August 2010 Archives

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Yesterday was our last performance.  When I went backstage to re-enter for the final bow, I felt such happiness.  

I did the impossible.  I did the Edinburgh Fringe without crawling into a fetal position and going completely mental.  

I can not describe how amazing and exhilarating and insane The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is.  I can tell you of all the amazing performers and stars that you are competing/performing against/with.  I can write about how manic the Fringe can make you feel:  amazing one minute and absolutely defeated the next.  I can go on about how the capital of Scotland feels like you're walking around a Harry Potter book and magic surrounds you...but you can't really feel it unless you've experienced it yourself.

I hadn't realized how much I'd been focusing on "making it" at home in NYC.  Booking a job, not booking a job.  Networking.  Going to the next level (whatever the frack that means).  New York can be a tough city on your soul.

I came here with very concrete objectives:  

1.  Excellent reviews
2.  Full audience everyday 
3.  30% profit etc
4.  To perform in front of people who were not family or friends.
5.  A few other tight assed-objectives which I forgot...

Here in the Edinburgh Fringe, there were a lot of university students performing and I observed their objectives:  

1.  Getting drunk
2.  Getting laid
3.  Getting people to see their show
4.  Having fun.

These goals were much more immediate, aligned more with the heart than with the intellect.  These seem a more likely recipe for happiness.  Being around them, I felt my own heart unclench (didn't even know it was clenched) and a warmth fill my soul.

I got what I wanted but also what I needed:  

1.  Pure joy for performing and theater
2.  Seeing other works from all over the world and having my creative boundaries broadened
3.  Being inspired over and over again by people
4.  Learning how to unabashedly promote myself in person without flinching (though I'm still working on this one...)
4.  Meeting great friends in the arts from all over the world

After the show, Jim asked:  "Was it worth it?"  Without a doubt, it was worth it.  

This was all possible because of the following people:

Jim
Maddie
The In-Laws
Bro-In-Law
Regina Thonhauser and ALL SG's
Claire James - Producer
Kenneth Heaton - Director
Karen Fitzgerald
Matt Hoverman - Create Your Own Solo Show Guru
Charles Pamment - theSpaces UK
Wayne from Manchester 
Simon Johnson 
Aimme Johnson
Daniel Mejuto
The Awesome City of Edinburgh
Stephanie Erlich
Gabrielle Maisels
PJ Walsh
Farrah Greenbaum

It was bound to happen.  Due to the three P's (partying, performing and promoting).  Performed today with a stuffy nose.  My producer kept saying she enjoyed today's show.  Gonna rest up.
Thursday 12 August by Jennifer Blyth

Show info

Yo Girl!

theSpaces @ Surgeons Hall 6-21 Aug, not Sundays, 12:05pm - 12:55pm

In this biographical one-woman show, Korean adoptee Natalie Kim realises she must confront her past amid her New York surroundings. This run of performances at the Fringe marks the European premiere of her sell-out New York show.

As the exclamatory title indicates, Kim is full of confident stage presence: her own character that she portrays is sassy and liberated - as one of her three mothers (birth, adopted and step-mother) remarks, she'd be a beautiful girl if she didn't talk so much. Yet it is in these well-observed character voices where Kim's talents lie: she spins anecdotes with legions of characters and, by capturing a subtle nuance of tone, manages to make each utterly distinct from the last.

As Kim learns more about herself, she gradually transforms from loud and lively to self-aware and slightly vulnerable; it is here where the show takes on a more tongue-in-cheek philosophical edge. Her acknowledgement that being the fusion of Eastern culture and Western education should be something to be cherished, not ashamed of, is particularly insightful. It would perhaps be worth delving a little deeper into these very human thoughts. In those rare moments when Kim contradicts the happy-go-lucky sheen of her character, you sit up and pay attention.

Although she embraces the Korean culture her birthright has bestowed, it is clear that Kim's heart is firmly set in New York. A good thing, too - it is her playful, buoyant spirit and the American gloss of self-deprecating humour that makes this production especially fun

Here is the link for my review:  


Natalie Kim is dynamic and funny solo performer, and her account of life as a Korean adoptee navigating her way through an American upbringing is warm and even inspirational. This is storytelling with attitude: Kim has excellent delivery and shares anecdotes on everything from Internet dating to Buddhist retreats. Add in some music, poetry and a few dance moves, and you get a great show about the life and loves of a city girl with a difference. At times the pace drags a little and there are some repetitive moments, but the climax of the piece, in which Kim takes on the roles of her three mother figures in turn, manages to be both tender and comic.

theSpaces@Surgeons Hall, 9 - 21 Aug (not 15), 12.05pm, £8.00 - £10.00, fpp 306

tw rating: 3/5

published: Aug-2010

[Chloe Courtney] 
A few months ago I shot an infamous scene for Bored To Death (more on that later...).  I facebooked friended Jonathan Ames.  And then through his stream, I saw him hanging out with Dean Haspiel.  And I recognized Dean's name from the AWESOME comic collective, Act-i-vate!  I facebooked Dean and he was kind enough to respond, look at my terrible 'toons and even offered to let me drop by his studio, DEEP 6!

I'm in Edinburgh and totally in the moment...but I'm also totally psyched and can't wait!  It's really an honor to learn from someone like Dean and I REALLY want to draw more.

I held back on the drawing because one of my acting coaches said I MUST NOT do the cartooning thing. She said it was bad for my image or something and I MUST FOCUS SOLELY ON ACTING.  She said she wouldn't take me seriously if I was going to draw or take drawing classes.  

I saw Charlyne Yi's show the other day and she is a brilliant, hilarious genius.  And what I loved about her show, among many things, is how she incorporated her talents as a musician.  She plays harp, piano, guitar, writes music and incorporates awesome short videos.  She's just on the stage doing her thing.  

I guess she didn't have an acting coach who told her she MUST NOT DO MUSIC and ONLY DO COMEDY...She just kinda does what she likes...and it's as simple as that.
We've been in Edinburgh since August 4 and I have performed 8 performances of YO GIRL!

I've learned the following:

I STILL need to rehearse the show.  
Just because I do it everyday, that isn't enough.  I have an hour's worth of material to go over...and everyday it is different.

Maybe next time I'll learn to do burlesque, strip, juggle, play guitar etc...
There are straight plays, but in Edinburgh, you don't just want to see a straight play, you want to escape into fantastical Harry Potter on crack territory.  You want to be taken from your everyday world and thrust into a whole different universe.  I can not and will not compete with the women whose whole play is comprised of using their boobs play musical instruments.  I feel pressure because these type of shows are AMAZING...but...alas...that's not what I wrote.  

Being from New York, there is always a certain smugness I have...which can be myopic and dumb.  This festival has opened my eyes to other experiences, people and levels of performance that is mind blowing.  Edinburgh is like NO OTHER THEATRE FESTIVAL IN THE WORLD.  I try not to view it as a monster (as some do), but more like a wave that I'm surfing.  Some days are rough waters, other days are smooth sailing.

All work and no play...
I've seen a lot of terrific shows, I LOVE being here.  That said, I'm taking a break tonight.  After the show, we had lunch together and I decided to skip the High Street preview performance we had scheduled.  

I snoozed and then went to the gym.  I needed a break from the Edinburgh madness.  Passing out flyers, meeting different press folks, the adrenaline from doing multiple consecutive performances.  

TAKING TIME FOR MOTHER-EFFING GRATITUDE
Audiences love the show and I'm so grateful for that.  After today's performance, a Scottish gentleman was very kind and said that the show was "spot-on".  That meant the world to me.  He's not my friend and not related to me.  Just someone who randomly came to see the show.

We've also gotten really terrific reviews.  We're also in talks with some producers about possible future tours.

These are all things that we had hoped for and the rest is icing on the cake.  I feel so much gratitude for all of these things.

And lastly, if I do the Fringe next year, I would seriously consider guitar and juggling lessons and/or investing in a bustier where flames shoot out of it...I'm just saying.

PERFORMANCE

Today I performed YO GIRL! at 12:05.  

I slugged coffee and then ran to the theater.  We are not allowed in to the theater till 15 minutes before we go on.  NOTE TO SELF:  WEAR COSTUME BEFORE GOING TO THE THEATER.  We have that much time to be in costume and makeup and have props set up.  Pure insanity.  I figure that I have a strong stomach because I'm a New Yorker, but nothing is quite frenetic as performing in the Edinburgh Fringe.

At today's performance there was a woman who came with her INFANT SON IN A STROLLER.  (This was almost as bad as the time someone brought a DOG to my show who began yelping at a very serious part.)  The little guy was mostly quiet but made noises here and there and I was hyper aware of him.  I felt terrible because there is a lot of cursing in my show.  At the same time I didn't want to hold back and since it seemed forbidden to curse in front of a kid, I kind of relished dropping the F bomb.  Am I sick?

When the lights came up, I found it was a wonderful woman I had met on the street with her son the day before.  I had started a conversation with her and she actually came to see the show!

We also had a reviewer from Fest, so I am crossing fingers that that went well.

Then my wonderful YO GIRL! crew (Claire, Daniel, Aimme and Kenneth) and I went to the press meetings.  

MEETING FRIENDS AT THE PRESS MEETINGS 

I was very excited to run into the wonderful and gorgeous actress, Haerry Kim who is doing her show FACE.  It's a show about Korean comfort women and I'm very excited to see it.  The women who served as comfort women really deserve to have their stories told and I can't think of a better performer to do it than Haerry.

I met Canavan Connolly and he's in a show called "Stiched Up".  While we were waiting to speak to various folks from the press we antagonized each other for a bit.  If the show is anything like him then it should be very funny and slightly sneakery smelling.

Towards the end of the press day, I got delirious and nearly clocked lovely Heather Tottenham because I thought she was cutting in front of me while I was waiting to speak to a reporter.  She was feisty back at me and then we started talking about our shows.  It turns out she is hilarious and a writer/director of the show The Cardboard Metropolis.  

It was very fortuitous that we met Heather because she revealed she had heard about YO GIRL!  Her acquaintance (a reviewer) had seen the show and really liked it.  This was very good news indeed and a fine way to end our day :-)
We are in Edinburgh.  We are having a blast!  It's a lot of work, but much better than I anticipated.  Will write more later.  We have a performance and then meeting with a ton of press.