Declare Who You Are!

How good is that?! I know I have felt like that many times.  I have always said that I am a director even though I have another job that pays my bills. If I say I am a legal secretary, I can feel the despair set in and distancing from my true aspirations.

I love Oprah’s Master Class.  I enjoy the style in which the celebrities share their stories. They always have a nugget of inspiration about how they continue on when the chips are down.

I never know what theme will be repeated during the week but declare who you are started the week and ended the week. The other source is an unlikely one. However, it’s not that odd that the first one would be from theater and movies and the second one would be from music.

 The second time I heard it was at the Motorhead concert I attended at the Garden on Saturday.  Lemmy screached in his raspy voice, ” We are Motorhead and we play rock and roll!!!” He’s been saying that throughout the band’s 40 year career. 

Morgan and Lemmy have been living the life they want because simply, they say so.

My name is Malini and I am a director/producer.

Rant I: Ugh, Just Respect the Work

This week I rant about audience members not respecting theater. 

I wanted to see The Mountaintop with Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson  since September. I got to see it this week in a nick of time as it closed this past weekend. The experience of seeing movie stars work on the stage, in the flesh,  is extra special for me. It’s an honor to share the same creative space with them. I felt that honor when I saw Private Lives with Kim Cattrall; Proof with Jennifer Jason Leigh; Inherit the Wind with Christopher Plummer and Brian Dennehy (Al Pacino happened to be in the audience – so cool). 

Yet, others don’t feel the same way. I am constantly distracted. This time I near fell off The Mountaintop…but didn’t.

Picture it: The people in front of me and next to me texted throughout the performance. I have done theater long enough to know how to keep my focus but not for nothing, it is really hard to stay focused when the lights are down and all of sudden I am blinded by the light of a cell phone. Towards the end of The Mountaintop, which is about the night before Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and his last moments at the Lorraine Motel, three people who were sitting in front of me got up to go to the bathroom. While they were gone, Angela Bassett closes the show with a beautiful and moving monologue to the audience. We were so moved. I am sure not a dry eye in the house. The audience members returned after the applause died down.  All I could think was, “Wow, you just missed the opportunity to see a multi-award winning actress give a performance..in the flesh.”

But that’s how it is at all the shows I go to see.  In the last year, this is what I observed:

  • Talking
  • Texting
  • Someone forgot to turn their iPod off (their playlist was on repeat)
  • Forgetting to turn off phones
  • Getting up in the middle of an intense moment
  • Saying the lines with the actors
  • Sleeping

All I am saying is please don’t blind me with your phone when the lights go down at the theatre. And give the actors the respect of tuning into the work that they are doing on that stage. Here’s a tidbit…if you can hear them, they can hear you.

 

Shrink Your Budget or Lose Money!

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If you have goals, strive for them. They are achievable.
If you have a desire, believe in it. It will manifest.
If you have fear, face it. It doesn’t control you.

My Round Robin is a desire that I had, a goal I wanted to achieve. I am glad that I was able to do face my fear of doing it. Sharing my experiences on shrinking a budget was as helpful to me as it was to the attendees.

We focused on the one aspect of producing a show that seems simple but sometimes can become complicated: creating the budget and staying within said budget. I have been fortunate not to go over my budgets but I have chosen to spend on line items that were unnecessary (for e.g., paying for a publicist, programs, concessions). So having the opportunity to share these experiences with fellow producers brought back some “fund” memories.

The focus of the workshop is starting with why produce a show. Once you can answer that question, the rest will fall into place. Then you can create a simple budget, figure out where to save money, how to get funds and how to promote it. And if you still are lost, no worries. I plan to do another Shrink Your Budget Workshop.

In other news, Godspell is kicking off Talk Back Tuesdays as of tomorrow with individual cast members. You can visit http://www.godspell.com for more information.

Also, from January 17 to February 4th, you can see some Broadway shows for 2 for 1 tickets.

Have a great week!

Was That Random?

I love when not so random things connect.

Today my sister and I went to see Wicked (LOVED!). Before seeing the show, we stopped by Ken Davenport’s office – Godspell’s fearless leader – to pick up some promotional items. We saw the show and then had dinner. Having dinner post-matinee and pre-evening show is always a bit tight. I won’t lie. I was a bit annoyed to be sandwiched between a group and a couple (they saw Wicked as well). Once I ate and had some coffee, I was back to my normal self. Throughout the dinner, I could hear their conversation and knew they were seeing Godspell right after. As I asked for the check, I asked the group if they were indeed seeing the show. They were and so excited. I introduced myself as I handed them a few Godspell buttons. They were so appreciative. One of the young women asked if she could talk to me about producing.  I gave her my info and told her she better reach out to me. That was pretty cool. Smiles all around.

My sister and I then got on the train. I was looking through the Wicked playbill as a guy got on with THE BOOK! Of course, we had a conversation with him. He decided to read the book after seeing the show. Turns out he saw Wicked with the original cast – Kristin Chenowith and Idina Menzel. Taye Diggs stepped in for Joel Gray as the Wizard. Joel Gray is the story of the month in Playbill magazine. Laughs and gushing about the show until he got off on his stop.

Finally at home and sharing this story with Ian, he tells me how much he loves when that sort of stuff happens.  A year ago he saw a woman on the train with a Fela playbill. We had seen it a few nights before and it changed us and so he shared that with her. They had an amazing conversation about the experience of seeing that show. Well, after we talked about loving that about the city, we went about our business. I had to write tonight’s blog  and he wanted to see what was on Netflix.

What was on Netflix under Recommendations? The documentary of Fela from 1982.

Is that synergy or the full moon?

Either way…AWESOME!

My Shrink Your Budget Workshop is on Saturday morning. Click to REGISTER

Happy New You!

You know what’s crazy? The resolves should be listed everywhere.

And you know what’s also crazy? I was reviewing the past year and saw that I really attempted to live by those words. It’s a good thing I didn’t read about it a year ago.

Here’s a quick recap of the past year:

  • Changed gears and took an active role in my well-being
  • In stepping off the ledge and taking the risk, good stuff happened
  • Had the desire to make a change and actually made the change
  • Trusted my instincts
  • Control my anger
  • Started this blog
  • Became an aunt 🙂

And this is what I hope to accomplish this year:

  • De-clutter my home as it will de-clutter my mind
  • If it’s broken, fix it, mend it or throw it out
  • Scanning is a friend to all. PDF it and get rid of the extra paper (unless important)
  • Set the intention for my big goal this year, believe that it will happen and let it go.

On Friday, I posted on Facebook that 2011 was a great year. Some responded that it wasn’t. I just so happen to know that though some of my friends had a tumultuous year, they had some good stuff happen to them as well. Sometimes we get so mired in the negative (I should know as I was the queen of negativity) that we don’t see the good. Therefore, I made them list 3 moments of happiness and gratitude.

Last year wasn’t all roses for me. I chose the wrong health insurance in haste. As a result, I was unable to buy my medication for my MS (which even with aid is expensive). I had to change paths and walk the path of wellness and alternative treatment. I haven’t had an episode…to date.

We also had to deal with some old finances for our theater company, Black Henna. Though very painful, it made me realize that there are other means to maintaining one of my dreams without the fear of living in a tent community.

And lastly, I finally let go of a 16 year resentment against someone I love. Though extremely difficult (I fought it a lot), I found another way to love without hurting myself.

So, now you have to write down 3 great things that happened for you last year and your resolves for the new you.