“No.” is a Complete Sentence

It’s often hard to say no when someone asks something of you.

My instinct is to say yes even though I know that the answer is a resounding NO. Guilt is an awful feeling but resentment is even stronger.  I am always worried the person will be highly offended and disappointed. However this week I had to say no to three situations. Only two of the three accepted my answer without an explanation.  My reasons, actually, didn’t need explanations. I have a lot on my plate as 2011 comes to a close and those around me know that.

Yet, I did take a moment to evaluate why I said no. Most of my decisions are based on my gut. If it doesn’t feel right, it ain’t happenin’. When I have gone against my instinct, it usually pans out  in a way that makes me say, “Malini, why didn’t you listen to you?!”  Since I don’t want to disappoint anyone, I am always ready to cram more into my already tight schedule. I have to remind myself that my personal time is valuable. So if I try to make it all happen, it’s not fair for anyone involved because it becomes rushed. And I get cranky.

Also, sometimes it’s best to keep it simple with the reason. What makes sense in your head is never articulated in the way you thought. I was invited to a last minute breakfast and I automatically said yes though I had planned my chores over a week prior to this day. After I said yes and hung up, I thought to myself, why did I say yes. I have to take care of these things TODAY. I called back the person and started to explain and it didn’t come out the right way. It sounded like I was blowing them off which wasn’t the intention. If I had just said that I needed to look at the day and I’ll get back to them, I would have saved myself some guilt.

There is a flip side. I have been on the receiving end of a No. I have also been on the receiving end of a YES that should have been a NO. That was very painful because there was underlying resentment on both ends. Now I preface my favors by acknowledging that if they say no, that’s okay. If they need time to think it over, that’s fine. Then there are times I can’t hear the no because I am in the midst of planning and executing. All I can see is what needs to get done and therefore manipulate. Let me tell you that no one is happy in the end. That’s a big lesson I have learned over the last year.

People will still love you if you say no. You will also get more respect.

Check out Oprah.com for more info on the Power of Saying No.




And Scene!

For Ida.

See How They Run closed this weekend after a successful three week run. After my shows close, I always do a post-show wrap up which consists of me reviewing what I learned and what I would do differently next time (hence, my Round Robin).

Without further ado, here’s my lessons from See How They Run:

  1. To teach is to learn.
  2. If you foster love and trust within a group, magic happens.
  3. Patience provides perspective.
  4. It really isn’t all about me (that was a tough one to type).
  5. If you are sick, go to the doctor.
  6. It’s okay to be angry if there’s love supporting the emotion. It’s not okay to be angry if it’s pals, venom and irrational behavior, join the party.
  7. Being a power of example can come in two forms: showing professionalism when the chips are down and showing unprofessionalism when the chips are down.
  8. Word of mouth is the best way to get audiences into the theater!
  9. Timing is everything.
  10. If you do your best and believe you have done your best, others will see it:

Mark Lord’s Review for Queens Chronicle; Arlene McKanick’s review for Times Ledger;
Cliff Kasden’s blog for Queens Courier; and Andrew Benjamin’s Review for my site.

“See How They Run” is a Wildly Entertaining Production

There are not too many productions that do high energy comedies right. A characteristic of such comedians as the Marx Brothers and Three Stooges, pulling it off correctly is like a gamble. The risk of failure outweighs the reward of success. The Parkside Players production of “See How They Run” manages to pull it off without trouble and making one of the most entertaining productions in Queens.

Set in 1940s England, American actress Penelope Topp is living the quiet life with her vicar husband, Reverend Lionel. When an old friend from her acting days comes to visit her, it ignites a series of events involving mistaken identities, thrills and pratfalls.

The entire cast should be commended for never bringing the energy down when the comedy reaches its boiling point. The cast is invested in all their roles and none are sleepwalking through their performances. The cast play off each other effortlessly. The most noteworthy of the cast has to be Natalie Y. Jones as Ida, the maid of Penelope and Lionel. Not only does she do a fantastic cockney accent, but her comedic timing is spot on every time she is on stage. She brings out a tough, yet easily flattered lady who is relatable on many levels.

You might be asking yourself as per the title, does the production have a scene where the cast runs around. It happens quite a few times, but to mention why would spoil the fun of experiencing it firsthand.

If you do some research on the play you will find out it was written by an English playwright. You need not worry about it being strictly British humor. The production appeals to all ages and young and old will be laughing together to the very end.

Director Malini Singh McDonald smartly builds up the comedic energy slowlylevel rather than inundating the audience in each act. That makes the play as a whole more enjoyable as the anticipation of the hijinks that occur is are more comedic. The production cannot be recommended enough. It is a funny, laugh-out-loud experience that is suitable for the entire family.