A Zombie Chicken Birthday
2021-01-09, 9:20 p.m.
I don't feel like talking about yesterday, mostly I was just too tired after work to do much. Like work wasn't actually BAD per se, but I am not in the mood. I got tired halfway through dinner and laid down for 2 hours and then went back to finish my dinner and then laid down again reading in bed...then despite being tired all night, wasn't 100% sleepy so I probably didn't sleep....
Oh brother. Well, it's been a week.
On a related note, last year I got an "anti-affirmations" daily calendar, which I freaking loved and would hand pages out of to people in the beforetimes if it was something that fit them, and sent photos of in the helltimes later. Sometimes it could be bizarrely appropriate on a few people's birthdays or other things, and occasionally it would get very 2020 for something presumably written in 2019. I did not end up getting a new one as a Christmas present this year even though I asked, so I ordered myself another one and finally got it about a week late.
I will note that one of the pages said, "Have we tried turning the USA off and on again?"
Today I did a workshop with SF Shakes (the King Lear show) on green screen acting. It was more of a discussion with the actors as to what they did. It was two of the sisters, King Lear and Kent (it's been a while....) talking about what they did.
They had road maps on the floor and spike marks (tape all over the floor depending on where you were in the script). They showed a shot of a very complicated circular grid on the floor. Complicated plans as to where to be looking. King Lear said she wrote out in great detail what she was doing, and you couldn't switch your shoes out.
Cameras took up 80% of the living room in one lady's apartment, so she had to tear it down/set it up every time and her husband had to hide in the bedroom. "He had access to the kitchen and the bathroom, lucky him." Some of them would put up signs and/or text the family to tell them to be quiet, not knock, don't clump down the stairs, etc. One lady had "rambunctious kittens" and they meowed during a scene, so they got locked up a lot.
"It didn't feel like acting, I had to accept that it was something different." Without being able to react to someone in the room, she had to do it differently. "We started tech rehearsal from day one." You have to pretend you are talking to someone in front of you. "What if I'm in a one man show and these are just recordings in my ear?" "You have to keep fighting the absurdity of it." King Lear compared this to scuba diving, that level of unnaturality. "To be looking at a piece of blue tape on the wall...and losing your temper at this blue tape...."
Leaning forward or backward would change your size, if you leaned left or right you might end up blocking another actor, and the distorted lens changed things as well. "Once you're in profile, you get a nose job." "Basically, this was a whole game of trust."
Lighting setups were different for everyone and sometimes blocked their movement.
"I thought it was very sad, I was depressed by it, I felt like I was acting in a vacuum." -on acting without an audience. One guy would tune into the YouTube feed (about 30 seconds off) and watch it while the show was going on in the other room, so he could watch the chat. "It was a pale, pale comparison to breathing the same air."
SF Shakes would send them thermometers and said they would call off the show if it got too hot! Of course they couldn't have fans or air conditioning. They had to do fanning like a Southern belle. A few shows were called off due to rolling blackouts, and if one actor had one, the show was called off, which happened twice. One of them noted that smoke would have probably canceled their shows, but that wasn't an issue this year.
"It didn't always feel like theater," but "even a Zoom community is better than no community at all. It gave me a lot of hope that I had a job ,that I had all these actors around me, and it was keeping theater alive." People from all over the world could see shows. "This is still theater," one of them said, saying she can still do the theater things she does.
Top pieces of advice:
In the after-presentation bits, I told people in the chat about my green screen experiences and asked what everyone thought of some theaters I've seen requiring that anyone auditioning have 12 feet of empty space in their homes, the newest computers, and extremely good Internet. People thought those standards were "pretty challenging" and "seems inequitable to me." One of the stage crew said that they just adjusted to how much space people had. Very nice of SF Shakes.
After that I walked around the house and shopped for birthday presents online. Got Cameron some yarn and alas, ordered myself some as well since it was the last of that particular shade of purple. (I really need to figure out what the hell to do with all the sock yarn around my house that is not ever gonna be used to make socks..) I also, guess what, watched more Hallmark (see below).
At five, I went to the Capital Storytelling Story Slam.
Fun fact from Jan: "I just saw King Kong and BOY, was it a racist movie!" I told everybody about the movie Gambit, which (a) features Shirley MacLaine as a half-Asian woman (whaaaat?), but otherwise is interesting in how it's executed. Hopefully someone redoes this idea someday.
Ed messaged me to (a) remind me to renew my storytelling membership (good point, did it) and was trying to get me to tell things in the future. I messaged back that I have been feeling brain dead these days, as I haven't really had any good storytelling things happen to me of late (or at least nothing that fits into a 5-10 minute bit with a good finish) and he was all, " With new audiences you can tell some of your fantastic old stories. Telling one of them might motivate you." Awww, Ed.
Stories from the night (though I forgot to write down Ed's horror story about hags because I was writing):
* John told a story about a birthday party as a kid where he got gifted a chicken, it died and they buried it. Then it...somehow unearthed itself, and his mom just popped it in the oven to cook and see if it revived, but it came out even limper....To which I was all OMG THIS IS A ZOMBIE CHICKEN?!?! and "did it survive?!" No, it did not. However, I'm a little concerned that John's telling a story about a ZOMBIE CHICKEN and he's more concerned with the delicious cupcakes they were having. Trust me, dude, the cupcakes are not the crucial factor in this story!
* Sara told a story she called "Asshole Bingo," after a game her law school class would pay about the most talkative class members, and "I was definitely on everyone's card." (She mentioned later that someone did yell "Bingo" when she raised her hand, and someone once gave her champagne.) The guy she was dating decided to go to a different law school, so she decided she was going to find a replacement in her law school class. She gets fascinated by "Mr. McGavern," a fellow who presumably wasn't on the bingo card because he'd sit in the back and be quiet most of the time, but toward the end of the class he'd come out with something fascinating, and "I had always fallen for the smartest boy in every class." But he's so far back she can't ever spot him in that class.
I LOVED THIS STORY SOOOOOO MUCH. Jan referred to this as "Too many pandemic Hallmarks!" I'm not sure what exactly she meant, but I perked up at Hallmark again :P
* Abby told a story called "3 Wombs," in which she starts out saying that compared to her sister, "I was not as good of a fetus as she was." Sister did a lot of kicking, Abby did not kick. "I thought you were dead in there," her mom said, and went to the doctor only to be told, "you have a lazy fetus." This also went into (a) every time she goes to the gynecologist somehow a tour of people come in to checks hers out, (b) they always ask if she's going to USE her uterus and she still doesn't want to, (c) one nurse told her that she (the nurse) was "one of those people who didn't know I was pregnant until I was 8 months along, maybe that's why I don't get along with my daughter," and (d) made a reference to, "knowing the gynecologist will at least be getting to second base with me."
* On the first day of kindergarten, Diana's brother told her that teachers kept guns in their fanny packs and would hold a gun to her head if she got the Pledge of Allegiance wrong. Naturally, she wanted to escape school, but at age 5, "I still believe in cartoon gravity and cartoon science" and ends up getting her hand stuck in a fence.
* Rizvan thinks he is "the most boring person on the planet who has lived through the most interesting times."
After that, I watched the Maximum Occupancy improv show.
Back to Hallmark: A Royal Winter. Another prince movie, minus the actual Christmas! This is cookie cutter same plot as every other royalty movie, except the Christmas ones usually have more wackadoodle going on than this one actually has, so it was kind of one where I kind of wasn't paying much attention to it and mostly spent more time shopping for friends' birthdays online.
A Winter Princess: