One of the side projects that I hoped I could accomplish during my Taiwan-time is to prepare a full repertoire of monologues to audition with once I return to New York. Aside from being an uber necessary actor-tool, this will also help me keep my acting chops fresh! The goal is to have all the major playwrights covered. Which, of course, involves reading as many plays as I can get my hands on.
I actually have time to do it!
I’ve been able to devote time everyday for play reading + research about Chinese theatre!
Pardon my outburst, but this is very exciting because I never seemed to find time to read “random” plays in NYC. I only read them to prepare for a role I would play or a scene I would be in. It is embarrassing to admit, yet probably true for most of my NYC actor friends. It’s not that we don’t want to, but it’s hard to find the energy when you’re working several jobs to make ends meet, taking class, + rehearsing shows all at the same time!
Fortunately, the Taida library has a TON of English language plays to check-out!
They took me a little while to find because they are categorized by Author under Literature… The American “greats” seem to be well represented. Score!
So, perusing the shelves, I realized that I have made it to 26 without reading a single John Guare play. I know. Horrifying.
I am seriously loving these plays. I am also seriously loving Guare’s Forewords + Prefaces! John Guare is another Native New Yorker + you can hear it in his voice. It’s like heaven for me! I highly recommend that everyone read his Foreword to The House of Blue Leaves. Just do it.
In three words, Guare’s writing is: Hilarious, Heartbreaking, Quick.
This is my favorite New York bit from Guare’s 2007 Preface to Landscape of the Body, called “What it Was Like:”
People always lament what the city used to be, or what a neighborhood was. That’s what I love about New York City–it’s always being reborn, it’s always reinventing itself. And it demands the same of you–that you keep readjusting to time. You can’t live in the past in this city, you can’t lament and say, “Oh oh oh.” It’s just not there anymore. New York forces you to do the most challenging thing: accept reality.
In the spirit of getting thangs done + celebrating The NYC, heeeeerre we go! From one Queens boy to another:
I know I can / Be what I wanna be /
If I work hard at it / I’ll be where I wanna be!