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March 2012

Jennifer update

For those of you who love Broadway and my sister Jennifer and comedy... Don’t miss this!

My sister’s new show Don’t Dress For Dinner starts previews tomorrow night. I’ve talked/emailed with my sister several times since she started rehearsals and she sound happy, buoyant and said the show was really funny!  I’m gonna go see it.  Are you? 




So happy

Richard Rose said something this morning in the rehearsal table session today and it was like someone turned on a light.  Not some tepid, flickering, irritating overhead florescent light.  This was like a clear winter’s night, the air so cold it hurts to breathe and a luminescent complete moon, appeared, hanging ripe on the horizon, preparing to begin it’s assent up into the night sky.  The kind of moon that is so heavy and full of promise, mystery, the unknown.  Illuminating the world around me so it was like I was seeing the landscape around me for the first time. 

It was that kind of light.  Tingly and full of magic and possibilities. 

I’m not in the first section of the play, so I got released early, but all day, my mind was turning over, tasting this new revelation.  Knowing I’d been given the key to a vital part of Madeline 2.  Knowing that this detail was as important to her, as fundamental as her heart beating or her lungs breathing in and out.  Wondering how, when it will manifest itself?  Am impatient for tomorrow to come, to start tasting, testing, trying. 

I feel like I did, way back when I was young, studying at The Loft with Peggy Furey, all fired up, excited.  Love the way the work is approached here.  Such a luxury, to have this time to discover, uncover, dig deep, create.  Love that this is an ensemble play, each one of us, pieces of a puzzle.

I wonder if the Tarragon Theatre will become a home for me?  If I’ll do this show and then do another? Tony Nappo told me yesterday that he just finished doing play at Tarragon last month and here he is now, doing The Real World?. 

I think I’d like that.  Like being in the room with Richard Rose.  Maybe his stuff is up your alley, maybe it’s not, but the man, without a doubt, is brilliant. 




home again, home again, jiggitty jog…

I’m back from my first day of rehearsal an hour early.  Don and Will are out.  Only Scooter to greet me off the elevator, his tan coloured hair sprinkled liberally across the dark wood floors.  This is a breed that’s not supposed to shed a lot, but I suppose Scooter didn’t read that portion of the description in the American Dog Kennel book.  He certainly read the non-loyal part.  The part about guard dog be damned, this dog will show the burglars where the valuables are hidden as long as they give him a belly rub or a treat.

But today, he actually managed to heave himself up and ambled over to say hello.  No joyous dance like my old dog used to do.  Scooter saves that for company. 

But then he saves the enthusiastic spurting of urine for them as well. 

We always warn people to ignore him when they first come in.  After five minutes, he’ll be fine.  Some people listen, and some people don’t.  But that is a mistake they only make once. 

Rehearsal was a mix.  Very impressed by the talent sitting around the table.  Diving deep, the very first day.  No backing off, away from the material.  Hungry for answers, wanting solidity, not getting it, kind of like life.  The different versions of what is real and what isn’t? 

Authors.  Authority.  Lots of talk about family.  Family secrets… or are they?  Did they happen?  Or didn’t they?  Are they the truth?  Or lies?  What is incest?  What isn’t? 

I tried not to talk too much.  Of course, you, my dear readers, know I have a lot to say about that.  But I tried not to.  Even when things were being said that were at polar opposites to what I believe.  I am not an impartial bystander in this whole debate of what is an author’s right to tell and what isn’t.  I wouldn’t call myself unbiased when it comes to how I feel about denial, violence in the family, incest, secrets.  Very hard not to take it personally when everyone was talking about Michael Trembley embellishing, stretching, perhaps even distorting the truth.  And maybe he did?  Maybe he did, and maybe he didn’t.  I don’t know.  I don’t know the man, I don’t know the family.  I haven’t walked in his shoes. 

All I know is my truth, my life, my experiences.  In Singing Songs, I embellished nothing.  Later.  Only later did I learn, did I teach myself how to write fiction.  It took many discarded manuscripts and almost 15 years before I was able to tell my truth using a fictional story. 

I had wanted to play Madeline 1, because I’ve been Madeline 2.  I wanted to try and dive into her skin so I could come to some kind of peace, some kind of understanding with my own mother.  Thought maybe if I were to play her a deeper kind of forgiveness would occur.  But of course Jane is a much better Madeline 1 than I ever could have dreamt of being.  I wanted to crawl inside her for purely selfish and personal reasons.  Richard was right not to cast me as her.

But that’s not what I was planning to blog about.  I wanted to tell you that everyone was nice, inclusive.  They talked to me in the break, which was a relief. 

It’s weird, you’d think being an actor, that I’d be this confident, self-assured person.  And sometimes, with a great deal of effort, I can come off like that.  Call up the person inside of me who won’t disappear inside her safety shell and clam up.  Who can be funny and gregarious and fun to be around.

Sometimes. 

And sometimes, even though I’m trying to be that other me, the extroverted, self-possessed one, I feel like a fake.  It feels all wrong and I become hyper aware of my unconnected voice getting higher and higher and my mouth drying out and my body that won’t unwrap itself into a shape that resembles relaxation. 

When I meet new people, it’s like stop and start sometimes.  One part of me steps forward and then the other runs away.  And they are both the real me, just with different coping mechanisms that are at odds with each other. 

Like at the end of the day, was I supposed to say good-bye to everyone, or just slip out of the room?  What do other people who are working on a stage production do?  People were talking to each other.  Don’t want to interrupt.  Didn’t know what to do, so I thrust a “good-bye, everyone, see you tomorrow,” into the middle of the room, don’t know if anyone heard me or not, and then, headed to the stairs. 

As I got into the sitting area, I heard Tony saying good-bye to everyone, I glanced over my shoulder and saw him speaking briefly to each person, a slap on the shoulder, a touch on the elbow, and I thought, oh dear, I’ve done it wrong.  I said good-bye wrong.  I was feeling uncertain, shy, and in not wanting to interrupt people in their conversations, I have probably come off as being full of myself and rude. 




deep breath

Tomorrow.  Big day.  First day of rehearsal for the play.  Feel a little vulnerable.  That first day of school feeling.  Like will I fit in, will I be able to keep up, will I make friends? 

Okay, maybe friends is over shooting things a bit, but maybe I’ll make one. 

Always, when starting a new project, there is that hopeful, maybe feeling.  I don’t have a lot of close friends, a handful, and that handful isn’t quite as plump as it once was, on account of people dying.  Gaps in my life.  Waiting to be filled.  Not replaced.  But an emptiness that would enjoy being less so. 

We’re back in Toronto.  It’s funny, but the first time I visited this city, it seemed so foreign, but now, each time, less and less of a shock to the system, is starting, actually, to feel something like home. 

My boy, Will is here, for Spring Break.  Bumping around the apartment, going out with his friend.  Such a surprise, still, sometimes, when I look at him, so big and grown.  So odd to me, how fast it has flown.  I remember him being born.  I still have the cotton hippyish dress that I was wearing when my water broke, hanging in my closet.  I wore it last summer, when the weather was hot.  It is rather saggy now.  One of the buttons is broken.  I don’t think it is Don’s favourite look, but I can’t seem to let that dress go.  Too many memories. 

And when I look at Will, 6’5”, with his deep voice and cheeks that need to meet a razor every now and then, when I look at him sometimes all that time, all that life condenses down, rushes past, and he is a brand-new squalling baby, with shoulders wider than any self-respecting newborn should be sporting, in my arms.  Countless hours of rocking him to sleep, lullaby after lullaby, watching him grow, the twinkle in his eyes, the rosy cheeks, golden curls.  Innocent looking as an angel, mischief incarnate. 

And now, him grown.  Living on his own for the last two and a half years.  And me, trying to navigate this new realm with him.  To arrive at a new relationship.  My impulse, to mother, to…hmmm…. smother?  Trying not to, but somehow, on occasion, stepping where I shouldn’t.  Needing to keep in mind that it is different now.  He is grown.  He doesn’t need or want me to remind him to bring a jacket, or does he have his key, or does he need some money. 

Stepping back.  Stepping away.  So, hopefully someday, the stepping next to, beside, with joy, will be a choice, a happiness for both of us. 




jenny and me

My sister, Jennifer gave me these pictures of the two of us.  She gotten them from our Dad’s wife and made copies for me.  She made me promise to get picture frames, put them out.  I haven’t gotten them framed yet, but I do have them out, propped up against some books on the bookshelf in my writing room. 

Every time I look at them, it makes me smile.  Jenny and Meg.  Meg and Jenny.  Not much has changed.  I mean, of course we have lived these crazy, amazing lives, with huge ups and downs. 

But when I look at these pictures, taken when my mom and dad were still together and we lived in a relatively normal neighbourhood, having a relatively normal life, with neighbourhood kids and birthday parties and a newspaper that was delivered every morning. And there was an avocado tree in the backyard which would drop ripe avocados on the ground and I remember that I liked the feel of the skins bursting and the sun-warmed avocados squishing through my bare toes.  I’d get a spanking from Mama when I’d do it, and I wanted to be good, but I couldn’t help myself because it felt so nice.

And then, the divorce and the crazy men who tramped through our lives and the challenging times, as a child, as a grown-up, because just because you’re grown, doesn’t mean the childhood scars are gone, because you still act/react when things come up.  The scars, they still ache when the weather changes, to remind me, that weather/life can change and rapidly too.  So enjoy, take stock, store up, just in case.

That’s what these pictures do for me.  Looking at these two young girls, my sister and me. The two of us.  Sisters.  Close then, close now.  The other times, they don’t really matter.  Not really, when you look at the heart of things.

Now is what matters.  Breathe in…Breath out…

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