britt talks where to look for freedom

In the past couple weeks I have been desperately searching to find a place to land, some space in my life to settle, and a less chaotic rhythm to fall into as I adjust to an ever-changing routine. In the midst of big life changes and plans and crazy life surprises one after another, it’s been hard to find some peace.

When I start to get life-tired and overly emotional from wearing myself too thin and neglecting sleep (which has been quite often over the past few months), I try to assess what I can cut out of my life–how I can give my heart more space to live in a place of happiness. So, true to Britt-fashion, I made a list of my current obligations before bed the other night.

What I found was an overwhelming list of ingredients to a budding dream life… a life that I have been trying to position myself into for years (minus the desk job, of course). In scanning my list, an overwhelming feeling of gratitude washed over me. I thought to myself, “Holy crap, I am fucking exhausted, broke, and overworked, but…my hard work is getting results.”

I can’t deny these results, and not just tangibly– but in my quality of life. I am SO much happier than I was a year ago… I am constantly surrounded by the most beautiful and supportive people on the planet. I am spending time on projects that fill my soul and challenge me as an artist and inspire me to be a better human. My life fucking ROCKS.

Making this list like, woke me UP. It energized me. It’s like feeling the burn after a good workout and celebrating that hurt. That good, sweet hurt that tells you that you’re going in the right direction, that you are making progress. That is what this exhaustion is for me right now. And I want to celebrate it. This uprooting and constant movement I am experiencing is somehow giving me more freedom and exhilaration than I have ever experienced. I love it.

So Exhaustion, my dear friend, I thank you. With you, I am finding my freedom.

My Week:

Dear Exhaustion, let’s tell these folks what wonderful projects have made you a constant in my life lately!

This week has brought me much excitement with rehearsals starting up for the premiere of “Crumbs,”  a workshop of the original musical from composer/playwright Amir Shirazi, directed by Avital Shira.

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CRUMBS is a prequel to the Hansel and Gretel fairytale that explores the question, “What could compel a father to cast his children out of their home and abandon them in the woods?” Written in the wake of the loss of Amir’s father, CRUMBS takes those experiences and more on a journey into new territory with a family broken by loss, yearning to rebuild their family from crumbs. It is a beautiful journey of love, grief, and what it means to rebuild family — or tear it to pieces. I cannot talk-up this project enough. Amir’s music is incredible– it fills my heart up to the brim to work on such beautiful words and notes. I am honored to work alongside such a talented cast and production team!!

This week also brought the excitement of a successful and sold-out opening night at Theatre Vertigo!

(c) Gary Normanactors: Andy Lee-Hillstrom & Nathan Berl

(c) Gary Norman
actors: Andy Lee-Hillstrom & Nathan Berl

I have been working on The Velvet Sky (producing duties) with the company for months now and it is always such an amazing feeling to see all of that hard work pay off. I’m truly proud of my dear company and the high-quality work it continues to produce, no matter how overworked we all are. And speaking of hard work, MANY hours go in to producing a show in a company with eleven resident members and no artistic director. That’s right, this little commie company worked hard into the dead of the night this week to prep for the show…

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…but we had plenty of pizza and beer to keep us happy, so it was totally worth it. Go Team.

Rehearsals for Steven Richter‘s feature film Birds of Neptune is ramping up, as we locked in the shooting dates for March 4th-22nd. Eeeeeee! I have been lucky to get to play with many musical toys to prep for this role (my artistic wet dream fully realized):

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But I think what I am most excited for right now is the opportunity to take a month off of my day job to concentrate fully on these creative endeavors. For this four-week period of time, I will be entirely–financially–self-sufficient as an actor. Uhhh… what?! This stint of artistic oasis rarely happens, so I plan to enjoy the hell out of my four weeks of Dream Life.

As I reflect on this stint of awesomeness, I realize that all of this insanity and uncertainty is what brings me the most joy… and it offers me great freedom inside of it. I am the master of my own universe. (Watch me, I’m getting all WOO WOO again.)

Every day I’m discovering how and where to look for freedom. See you on the other side, Cubicle.

~britt

gypsy life

Big Fat Gypsy Weddings poster

As soon as I arrived at the airport a few weeks ago and watched my housemate drive away, I felt more like myself than I’d felt in months.  My bag was packed, I had the bare essentials, and I was plunging into the adventure that is traveling.  Britt and I have talked a lot about being gypsies, and it’s certainly true that as long as I’ve known her she lives out of her car half the time, and I have moved every three months for almost two years now.

It’s true. I do use my car as a locker.

I think I’ve always had a strange desire for impermanence. Also– why does the word impermanence have such a negative connotation?! I want things to grow and move and shift and change. I think it’s awesome. And thrilling.

I agree!  Probably the first questions that people ask you when they find out you are pursuing a career in acting are, “How are you going to make money?” and “What about job stability?”  These are good questions!  But honestly, the idea of knowing what my career will look like over the next 20 years is just as terrifying to me as the prospect of instability may be for you. 

I’ve tried the whole “GetYourActTogetherYou’reAGrownUpNow” thing and it doesn’t really work for me. The parallel between “stability” and tying yourself to a single place has never made much sense to me. I’ve always found my truth in mobility.

I think I’m the same way.  I feel centered when I am in transit, my thoughts become crystallized, and I know exactly who I am and what I want. 

I don’t know if it’s something in my DNA, if my ancestors kept pushing further and further away from the cradle of human existence until they ended up in the Wild West of the United States, and now I can’t help but feel that inherited urge towards locomotion.  Or maybe  it was backpacking through seemingly endless mountain ranges with my family as a kid and feeling that our freedom was only limited by how self-sufficient we could be.  And when you’re out there in isolation staring at a trillion stars you can’t help but also feel yourself in your truest, most naked form.

Romantic notions aside, this urge toward nomad-dom is one thing that has drawn me to pursue acting as a career.  The professional theater actors I know spend a lot of time on the road going from regional theater to regional theater around the country and sometimes around the world.  Film actors get to shoot all over the place.  …That’s what she said. 

That is what she said.

One of my most peaceful and self-aware moments has been in transit. In 2009 I took the train from San Diego to Irvine, CA. I spent the whole ride with my face glued to the window, drinking in every whirling landscape. I wanted to explore everything. As the sun went down outside, I wrote in my journal: “There is something so liberating in not having a plan”. I don’t know what it was about that moment, but from then on I was constantly dreaming of motion. I took this snapshot in a moment of euphoria and have not been able to get the image out of my head since:

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The more I am in motion, the more I am alive. The more I move, the more I write. The more I sing. The more I laugh. The louder I get. The more things make sense. 

I would like to leave you all with a visual of me and D’s victorious wandering moments.

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Dani, victorious, conquering a mountain.

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Me, fighting like hell to get the eff out of the Oregon Coast and to someplace warm. Yes, that is a stuffed animal in my hand, (dont’ worry about it).

I can’t help but think that this desire for transience is what draws us to a creative life. And with all of these unknowns, I have to say…I’m pretty damn excited about it.  

//

We are BORN!!

Hello bloggernetsphere, I am Britt.

And I am Dani.  We are lady-gypsy-actors.  And we have things to say.

…Mostly to each other, but we hope that you will take something from our thoughts too. We are pursuing careers in a field with no roadmap. This is frightening, exhilarating, confusing, and liberating, and we are so thankful to have each other as partners in crime. We are adventurers.

Since the creative lives we have chosen have no roadmap, we hope that this blog will serve as both a survival guide and an invitation to come on this adventure with us. 

Meet my friend Britt.  She is a blond powerhouse of a woman who is simultaneously hilarious and deep, witty and crude, awkward and beautiful; a wayward wanderer and the most loyal of friends.  She’s pretty much the most charming person I’ve ever met and she is the sun that lights up my world.  Britt is currently living in Portland, Oregon and conquering the world of indie film, fearless theatre, and artistic badass-ery in the Pacific Northwest.  Check out her website at www.brittharris.com for deets on her professional life.  Check out this blog for all the juicy stuff. 

Meet my Dani. She is my beautiful chosen-sister, hero, and finisher-of-sentences. Her fearless spirit, immense talent, and infinite love for this world inspires me daily. My favorite thing about her? How she can make me laugh until I pee. My least favorite thing about her? That she lives so far away from me. Dani is currently located in Los Angeles as grad student and Resident Super Hero at USC, pursuing her MFA in Acting. She works approximately 935 hours a week and could tame a unicorn with relative ease.

Thanks for tuning in!  We look forward to sharing our adventures with you. 

With love from your new partners in crime who are both the Evil twin,

two evil actors

Jack Kerouac