Everything Is Already Something Week 64: Haiku For Rehearsals In October

Allison Page, ever the poet. 

Dracula is drunk
“Children of the night” means beer
Interpretation

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Let’s reinvent this
Rocky Horror meets Mad Men
Meatloaf in a suit

Where is the blood bag
We’ve lost the machete yikes
You’re sitting on it

Pumpkin spice break time
The cast is all in sweaters
Lookin’ like Gap ads

No you die first you
He pulls my head off ‘member
After the guts thing

Careful for the corpse
Exit over the corpse dude
Great there goes his leg

Okay hear me out
Frankenstein is a dancer
That’s why he moves weird

putting_on_the_ritz

These are all pumpkins
No I said Jack O Lanterns
Not the same thing Todd

We talked about this
We can’t really kill someone
Put down the fake sword

What do you mean Todd
We can’t be out of fake blood
Did you drink it Todd

You are the Wolf Man
You look like a Cat Man bro
No one’s scared of that

Look there’s a full moon
I’m a monster haha not
Let’s make out after

The witches’ brew Todd
You made it an IPA
Witches fell asleep

Trick or Treat haha
Just kidding I’m 43
I can’t have candy

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Allison Page is a writer/actor/monster in San Francisco. You can catch her in Theater Pub’s production of DICK 3 this month at PianoFight, as the evil henchman Ham.

Everything Is Already Something Week 63: Helpful Steps To Be More Professional And Less Awful

Allison Page, America’s Less Awful Version Of Most Things.

Step 1: Get a fucking calendar. That’s how you keep track of your stuff.

Step 2: Use that fucking calendar. Ya see, then you’ll maybe show up to the stuff.

Step 3: Did you fuck up your calendar? Take care of that shit. Communicate with people when you need to change timing of a meeting or audition or ice cream. Don’t wait for them to ask you where the fuck you are.

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Step 4: Apologize for fucking up. That was on you, say you’re sorry and suggest solutions.

Step 5: Learn from your fucking mistakes. Don’t keep making the same ones, especially with the same people. Nobody’s perfect, but don’t be awful.

Step 6: See Step 1.

Step 7: You did fucking get that calendar, right? Because…I was totally not kidding about that.

Step 8: Laptops generally come with calendars on them. If I see you with a MacBook pro and you can’t figure out your schedule, I’m going to flip a table. There’s also this thing called a smartphone.

Just one of the many fantastic calendar options of 2010

Just one of the many fantastic calendar options of 2010

Step 9: Communicate your conflicts in a timely manner. No, no, you didn’t suddenly end up in Spain. That’s not something that happens. You had to buy tickets to Spain, so maybe that would have been a good time to tell the director you’re going off to find yourself and eat paella.

Step 10: Don’t over-promise. Listen, I have fucking done this before, and it’s terrible. Your volunteering isn’t going to make you look charitable if you cancel it 6 minutes before it’s supposed to happen. I say this from experience on both sides of that shitstick.

Step 11: Don’t underestimate someone’s ability to remember that you fucked up. Oh, they remember. BOY HOWDY. If you’ve fucked up and been a no-show more than once with the same person/company, you should probably call that out and say that you know about it and don’t plan to do it again because YOU HAVE ESTABLISHED A PATTERN, MY FRIEND. People notice patterns. Like fucking houndstooth.

Step 12: Your resume doesn’t matter as much as you do. If your resume is nice and you act like a shithead, it’s the shithead I’m going to remember, not the resume.

Step 13: Don’t be a shithead.

Step 14: If you don’t like the rules, don’t do the fucking thing. It saves you from doing something you don’t really agree with, and it saves every other person involved from listening to your bullshit. Know the expectations of the project/show/whatever and if they aren’t to your liking, walk away. It’s probably just better suited to someone else and you’re probably better suited to a different project that you actually like.

Step 15: See Step 1.

Allison Page is a writer/actor/creative director of Killing My Lobster.

Everything Is Already Something Week 62: What If Plays Were Like Prom Dresses?

Allison Page is storming the barn.

This year there were three separate productions of Glengarry Glen Ross in the Bay Area meaning the play was running for four months straight: one production in San Francisco, one in Berkeley, and one in Alameda. I should say there was one ten day stretch where GGR wasn’t playing, but there was also one ten day stretch wherein two were happening at the same time, 11 miles apart, so they sort of cancel each other out in my non-scientific mind. I wonder if both of those Ricky Romas were looking up at the same moon.

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Eurydice is playing right now in Berkeley, and played earlier this year in Palo Alto, as well as two years ago in both San Francisco and Hayward, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I were missing some.

There’s a company who does Book of Liz every year in San Francisco, and another company has upcoming auditions for that same show in the East Bay.

Company is playing right now in San Francisco, and auditions were just held for another production of it in the Bay Area.

Where am I going with this? (It isn’t that I’m dying to get hate mail, and it’s not that these productions can’t be good) The point is — why is this happening? I’ve heard many people say that they don’t know what other companies’ seasons are like, and that it happens out of pure coincidence. I’m sure that’s true a lot of times. Though naturally, Samuel French will tell you which other companies have a show like Glengarry Glen Ross in their line-up. Looking at it now, if you manage to miss it here, head on over to Attleboro, Massachusetts to hear some old white men yell “Cunt!” this October or wander into Cincinnati, Ohio in April of 2016 to get your Roma fix!

Now you probably think I hate GGR because I just said that. I don’t. I like it, and I actually saw one of those productions. It’s not like someone’s about to surprise anyone with it, though. “Come see our new and inventive production of Glengarry Glen Ross set in a basement sex dungeon in Quebec!” Okay, maybe I’d be into that, I don’t know.

There’s also that whole thing about how the theater community at large, and definitely the Bay Area theater community, have done much buzzing about gender parity, and clearly having three of those things happening at one time means, uh…well, something not great. I think what it actually means is not willful constant dude-choosing over lady-choosing because SCREW ‘EM, on ANY of those companies’ or directors’ or producers’ parts, but actually just the age old problem that we tend to assume it’s someone else’s job. We’ve all talked about the issue together, and now everyone will do better because we did that…so we’ll just to stick to the old white men yelling “CUNT!” train and wait for someone else to produce Top Girls to balance us out. (Also, there are other plays featuring many women at once that aren’t Top Girls. I just have to say that twice a year to remind myself that it’s true.) And then we’ll hop onto another panel next year and nod our heads while everyone complains about how there aren’t roles for women and how awful that is.

BE it, not talk about it.

BE it, not talk about it.

While I totally understand that super common impulse, it’s also how we keep things exactly the same and never ever change them: by thinking someone else will do it or that we’ll get to it later. That’s why my dad still hasn’t invented any of the weird gadgets he doodles on scratch paper, like the little water-filled windshield dog who turns to look in whatever direction you’re about to turn the car. (Sorry, pops, should’ve gotten a patent.)

At the Theater Bay Area Conference in April of this year, I was struck HARD by something Martha Richards said about parity at the opening panel. (I had to search through the billion #TBACon15 tweets from April to find this — already more research than I’ve ever put into any other blogs.)

“The numbers haven’t budged in years, there’s just more conversation about it.”

Woof. Ouch. We talk about it and then almost 5 months later I’m writing this blog about how it feels like instead of being the change — Be The Change was actually the tagline for TBACon15 — we’re just looking for the change from other people.

Okay, parity is not actually the point of this blog, I’m heading back to my original point.

I’ve heard many times over that the most offensive theater is the boring kind, and — to me — there is nothing more boring than the same shows over and over again. I like a classic as much as the next guy. I like a 90s romcom, or an 80s feminist play, or a 50s drama, or old white guys yelling “CUUUUNT!” but I like them to be mixed in with a representation of NOW. Or at least something I didn’t just see last month. We live in a time of instant entertainment. A movie comes out and it’s up on iTunes nearly immediately…or sometimes even before it’s out in theaters. We want the now, we want the here, there, and everywhere and we want it immediately. Why does Bay Area theater often feel so far behind? New works are being given readings which is…good? Sometimes I’m not sure. I want those FULL productions. I want to see what the new blood has to say before it resigns itself to being produced 25 years from now and buys a warm cardigan to settle in for the cold spell. TV shows and movies take time to make. Movies can take years. Plays take time too, but they can also go up really quickly. So, to me, theater can be the most vital, fast, furious beast around, but it often isn’t. It doesn’t feel like that right now.

And yes, I KNOW PEOPLE LIKED MAD MEN, BUT GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS ISN’T MAD MEN. I’m glad we cleared that up. Also, guys, Mad Men isn’t even on anymore. You’re way fucking behind. If you wanna tap into that vibe, there have got be other plays about businesspeople/assholes so that we don’t all have to do this at one time, but seriously, Mad Men is over. It feels like we’re teaching the emerging voices of what could be a flourishing generation of theater makers that their art isn’t going to matter until they’re either in New York or have been dead for 40 years. Or until our marketing campaigns for said art can align with a TV show. That feels shitty.

What does all this have to do with prom dresses? I don’t know how it was for you, but where I grew up, no one was allowed to buy a prom dress someone else had purchased, for either a certain mile radius, or based on which school they were going to. I’m aware that rights givers could themselves crack down on this the most easily, but I don’t see that happening. I know sometimes companies try to get the rights to a play and they can’t, because that’s the hot new play at the moment and everyone wants it. That’ll happen. But why, then, is the fallback not something equally as new and exciting? I want someone to get a beautiful new prom dress, and the next person in the store is told they can’t have it, and gets an equally beautiful new prom dress — not the dress off the person working the register. There’s more than just one new great play in one hand, and one that’s been done a hundred thousand times and has no parts for women in the other.

Listen, everyone wants to sell tickets. Everyone needs to sell tickets. And get new audiences. Ohhhh the elusive New Audiences moving around in hungry clusters, passing us by. We’re all trying to hook them into our atmosphere and get them to stay there, orbiting with us. It’s not like I’ve cracked the code, but I know what doesn’t crack it. I know what they don’t want — the 21 year old, hip, fun audience members companies are salivating over, the ones you want to hop aboard the theater train — they don’t want to see something they’ve already seen. Or something so far removed from themselves (old white men yelling “CUUUUUUNT!”) that they have no real connection to it. They need to look up there, and connect. I don’t see them connecting to that. This isn’t really about Glengarry, it’s just such a good fucking example I couldn’t not use it. No, I’m not worried about Mamet alienating me. He does not now, nor will he ever know I’m alive, so it’s fine. But if you do try to move GGR into a sex basement in Quebec, I’m sure you’ll hear from him. Meanwhile you could have just commissioned a new play about Quebecois sex dungeon lovers for less than or equal to the royalties of GGR, depending on the writer.

One could argue that those theaters are in different parts of the Bay Area and that their audiences are not necessarily shared. That stance doesn’t really do it for me. I go to all those cities and see theater. And I keep thinking it wouldn’t be terrible if somebody missed something some time. Maybe next time something they want to see is showing a 20 minute drive away, they’ll suck it up and go there because it’s not coming directly to their living room (if it’s interesting enough). Training audiences about what to expect from you is something I think about a lot. If your shows start late, the audience will assume the next show will start late, and they’re not going to be on time. And now you’re starting shows late for the rest of your life because you did it twice. Teach people that theater here can be missed because it’ll just be back 10 miles away next month, and there’s no urgency to see it now. The Bay Area also shares a creative pool. Actors from Vallejo perform in San Francisco, actors in San Jose perform in Berkeley, so at least keep your collaborators excited by offering something that every other town isn’t offering. Because we’re getting paid peanuts anyway, ya might as well create something.

I can’t solve this whole thing, clearly, but I have to put out there that it feels like we’re not taking risks as a community right now, and playing it safe doesn’t work forever. Eventually we’ll play it so safe that everyone will forget we’re here. Hell, maybe they already have. And then they’ll just watch Glengarry Glen Ross on Netflix because Jack Lemmon is in it and he’s the man and theater doesn’t feel like it’s for their generation. There are definitely some groups and companies that are making really interesting, cool, risky stuff. But there are so many more who aren’t doing that. Or are relegating those projects to readings. I often want to take a company’s reading series and swap it with their actual season.

******** UPDATE
So, I started writing this a couple of weeks ago and wanted to sleep on it. Then I went to New York City for a vacation. While I was there I saw two extremely popular shows: HAMILTION, and HAND TO GOD. They were so exciting, unfamiliar, wild, creative, new, unexpected, and VITAL. The houses were packed (Yes, they’re on Broadway so pretty much automatically they’re going to be selling tickets like hotcakes, but there was an excitement there that can’t be explained away with flashing lights.) They felt really risky in a good way, and you could tell that everyone working on them was invested in something they believed in. Maybe that’s what I’m really talking about. I want to see something and say to myself, “These people really believe in this. They really feel they’re doing something here. It feels important and necessary to them.” Even if I don’t like it, even if I think it’s poorly executed or just straight up isn’t to my tastes, I can get behind people who get behind their stuff and feel that it’s got urgency.

When you look at HAMILTON, you see a runaway hit, a game-changing hip hop musical with as diverse a cast as I’ve ever seen on stage at one time, based on Alexander Hamilton of all people. It’s a big idea. It’s a big, seemingly risky idea.

The diverse and talented and good looking and magnificent and swinging-for-the-fences cast of HAMILTON.

The diverse and talented and good looking and magnificent and swinging-for-the-fences cast of HAMILTON.

HAND TO GOD is a comedy about a man with a demonic sock puppet. It’s weird. It’s brash. It takes everything to 11, and knocks it out of the park.

“Yeah,” you’re thinking, “Those are amazing plays. Amazing plays like that don’t come around every day. My company needs to produce good stuff and most new plays aren’t going to be as good as that.” and to that I say, look harder. Or find a writer you believe in and commission something.

What do we want people to think theater IS? I want to ask myself that more often. I want us all to ask ourselves that more often. Because right now I’ll tell you what they think it is: outdated. And we’re not doing enough to show them otherwise. We’re too often giving them what they expect us to give them. And few things are less interesting to me than walking out of a theater saying, “Yeah, that’s pretty much what I thought it’d be.” I’m not shitting on Shakespeare or O’Neill. I’m doing Richard III next month (a cut version in a bar, and as a Sid Vicious-lookin’ murderer named Ham, with an eye patch, but still Richard III.)

Maybe we just need to be more aware of each other. We’re not disparate entities floating in the ocean. We’re part of a larger whole as much as we may try to pretend otherwise. We are all theater, and the choices we make for our companies impact what this person or that person thinks of theater. What message are you sending? Is it the message you want to send?

Is it “CUUUUUUUUNT!”

Allison Page is a writer/actor/creative director of Killing My Lobster, a sketch comedy company with gender parity across both writers and actors with a new show written in two weeks, rehearsed in two weeks, and then performed live, every month at PianoFight in San Francisco. Ya know, in case you were wondering if she sticks to her own nonsense ideals, the answer is that she tries. And sometimes fails, of course.

Everything Is Already Something: Bear In Cave Must Sleep Now

Allison Page’s body is on strike- it knows what it did!

Actually, she’s just taking a day off after having helped close PINT SIZED V last night, where she made her triumphant return as the Bear Bear.

If Allison was a bear in real life… this is the bear she would be:

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We’ll be back tomorrow with our regularly scheduled programming. In the meantime, everyone take a nap or something. It’s summertime.

Everything Is Already Something Week 61: The Sequel

Allison Page- this time, it’s personal.

There are an awful lot of sequels in the world. So many movie trilogies and remakes of movie trilogies and prequels and spinoffs. As I embark on a quest to re-ignite the glorious flames of a character I played three years ago, I can’t help but think about what people will take away from the experience of seeing him in a new light.

For some context, I’m talking about a dancing bear. I played an alcoholic dancing bear at Theater Pub’s Pint Sized Play Festival in 2012. The Beer Bear.

The original Beer Bear, with his beer

The original Beer Bear, with his beer

It was a truly fantastic experience, and to be honest, it was the thing that brought me back to performing in straight theater — which may sound funny because I was performing in a bar as a drunk bear in a 10 minute solo piece. But it somehow became this great thing that people still talk to me about 3 years later, and led to forming several important artistic partnerships in my life. (I wrote about The Bear at the time in a blog titled Somethin’ Like a Bearnomenon, which was before I was a Theater Pub columnist and was just guesting like a civilian.)

Now that Theater Pub is back to producing live shows, it was only natural to bring back The Bear and The Llama…in new pieces. The Llama has been through this before, he’s had multiple sequels. But The Bear took three years off after his big debut, and so much time has passed. Who is he now?!? Yes, I’m saying “he”. He’s a male bear even though I’m not.

As it turns out, he’s been through a lot in the last three years since last we saw his furry face. And he’s a blonde now. Because I’m a blonde now, so playwright Megan Cohen just worked that into the script — this is part of the joy of knowing the playwright and being the only person to play the part (so far).

In many ways, Bear has lived through a lot of what America—and specifically, San Francisco, has been through. Longing for the glory of certain parts of the past, while knowing that past was just as flawed as the present, but in different ways. Musings on the future of the city and the future of Theater Pub abound. The age old lament that “Everybody wants the hits, nobody wants the new stuff.” in a time when playwrights and theater makers are constantly trying to convince theaters and audience members that it’s necessary to take a chance on something new and exciting, to drive us into the future and not get stuck in the past, no matter how glorious it may have been, is all up in here.

Much talk about the California flag appears in BEEEAAR 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO, because there's a bear on it! BEARS BEARS BEARS.

Much talk about the California flag appears in BEEEAAR 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO, because there’s a bear on it! BEARS BEARS BEARS.

So while we don’t yet know what people will think of this new version of The Bear (I love it, for the record) it is necessary to move forward. Onward and upward toward the future of theater and the future of being a Bear, or something.

And what of the lost love of Bear and Llama? Did Bear really spurn Llama the way he claimed 2 years ago? We may never know. Some mysteries of the heart are meant to stay that way. But one thing’s for sure: you can’t bury a Bear when he’s got more to growl about. And believe me, there’s plenty.

Allison Page is a writer/actor/BEER BEAR. You can see her don the fez, ears, and tutu at Theater Pub’s Pint Sized Plays Festival August 17, 18, 24 and 25 at PianoFight in San Francisco at 144 Taylor St.

Everything Is Already Something Week 60: How To Be Like A Famous Writer

Allison Page is habit forming.

Every time I read an article about the habits of famous writers, I notice the same thing:

THEY ACTUALLY DO HAVE HABITS.

They have a routine. Something that I hate thinking about, because I’m not good at routines. Even the word “routine” has not-so-good connotations. It sounds boring and terrible. It sounds like you’re just doing laundry all day. But recently I’ve had trouble finishing things. Okay, let’s be real, I’ve had trouble even starting things. I don’t want to call it writers’ block because I hate that phrase, but it’s eerily similar to that. I used to just write for myself and that was so easy because my deadlines were self-imposed but now there are people who are waiting to get things from me. They need the thing, and they need it on this day, and stuff is piling up and panic is creeping up on me. So I decided to try something else: having a routine. Not only a routine, really, but an incredibly specific, strict and rigid agenda for my whole day. DOESN’T THAT SOUND FUN?! WOOOHOOO.

Okay, here’s the list I made:

7:30am – Wake up, splash some water on my face
7:45am – Go for a walk, get an iced coffee, THINK
8:15am – Eat 2 eggs
8:30am – Write for 45 minutes straight
9:15am – Take a shower
9:35am – Check email. Respond but don’t go crazy.
10:00am – Go outside. Walk in a different direction than before. Going outside is good. You won’t want to go, but do it anyway. You are not a recluse. YOU ARE NOT A RECLUSE.
10:20am – Write for 45 minutes straight.

Jerry Seinfeld writes every single day. He marks off days on a big wall calendar and says his only job becomes "not breaking the chain"

Jerry Seinfeld writes every single day. He marks off days on a big wall calendar and says his only job becomes “not breaking the chain”

11:05am – Check social media, you heathen. For the love of Groucho, you really
shouldn’t be checking it before now. You’re a writer, not a socialite.
11:30am – Do some KML stuff (Killing My Lobster, the sketch comedy company I am co-creative director of) but don’t fall down the rabbit hole of shit you COULD do.
12:00pm – Eat lunch. NOT A FUCKING BAGEL. Extra points if there are vegetables and you make it yourself.
12:45pm – Write for 45 minutes straight.
1:30pm – Put on some music. Clean something. Anything.
2:00pm – Check email.

Balzac drank 50 cups of coffee a day while writing. I don't want to know what his bathroom situation was like.

Balzac drank 50 cups of coffee a day while writing. I don’t want to know what his bathroom situation was like.

2:20pm – This is generally when you start not being able to write. You know that. It’s okay, you already wrote for two hours and fifteen minutes…BUT YOU’RE GOING TO DO SOME MORE ANYWAY. Write for 20 minutes. It’s okay if you hate it (you will)
2:40pm – Reward yourself with something. You did fine. Have a snack or take a nap. Watch TV or listen to a podcast.
3:00pm – Pay attention to your poor boyfriend for a while.
4:00pm – Read something that isn’t on the internet.
5:00pm – Dinner. Extra points if you make it yourself.
6:00pm – Print and read over everything you wrote today. It helps to have a physicalization of your work.
8:00pm – Watch The Bachelorette finale (YEAH, I KNOW)
11:00pm – Go to sleep. You did fine. You’re not a monster. Not today, anyway.

Agatha Christie had no desk and just propped her typewriter up on any stable surface she could find.

Agatha Christie had no desk and just propped her typewriter up on any stable surface she could find.

So how did it go, you’re wondering?

Sadly, IT WAS AMAZING. I got so much done. I had been sitting on about 9 pages of a one act commission since April and couldn’t seem to work on it. It’s now 30 pages long, and finished. That feels good. The guilt of not doing something when you know you should be doing it is crippling. So that’s out of the way, and the bonus is that I’m really happy with it! I actually wrote more than I had even planned (about three hours), cleaned my bathroom, made a salad, picked up my new glasses, swept the floor, and generally was a total badass all day, in the most boring sense. Most importantly, though, I felt really good all day. I woke up the next day still feeling awesome. I think scheduling, for me, is a good method. It may not work for everyone, but I felt strangely more free than usual. And forcing myself to go for a walk? That was amazing. If I don’t have a reason to leave, I could easily sit on my butt all day.

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If you want to give this a whirl, please do let me know how it works for you in the comments!

Also I totally had a breakfast sandwich from down the street instead of eating two eggs. No woman is an island.

Allison Page is a writer/actor/person with an awful lot of deadlines at the moment.

Everything Is Already Something Week 59: Haiku for Auditions

Allison Page brings poetry to the audition process.

Monologues are dumb
Wait you want me to cold read
I miss monologues

Oh please don’t make me
Reading with him is torture
Give me the tall one

Sixty five actors
Hot stuffy hallway of sweat
Rabid dogs who read

To be or not to—
Oh god I forgot the rest
To be or not to—

Don’t make me watch them
I’ll just sign people in k
I can’t take it man

I wore extensions
I totally look 13
Cast me now I’m teen

Don’t let them see fear
Show your teeth for aggression
I hope it’s working

Oh no not this guy
Summer of ’13 he saw
I tripped into poop

To be or not to—
I think I got it this time
Or not to pee — damn

Did not dress to move
Swing dancing in pencil skirt
Fetch me a seamstress

It’s Spanish oh boy
Uh no habla espanol
Si si si si si

Scene calls for kissing
Who kisses at auditions
He wouldn’t—mmmfffff

To be or not to—
Oh god am I wearing pants
—That is the pants—shit

Oh great she’s here blech
Might as well give it to her
Shiny hair kill me

To be or not to be—
Nailing it so hard right now
THAT IS THE QUESTION

They’re releasing me
They must know they’re casting me
Or the opposite

Allison Page is an actor/writer/person. You can catch her as Bunny Watson in THE DESK SET at the EXIT Theater now through July 25th!

Everything Is Already Something Week 58: All The Things I Haven’t Written

Allison Page, firing off a quick article between commitments. Cause she is lazy like that.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t do a lot.

Don’t get me wrong, I do A LOT.

But there’s also a lot I never do. But I want to. I have the ideas, and I jot them down…and then that’s it. That’s all there is. They’re never fully formed, they just live these half lives in my phone which, as it turns out, is where my ideas go to die. Especially the shitty ones.

And now, a tribute to some of the things I’ve never written, according to the notes in my phone:

January 7th, 2013:
A parody of The Bachelor, but everybody keeps getting murdered.

January 24th, 2013:
Something about an evil doppelgänger
Or a play about someone like Joan Crawford and it’s just called “HAG” oh or “BATTLEAXE”
Something about Typhoid Mary
Something about abducting somebody who unfriended me on Facebook.

February 18th, 2013:
A sketch about a baby arguing with a dog. (I hope I was drunk when I wrote that)

February 21, 2013:
Guy who can’t pronounce the names of painters.
(Clearly I wanted to leave this open to later interpretation.)

May 29th, 2013:
WINGWOMAN – a film where I’m just trying to get dates for someone.
Also remember to watch Boardwalk Empire because I guess Bobby Cannavale takes his clothes off at some point.

June 12th, 2013
Play about people from high school who were not friends but must plan the ten year reunion tighter despite all odds. (I’m still pretty convinced this is at least a solid Hallmark movie scenario.)

June 24th, 2013:
Barbara Makes a Movie — about a middle-aged midwestern women who decides to make a movie. (slow clap)

July 7th, 2013:
Two Roads Diverged In A Bar (what?)

August 28th, 2013:
Madge Explains Nothing – I review movies I’ve never seen while wearing big sunglasses (slow clap x2)

October 19th, 2013:

In the future there is no death penalty only LIFE PENALTY. (wow)

December 17th, 2013:
What if time just goes in reverse? (……..)

January 21, 2014:
10 million dollar bigfoot bounty (to be fair, it’s impossible to tell if this was an idea I had or…something I saw somewhere…or something REAL. It’s hard to say.)

February 14th, 2014:
Choose your own adventure erotic fan fiction novel series:
Cowboy
Aliens
Beethoven
Lumberjacks
(BEETHOVEN, YOU GUYS.)

March 13, 2014:
Aaron A. Aardvark

June 23, 2014:
Sketch about a doctor who says “wiener” instead of “penis” (you know what? I stand behind this one.)

September 21, 2014:
The 31st Annual Swearing Bee, examples: “cunty”, “muhfucka”
Something about laudanum
Something about looky likies
Monopoly Monopoly
How the hell did Shakespeare write all those copies with a fucking quill? Wait is that even how he did it? I have a lot of questions.
The Young Lady Butcher

March 11, 2015:
Lady Lawyers

There are a bunch more but I seriously might use them so I’m keeping them a secret.
The point is: you can’t write everything. Don’t beat yourself up about it. The other point is that some ideas are terrible and it’s okay to have terrible ideas. Don’t pretend you’re perfect. That’s too much to deal with. Laugh it off…and if anyone wants to collaborate on erotic choose your own adventure books about Beethoven, well, you know where to find me.

Allison Page is a ridiculous person and writer/actor/director. You can find her on Twitter @allisonlynnpage

Everything Is Already Something Week 57: How to Be an Artist in 11 Easy Steps (or 1 Really Hard Step)

Allison Page is an artist. OR IS SHE?

STEP 1:
BECOME INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT TO BE AROUND
Your friends, acquaintances and total strangers are sure to notice you’re becoming an artist the moment you start parting your hair really far on one side and talking about yourself all the time. Good talking points are — “No, I wouldn’t know about that. I’m just always writing, you know?” as well as, “Don’t you just love Brecht?”

STEP 2:
DON’T SMILE EVER BECAUSE ART ISN’T SUPPOSED TO BE FUN
If you’re going to be an artist, you better turn that smile upside down. Art is hard, man. It’s supposed to be a struggle. You think Edgar Allan Poe was having a GOOD TIME? Oh yeah, Van Gogh was just YUCKIN’ IT UP. No. If you’re going to art, and you want to art GOOD…you can’t smile. Everybody knows that.

Vincent Van Gogh: Laugh Riot.

Vincent Van Gogh: Laugh Riot.

STEP 3:
CONVINCE YOURSELF YOU’RE DONE LEARNING
Hey, you know everything there is to know about your art. Don’t ever let anyone convince you there might be more than one idea about something. Someone else makes some art? YOU MUST SEE NO MERIT IN IT. Unless that artist is from the 1800s. Then it’s okay but only because they’ve been dead forever so they can’t be real-time competition to you. #SarahBernhardt4Life

STEP 4:
ONLY MAKE LIKE FOUR THINGS EVER
Listen, who cares about watching your art grow over time through trial and error; success and failure? NOBODY. THAT’S WHO. Spend three decades on one precious thing you think is a goddamn masterpiece. After all, you only want to be popular after you’re dead, anyway. That’s how to REALLY art. Throw everything else in the trash.

STEP 5:
DEVELOP A MYSTERIOUS SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROBLEM
Opium is always a good choice. It’s niche enough to be interesting, without the flamboyant flashiness of coke. If it’s good enough for Sherlock Holmes, it’s probably good enough for you.

STEP 6:
MEN: GROW A BEARD
Hemingway. I rest my case.

WOMEN: PUT YOUR HAIR IN A BUN ON THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD
Topknots keep your face tight and emotionless, like an empty shell and also an artist. If this doesn’t work for you, cut it reeeeaaal short.

Get it, Gertrude!

Get it, Gertrude!

STEP 7:
GET YOURSELF ABANDONED BY A LOVER
It’s okay if you didn’t even like them that much and it was kind of a mutual thing, you can just lie about it. Keep the details foggy. If someone gets too inquisitive, get a far-off look in your eyes, and mumble something about the ocean.

STEP 8:
FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, NEVER TAKE FEEDBACK
Treat all feedback the same way: like it’s coming from a talking horse. Whether it’s from the most well-known artist in your field, or from your “friends” and “loved ones”, tell ‘em all to fuck off. Then lock yourself in a room and X their eyes out with a sharpie in all your photos. Resist the urge to change even if you think they might be right and just trying to help you. THAT’S WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO THINK.

STEP 9:
DATE SOMEONE WHO WEARS A TRENCH COAT AND TREATS YOU LIKE DIRT
Insist they’re “unique” and “troubled” and “so talented” but never say what kind of talent it is.

STEP 10:
EMBRACE AN EXTREME AND CONTROVERSIAL POLITICAL VIEW
If you can somehow manage to make it sound like women are werewolves or witches, that should help.

No caption necessary.

No caption necessary.

STEP 11:
JUST BE A DICK, ALREADY
Be mean for the sake of being mean. Ridicule everyone else’s work. Drop a kitten out a window. Befriend a 19 year old so that when you’re dead, that ONE person can talk about how kind you were, but also just hard to understand because you’re so “interesting”. They’ll write a memoir about you and though they’ll get some slight fame out of it, console yourself with the fact that you’ll be much more famous than they will. Of course, you’ll be dead, but that’s how you wanted it anyway, because you’re an artist.

For those who feel like this is not the strategy for them, there is an alternative.

HOW TO BE AN ARTIST IN ONE HARD STEP:
Make art.

20120627

Allison Page is a writer/actor/co-creative director at Killing My Lobster in San Francisco.

Everything Is Already Something Week 56: Listen to Some Plays

Allison Page is listening.

Often the plays I’m really excited about don’t happen to be playing anywhere near me, so I can’t see them. CLEVER WORKAROUND: Audible. For the last week I’ve been listening to high quality recordings of plays on Audible — often with the original cast I would never have had the chance to see in action. I’m in the middle of writing a new play right now, and I have to say it’s been extra hard somehow and has made me feel a little inadequate. *gasp*

Listening to really well-crafted works has felt like a mini masterclass. I totally recommend it. Here’s some I have listened to and some I intend to listen to:

THE MOTHERFUCKER WITH THE HAT
by Stephen Adly Guirgis

Swooooon.

Swooooon.

This was an extra great listen because I’m obsessed with Bobby Cannavale, and he absolutely kills it in this role. Bonus: Chris Rock. In a play. How often does that happen? There’s a lot to love in this script – it opens so quickly. There’s a brief phone conversation, then a character enters and shit hits the fan within a few minutes, in a really big way. Guirgis doesn’t waste time, and I really appreciate that. It’s a very full play, and none of it feels unimportant. I’m constantly trying to make that happen in my own work, and I only succeed sometimes.

BECKY SHAW
by Gina Gionfriddo

Okay, I was into the characters in this one, but something about the story didn’t quite gel for me when it was over. I’m not sure exactly what I wanted out of the ending but somehow I felt like I wasn’t quite satisfied. I was interested in what was happening, but at some point the story started to feel a little less structured to me in a way that caused me to distract myself a lot with thoughts of “But…what’s happening? Is something about to happen? Or is nothing about to happen?” Performance wise – I really liked the actors. I will freely admit I tend to be a pretty traditional storyteller and so something that doesn’t feel like it’s got a really tightly stitched-up ending is sometimes not my bag. I can be boring that way.

BEST OF SECOND CITY
By…ya know, everybody in Second City

Comedy swooooon.

Comedy swooooon.

I’m about 20 minutes into one of these right now (there are actually 3 volumes, it seems) and mostly it’s pretty delightful if not actually hilarious. I think just listening to scenes often doesn’t result in as many actually laugh-out-loud moments. It’s much more like “Hm, yes, that is funny. I see how that is funny.” But it is a fun recording in that it is chock full of a bunch of top notch funny people: Amy Sedaris, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Marsha Mason and Paul Dinello. So even if it weren’t great it would still be pretty great. And it’s good for listening on commutes because the scenes are short. You can end any time and pick it back up later not having to actually remember what was happening.

LA THEATRE WORKS COLLECTIONS

LA Theatre Works has several collections of plays on Audible: Modern Classics, Pulitzer Play Prize Plays (Volumes 1 and 2) and probably other things I don’t feel like looking for right now, which contain plays like: ‘Night Mother, Anna in The Tropics, Lost in Yonkers, Six Degrees of Separation, Agnes of God, True West, Anna Christie, and others. I haven’t dipped into these yet, but I plan to.

OUR LADY OF 121ST STREET
by Stephen Adly Guirgis

Yes, more Guirgis. I’m going through a phase. GREAT cast (including Laurence Fishburne). It’s much more an ensemble piece than Motherfucker, and thusly feels a lot more like vignettes on common themes and character relationships as opposed to one big story. Everything somehow ties back to a dead nun – though the actual death of the nun is sort of secondary to everything else that’s being talked about. A lot of talk of broken relationships and how traumatic events impact people over time. Fascinating, definitely, and Guirgis’ ability to write AMAZING arguments means I love him to tiny pieces. I dig a good fight.

Other plays to listen to:
The Noel Coward Collection
Pride and Prejudice
This is Our Youth
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Lion in Winter (with Alfred Molina!)
Abundance
Arcadia
Art
The Rivalry
Three Sisters

Basically, there are a lot of them. I’m getting out and seeing more local productions this year, but having this resource to experience stuff not happening here is pretty cool. I don’t know about you, but reading scripts often makes me sleepy. And since I have a commute to contend with, I’m killing two birds with one stone.

HOORAY!

Allison Page is a writer/actor/co-creative director of Killing My Lobster. You can catch KML’s new show (which she happened to head write) Murder, She Was Murdered this Friday and Saturday at PianoFight. www.killingmylobster.com