Sunday, September 27, 2009

Like Never Before

A month ago, everything changed. I handed my life over to The Theatre School at DePaul University, which demands every waking moment (and a few sleeping ones) to helping me accomplish my career goals. I’m taking eight classes (not my idea) consisting of Yoga, Feldenkrais, Acting, Makeup, Voice & Speech, Improv, Seminar, and Studio. I won’t go into what happens in each of those, but if I were to add it up, there’s scarcely a full hour in the day I’m not at least thinking about one assignment or another.

Not to mention work. I got a job editing/redesigning Theatre School News, a monthly newsletter that highlights (among other things) what the DePaul Theatre School alums are up to. At first my work hours were limited by when the school’s office was open (Monday through Friday, 9-5), but once I realized I had the capacity to work from home, that became my new base of operations since most of my 9-5 hours are taken up by my classes.

The next time vampire has had to do with moving into a new apartment. It took two and a half weeks before I could have my cooking gas turned on, and it took the cable company three visits over three weeks to install my internet. I finally got internet access last Saturday, and I’ve had my service shut off three times because my account is more than 60 days past due. I think they’re not going to rest until I’ve explained to everyone at that company that this is physically impossible.

Now for the good news, in reverse. My apartment is huge and comfy. All hardwood floors, five rooms, lots of sunlight, and it’s on the 3rd floor (technically 4th, since much of Chicago starts counting floors with the second) of a corner facing East and South, about 100 paces from the train. Nuku can’t go outside anymore, but she has a long hallway to run down, which seems to keep her mollified. It’s also the first place I’ve lived with direct sunlight, so she spends half the daylight hours finding a cozy windowsill in which to roast herself. Sooner or later I’m getting a large dining table, if only because I can’t figure out what the hell else I’m going to do with a dining room.

Working on the Theatre School Newsletter is amazing for the knowledge that DePaul graduates get work and support. Our graduates have gone on to be principal cast members in shows like X-Files, Weeds, and Castle, worked on and in major motion pictures, become screenwriters, playwrights, and opened theatre companies. I love knowing that once I graduate I’ll be connected to a network of working professionals who got their education as far back as 1947.

As for the classes, I couldn’t be happier or more challenged in them. Acting is a craft that uses the whole body as an instrument, and to that end I’m heightening the capabilities of my body, mind and voice to previously unchallenged levels. We’re barely three weeks in, and I’ve already brought two projects from conception to execution. One of my professors just
opened a show starring an Oscar nominee (which I’m going to see tomorrow), and another is the chief theatre critic for the Chicago Tribune. In short, I’ve never been in a time or place more suited to making my childhood dreams come true.