Mi NuevaYork has been magically beautiful in these past few days: under drizzles y showers, cup of hot tea and warm soup weather, eating lots of kale y quinoa weather.
Walking out from the train station, I was inspired to click:
last week i get another casting notice from Columbia University; I have been getting casting calls/notices for the past 4 years now. Being an “alum” from Columbia University’s Masters of Theater Acting program, I receive casting and audition notices, theater job and workshop opportunities, usually folks looking for a Theater Professor in China or Amsterdam or a Associate Theater Company member in a Shakespere Company in Oregon. However, this casting notice was different. I could feel the email even before I opened it to read it’s description.
i’m so happy i opened it the same day and responded the same day. the description of the character they were looking for called me like no other. check it out. I put my thoughts in brackets <> and all CAPITALS:
LUCIA (age 25-35) <YES, I AM> Leading role <YES, I AM> in “Another Life” <I LIKE THE TITLE>. Ideally Asian-American <DO YOU MEAN EAST ASIAN? LIKE CHINESE OR JAPANESE, I AM NOT GOING TO ASSUME>, but would consider women of other ethnicities <OH, REALLY, FOR REAL, YOU WOULD CONSIDER OTHER ETHNICITIES, WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?> with same qualities <SAME QUALITIES AS ASIAN WOMEN? AS IN PHYSICAL FEATURES?>: an emergency room physician at start. <YES, I LIKE THIS ALREADY> Strong <YES, I AM AND CAN PORTRAY THAT, CHECK> and sensitive <YES, I AM, AND CAN PORTRAY THAT, CHECK>, principled <WORD UP, YES, I CAN SO DO THIS, BE THIS WOMAN, COME ON PEOPLE>. Very attractive <YES. I CAN CONSIDER MYSELF TO BE. I AM ATTRACTED TO MYSELF, DOES THAT COUNT?>. Loses her fiancé in the 9/11 attacks <I CAN SO PLAY THIS ROLE! SOUNDS AMAZING!>. Becomes a doctor (HEAVEN YES!!! COME ON BRING IT> at Bagram Air Force Base, Afghanistan <WOW. I SO WANT TO DO THIS. I MUST HAVE A CHANCE TO AUDITION FOR THIS>. Witnesses torture. <WORD? WOW. UMMMMM. WOW> Becomes a whistle-blower. <FOR REAL? SOUNDS AMAZING! I LOVE THIS ALREADY. WHAT CAN I DO TO GET THIS ROLE?! HMMM. I’M FEELING SCARED ALREADY. OHHHH, I AM EXCITED. LET’S GET THIS. THIS ROLE IS MINE PEOPLE.>
there was no time to waste. i watched the video on the link they gave. i was hooked. sounded like an amazing opportunity. i immeadiately sent a personal email to the “personal email” address that was on the FWD email. Thank goodness for that. i introduced myself, shared how and i why i was drawn to the character, highlights of my acting and theater experience and then requested an audition/interview. i attached 4 pictures/headshots and no resume. hmmmm, what else can i do? i then saw that there was a number. what was there to lose? nothing. i call the number and someone answers. Sweet! oh, suck. just be yourself Moana. I can feel my throat and jaw getting tight. that’s my first physical reactions when i am nervous. peace, Mo. peace. and be yourself! I introduce myself and share my deep interest in the role. I ask about if she has any auditions and how do i go about getting one. I have some nerve right? She tells me that she micht get back to me next week. They need to look at resumes and headshots and see what works best for them. She says thank you for my call. Ok, you did it, Moana. That’s the first step. You put yourself out there and props to you for actually speaking to the casting director, who is also the playwright. Who would of thought? I have never spoken with a casting director/playwright over the phone for a role I really wanted so badly. Congrats for that Mo. I felt accomplished already. I was high already on taking actions that I would not have done in the past and I have not even gone on an audition much less be asked to come in for an audition.
The next day, I get an email from the casting director/playwright asking if I was available sometime next week for an audition and if I wanted a copy of the script. I AM THRILLED, BEYOND BELIEF! Yesssssssss. i reply to this email within 2 secs. I tell her, “Yes, I am very interested and Yes, I would love a copy of the script.” Within 5 mins I receive a confirmation of the audition for next week and a copy of the script. I AM FILLED WITH JOY. LOVING THIS EXPERIENCE.
Today was the “audition.” I am freaking nerrrrvoussss, out of my wits. My small self is telling me, “don’t go, you are feeling sick, its raining,” giving me many crazy unreasonable excuses not to fulfill on my dream of acting. Totally giving me no agreement in making things happen for myself. I had to say, “Shut up Small self, i aint listening to you. Okay, you know what? I am ignoring you. I’m just gonna be in action. I’m gonna do this.” Walking to the train, I cleared myself with my bestfriend Gab*Star, “I’m getting out of my head, Gabs, I know that life is out there and not in my head. I’m not gonna be stopped by my own self.” I love Gabby’s reply, “That’s right Mo, go get it Super Star. You got this already. Who wouldn’t want to meet you? That’s my Moana.”
I meet her midtown. As I enter the building, she is standing there waiting for me. She gives me a smile. She is warm and present. She is about 5′ 2″ and in her 50’s. Already I feel a connection. She puts out her arms for an embrace and says my name, “Moana” perfectly. My nerves settle down. I never thought a casting director/playwright can behave like this? I am surprised that she does not want me to read the script but wants to know more about me. She shares with me that she has received 220 headshots and resumes and that she was very intrigued and interested in who I am. She shares that she had to meet me and she wants to know more about me. Tell me about yourself, Moana.
Wow, okay, I am a poet, painter and actor. I write and paint on da daily; I am also a Educator and I have been teaching in NYC for the past 12 years.
She is impressed. I am impressed that she is impressed. What is she impressed about?
She tells me that she is impressed about me taking my career as an artist in my own hands. She loves that I create opportunities for myself. Really? Someone else on this planet can see that? I don’t get told that. Especially with my art and especially with my acting.
We talk about the play, my impressions of Lucia, and the next steps going forward.
She tells me she is looking for a Chinese Actress and if they don’t find the one I need and want, she will be calling me for the role. The next step will be reading a scene with another Actor, the man that would play my father. If I get the role. WOW.
I am happy as I walk out and call Gabby to tell her how it went. I forget my umbrella and have to go back up to get it–I hope she does not dock off points for sometimes my airheaded-utah valley-senses. I am happy because I am in action with going after what I want and what makes me fulfilled. acting. connection. stories. storytelling and storylistening. theater. ohhhh yessss, acting.
As I wait for my train on the subway platform, I am satisfied and my head is help up just a little bit more. I think about what the casting director/playwright told me, “You look different from everyone else that applied. You stand out and that is why I wanted to meet you today.” For real? No one really says that to me. For real? My psyche has been going through major turbulationtwistsandturns because I do not look like everyone else. And now another mortal in theater is telling me that works for me? Because I look different from everyone else? Wow. I can be in THIS conversation. I can work with this. This can work for me and myself and my life. And my ACTING.
when I went back to pick up my umbrella, I saw pictures in the hallway that gave me comfort, gave me positive omens. i got this. shoutoutz y praises to my harlem homeboy and inspiration, Mr. Baldwin:
I’ve never heard of her. And now that I have her name, I’m gonna do my research on her. Introducing Fredi Washington. In her bio caption underneath her photograph, it said she danced for Duke Ellington, was on Broadway and references to how she worked with other “male great artists.” As I read this, I told myself, that my art and accomplishments will be good enough. That folks will not have to mention me working with other “male great artists” of my time. that I will be able to stand on my own name, work and creativity. Yes, that’s what I want.
dreams fulfilled y’all.
dreams fulfilled now y’all.
today was a good day.
in the spirit of magic and beauty and having what we want REALIZED, i leave you with the pumpkin pie with ginger snap icecream dripping with melted chocolate we ate last night with friends.
i love my peoples.
i love my life.
i love our possibilities and the reality we have created for ourselves and each other.
here’s to all of us, we can have what we want:
if i don’t get called back to play LUCIA–i will say ALL IS WELL. i am so happy i went for it, i was myself and i’m happy. i’m glad for this experience and connection and interaction i had with another human being i did not know before. and i’m happy i did an action towards my dreams.
on my way to my “audition,” as i was sitting on the A train going downtown, i look across at this woman’s bag and i read, “do something you are scared to do everyday.”
check. did it.
thank you for reading.
thank you for your listening.