From My Mother's Basement…

Royal Shakespeare Company Lecture With John Barton & Cecily Berry September 19, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — a ryan j @ 5:20 am

Royal Shakespeare Theatre Lecture with John Barton (Co-Founder) and Cecily Berry (Voice Director)

Sunday, 18 September, 2011

In The Swan Theatre: Stalls, L,22

My Lecture Notes – 

Sonnet Work:

CICELY: sonnet 129 “The expense of spirit”…

* walk around and change direction on every piece of punctuation *it gives you direction, one word LEADS into the next one.

Peter Brooks says, “There’s a million ways to say one line”. …take the word “savage”…

JOHN: the great value of working w/ sonnets is that THEY ARE SHORT!!! * use the words to make the audience listen * you’ve got to NEED to talk * job as the director is to get an actor to help himself * every sonnet has a story * repetition helps the story emerge * ask questions. There are far more question in the text of Shakespeare than you’d think and you MUST ASK THEM!!!

CICELY: When a character uses an image – it’s not because they’re describing something. It is because that is WHERE THEY ARE LIVING!

JOHN: Sonnets are exercize.

CICELY: it is the imagery that takes us into the depths our souls * and the rhythm HAS to come out * yet “we” want it to sound modern * it is the challenge for today’s actors…


Switching Between Verse & Prose:

JOHN: Actors find their own way by DOING IT!!! (How actors figure out the dynamics of Shakespeare)

CICELY: the audience pays to listen, we get paid to be heard * be a conduit

JOHN: work on structured argument – if, then, therefore * the musculature of the text, helps demystify it * taste every single word as you would in the bathtub at home * rhetoric – the art of argument, persuasion, and reason

CICELY: it is the actor’s job to excite people with language * we are still moved by people who speak well * use language as music *imperative that drama schools work on verse, classical, and modern – it is a skill!

*We want the audience not to leave satisfied, but wanting change*Shakespeare is always relevant to now.

JOHN: We’ve got to get into Shakespeare’s world, not to try to bring him into ours.

Cicely: We learn Shakespeare by DOING IT!!! *We want the audiance to say, “I see what he feels”…

Have a NEED TO SPEAK – use the words to GET OTHER’S ATTENTION!

JOHN: with a soliloquy you are never alone because you are with the audience *there’s a difference between expressing and emotion on stage, and coping on stage with the emotions you’re dealing with…

CICELY: whatever accent you are doing, it helps keep the muscularity together

Sustaining Shakespeare on Stage Night After Night: (Penny, the Australian) You find all these different gears you can shift through, just like a bicycle * And you MUST ALWAYS BE PRESENT and LISTENING!!!

JOHN: You have to listen and you have to make others listen

CICELY: Shakespeare thinks quickly * the SPEED OF THOUGHT is: quickly

JOHN: If you slow down the pace, you constipate the story!

PENNY: If there’s a half line, don’t act between it, come right on in & finish the line

CICELY: it’s not a PAUSE, it’s a POISE on the word

*they were both old as dirt,  but still had a tenacity for life, Shakespeare, and the stage – it was wonderful to see them present and in the moment on stage!

– A. Ryan Jones


It A’int Easy Goin’ International Baby August 18, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — a ryan j @ 4:14 pm

Man oh man – this living international stuff is not for the faint of heart, I tell ya :/ we are not as global of a society as we would like to think :/

we need to have an EU approved car seat for the baby upon arrival. So I’m trying to place an order w/ a UK website, but they can’t accept my U.S. billing address in their system. I emailed them but they said they couldn’t place the order for me, it had to be completed online. So I call one of my credit card companies to get the address changed to our place in Birmingham. The first Indian customer service agent disconnected my while trying to place me on hold. The second Indian customer service agent informed me that I would have to call them every 30 days to extend my travel notice if I want to use the card over there or my account will get frozen, and we will be charged at 3% international fee on any purchases made abroad. He also left me marginally convinced he had updated my address correctly (and certainly not because he is Indian, but I got the clear impression that he was as familiar with UK addresses as I am:/) Oye. Back to the website to see if I can get this order placed…grr.

…and this is just a classic example of the process we’ve had to go through for pretty much everything, and we probably will have to go through all sorts of hoops the whole time we’re over there too lol He never said it would be easy…


Dream Journal: Me & Mel Gibson August 17, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — a ryan j @ 10:48 am

So last night I dreamt that I was called back to UWyo for the summer theatre production of Macbeth (although trust me, that certainly is not what this play was lol). It is only upon arrival that I find out I am cast as Mel Gibson’s leading lady. That’s right folks, Mel Gibson had jacked up his career enough that I was being handed an opportunity to act opposite him on stage (nothing against myself, theatre, and/or the University of Wyoming)!He looked like shit, but he took the role very seriously and really did teach me a lot lol! Leigh Selting was the director, of course; and one thing I remember is having to sneak away from some very intense table work and duck into the kitchen (of course we were rehearsing at some lodge-y retreat type place) to ask them if they had anything that would work as a pump because my breasts were full :/ Also, Mel was terrible at sword play, he looked like a drunk sailor doing it; and at points I seriously thought Leigh was going to have an anurism. The shakespeare play (that I made up in my dream) was called Macbeth, but it was actually more of a cross between Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet WITH the added character of Falstaff; who, by the way, was played by an ex of mine (which, in my opinion was actually excellent casting on my part, if I do say so myself)!

Oy, what a “dream”-ady haha!


Oh Where, oh Where Has My Baby’s Milk Gone…??? July 30, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — a ryan j @ 6:40 am

…A Breast Feeding Mother’s Lament

Ugh, my milk is just drying up – it is all down hill from here. At this rate I seriously doubt I will be a Golden Boobie Award recipient.  At my peak production,  I was making  30 ounces a day, on average. Well, at Preston’s peak consumption he needed 32-33 ounces a day. And I did my best to keep up – I power pumped, I ate oatmeal daily, I would try to drink a daily beer, I took, I still do take Fenugreek – 4 pills 3 times a day – I have tried, I really have. And then sometime into P.I’s seventh month, we had to start supplementing with formula – just one bottle a day. Shortly after that, we started putting Rice Cereal into his bedtime bottle, and next thing we knew we were all sleeping better at night! And as Preston started taking in more and more solids, he slowly started drinking less milk  – yay! Except I started making less milk. Ah yes, as Eric would say, “thus is nature’s way”…but the ‘lil one is still drinking 23-25 ounces daily, and Mommy squeezed out less than 16 ounces yesterday.  Boo.
This woman on my Birth Club board was expressing her weaning woos, and saying how “she always knew this day would come, but she always figured it would be on her terms”…now, why would do we humans always delude ourselves into thinking that we have any control over nature? I don’t know, but I do know exactly what that woman meant. I too, in sincere dedication to my breastfeeding goals, had projected notions of lactating until I was done bearing children – just keep the milk flowing, keep my metabolism high, provide the best form of nourishment possible until society’s judging glares convinced me that I had nourished for long enough.
I had goals; and more importantly, I had  a plan. I worked hard, and I got “good” at making milk. I got it down to a job description: 4 pumps/day at approximately 8 oz a pump; I visualized how I could fit this schedule into my grad school life come fall time. And then sometime after introducing The ‘Lil One to solids, it seemed, as if over night, the need for 4 pumps/day had diminished down to three; and now I can already see a future of a morning/evening pumping schedule on my horizon.
Shouldn’t I be feeling relief? Like, my job of providing nourishment for my baby until my baby can take in other forms of nourishment is drawing to a close – I’m almost done, and a very well job done indeed! But that is not how I often find myself feeling. At the end of my pumping day, I tally up my ounces and conclude one simple fact: 16/17/18 ounces – that is nowhere near 32 ounces. As we start to supplement from one formula bottle/day to two, I think to myself how much money we’re spending on formula…and then I have to remind myself that, in fact, all of my breast feeding efforts have ended up saving my family less than one dollar/day…that certainly doesn’t help me feel as if I’ve made much of a contribution. I try to feel sad over the increased ingestion of formula and the nutritional quality concerns I have with using it; but then I have to logically remind myself of every piece of crap this boy will put into his body over his life time, and despite my best efforts, over the long haul  a couple months of formula should be of little to no concern. I have to remind myself that it is not for these reasons that I chose to breast feed. It is because it is nature’s way, nature knows best, and in nature I trust.
But the end of this journey certainly does not present itself as a welcoming finish line, an inviting golden tape draped below a celebratory sign off in the distance, surrounded by love ones whose cheers draw you towards it. Instead, I feel as if some door has swung open to a dark and empty closet, dust bunnies escaping with a flurry. As I approach the closet door, you can hear those around you saying “you’re not still nursing are you?” “How much longer are you going to be doing that…”? After I started supplementing with a bottle of formula, and my supply began to drop someone remarked that,”well yeah, your boobs are probably like: finally, I can take a break.” When I reminded my mother that I am in fact still nursing, she said “yeah, but I thought it was just one bottle.” I corrected her that it was just one bottle of formula a day, but her comment made it clear that just providing one bottle of breast milk a day for your baby certainly isn’t considered a significant contribution. With all of these thoughts ringing in my head, the one that rings loudest of all is the fact that Preston will never even appreciate what it is I have done for him – this is the first real lesson in sacrifice, a first selfless act of motherhood, and it is just one of many more to come. I look up, and the banner hanging above my dingy closet door reads “Pump Goes Here”. Honestly, it’s kind of a let down; but I have to remind myself that I am not doing this for praise, I am doing it because it is what I feel is best for my son, and that is my job as his mother – period.
And when I have completed this portion of this job, when my breast feeding days have some to an end, I will try to proudly hang up my pump – and I think I will do something nice for myself…a mom may never get a day off, but certainly she can get moments, right?!

From the Diaries of a Camp Kid July 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — a ryan j @ 6:28 am
July 21, 2011
Dear Mr. S. K. D. –
     Hope all is going well at camp. Eric says summer camps are for kids who don’t have siblings and who don’t have friends. And there may be some truth to that, as I had neither and I loved summer camps! They were always the highlight of my year; and often times, dreaming of next year’s camp was enough to get through one school year of being highly unpopular after another. I was constantly teased, and almost always felt very misunderstood – except for when I was at a camp, surrounded by my like-minded peers who were searching out similar life experiences as I was. Ah, why couldn’t life be one big summer camp?
I always looked up to my camp counselors – they inspired me; and most importantly, they provided the encouragement I needed to really believe that I could be whatever it is I want to be. I hope you know what an important service you’re providing – investing in our youth, providing an escape for kids who too often get stuck in the present, unable to see the bright future that awaits them, and learning more about yourself all along the way. I am proud of you!
You will never know how many lives you are touching – but know that you have definitely touched mine.
Much Love – a ryan j