And…we’re back. New York was filled with friends, shows, miles of walking and an inability to get over my Pacific Coast timeclock. As mentioned in my last post, I enjoyed SLEEP NO MORE (Punchdrunk, please come to San Francisco), the incredible Cherry Jones in WHEN WE WERE YOUNG & UNAFRAID, IF/THEN to play out my musical fantasties and a bonus of HEATHERS THE MUSICAL (highly entertaining) while in the city. Now, it is back to the grind.
July is already busy! I did a private reading of a new play (for a playwright I respect & adore) last month & we are at it again (same playwright, different play) next week. I love working in new play development – being a part of the process, helping to dramaturg, brainstorm, create characters, imagine new worlds…all while challenging myself as an actor. This month, I will be fully immersed in the #newplay world as part of the 37th Bay Area Playwrights Festival (#BAPF37). I will be teaching a workshop along with 2 fantastic playwrights, Lauren Gunderson & Prince Gomolvilas, during the closing weekend. Join us for ALMOST NOBODY SEES YOUR FACEBOOK POSTS: How Playwrights Can Be More Effective at Marketing Their Shows on Saturday July 26th from 9am-11am at the Thick House in San Francisco. Come for the workshop & stay for a few play readings – the workshop will give you some insight on how my two career worlds intersect!
I used to see a lot of theatre…I mean A LOT. If I wasn’t in rehearsal or at a dayjob, I was probably at a show (or in a park seeing theatre, opera, a concert, you name it). Ask me about the new play scene & commercial world from the aughts and I will probably have some lengthy commentary to share with you.
And then I moved to California. Life changed. Commutes became a factor. Small people entered this world. Time was no longer my own. I also made a commitment in 2010 to only buy theatre tickets if a production employed female Equity actors (I did allow myself to see shows that did not have any female Equity actors on contract if the ticket was a comp or as an invited guest).
I even have some critics words to post (I never read them during the show, but my family picks out some gems):
“…Mia (a captivating Susan Shay), a fascinating character…”
- Karen D’Souza
“Susan Shay gives a entrancing performance as Mia.”
- Richard Connema
This month, I head back to New York for the premiere of the independent black & white film (yes, shot on film – I loved the smell of the canisters) THE CEDARS, June 30th, 1pm, Quad Cinema (34 West 13th St) as part of the Manhattan Film Festival (tickets available here). Join me if you can!
I am very happy to once again be working on Kathy Rucker’s incredible play CRYSTAL SPRINGS. Our director, Anna Jordan, is flying in from London for a whirlwind of rehearsals (remember when you used to rehearse for 5 weeks – on a script that was set in stone? Those days seem to be gone!) For more info, visit the show’s website. Tickets may be purchased here.
Audition season brings anxiety, racing from appointment to appointment, long hours of reading/re-reading scripts, rehearsing monologues & sides, trying to calm nerves before the auditors…all in order to land the part. I have been trying to focus on the POSITIVE part of auditions (which generally scare me to death) – for that minute or 3 or 5 or nearly an hour, I get to do what I love: embody another person, another story, play, use my muscles-brain-body-voice-allthosehoursoftraining. Today, I got to play with a room full of other actors – a rarity in straight theatre auditions for me (not callbacks, not dancecalls – a general audition). We warmed up, worked on commedia characters – attributes & appetites, some of us did monologues & all of us did scenes. Today, I got to play for nearly an hour as two characters in a play after warming up as a number of stock commedia characters. It was the best hour of today.
I am much better at updating other people’s sites – easier to post for others than for myself!
What I have been doing for the last 11 months – 1 36-hour play festival (with my dear friends of UWAC in a play by the fabulous Megan Cohen), 1 play workshop (thank you Kathy Rucker!), 2 workshops of a musical (with BLAM), tons of behind the scenes work at Tides (including Assistant Directing a very cool project with The Center for Investigative Reporting), client work, travel, and I am sure there are other things I should list here, but I want to highlight one project:
This year I have so much to be thankful for (and much to catch up on!) – a successful run of 5 LESBIANS, shooting THE CEDARS film (@TheCedarsMovie) in Santa Cruz, becoming a company member of TIDES THEATRE, new consulting clients and a happy, healthy family. I plan to get some new photos from these projects up on here soon – this work has kept me very busy this year!
I’ve been trying to see some shows for a change – have you heard of the Counting Actors Project? Fellow Bay Area actor Valerie Weak has started this project to look at the state of the arts in our community. From Valerie:
Thanks for helping me with the Counting Actors project. Please cut and paste the list below and fill out the answers. Email it to countingactors (at) gmail.com. Continue reading →