14 July, 2008


Hello there,

I have recently returned from the states, helping my mother clear out my childhood home (she is moving West very soon), and low and behold, in the musty depths of belongings, lay a pile of National Geographics circa 1926-1937. My eyes widen, I oggle, I gasp (one from the dust, two from the magazines) and select a copy at random: "1929" it declares in vintage font.

I peruse the contents, opening the pages unsystematically (this is how I traditionally read anything that isn't fiction - I select a page at random, usually near the back, and "read" it backwards... perhaps the in Jew in me...?), and what should be starring back at me but a full spread of Old Ronda looking exactly the same. I gasp again, this time inhaling a mouthful of dust, sending me in to a double frenzy of excitement and wind constriction! When I finally get settled once again I dive back into the pages, only to discover the entire 1929 issue devoted to Spain, with forty or so pages dedicated solely to Andalucia. Stunned, mouth agape at the seeming coincidence, I poured over every delicate, brittle page. From The House of the Moorish King, to the bullrings, to The Alhambra, every image is as evocative, haunting and spiritual as the memory, (with an incredible sprinkling of time). The image of The Alhambra, in fact, appeared identical to my memories, with the very fine exception of a singular moving ghost of a woman dressed in white period attire moving through the distance. Magic. And to think that "1929" had merely lay, anticipating perusal, all this time.

You know, it is funny, when we say we return it naturally implies we've been somewhere else. But thanks to a collection historic National Geographics, and a handful of packing away one's past, I have more than returned from Michigan, I have returned from Somewhere Else, (which I like to think of as a town like any other). Back to London with it's soot and cloud and distinct lack of summer. Yes. It may still be Monday in the middle of our lives, but we are not who we were when we began. Italo Calvino puts it brilliantly in
Invisible Cities:

"...what he sought was always something lying ahead, and even if it was a matter of the past it was a past that changed gradually as he advanced on his journey, because the traveler's past changes according to the route he has followed: not the immediate past, that is, to which each day that goes by adds a day, but the more remote past. Arriving at each new city the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in waiting for you in foreign, not-yet-possessed places."

And of course, I suppose this is largely how I felt upon return from Spain, and therefore have not been in touch sooner. Return presented me with a second quest: the search for words to articulate the experience. So much returning, ha! Funny how one is never prepared for the same ritual that occurs every time: being propelled back into the mainstream and challenged to bring what we learned into the busiest corners of our lives. The world immediately begins to forcefully intrude. The ability to settle into silence evaporates like fog. Ready or not we are presented with new tasks. And of course, the outer trappings of our lives still appear relaively undisturbed, while internally tremendous change has taken place. Post-Spain I was Rip Van Winkle (sans beard): a mystery to myself, walking around the kitchen muttering "how did I get here?" Looking in the mirror to find a familliar stranger looking back.

All that being said, I do hope since our time together your lives have been full, and that the warmth and colours of Spain have not yet worn off. I feel it's breezes every now and again and I do feel contented. How was the remainder of your trip? I thought of those who remained peacefully behind while I was being plunged into an array of concerts and auditions, (there was one, particularly amusing meeting in which I had to be a blind Victorian socialite being viciously eaten by an CGI invisible werewolf to be played at some point by Benicio Del Toro...I don't know how a person is supposed to do that really...). Anyway, I hope the summer has been kind to you.

I begin rehearsals for
Carousel in a few weeks, and have been taking time to enjoy the calm before the storm. (You certainly have a pair of house seats at The Savoy with your name on them if you are ever in this neck of the woods.) And speaking of necks of the woods (??) I am hoping to be in the Northwest someday soon (L and A extended a lovely invitation, plus a new West coast base for my mother should get me out there post-haste) and I will certainly let you know if that ever comes to be.

In the meantime, please know I think of you often, and do hope our paths cross again someday soon.

Sending the fondest wishes from across the sea,

Alexandra x 

09 July, 2008


Well here go. It's real and it is happening. And what a joy to share it with all of you. Today the official announcement for the West End production of Carousel was posted on Playbill, as well as The Stage, Broadwayworld, The Official London Theatre Guide.

The UK National Tour commences in Bromley at The Churchill Theatre on 26 September, the venues are as follows:

Churchill Theatre, Bromley (26 Sep - 4 Oct)
Festival Theatre, Edinburgh (6 Oct - 11 Oct)
Milton Keynes Theatre (13 Oct - 18 Oct)
New Victoria Theatre, Woking (20 Oct - 25 Oct)
Theatre Royal, Plymouth (27 Oct - 1 Nov)
New Wimbledon Theatre (3 Nov - 8 Nov)
Opera House, Manchester (10 - 15 Nov)

And then the production finally settles in to

The Savoy Theatre, London (22 November - 25 July)
... home sweet home....

Detailed tour information, as well as online booking can be found at the Official Carousel Website.

Oh reader! I have seen the t looks like it will be a very special production indeed. Finally,

Of all the conditional love songs, the defining example, for me, is “If I Loved You.” ... The distance they travel in the course of this sequence, from strangers who are hot for each other through the slow dawning in each that this time it's the real thing, is not just a great lesson in theater writing. The window into their souls is humbling to witness, adding immeasurably to the pure luxury of melody. And the catch at the end, after that magnificent crescendo in the penultimate line… the circumspection of the lyric and music on the last line is, well, so human that is simply breaks my heart. As if the “if” will somehow protect them from heartbreak. As if the “if” is the out they can always exercise, except for the undertow of love that has already pulled them under.
- Rick Elice

... See you there

05 July, 2008

"Bad Crime Drama"

Now. Let me just explain something. I LOVE CRIME DRAMA. I don't know how it happened, I don't know why. But I love it ALL. My love for crime drama is RAMPANT. From the truly incredible to the truly atrocious, it doesn't matter. Bring it on.

Perhaps it is due to the fact that one has to use their brain a little bit, they have to do a little bit of thinking, it isn't idle "grazing" it is active and engaging. Sometimes it mixes crime with science (CSI), sometimes with math (Numbers), sometimes the focus is on trauma (L&O: SVU), and sometimes on missing people (Without a Trace).

OR perhaps it's because at it's best you get to see some pretty decent (sometimes utterly excellent) actors in circumstances involving very high stakes (or, in the cases of both Dr. Quincy and Jessica Fletcher, the stakes are VERY HIGH ALL. THE. TIME. with the exception of the first and last two minutes of every episode, culminating in a frozen frame of said characters laughing with appropriate light-hearted music to accompany the feeling that even though murder follows these people around like a stray dog, life really is okay).

The "chunk chunk" sound associated with Law & Order is so divine it creates a Pavlovian reaction in me. I drool for a good re-run with the wonderful Jerry Orbach! I luxuriate in the vintage glory of a Sunday afternoon Poirot on ITV3, and Without A Trace on every day this summer on Channel 4? Better than ice cream or sunshine or kittens.  

CSI: Miami is so bad it's good. I laugh at CSI: Miami more than I become intrigued or moved or genuinely interested. But one has to admit, on the whole, Miami is an incredible setting for crime. Miami is twisted. It's truly creepy. What with the heat, the sultry, sweet, sexy, Southern thing, the voodoo-ish subculture, the crocidiles, and the connection to Latin America and it's subsequent language, social and religious barriers; the truly twisted nature of it's plots far exceeds the general prostitute and gambling crimes of it's predecessor, and could never match the stories we've heard on every other New York based crime show. (I don't like CSI: New York, and wish it were CSI: Chicago).

Plus, David Caruso works the one-liners and specs. And he works them like they’ve never been worked before. What a facial tic is to Robert DeNiro, what a cane was to Charlie Chaplin, sunglasses are to David Caruso. In uniting his limitless repetoire of placement and removal with his unmatched ability to deliver the cutting and dramatic one-liner, this video has perfectly showcased the entire range of Caruso’s talent in less than four minutes. Is there an Emmy for Best Sunglasses Snap? ... No? Well, there should be.

But OH! Ohhhhhhh the joys of what I like to call"CSI Regular"! The gutters of Las Vegas provide the most eloquent background for stories of gambling, alternative underbelly lifestyles, dead prostitutes, aging showgirls, escapist holidays gone awry. It is fast-paced, dark and humorous. It delivers well-acted and well-constructed characters, truly vivid gore scenes (that still manage to be scientific) and wonderfully twisty plots that leave you gaping with awe. All of these are evidence of a brilliant television show and THE EVIDENCE NEVER LIES my friends! So give in to the inner forensic dork you've been hiding from all your friends! I love CSI and I AM NOT afraid to show it.

SO. All of this unbelievable ranting being said, Can you imagine my reaction when I got an audition for one of the above television shows? Well, I just nearly flipping died. I actually did a little dance. 

Television Audition

* * *

[At rise: a church basement serving as an audition room.]

[Al enters the audition room and realizes she is overly dressed. She uses this moment to think about how her agent suggested she look attractive again, and what this might mean about her personal appearance. She shakes hands with the director and writer and casting director. Greetings and all that.]

Director: So. You are American?
Al: The real thing
Director: Yes the real thing indeed. So how are you here?
Al: Um...
Director: ...I meant specifically how are you here, in this country....? [she pauses] working.... legally?
Al: Ah yes, I have a Visa. I am a "Highly-Skilled Migrant." I like it, it sounds like I pick grapes really fast. John Steinbeck, you know?
Director: [unamused pause] Indeed. [next order of business beat] So. What did you think of the script?

[As the Narrator I have to interrupt here. I want to mention the readers that I hate this question. I think this question is really unfair. What are we supposed to say? "I thought your script was utter rubbish and the dialogue, while being trite at best, is hardly as atrocious as the story as a whole. I am only here auditioning because my agent forced me to come." Would that win hearts and minds?? One might as well say "well, the thing is, I didn't have time to read it all because I was just released from Pentonville Prison yesterday, having served 90 days for an assault charge which by the way that b#%*& had coming, and I had to sort a few things out."]

Al: I thought it was super.

["Super"?!!! A beat for lameness.]

Well, the truth is, I absolutely LOVE Bad Crime Drama. 

[OH.MY.GOD. I used "BADCRIMEDRAMA" as a blanket statement again... and THIS WAS NOT THE MOMENT. NOT AT ALL. Save it!

I mean... not that THIS is "bad." Bad Crime Drama is a sort of blanket category I give all crime drama.... I use it to describe the genre.... as my own... little... joke.... with myself... because of my love... of it... 

[There is an utterly horrific moment of shock and horror from all three people behind the table. She attempts to save it one last time...]

I mean of course that it is guilty-pleasure crime drama. The sort of "I really should be doing the washing up, but CSI is on" sort of thing.... [getting worse.]. If you see.... what I mean.... [total. heart crushing. failure.]

Director: ... Well. Thank you so much... we'll be in touch.... 

[...with either your agent or a hospital, she meant to say...]

* * *

Um.... I did not get this job. 

02 July, 2008

Quarter of a Century

25 Years.

No longer able to use the excuse of "youth" for silly mistakes, anxiety attacks or plain simple stupidity; 25 is the age when a person can rent a car without a hassle, is the average age for marriage, and is considered quite bad luck in Thailand. Great. I think it is important here to let you know that I still plan on excusing myself from many a folly and passing it off as youth, and do not in fact have plans to either rent a car or marry in the near future. I also plan on never believing in luck. So, with that... I can't tell you how much I want to tell you all that I don't own anti-wrinkle cream. But I do. In fact, I bought a new jar of Olay Definity™ on Tuesday to celebrate.

Yet, all of this being said, I have a decidedly better attitude than last year. Last year, I didn't want to admit I was actually freaking out pretty substantially. I was starring in to the abyss and the abyss was saying things in Jack Black's voice:

"Dude, you reeeeeeeally need to lighten up. Even The Abyss is less serious than you. You know how that NIETZSCHE dude said "when you stare in to the abyss, it stares back at you?" Well, Dude, I am here to tell you that This Here Abyss is starring back at you and it is something DARK, man. Starring back at you is like a psychotically out of control downer, and you are depressing The Abyss, man. You need to get in touch with your totally awesome awesome-ness and chill the f@%# out. Rock on."

So I tried to listen to the Jack Black character in my head, and to a certain extent it worked. I'm much more in tune with what "the rest of my life" means, and that I am in control of it's direction. Regardless, I am relentlessly working to improve my outlook, and every hour I save is an hour added to my life.

And whatever your ideology, whatever your age, whether you know the shape of a rock or the structure of a universe, the meaning of existence or the specific purpose of an individual life; the axioms remain the same: that it exists and that you know it. Whatever his future, at the dawn of his life, Man seeks a noble vision of his nature and of life's potential. And so do I.

Here's to another year.


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