Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hello Class, I'm Yana, it's like Donna with a Y

Today I did something terrifying. I've never done it before, though I've thought about it a lot. And imagined in my head how it would go. My friends have done it, some of them a bunch of times. I wanted to try. I thought--this might be fun. Or it might be the end of me.

Today I began a 10 week, twice-a-week session of teaching 7th graders how to write plays.

Excuse me? Am I actually in a place where I can TEACH this stuff? And--gasp--get PAID to teach this stuff? Apparently so. And teach it well, even--I got an email from the classroom teacher that I had done a fabulous job. So despite my initial fear...I succeeded.

I've been doing a lot of things lately that scare me a little. Well...scare me a lot. I switched departments in my day job, reducing my hours to next to nothing but staying with a company I respect (translation: living on savings for a bit) and leaving me lots of time for writing. Which I'm going to need since I'm currently writing my next play, "I Think My Heart Needs Glasses." It took me 2 years total to create "The Ukrainian Dentist's Daughter" that toured this summer. I have 7.5 months left for this next one to be audience worthy for Montreal (holy kites!).
I think my heart needs glasses...green glittered glasses.

"I Think My Heart Needs Glasses" is the product of a lot of different ideas that came together when I did a 10 day silent Vipassana meditation retreat at the end of August. I'll tell you this much: keeping quiet is the easiest part. It's like after a show, when an audience member comes up to you in awe and says, "Gosh, how do you remember all of those lines?" and you just smile kindly and say, "A lot of practice." The biggest challenge of the retreat isn't silence: it is living in your head with absolutely no distractions--no talking, no books, no music, no journal, no internet. It's a trip. If you want to know more, check out my play next year.

I also: decided to apply to graduate school, started taking guitar lessons, got set up on 2 blind dates, and cut bangs into my hair. I've been busy since I last wrote a blog.

In addition to all that, "The Ukrainian Dentist's Daughter" opens in the Seattle Fringe on Wednesday. Which shouldn't phase me at all--I've performed my show countless times (okay, 16 times) this summer. I'm fairly certain that I've got it down--but I also feel like every time I put this show down for a bit it feels completely different when I pick it back up again. And maybe those differences are only visible to me (or to my friends here in Seattle who have seen my show 2-3 times already--bless your souls!). But they are unnerving, every time.

However, perhaps that nervous feeling about my show is a testament to my connection to the piece. I'm not on autopilot for it. Yes, I feel I could recite it in my sleep, but acting it--that's a different story. Every time I start it up again I get the same feeling I did today in front of my 7th graders: that there is a very strong possibility I am going to fall on my face.

I hope that feeling never goes away. The day it does is the day I stop performing.

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