My Name is Malini and I am a Workaholic

How Do I Know if I’m a Workaholic?

  1. Do you get more excited about your work than about family or anything else? Sometimes, yes.
  2. Are there times when you can charge through your work and other times when you can’t? Absolutely.
  3. Do you take work with you to bed? On weekends? On vacation? I have on many occasions.
  4. Is work the activity you like to do best and talk about most? Yes. And I know it sometimes annoys people.
  5. Do you work more than 40 hours a week? Yes.
  6. Do you turn your hobbies into money-making ventures? *sigh* Yes.
  7. Do you take complete responsibility for the outcome of your work efforts? Always.
  8. Have your family or friends given up expecting you on time? I tend to be a prompt person.
  9. Do you take on extra work because you are concerned that it won’t otherwise get done? Yup.
  10. Do you underestimate how long a project will take and then rush to complete it? At times.
  11. Do you believe that it is okay to work long hours if you love what you are doing? Of course, why wouldn’t you.
  12. Do you get impatient with people who have other priorities besides work? Grrr. YES! ūüė¶
  13. Are you afraid that if you don’t work hard you will lose your job or be a failure? I have finally moved forward from that fear.
  14. Is the future a constant worry for you even when things are going very well? Worry was a best friend. We’re now acquaintances.
  15. Do you do things energetically and competitively including play? I am getting better about that.
  16. Do you get irritated when people ask you to stop doing your work in order to do something else? All the effing time.
  17. Have your long hours hurt your family or other relationships? It did.
  18. Do you think about your work while driving, falling asleep or when others are talking? Sometimes.
  19. Do you work or read during meals? No but only because I love to eat.
  20. Do you believe that more money will solve the other problems in your life? Not any more.

If you answer “yes” to three or more of these questions you may be a workaholic. Relax. You are not alone.

Well, thank goodness I’m not alone. I thought this was a normal way of life. As I wait for the next phase of my diagnosis, I have been doing¬†some writing. And you know what I learned about myself? That I have a busy schedule. I knew that I did but I didn’t really KNOW or want to ACCEPT. The first step is knowing. I did a google search of workaholics and the Workaholics Anonymous link came up. I truthfully answered the questions and read some of their literature. Interesting stuff. I was told¬†I have to slow down and reevaluate my schedule.¬† I also did a comparison of this year and 2006 (the year of my diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis). There were a ton of similarities and a difference. The difference being that I don’t party like I did but the crazy schedule¬†remains the same. I have lots to think about and some changes to make without compromising my dreams and passions.¬†As I have blogged, I know what I want but I know that¬†I don’t want to hurt myself in the process. What fun would that be? To finally achieve everything I dreamed but not be able to enjoy any of it. One day at a time, folks.

So¬†keep me in your thoughts tomorrow morning ūüôā Everything will be the way it is¬†supposed to be. And if you think you may be a workaholic, visit www.workaholic-anonymous.org. Great site. I highly recommend it.

This is Spinal Tap

“Your sister was such a trooper!”

That’s what the nurses said to my sisters after my short stint at the doctor’s office on Friday. And you know what? I was a trooper.

I had a lumbar puncture (aka a spinal tap) on Friday in order to fully diagnose whether or not I have Multiple Sclerosis. I could have gone into the procedure with trepidation, fear, worry, anxiety and dread. However, I decided that I would not do that. Besides my father and sisters going on the field trip with me, I also received a ton of love via text, email and calls. That made a difference. I also let go of the outcome. I stayed in the present and was  jovial.  I made the environment comfortable for everyone involved.I laughed and chatted with the staff. In doing that, the procedure went by fast, the recovery was easy going and I got to spend time in silence and with my family.

In the past, I would have created negative and anxious pomp and circumstance. In retrospect, that kind of manufactured drama was unneccessary but I am so glad I experienced it. Simply, I now have a comparison and contrast on how to deal with situations. It is never easy to deal with a diagnosis or misdiagnosis or non-diagnosis. However, how you decide to approach it rather than automatically react to it,  makes the difference.

I watched The Secret a few months ago and there was a segment on a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer. One of the ways she healed herself was through constant positive energy and laughter. Her cancer disappeared at the time of the taping. I kept thinking about that on Friday. I will continue my affirmations, continue to laugh, continue to  be grateful. 

After spending the rest of the day with my family, I went home and surfed Netflix.

Yep, I watched This is Spinal Tap.

For Ian: “Stonehenge, where the demons lie.”

Producing v. Acting: Lessons Learned Via Twelfth Night

I really don’t have a problem wearing multiple hats but I prefer not to when I am working on a show. It gets very confusing. I especially do not like to act when I am producing. It can become weird for the director. Is he talking to his boss¬†or his actress? However, sometimes…sometimes, I just like to break my own rule.

This past Sunday, we closed Twelfth Night¬†after four months of being in pre-production¬†and a¬†five week¬†rehearsal process. In the beginning, my job was to produce and publicize our show. As we got closer to the our first readthrough,¬† the actress cast to play Maria was unable to do the show. We were on the fence about recasting or letting me do the show. I was stuck. I know the process of all things theater. I know the difficulties that arise just doing one job. Yet, Maria is a role that I wanted since I was 18, when I played a minor character in my college production of Twelfth Night. Fast forward to this summer…I guess the universe was giving me a gift…or two. I wore the two hats but had to be very clear when I was wearing them. I was producer by day and actress by night. However, as we got closer to opening, I sometimes had to wear both on my head and I felt like the Mad Hatter.

I learned so much about myself. About theater. About passion. I really did my best to give all of me to the whole¬†process. That’s all I could do. I was also very¬†fortunate to have amazing and talented actors¬†cast.¬†Though I occassionally¬†act,¬†I¬†do prefer producing for my company and doing the publicity. I enjoy the Ps more than being on stage. (Though, if you need me in a pinch, email me).

The run of this production was both exhilirating¬†and exhausting. I feel a tremendous amount of gratitude to be able to play one of the three of roles on my Roles I Must Play Before I Die.¬† So with all that gushing, here’s a quick rundown of the run for those of you who couldn’t make it. We will start with:

Our opening show at McCarren Park was interesting to say the least. In¬†addition to our performance, we had a kickball game with loud music at the other field; aerialists practicing off of the tree limbs behind the audience; cyclists cycling through; a frisbee game and who knows what else. It’s a busy park. It was also warm. Not as warm as…

 

Sunday’s performance at the Forest Park Bandshell. As a matter of fact, we managed not to be rained upon but boy was it HOT. We were dripping through the performance. It reminded me of our performance of Much Ado About Nothing at Snug Harbor in Staten Island in 2010. It was the hottest day that summer. Anyway, at some point towards the end of the our performance, I actually felt myself checking out. I had to pull it together (which I managed). It was intense. Thank goodness my parents provided food and water for us. And thank goodness we had an audience.¬†¬†

 

 

Monday’s performance at East River State Park¬†(Brooklyn) reminded me to always demand a permit. Even though I was allayed my fears of needing one, I had to deal with the park rangers right before my entrance. I had to switch from actress to producer to actress in a matter of 2 minutes. Thankfully they didn’t pull the show but the stress level made it hard to enjoy the performance. Plus the audience saw the whole¬†thing. On¬† the plus side, I will say that the location is pretty cool because it’s on the river and the ferry stops right there. Great skyline.

We had a few days off and were ready to rock at Central Park on Friday when the skies opened up and rained all day. We had to cancel that performance which hurt us donation wise. The lesson there is to consider an indoor venue as a contigency. We were able to have a lovely performance there on Saturday. I think it was our  best show even thoughI nearly killed our Aguecheek in one scene when I pushed him and our Olivia slipped because we were on an incline. However, we pulled it off and it turned out to be a great day.

Our closing show was on the red steps in front of the Van Cortlandt House Museum. By far, our least attended but our most favorite to perform. There were many levels to play on and we had a great cast party afterwards. Lots of fun. Nothing brings together a cast than sweat and burritos.

 

 

 

 

Today I drafted the notes for our post-mortem production meeting. I talked about where we can improve for next summer and what we learned from this experience. One of those points was to begin planning even sooner. Like by the end of the year. Why so early? Well, Black Henna really enjoys doing Shakespeare in the summer. That is the seedling of the company. If we are going to produce one show a year then it better rock and it better stand out. Plus next year marks out 10th Anniversary. We have tons to celebrate.

Super kudos to you for supporting near and far!

And if you are wondering how come Ian and I aren’t in a picture together, simply Orsino and Maria aren’t in any scenes together. Here we are pre-show!

Wrong Page? Oh, Wrong Book.

I had a huge realization this morning.

I was feeling some anger over a recent situation and couldn’t get over the hump of it so I can let it go. Then it hit me. Not everyone is like me. I intellectually know that but emotionally‚ĶI don‚Äôt. I have weaknesses. I have written in the past of my unrealistic expectations. I feel tremendous rejection and pain when I feel that my expectations aren‚Äôt met. Yet, not everyone is on the same page as me or as a friend texted me ‚Äúsometimes they not even reading the same book‚ÄĚ.

This past weekend taught me many lessons in reaction. One is that I, sometimes, have the tendency to either overreact or be in denial. I overreact to what I can say are seemingly insignifant issues. Yet, I can not even react to very important issues. I can take a small issue, rip it to pieces so I can find faults, then force the pieces together and be upset that the puzzle doesn‚Äôt look like the box cover. In the same breath, I can take a very important issue and go, ‚ÄúHmmm. Yeah, that really sucks but I can‚Äôt deal with it right¬† now.‚ÄĚ What ends up happening is the denial turns into my personal drama. I have been getting better about this side of myself.

Anyway, here’s the conclusion I came to today. Though I grew up watching baseball, going to games, and rooting for the home team, I don’t necessarily need to know the stats of the players and who is being traded. My life doesn’t revolve or isn’t dictated by baseball. I have to remember that the same is true for others in my life. Not everyone sees what I see or feels what I feel.  The other conclusion I am working towards is that I should address the what I am denying. It is better to face the situations so they are left unresolved.

I also have to remember that I have a tendency to let these type of things cloud the goodness that is happening. I have to be in the moment. We had a successful reading of Imaginary and are moving along with Twelfth Night. I really have nothing to complain about. Well, maybe the issue in which I am in denial.

What’s next? Twelfth Night!

www.blackhennaproductions.comImage

One Curtain Falls, Another Rises

Or as my beloved uncle would say, “When one window closes, a door will open.”

Hmmm. Okay.

Or when one chapter ends, another begins unless it’s the end of the book.

At the end of a show or project that I spent a ridiculous amount of time on, there’s the post-show blues and all that jazz. Here’s the thing with me. I do feel that on some projects but other times I feel that the end means…a new beginning. A transition. I have shared with a few people that this year¬†has been¬†a transition for me.¬† The frustrating thing I don’t know where the transition is leading me. I am literally going with the flow.

Godspell¬†closed on Sunday and though I am very sad (I was involved¬†in it for 2 years), I am ready to get my three projects up and going. If anything, I can use everything¬†I have learned on Godspell with these projects. So I also feel a new type of energy. It’s all very confusing yet so clear.¬†It’s a ¬†paradox.

It’s not only with my theater but other aspects of my life. I can feel it but I can’t pinpoint it. And maybe I don’t need to right now.

In three days we open with Imaginary. In three weeks we open with Twelfth Night.  In three months, the Estrogenius Festival goes into rehearsal and will open at The Barrow Group. I try to do balance family, work, and theater with as much grace as possible.

Here’s my note from the Universe today (www.tut.com)

“For all things and non-things that you may ever want, Malini, understand that sometimes the fastest way to get them is to forget them, and to focus instead on just being the most amazing human being you can be. At which point all of your heart’s desires, spoken or unspoken, will be drawn¬†to you more powerfully than a magnet is drawn to steel.

Have an amazing day,
¬†¬†¬† The Universe”

You know what? I am an amazing human being. I just have to remember that!

 

Godspell Prepared ME the Way!

On October 24th of last year, I posted my second blog entry called Move a Muscle, Change a Thought where I opined about the opening of Godspell and how excited I was about being a Person of Godspell.

Well, we are closing on Sunday, June 24th and there aren’t words to describe the experience. So, I will take this opportunity to thank all of¬†you who saw and supported the show. I know that Godspell¬†touched many of you. As a matter of fact, I will always remember¬†how fortunate I was to follow through on an opportunity,¬†the connections made with my fellow PoGs, the Broadway education I learned. The one thing I want to share is when I was 30, I set a goal for myself. I knew at the time it was a pretty high one but I set it. I wanted to have a Broadway credit in some form by the time I hit 35.¬†¬†I got¬†my credit by 35.¬†

I’m really grateful because it wasn’t an easy journey. I could have walked away from my passion a dozen times. I am glad I didn’t but rather paused, took a break, went on vacation. That’s the best advice I can give anyone who is frustrated¬†and wants out of whatever they are doing. Walk away and revisit. See if you are reignited or you are a wet wick.

So, if you want to catch Godspell before we close, click HERE.

And some fun photos:

Be the Change You Want to See

Over the last year, I have watched a lot of documentaries. Each night before bed, I usually am watching and learning about someone. Last week it was Bill Clinton and Bernie Mac. Then on Saturday night, I watched one that I knew nothing about and decided go for it since it kept coming up on our Netflix. Boy was I in for a a night of tears.¬†Dear Zachary, was completely heartbreaking. After watching it, I thought about¬†two others¬†that have gotten to me and have stayed with me:¬†¬†There’s Something Wrong with Aunt Diane¬†and Unforgotten: 25 Years After Willowbrook.

None of these documentaries are happy. I was a mess after watching them. Thankfully, I didn’t watch all three back to back or else I wouldn’t be able to leave my apartment. I’ll give a quick synopsis of each.¬†

Dear Zachary is a film made by the close friend of the¬† protagonist (I don’t think I have used that word since college). Andrew Bagby¬†was murdered¬†by¬†Shirley Turner after he broke off their relationship. Andrew is much loved¬†by all his friends and they are devastated¬†to learn of his death. Most people are upset when a friend dies but almost all the couples interviewed mentioned wanting him to be¬†their best man or he was their best man at their weddings. After Turner is arrested, we learn she is pregnant with his son, Zachary. The documentary becomes a letter to Zachary but as the film moves on it becomes a true crime documentary. I’ll leave it at that just in case you want to watch it.

There’s Something Wrong with Aunt Mary¬†may hit closer to home as I know that most of my readers remember the 2009 Taconic State Parkway crash.¬† Eight people were killed¬†when Diane Shuler drove her SUV in the wrong direction on the Taconic . She collided head on. She died along with her daughter and three nieces. It was later found that she was DUI and DWI which was shocking to those close to her because she never showed any indication of alcohol and drug abuse.

Unforgotten: 25 Years After Willowbrook deals with aftermath of the atrocious treatment and living conditions of the developmentally disabled. What a horror story! Willowbrook State Institution was located in Staten Island and has since been demolished.

It got me thinking this weekend, as I was on the Taconic sharing my feelings to Ian about all three documentaries, what specifically moved me. I am not good at remembering the plot points of movies and plays unless I love them or they are part of our pop culture.  Otherwise, forget about it. It is so gone from my head. Then it hit me.

At what point do people become inhumane?¬†How do people turn a blind eye. How does the justice system allow a woman who is accused¬†of shooting her husband to keep custody of her child with no follow up. How do people see an erratic woman with children go about her business? How does Willowbrook¬†happen and no one say anything until it exposed. It makes me think about the instances I kept my mouth shut when maybe I should have said something. I remember one time seeing a guy with fire in his eyes screaming at this woman on the train. I really wanted to say something but I thought she’s going to be okay because she’s in public. Can I say Kitty Genovese? Or when I was teaching and I suspected one of my students being a victim of child abuse. I was a young teacher and didn’t know what to do. There are so many moments like that and I am sure that others have experienced the same in some form.¬†

I won’t take actions in my own hands but I will speak up. Willowbrook¬†was 30 years ago but that doesn’t mean this isn’t going on today. Diane Shuler was a high-functioning alcoholic. No one saw the signs of her disease. And poor Andrew never got his justice. At least, his parents, David and Kathleen¬†Bagby¬†are advocating for law changes. It was a lesson for sure this weekend as we drove the winding highway of the Taconic.

As a dear friend says often: Be the change you want to see.

Memories… Light the corners of my mind

Last night I reunited with friends from my time at the Actors Studio Drama School – (Cohort VII in the house!) It had been about nine years since we last saw each other. Oh, the memories of graduation. The slight memories of the afterparty. I was told there was¬†an after after party. I can’t remember…good times. The one thing we kept repeating is how much we missed each other. It seems like yesterday we were all struggling to complete our MFAs with big dreams and high hopes. For the most part, some of us are still on that path and others have created amazing new lives. The point is we were still able to connect on very personal level…nine years later.

When you spend three years in a conservatory living, breathing, eating the craft with others, you have no choice but¬†to connect. Especially in a program that focuses on bringing your personal truth to your character. I remember a few times wanting to drop out of the program because it was really hard. Thankfully, I had a partner-in-crime (now husband) who wouldn’t let me do that. For him, I am so incredibly thankful.

My time at ASDS was the best and worst three years of my life. The work and dedication was tremendous but I did it. We all did it. And are still doing it.

So to Cohort VII, our ten year reunion will be underway…once I get through the summer ūüôā It was great seeing all of you!

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You are cordially invited to the staged reading of Nick Radu’s Imaginary.

Starring: Monica Barczak, Renee Delio, Melanie Jolley, Brett Miro, Paul Morisi, Laura Packer & Paul Robilotto

Performances are listed below. Reserve tix: malinism@rocketmail.com.

Friday, June 29th at 8pm
Workshop Theater Company
312 West 36th Street
$15

Sunday, July 1st at 2pm
Once Upon a Time
8761 111th Street in Richmond Hill, Queens
$15

Synopsis:

Jack Cartwright has passed on after being involved in a tragic car accident. Before passing on to ‚Äúthe other side,‚ÄĚ Jack must take on the job as Imaginary Friend to 8-year-old Molly Hamilton. Jack is just another notch in Molly‚Äôs candy lipstick case as she has been through six Imaginary
Friends already in her short life. Sampson, the angelic spirit in charge of the Imaginary Friend Network, explains the rules of imaginary friending to a reluctant Jack, who finds the task slightly more daunting than he expected.

Ah, Musical Theatre!

I was just sharing with a friend that I would like to direct a musical. I have never directed one in my 14 years as a director. Imagine that! Not that I don’t love musicals.¬† I just haven’t had the chance or haven’t found one that moves me like Rent or Godspell or Passing Strange.¬† Where oh where is the musical that has my name written all over it?

Then I read Ken Davenport’s blog about the fate of musical theatre which not for nothing I have been hearing about since…forever and a minute ago.

Anyway, if you have any suggestions that may be of interest to me, comment away.