer.

This is an expensive trip for me in many ways. I could have taken the money and the time and gone on a trip with MyFK or TheMostImportantGuy. I could have taken the money and the time and produced a whole entire show for my own dance troupe. I could have spent the time and money renting studio space and a venue to perform some solo work.

But I elected to be here, because I planned on getting a lot out of being here. See, it was decided before our departure that I was going to be integrated into "Oust". I was given a minor role, but it included a very pretty duet I learned yesterday. I felt like I was closer to getting some creative bang for my performance buck, if you know what I mean.

And then late last night, it was determined that the piece was too busy and that sections needed to be cut.

Guess who has been "ousted" from "oust".


No, really. Guess.



So now, within this 2 hours and fifteen minutes of actual show time, I have 6 minutes about my being, "trapped in a compacted box of twisted metal" while I share my naked self to the world, and it has cost me hundreds and hundreds of dollars, and hundreds and hundreds of hours.

(oh, and I should add that another mother in the company who DID bring her two kids along, is now wanting me to babysit her kids while SHE is on stage, since I now have so much idle time on my hands and I am the only other mom in the company, so am therefore the most qualified).

When I got the news about the cuts, I went off to snivel about it for a good ten minutes or so, but then I ending up crying for two hours. I talked with the director, and a little pre-show installation has now been created for me to do as people go to their seats. It is very beautiful, but it so sparse that I cannot sink my teeth into at all. I am literally sitting on a box with my back to the audience facing the wall. In stillness. And then every couple of minutes, I make a very very slow, deliberate, simple, movement, which will be mirrored by another person standing behind me (someone who I am thrilled to be working with, at least). And then in between each slow simple movement, we come to stillness again for a very very long time. We repeat this for 20 minutes. It is beautiful, meditative, and perfect on stage as a pre-show installation. But, as TheMIG has just said to me via InstantMessage, it is also "dip" (his family's slang word for "unsatisfactory"). And I replied back to him that it is, "about a thousand dollars worth of dip."

I have cried about it for many hours, and it is what it is at this point, and I will find my peace with it. The interesting thing is, this is a repeat lesson. This has happened before, and I keep coming back for more. There is something very magical about the work that we do, and I always want to experience more of it because it is so good. But it is at a tremendous cost, and the scale is just too tipped. I do hope that I have learned this time. I really need to make some changes about how I negotiate my role, and I really need to make some better decisions about putting my energy into places that will bring me the most opportunity to create.

I'm okay. Sad. But okay. Okay. Maybe not so okay. :-(

First show is tonight. Everyone else (but me...let's push another button, why don't we) is rehearsing and I am not needed for HOURS. I am in my van typing this (I am getting a signal out here! If I sit near the window! And lean to the left!). And I will be knitting some soon, just to keep my sanity. I have been here at the theater since 11:30, and have been sitting around in a holding pattern waiting to run the 6 minutes I am in (it's now after 4).
Love to you all, and I'll post more soon.


Dragonfly7673 (Vicki) said...

There is nothing I can say to make this better, but hopefully a good cry helped a bit. It sounds like a lot of your self and your energy went into this. ((hugs))

~Donna~ said...

Don't even know what to say, but will send ((((((hugs))))) anyway, cos they say it all...

Carol said...

Dip? Sounds like DIPSHITS.
Hugs and soothing vibes from the East Coast. I applaud you for knowing that you are worth more. You are. More hugs.

Carol said...

P.S. Tell that other mother that you charge $50 per hour for child care. Without exception. (Then tell her to shut her piehole.)

JohnK said...

Love you

Many (((hugs))) and yes charge for childcare.

and dance!!!!

Anonymous said...


M-H said...

Childcare? She brought her kids along without organising her own childcare? Humph. If I were you I would suddenly discover something that I had to do while the others were rehearsing and just get in my van and drive out of sight.

These people sound like a bunch of shits to me. Humph again.

Childcare??? Jeezum crow, woman, that is beyond crass.

(formerly) no-blog-rachel said...

Don't know what to say except I'm sorry you're dealing with this and I agree with what everyone else has to say.

And good god, she didn't arrange for child care ahead of time?


jodi said...

Aw, honey. That sucks. If they've pulled this sort of stunt on you before, perhaps it's best to get it in writing in future? I know that sounds a little crass but it's coming from someone who's been burned by friends in an art deal before.

The childcare thing is a tough one, because clearly it's not your role and she's a jerk for not arranging childcare in advance. But the kids are going without care and so you've got to feel sorry for them being dragged along and then abandoned. Still, I'd decline her "offer" and let her know why.

Also, I think putting together a tour with your own dance troupe is a marvelous idea.

Anonymous said...

I hear your hurt and your anger. It also sounds as though you are somewhat mad at yourself. It seems as though you are recognizing a pattern here, in your willingness to give and the resulting lack of being given to. Sometimes before we can get to a point where we can make changes we have to reach a point where the pain is too great not to make changes. As people, and often especially as women, we are willing to put up with a lot of bullshit before we are pressed to the point of being able to put up with the pain of change. You are where you need to be and going where you are intended to go. I send you thoughts of serenity and courage on your way. Be good to yourself! You are your best advocate!

(and I agree with Carol's second comment!)

Unknown said...

ugh, what a bunch of b.s.! i'm sorry :( yeah, next time screw them and we should go on a tour with Sabah! :) that would rock! love you. *hugs*

EkC said... can never get enough *hugs*...

Jennie said...

Ugh. That fucking *bites*. And I agree, you should charge that other mother $50 an hour. What crap.

I'm so sorry.