dani sings hallelujah

There is SO MUCH to celebrate!!!  

I kind of can’t contain myself.  Let’s just try to count the things.

1.  I have returned to blog-land! 

I kinda look like Steve Buscemi right now. It’s been a long semester.

Oh man, I’ve missed you guys.  This week marks the completion of my 3rd semester of grad school, and I’m pretty sure that they were actively trying to kill us this time.  It has been an incredible 16 weeks, but I am so thankful I get to come up for air for a month before diving back into the deep end again.  So now I just get to enjoy…

2.  Christmas time!  

Even though it is a “frigid” 50 degrees and sunny here in Los Angeles, it still feels like Christmas for some reason.  I don’t know if it’s my newfound Christmas Break freedom or what, but I literally want to kiss everyone I see and sing love into their hearts.  Wait a second, I know where this “joie de vivre” is coming from…

3.  Britt!

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A beautiful Britt in a beautiful backyard.

For the past two months, I have had 70-hour weeks at USC.  And for the past two months, all I’ve wanted to have is 70-hour weeks in Britt‘s arms.
MY BESTIE IS IN LA, Y’ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I can’t even handle it.  

This dog who is so freakin' happy, he just physically CANNOT.

This is the only photo that captures how much I CANNOT EVEN HANDLE my Britt-related-joy right now.

We were too busy hugging each other in our rare spare time to write any blogs together, but we’ve got something in the works, never fear.   But one thing that is so exciting to me now that I have a moment to catch my breath is how fuckin’ PROUD I am of my girl.  Britt is KILLIN’ it, y’all.  She would be the last person to say that probably, as she is keenly aware of her own struggles and challenges, as are we all, but seriously, she is DOIN’ it.  Moving to LA is hard.  I don’t think I felt at home in LA until… right now.  Or at least not until the last couple of months.  It wasn’t until I had struggled to adjust for 9 months, spent 2 months in India, and then all my best friends moved here.  So really, I just got lucky because I got to go to India and then move in with my best friends.  LA is a whole can o’ worms… Oh!  But this leads me to…

4.  The house!

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Suz cannot even handle her excitement about the new soaking tub.

Oh. My. God.  We have a home.  I believe Britt has introduced you all to our roommates: Suzzane, Dean, and last but not least, Napoleon.  You know.
This hottie: 

Just kidding.  Napoleon is a dog.  He IS ACTUALLY a stud though.  If anyone wants their dog to be mounted by a purebred Pomeranian, go ahead and contact us through our blog.  Seriously, Dean could use the money.  We’re ready to start whoring out the dog.  

5.  Art!

As exhausted as I am, it has been a hell of a semester.  My ensemble, the Class of 2015, The Ten Commandments, The Ten Fingers, The Bad News Bears, whatever the hell you want to call us, put up it’s very first full production.  The ten of us tackled William Saroyan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1939 script The Time of Your Life.  Our ensemble of 10 took on a cast of 25 characters who float in and out of Nick’s Pacific Street Restaurant, Saloon, and Entertainment palace.  We cut a few characters, but long story short, I got to play a boy…

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Willie Faroughli: Marble-game-maniac and ultimate CHAMPION

AND a girl….

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Elsie Mandelspiegel: “A dark, dreaming girl…” Although I look pretty happy backstage.

…within one two-hour play.  My Mom touched my hair wistfully after the show and said, “It was interesting to see what you would’ve looked like if you were a boy…”  Aw comeon, Mom, didn’t you like having a daughter?  Just kidding, I know that you don’t secretly wish I was a boy. …Right?  But I also had one gay dude and two straight girls say that I was hot as a boy.  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.  And I tricked my Grandmom completely–my Mom had to tell her who I was.  

But in all seriousness it was actually a really incredible experience.  Willie Faroughli spends almost the entire play onstage playing a pinball game, and Elsie Mandelspiegel has one love scene right in the middle of the play.  So I got to go from this young, driven, focused, ambitious, determined guy with nothing better to do in Depression America than conquer a marble game, to this extremely sensitive, feminine, nurturing, compassionate young woman who sees the tragedy of the Depression.  The experience of going from this incredibly masculine, prideful outlook on life to an incredibly feminine, gentle outlook on life and then back again was actually kind of life-changing.  It was an incredible reminder of why I love acting so much.  The opportunity to explore all these parts of yourself and all these viewpoints on the world.  The opportunity to be explore the masculine and the feminine.  The opportunity to breath life into a character and allow their story to live.  The opportunity to enter a state of communion with the audience and with the other actors.  The opportunity to channel your own ego through the ego of another.  It’s so fucking fun.  By the time we were done with the show I felt like I was ready to do a six month run of it.  But, as my Britt has said, these things are transient, which is part of what makes them beautiful.  

My station backstage.  Starring The Big Dick which my friend lent me as inspiration.  (Don't look at me like that, 3 of these Dicks were juggled onstage in an MFA show last year.)

My station backstage. Starring The Big Dick which my friend lent me as inspiration. (Don’t look at me like that, 3 of these Dicks were juggled onstage in an MFA show last year.)

There are other worlds that I am bidding farewell to now that the semester is winding down.  I’m saying Goodbye to the life of a desperate housewife in Depression America in our black-box studio work on Clifford Odets’ Waiting for Lefty.  I’m saying farewell to Hedda Gabler, Pussy Riot, a Bakersfield Bimbo, and other characters from our work in movement class.  I’m saying See You Later to Chekhov, until tackling that son-of-a-bitch again next semester.  I’m going to miss our film class with the inimitable John Rubinstein,

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Kim Flores, Sedale Threatt, and Michael Bernardi on set for “Revolutionary Road”

I live in Los Angeles, I’m a Master’s Acting student, and I know next to nothing about film.  But I’m working on it! Stage and Screen are two different mediums for the same kind of transformative acting that I’m interested in doing, and the differences between the two are just technical things.  The art form is different, and I’m developing a real itch for it.  My body understands live storytelling, and I want to understanding storytelling through film in the same way.  We are taking two more film classes next semester, so the exploration will continue!

Speaking of transformative, I think the most transformative acting experience of this semester was actually the doing my Solo Performance piece.  Despite the number of roles I’ve explored in the last few months, the experience of going deeper into myself, finding my own story, determining the story that I needed to tell… That experience was life-changing.  And despite it being a “solo performance” experience, it bound together my ensemble irrevocably. We shared pieces of our souls and helped each other shape them into pieces of art, and we culminated in a 90-minute performance during which each of us shared a piece of our solo work.  

But enough about art!  I am on VACATION.  (Which apparently means drinking a lot of booze and thinking about the art that I want to be making.)  In the meantime I am going to figure out how to make gluten-free baked goods, enjoy sweating like a construction worker in December, and kick it with these crazies. 

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Dean, Suzzane, Britt, Dani, and Napoleon.  A Very Ke$ha Christmas 2013

So in honor of being HALFWAY DONE with my MFA in Acting, here is this guy, who was my Muse this semester.  This is what commitment looks like.

OHHHHH WE’RE HALFWAY THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

XOXO

Dani

britt gets a life upgrade

You and I, Blogersphere, have not caught up for a few weeks. In fact, I think it has been nearly a month since we’ve caught up last. Man, I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty hard to keep on track when my Evil Actor Twin Dani has been gone for weeks in India. But friends… ooooohhh, friends. My life has been changing (would you expect anything less from me?). But this time, it is nothing but good stuff. No more house fires, cancer scares, and hit-and-runs. Only life-wins. Only complete badassedry. Only TOTAL LIFE UPGRADE.

totallifeupgradeLet me give you the epic highlights.

First: I have a new room! A real room! With a door! Look, look!!

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hello happy yellow room!

please note and appreciate my shark pillow.

please note and appreciate my shark pillow.

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please note and appreciate my OK Computer poster.

4.

it’s SO YELLOW UP IN HERE.

For my friends following along at home, you know that this is a huge step up from my frat house basement-dwelling and air-mattress in the living-room dwelling days. Rooming with Liz* and Shane* is pretty much the best. They even feed me sometimes, if I’m really good.

Second: I got a new phone (thank you, Shane)!! 

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of hanging around me from February to June 2013, you have not experienced my old phone in all its glory:

I lived with this beauty and its "spiderweb filter" for four months.

Yup. I lived with this beauty and its “spiderweb filter” for four whole months. Roughin’ it.

And now, oh NOW, this is how my iPhone looks. And this is how I look when I am spending quality time with it.

A shatter-less screen? What LUXURY! I feel like I got a new prescription on my contacts or something. I CAN SEE AGAIN! YES!!

Third: I bought myself health insurance! Because I am a grown-up!

(And also because one major health scare is quite enough for me, thankyouverymuch.)

Fourth: One of my very dearest, closest friends,* Liz Evans and my boy-twin, *Shane Winters (both of whom I now have the pleasure of living with) GOT ENGAGED this past week!! And I was there the night it happened! I almost peed myself! (Thank you, magic of UP Reunion Weekend. Go Pilots.)

aren't they ADORBS?!

aren’t they ADORBS?!

aren't WE adorbs?!

aren’t WE adorbs?!

Aaaaanddd… (Drumroll, please)… Fifth:

I gave my notice at my day job.

desk prison

OH MY GAW!

This is both exhilarating and terrifying for me. Shit’s getting real. Goodbye, Safety Net. I’m doing it. I’m really doing it… I’m moving to Los Angeles!

Oh, LIFE! You crazy fox!! Let’s just keep doing what we’re doing.

In other news, here are the rad activities have been keeping me busy enough to think that I don’t have time to write to you…

My (past 3) week(s):

These past few weeks have been jammed packed with a lot of awesome things. In the midst of rehearsals for various projects, callbacks, and a couple of readings of new work that I got to participate in (a new screenplay co-written by Portland staples Greg James and Mike Prosser called”Tidepool” and a new piece by NY playwright Deborah Copeland entitled, “Love Story for Eros”), I also had this shaaaat goin’ on:

I shot a commercial a couple weeks ago where, for the first time ever, I played a MOM.

…And I had not one, but three children. The oldest of which was probably about… eight. What’s up, people?! I’m 26. Do I not get to play teenagers anymore?! WHO AM I?!! HELP!!

But for real. The commercial shoot was really fun and the kids were great. I can’t wait to see how it turns out. When I wasn’t shooting, I hung out on the swing set and nomz-ed pretty hard on craft services. It was an awesome day of work.

As my time as a company member at Theatre Vertigo comes to a close, so does Vertigo’s tenure at the Theater!Theatre! building (located in SE Portland). After serving as a home to both Vertigo and Profile Theatre as resident companies for the past decade, Theater!Theatre! closes its doors. I didn’t expect to get too weepy during The Great Move weekend a couple of weeks back, but I definitely did. (In the privacy of my own car afterwards, but it still counts.) I was sad to say goodbye to that place. It made my departure with Vertigo and (my soon-to-be) with Portland seem much more real.

Taking apart the Arena Stage. :(

taking apart the Arena Stage. 😦

Some beautiful show debris I found under the theatre seats.

beautiful show debris I found under the theatre seats.

Some friends gather to say goodbye to the space.

some friends gather to say goodbye to the space.

and some more friends...

and some more friends…

...and even more friends.

…and even more friends.

But lucky me, I got to take home a part of the space!

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This beautiful souvenir is now hanging on my wall. Along with the box office sign and the lobby sign and the green room sign. It’s possible I overdid it a bit. Whatever. I get sentimental.

Anyway.

Rehearsals for Portland Shakespeare Project‘s The Tamer Tamed have started!

tamer

This show runs as a staged reading in rep with PSP’s The Taming of the Shrew this summer and I am excited to for it to take off!

I got new headshots!  I can’t wait to see how they turned out. Liz and I did headshot sessions together with the ridiculously talented Gary Norman of Gary Norman Photography with the incredible, one-and-only Gavin Hoffman assisting. Pretty much, it was three of my favorite people in one place, which was stupid fun.

My boys Gavin and Gary, and their hot hot asses.

my boys Gavin and Gary, and their hot hot asses.

Everything is stupid fun right now.

Especially this Intergalactic Leopard dress I just bought.

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Total Life Upgrade. In epic dress form.

There is no more to say.

until next time,

~britt