Sunday, December 12, 2010

Changes as the year comes to a close...

I'm always surprised by the changes that still manage to scrape through in our lives in as small amount of time as a single month. I've been thinking of this past year as it draws to a close, and even in these last few weeks, things are constantly changing. Life is funny that way.

Speaking of changes, I was in this show last week:

And now I find that we have been chosen to go to L.A. and present this wonderful, exciting, fantastic play to our peers from all over the lower western states. Pretty exciting stuff!

Life is good...

P.S. The play for the month? Richard II. Sorry I didn't post it earlier. More to come on this play. I want plenty of time to gush over it. I love this one!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Giving Thanks

What made this Thanksgiving a great one? It can be summed up in one night's events..

Hot Cocoa made fresh

Putting up the Christmas tree together as a family

Listening to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" with my Dad on the record player

I am grateful for music
I am grateful for family
I am grateful for my home
I am grateful for the beauty of the world around me

I am grateful

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Asuccessmeansleavinghomeistock_0000Life is scary.
There's many things to ruin and many plans to upset.
Get over it...

I don't mean this maliciously, nor is this intended towards anyone in specific, but there's many a circumstance where I've wanted to say this, so I'm doing it now on this particularly introspective, cloudy Sunday.

We only have a short time here, and an even shorter time to share it with individual people that cross our paths, so why not make the most of it?

You don't want to ask that person out for fear of rejection? Get over it.

You don't want to pursue your dreams because you might not make it? Get over it.

You don't want to show someone your work because its not perfect? Get over it!

There's very few times in our lives where not trying to reach our full potential will actually benefit us. So just go for it and if it all falls apart, who cares! You have friends to help you pick up the pieces, and yes, everyone has friends to support them, even if they don't believe it.

I don't want to get too sappy here, and no, I wont be quoting Nelson Mandela. I just want to say that you can do it. You might fail, but who cares? I will allow you to feel sorry for yourself for a couple of days, but that's it. After that, you better pick your feet up off of the ground and restart; because otherwise, you're just wasting time.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Things I've Learned

These past few days, this whole summer in fact, I have had chances to play around in other fields in the theatre world. I've run a soundboard; I've set up lights for Sundance, UVU, and for film; and I've even become the dramaturge for an upcoming production of Antigone. That being said, I've been learning so much, and realized something that I wish I had learned before.

You see, I am an actor. I always will be, and although I have enjoyed all these projects I've worked on, I would always rather act. I already knew that though. Its a part of me. It's something that's hard to describe; a passion that I feel deep down in my bones. What I didn't realize was that these things I have been learning would have such an impact on my acting. It has. It will continue to do so. I've always thought myself as a well rounded citizen of our little planet earth. I know enough about the world and its' cultures to be decisive in my opinions and little enough to still see it with an wide eyed, awe filled wonderment.

I realized this summer that the same is true in the acting world.

In order to be a good actor, I've realized that knowing the world that you work in is vital to your art. I'm not saying expertise is a must, but knowing your way around a light board or being able to conquer the terrors of the costume shop sewing machine is part of knowing how this big theatre world exists. I just think the more I know about the lights above me, the sounds coming from the speakers, or the makeup I'm wearing, the more I will be able to manipulate and synthesize them into my own work as an actor. Just a thought.

So for all my theatre friends out there, even though it is not the biggest thing in the world, I make this recommendation: Know your world and continue to learn things that are new to you. Know what its like to sew a costume, or hang lights, or paint a set to look like something it isn't. I'm lucky to be going to a school that is really open about learning these things, and while I will eventually be going to grad school and specializing in a specific field, I think these things will be useful in creating the most out of that ultimate goal. It makes us better actors, better scholars, and all around better people.

After all, knowledge is power, right?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Highlights of the Week

To See:

Whilst randomly scrolling through the interwebs I found this great website by illustrator Steve Morrison. Check it out. Really cool stuff.

To Eat:

I also had the chance to find pictures of the most amazing chocolates ever. They're in an Italian Deli in Salt Lake City called Tony Caputo's and are from Chocolatier Blue, based in California.

Are these not incredible? Boasting such simple yet unique flavors such as Sage Honey and Grapefruit Rosemary, these chocolates are as delicious as they are beautiful. Though they are a little pricy, (2 dollars per delectable piece) they are worth the cost if you want to surprise a special someone with something a little more appealing than a bag of Hersey's.

To Hear:

Firstly, if you have not heard of the Icelandic band Sigur Ros, you need to remedy the situation. My music find for the week is the artist Jonsi, lead singer for the band Sigur Ros. He has recently come out with a new album that is the most joyful, cathartic, reflective and everything else happy in the world album that I have ever heard. Go look him up!

To Read:

This book is an old one that I've read over and over again. I am putting it down this week because I read it again before I let my friend Ashley borrow it. As for everyone else who I didn't lend it to: READ THIS BOOK! Its the best book I have ever read and each time I read it I fall in love with it all over again.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

For Those That Came Before Us and Those That Follow After

         This is a picture of my ancestors. I only know one of their names, and I don't know much about their lives, but here they are nonetheless, and they are very much a part of my life and heritage. Isn't it fascinating to think about? Had one of my great great grandparents moved to India, or California, or anywhere else in the world, I might be a completely different person. I am blown away by that simple fact. It's like an intricate web that seems so big, but is made up of individual threads. Every action they made had a consequence which in turn created the person they were, which in turn set up the lives of their own future generations. Now, I'm not saying that they are responsible for everything I've done. I think we all are born with certain personalities and are prone to sensitivities towards certain aspects of life. I also think that we are born with the ability to choose and change the course of our lives as well. I do think, however, that if my ancestors had lived differently that could have possibly changed some aspects of the life I live. More of a variation on a theme than an absolute shift. That's what I think anyways.

        I started thinking about this as I was taking old photos from our family library and digitizing them for my father. As I thought about this, I also realized that I was in a similar position. Whatever I do with my life; if it be theatre, accounting, living in England, or staying put in Utah Valley all my life, I will change some of the circumstances of future posterity. That is so interesting to think about, isn't it? Its awe inspiring and terrifying at the same time. We live our lives as if they are our own, which in a certain aspect, they are. But there is suddenly a certain gravity to those life changing choices we make, knowing that we will in turn be affecting the lives of future generations. This applies for our character and value as well. As I hear the stories my Dad tells me about my ancestors, I find great uncle so and so was a charitable man, whereas great grand somebody was a thief. The way we act now will be remembered and there is a certain amount of familial honor that I think is to easily forgotten in our fast paced, "live in the now" world.

 It's certainly something to think about.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Well, another Spring Break has come and gone. I had a really enjoyable one this year so I thought I would share some pictures. I didn't do anything particularly grand, nor did I leave town, but I was able to spend some good quality time with friends and Family.

To start things off, my parents and I started the yearly ritual that comes to those with green thumbs. It was time to prune our fruit trees. We usually get about two or three loads in the truck that we send down to the dump. Although its healthy for our trees, they don't seem to appreciate it and by the end of the day, we're full of cuts and scrapes.

I also got to see this:
You can read my almost 100% unedited review at They give me free tickets to review shows across the Valley and I just have to show up and write how I felt about it. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

What would spring break be without one last foray into the mountains to seek out the last of old man winter? While I am not one for winter sports, (you'll never see me in skis again after the great ski lift incident of 95) I decided to go snowshoeing with my sister and mom.  It was actually really nice. I am amazed that someone could create these contraptions that keep me up above the snow by making my feet bigger. Who knew?    

Although all this time with my family was fun and good, I got to do some fun things with my friends too. I judged a drama competition and got paid for it :), I had a nice little bonfire (the first of many), and  I saw An Education with my friends Nick and Jessy. All I can say is


It was so beautiful! And I think it had a really important message. I think its easy to see things in life and wish that we could have it right then and there. That things were easier and more fun. It's not meant to be this way. We have to learn. We have to struggle. It's part of the beauty of existence.

So that brings me to today. The last day of spring break. What would a break be without some cooking? For dinner my mom made her famous roasted pepper pasta and I got a chance to make these yummy Brioche rolls. There is something so blissful about cooking for others. I love it so much. If I wasn't going to school for theatre arts, you can bet your buttons I'd be a master chef. Oh well. Its a nice hobby. By the way, do those rolls look yummy? I'll post the recipe next time. 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Down the Rabbit hole

So, I saw Alice in Wonderland last night and despite what others have been saying, I LOVED it. I love that story anyways and I've always wondered why. After watching this film I realized it's because I love stories about children going into the world and returning as empowered beings. Its a great idea, and an idea that I think children should be told. They are capable. They will have to face the world and they will sometimes fail, but if they persist, they will return from their journey with a new strength.

Upon reflection, I thought of a couple of other movies that have similar ideas. These types of films are all some of my all time favorites as well.

Coraline is such a great movie on so many different levels. But I just love how independent she is and how the way she views the world changes as her journey progresses. I loved how the film took us along with her experience and little by little we saw her parents, her neighbors, and even the world around her change.

Matilda is another film that I have always adored. Its set in such a relatable world. School is a scary place, and I think we've all had moments when we've thought our parents didn't care. Plus, I love reading. I've loved to read since I was a little child. I think Matilda and I could have been friends.

Kiki's Delivery Service is another great film. I particularly like this one because Kiki's enemy isn't a huge dragon, or something symbolic of that sort. Instead, Kiki's challenge as she goes into this new world is simply to find a way to belong and be herself. It's something we all want. It's something we all relate to. Now, if only we could all fly, that would be awesome!

Some may call me overly optimistic, too forgiving,  or simple in my choice of films. But I'd rather like the good things in a movie and go away from it hopeful for what lies ahead in my own future than stand as an "unbiased" critic who cant get over the fact that the director failed to include such and such or didn't focus on so and so. If sophistication means not being able to see what I saw last night and enjoy it, then I'll stand on my own.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Life of a SLACer

So this weekend I saw Salt Lake Acting Company's production of Too Much Memory. Before I rant and rave about what I saw, I want to talk a little bit about how amazing this place is in genreal. So let's back it up a little and go back in time to a magical place called last semester in Acting 2.

This man, Chris Clark, had our class buy tickets to this random little theatre in Salt Lake. I had no clue what it was, but I was pretty happy because this place charges 50$ and over for season tickets, and we were getting them for around 30$.  What's not to enjoy? So with tickets in hand I go to this building:

Its a nice little place, but considering it used to be a church Im thinking of gym floors and cultural halls. Well, I walk in and the first thing that happens is one of the head hanchos of this place takes us around to check out the theatre. She shows us a little cafe with yummy food and the place is covered with photos and paintings by local artists. So far I am very pleased and we havent even gotten into the actual performance space yet. When we finally did wander in there, (and yes, we did wander in since they just let everyone float around the place) I am greeted with this remarkable set:

It really looks like it goes on forever, doesnt it? And its so brillaintly set. I suddenly knew that this show was going to be something special. Then the show started and I realized something else for the first time.


Really though, it's true. The man is a genius, and this theatre is genius for pulling it off so well in an area where everone else in the world is doing 7 Brides for 7 Brothers for the umpteenth time. Anyways, the show is amazing, the set is amazing, and the actors are amazing. Particularly the actor Daniel Beecher as pictured below.

It was great.

So, thinking it was maybe a one time thing, I go to this place once again. To go see a show called Masterclass. 
Once again, it was amazing.

So I once again start getting excited as this week rolls around and I get ready to see the newest show, Too Much Memory, which is a modern retelling of the story of Antigone. I had just gotten back from KCACTF for a competition and was excited at the idea of seeing an actual theatre company perform and not a university. Don't get me wrong, Anton's Uncle and Tea were the best shows ever, but it's nice to see professional actors doing their thing on stage like at SLAC. 

So, I sit down in my chair, staring at another beautifully simplistic set and begin watching as the actors begin warming up on stage, making a square around the space with tape, and talking to the audience. This proved to be the overall feel of the show, and with only the exception of the chorus character, it worked very well.  In fact, the whole show was overall a great one.  In fact, the whole point of this entry is to say how much I love this theatre. SLAC is the best around. They're my new homeboys. End Scene.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Universal Tongue of Movement

I recently returned from the KCACTF theatre conference in St. George. It was a great learning experience and I had a great time. I thought I would write a little bit about things I've learned while there. 

  • My school is awesome. We may not have won all the competitions, but our school had some of the most honest and natural actors I saw that week. Our teachers are doing well. Very well.
  • I am awesome. I know that sounds a little pigheaded of me, but its true. I learned some great things while I was there about strengths that I never knew I had. I will always be on the path of learning and progressing, but whenever an obstacle gets in my way, I'll overcome it. And if I don't right away, I will later. It's empowering to know that about oneself.
  • Winning is not the final goal. There was so much to learn from this aside from the competition alone. Some of these lessons I'm only learning now, which is why I've edited this post. We learn, we grow, and we move on a little wiser.
  •  Earplugs are truly a godsend. I was in a room full of snorers. I admit, I do too. I wont deny it. But I cant hear myself do it. I will never go anywhere without earplugs again. Thank you Levi.
I also want to take some time to write about shows that have changed the way I see my craft. I had the chance to see a show called Anton's Uncles while I was at KCACTF. It was phenomenal. It was a movement piece based on Chekov's Uncle Vanya. It was so fascinating to see how they used movement to convey the actors emotions. It wasn't just for spectacle. Everything they did had a purpose. Everything they did seemed like an outward execution of how these people felt inside. It was beyond words. In thinking of the show, I looked back on some of my other favorite shows. They all are my favorites for that same reasoning. That type of theatre connects with me in a very personal way. Here are some photos and clips from some of my favorites:

Another Picture of Anton's Uncles. It was performed by Theatre Movement Bazaar.

This is a still from Death of a Salesman by a New York based company called Theatre Mitu. I dont cry easily, especially when watching film or theatre, but I was an emotional mess after this show. 

This last picture was from a performance by the Montreal based circus troupe Cirque Eloize. It called Nebbia, the Italian word for Fog. I saw Cirque du Soleil shortly afterwards, but this show is the one that really touched me. So much was conveyed even though very little was spoken. 

I think the reason I loved these shows so much is because I didnt need to rely only on words to understand. There is something so noble and basic about the way our bodies move. It tells so much. I hope one day to be able to control my body in that way. I want to be able to craft stories that everyone, no matter the age, race, gender, or religion can relate to. I want to speak the universal tongue of movement.