Summer is here!
I'm very happy to finally welcome the summer after a good long fight in my second year of training. I'm having much needed time to myself to write, read, listen to podcasts, binge-watch Netflix shows and hang out with people I want to hang out with.
- Shakespeare in the Park: Julius Caesar
- Stuff I'm reading: Zadie Smith's On Beauty, James Baldwin's Notes of a Native Son
Plays I've read: Top Girls, Golden Boy, Queen Boulevard
- Kevin Spacey!
All Juilliard Drama Students received an email invite to an "informal Q&A session" with Kevin Spacey from 9:00am-11:00am on May 18, 2017. The email said that, "Time permitting, there may be an opportunity for some work on a monologue or two. A reporter and photographer from the NY Times will be in attendance." I was scheduled to do some work-study that morning but immediately made arrangements so I can come to work later!
I think most of us trickled into Room 304 that morning expecting a talk and we'd probably run out of time to work on monologues at all. We didn't expect that the "Q&A session" would turn out to be more of a Masterclass! Kevin Spacey went in there and immediately began asking us questions about our Juilliard experience thus far. He probably wasn't even 15 minutes into his "talk" when he asked, "Who's brave?" One brave soul (fresh out of first year!) raised his hand first. He did a monologue from Cymbeline twice - once for us and a second time after Kevin Spacey gave him some "notes" to work with. Afterwards, another man (an incoming fourth year) volunteered and I thought, "Two men have already gone up. We've got to get the women out there!" However, I didn't rehearse any monologues prior to this day. I figured, "I'm on vacation already! I'm not going to rehearse anything!" Finally some women came up to work, to my relief. As Kevin Spacey was working with them I began to go over lines from the monologue I know best so far: Dr. Emma Brookner's speech to the male medical doctors rejecting her funding for AIDS research from "The Normal Heart" by Larry Kramer. I thought, "You never know when the next opportunity will come. Might as well go now! What's the worst that could happen?"
I managed to get my hand up there but someone raised his hand faster. Kevin looked at me and pointed his finger at me saying, "Next." So as soon as that male actor did a fantastic job with one of Kostya's monologues from Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, I raised my hand up and Kevin looked at me and pointed his finger at me again saying, "Next." I got up from my seat and took a chair (Dr. Emma has polio and is on a wheelchair in the entire play) and took a few moments before beginning the speech.
I must've forgotten 20% of the speech but who cares? Kevin asked everyone in the audience to talk amongst themselves as he gave his notes to me: "You're in Washington DC. And they're trying to shut you down, they're trying to take you out of the room." I told him, "I'm on a wheelchair." "Yeah, you're on a wheelchair and they're trying to wheel you away from here." I said okay and then he turned to the rest of the people in the room and said, "Okay shut up now."
So I did my speech the second time around with the added circumstances. After the talk I managed to sneak in a photo with him when most of the people have left the room (I thought we were gonna have a group photo but we didn't!). And then for the rest of the day I had a spring in my step because I just did a fucking monologue in front of Kevin Spacey!
Read the article on the New York Times here: "Kevin Spacey is Holding Court. Really."
Favorite TV Show now: "Master of None" on Netflix created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang
"Master of None" is awesome and if you haven't gotten into it you should get on #MasterofNone now! The show is very diverse and reflects a lot of realities that I hardly see in shows and in films. The episode on "Parents" (Season 1) was very affirming (I think they won an Emmy for that episode). I hope I'd get to work on these kinds of shows and films after I graduate from drama school!
Favorite Podcast Episodes of the Past Two Weeks:
"Over the course of six months, reporter and This American Life contributor Jack Hitt followed a group of inmates at a high-security prison as they rehearsed and staged a production of the last act—Act V—of Hamlet. "
"Whether you call them Millennials, Generation Y, or the Me Generation, one thing's for certain: This generation of young people will change the world. But how different is this hyper-connected generation from its predecessors? And what will be its legacy? In this hour, we hear from TED speakers searching to define themselves and their generation."