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Monthly Archives: March 2006

Things That Annoy Me


I am not a squeamish type of person but there are somethings that people do that I just can’t tolerate or even permit to continue around me. Here are a few of them:
 
THINGS THAT ANNOY ME
  1. People who try to talk to me while I am in the toilet. This is a NO NO. I will not answer and if you insist on continuing to speak with me, you are in for a ripe cussing when I exit.
  2. People who try and hug me: You will know if I want to be touched. I will initiate it. Other than that, please do not try and put your greasy hands on me. Hepatitis B is a real problem even though you may not be aware of it.
  3. Spitters and those who constantly clear their throats: If you washed your hands more often, your bloody tonsils would be able to deal with the level of bacteria you keep shoving down your mouth.
  4. People Who order expensive things from menus when they know they are not paying: Trust me, if I am paying for it, you better eat the entire thing and you better give me sex afterwards. Otherwise, walk with your money for dinner. And you better not order wine when you don’t know a Chardonnay froma  Merlot.
  5. Liars: Please do not lie to me. if you do, lie well and make sure that you remember it ALWAYS.
  6. Fakers: Do not pretend to be cultured when you don’t even know what a salad fork is. If you have an accent, you better have the appropriate passport to go along with it (and I do not mean the required visa to enter that country.

Well, this is just a preliminary list as I am trying not to be too negative or condescending to others. I am far from being a perfect human being but I aspire to this end and this is just my way of informing you of the ways you can help me reach my goal.  I will be taking submissions to recommend me for the Nobel Peace Prize in a couple years. Please be ready.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2006 in Uncategorized

 

Dysfunction thy name is……….


Over the weekend, I came to the realisation that no matter how many times I tell myself that I will stop doing something..I end up doing it and regretting it as usual afterwards.
 
Picture This:
Sicily 1938….no actually Port-of -Spain March 24th 2006. I  get a call from an RBTT teller I met during Carnival. She wants to go out tonight and I am dog tired from the play. So what do I say????? "Give me Half an hour and I’ll pick you up"… Steups. Why did I do this? Within 10 minutes of that call, i get another one telling me that I also need to pick up two other friends of hers (A boy and girl). I smile and say "Sure no problem".
 
Now the weird thing is that I am not interested in her as she is also hanging out with a good friend of mine and I know that she and my friend have been intimate. I also called my friend and told him about the meeting tonight (only to be informed that he suggested they call me as he can’t make it). Hmmmm me smells a set-up here. Alas they have already been intimate so I guess my friend is ready to move on. LOL
 
Anyway, I go out with them and have a lousy time. I see people that I would rather not  interact with and to top it all off, there is a stabbing within ten minutes of me walking out and going to my car. Trust me when i say that my exit was out of sheer boredom or was it my "spider sense" tingling me? We will never know, but it just dawned on me for the "ump-teenth" time in 2006…….Why do I extend such hospitality to people that I honestly don’t have an interest in?
 
The answer lies in the deep seated need for attention or to be liked by everyone in the process. Picking up her friends and they proclaiming my high level of "coolness" is so juvenile and soooo circa-1985 that it is shameful. Her kissing me goodnight (on the cheek sensually) and hugging me for carrying them clubbing just wasn’t worth the price of admission nor the lack of sleep i suffered as a result.  Plus there is also the fact that people from work saw me with this person and have been asking questions non-stop and quoting HR policy manuals to me. PUHLEESE as if I haven’t slept with junior staff in my past already…LOL  No but seriously..nothing is going on nor will it start at any point. 
 
Of course, that night I vowed to no longer to succumb to the whims and fancies of the "Young and Hot" but then i made it specific and just told myself: "Stefan, if you are tired, DO NOT go out under any circumstance".  Alas, another cop out once more.  What is wrong with me? Does anyone know of a pill for this??? These bloody self help books have too many exercises for me to complete. I feel as if I am in school all over again.  A drug is faster and requires less introspection on my part.
 
I won’t go into the other girl whom can’t seem to take no for an answer despite all my sarcastic responses and snide remarks to her. Why are people gluttons for punishment? I should know, it seems I apparently prefer being beaten daily than actually learning from my mistakes. And it is not even the good kind of torture. You know, the belts, whips and chains, the paddle etc….sigh memories….  Nope, I seem to need mental and emotional torture in order to function.
 
OK. WAIT! HOLD UP. Why am I doing a number on myself? Why am I bombarding you with this?  
I discovered a website the other day while listening to Alanis’ song called " Unsent" and what this website does is allow you to post letters to people and basically deal with your issues without the inconvenience of actually having to tell the person. I haven’t tried it yet but in reading some of the letters, I felt better immediately.  I also realise that the only person I need to write to is me and tell myself…to get a Flipping clue!!!
 
Here is the website:
 
 
Hope you have fun with it. It is strange the avenues that one can find to deal with things you can never say to others. Not even to your best friends.
 
 
 
 
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Posted by on March 27, 2006 in Uncategorized

 

The Premiere & The Aftermath


Well If I were to say that the premiere of the play went off without a hitch…well I would be a big fat liar. First, try dealing with the fact that the costumes you thought were yours from dress rehearsal are switched and the fact that some cast members were fitting into their costumes for the first time that night. I see you that debacle and then raise you lighitng and sound difficulties due to passing cars and at one point a hovering helicopter (Yes a helicopter..no joke).  All in all it was a magical night. YEAH RIGHT!!!!!
 
The biggest mishap of the night however belonged to one of the seasoned actors in the cast and his apparent memory loss during more than one scene. In one particular scene, his amnesia resulted in two pages of dialogue bieng lost and in the process confusing the audience totally as to the ultimate plot of the story. Baring this…I was brilliant…LOL my performance was fine. No major mishaps.
 
On an egotistical front, I realised only that night at the premiere that my role is that of a straight man to everyone’s comedic performance. In other words, my lines got no laughs and therefore i felt really weird. Try being in a comedy and being one of the few people in the cast that gets no laughs at all. There are no accolades from audience at curtain bows nor after when they see you in the crowd for the party. Hmmm a blow to my ego (after all….it’s all ABOUT ME????). I am however begrudgingly resigned to the fact that no laughs will come my way and as a result,  I am not enjoying the role anymore) How selfish is that????
 
The show continued for the rest of the weekend with that particular actor missing less and less lines each night. I think at the end of our 25 performance run, he would finally remember all his lines. Audience reception has also been very good as some scenes get such a raucous laughter that it delays continuation for sometime. (a good thing in my book). The only thing that puzzles me is that the cast doesn’t seem to be having much fun. Well at least in my eyes. There is no playfulness or even silly jokes being brandied about during backstage periods.  I must be having flashbacks from "The Lion King" and therefore judging this experience too harshly. Could Be. Maybe, Probably. Exactly!!!!. I think that is it. I really shouldn’t be comparing apples ot watermelons but i guess I am and in the end the only person that seems to be dissapointed is me.
 
On a positive note, i think the director wants me for another project he is doing later on in the year, so obviously he is satisfied with my work. Plus there is also the possibility that I may be in another local soap opera. NOthing definite but I am keeping my fingers crossed.
 
Overall I am cool with my role and the play. (I just want to be the one making the crowd laugh – yes i want to be the buffoon). Ah well, they do say that actors are some of the most insecure people you will ever met. Guess I am not proving anybody wrong.
 
The show is on a break for Monday and Tuesday (thnak goodness) , so i can finally get to bed before midnight and hopefully feel well rested the next day.(Yeah Right).
 
I didn’t have tennis this weekend as my coach is in Austrailia with the National Tennis Team for The Commonwealth Games and despite that fact, I got very little rest since we had to come in early to rehearse scenes given the degree of forgetfulness that had occured at the premiere. Now tihs week we are putting in two understudies into roles so that means extra rehearsals for us and shows at night. How Beautiful. At least in Germany I got paid extra for coming in early. No such arrangement exists for this.
 
Trust me that I am not doing this for free but financial constriants of the TTW have made contract payments specific to performances only (which i can agreewith from an cost cutting viewpoint).
 
A review of the play came out on Sunday and it wasn’t bad. Given that the reviewer saw the show on its Premiere Night where two pages of script were inadvertently lost by an actor, she found the play highly enjoyable. My name was mentioned in the paper (The Sunday Guardian) but no critique of my perfomance etc was done. I could live with that.  (Smiling because my name was mentioned in the paper…..how pathetic is that??)
 
 Life goes on and so must I. Off to do my day job and harass the masses.
 
Later.
 
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Posted by on March 20, 2006 in Uncategorized

 

It’s Almost Time (Es Ist Fast Zeit)


Yep, after weeks of preparation, the play (Derek Walcott’s Beef, No Chicken)  that I have been working on premieres tonight. Am I ready? Yes, I am. Is the show ready? Yes, It is. Is the Cast ready? Yes they are. Am I nervous? Yes, shitting bricks.
 
Why am I nervous you may ask yourself? How can he be nervous when he has performed in The Lion King in Germany to thousands of people? The answer to that question is simple.  There were no Trinidadians in the audience when I performed in Hamburg. Huh? WHAT?? Why is this an issue?
 
Well anyone who knows Caribbean people will realise that when it comes to entertainment, we are very hard to please. I have known so many international acts to grace the shores of Caribbean islands and either be booed off or just receive luke warm responses. We are a tough crowd to please. Trinis are no exception to that rule. As a matter of fact, we seem to be on the extreme end of that rule.
 
Personally, I have sat with friends in many plays, concerts, etc and just plainly criticzed the hell out of anyone performing that seemed to think that they were above board or in some way professional. It was a past time for many years. Now I am on the other end and while I don’t purport myself to be the" consumate actor", I still worry about the criticisms that come from the Trini audience(LOL). It stings. It hurts like hell and even bruises egos beyond repair. (I am trying to form a thick skin……almost there..a few kinks in the amour still).
 
I remember the first time that I did a play in Trinidad. It was a good experience. I couldn’t see the audience whatsoever and so in playing to silhouettes, I wasn’t scared.  Then during a prop malfunction before the opening of a scene (well not an actual prop malfunction, but me getting tangled up in the prop and kicking it into the audience), I ended up seeing some of the patrons who were there to see me. No, I wasn’t the star of the show, but if you reference TGATS (The Gospel According To Stefan) you will see that It’s always all about ME.
 
Anyway i digress…..hmmmm let’s see. oh yes. In the audience were some actors that I had seen on local stage and TV countless times, just sitting there.  I froze for a short time and my scene was a little stunted for the first few seconds, then i got into it and forgot about them being there. Later on I would here and they referred to me a Stiffen not Stefan. It cut like a knife and I jsut thought that I shouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t good enough.  In speaking with the play’s director the next day, he said he saw notihng wrong with my performance and that I should not take it to heart as actors are extremely insecure people. He further reiterated that they will say anything to ensure they have the mental edge over anyone they remotely regard as competition. 
 
In the end, I realised that performers in general are very insecure people despite how well some mask it. So it is the job of every performer (if they are to survive in the field) to develop a sense of worth and a thick exterior.
 
  
This time, it is different as the audience is much closer to the set in this play as we are working "in a round". This more than anything else has me thinking of running to the hills and communing with one of the mythical nude cults that apparently live in the mountains of Trinidad.  I think I need to form a search party to find one.
 
In the end, I know that it is my destiny to perform and to be a channel for this lay by Derek Walcott (which is soo funny BTW) and therefore I must embrace my destiny and just move on. The show must go on…yadda yadda yadda.  So here I go.  I am once again entering another phase in my life. I don’t know where this one is going, but I embrace the journey.
 
So here I am. A Banker/Financial Analyst by day and an actor by night.  LOL  I still feel a bit uncomfortable calling myself an actor but that is what I do.  It was hard to think of myself as a singer/performer in Germany but then again…that is what i was doing.  How weird is it that society conditions us to think certain associations or titles are not to be taken seriously.
 
I prefer to think of myself as a lover. Lover of theatre and music. Oh sod it. I am an actor or as that guy said in the beginning of the movie " Torch Song Trilogy"…(in a raspy voice) …"I Am An Entertainer"….lol  BTW if you don’t want to change or alter your opinion of Matthew Broderick, do not go and rent that movie. It was a bit depressing but then again we can’t all live in Disney-esque worlds.  Some of us need to step out of our bubbles at some point.
 
Jeez I just realised that I am ranting. Sorry.  Ah well….I am off to do my day job now. You know..the one that pays really well and lets me drive a nice car. Sigh….
 
Will write soon.
 
Hoping to break a leg tonight.
 
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Posted by on March 17, 2006 in Uncategorized

 

Fumbling Through…Sports


I have never been nor proported to be an athlete. I would never even call myself an avid sports fan nor just a lover of sports.  These are things that i am not and will never pretend to be.  The Reason for my indifference to sports???? Awkwardness and downright dislike of exercise. The clumsiness factor is the root cause of the dislike. Theaffliction does not extend only to sports but just in general life. Most of my friends can attest to moments where they cannot understand how someone like me could just trip and fall over or just simply bounce into something/someone witohut notice or circumstance. These phenomena still boggle my mind as I am unable to explain them one any level whatsoever.
 
I make this point as I have recently re-started learning to play tennis and I am encountering the ugly head of clumsiness on a more frequent basis. Imagine learning  to play a game with teenagers around you and you try to pick up a ball and all of a sudden you step on it and almost fall over. Now if that incident happened once it would be fine but it happens almost every weekend when i play. It has gotten so bad that i slow down my steps towards the ball and try to pick it up using my racket. Simple enough, isn’t it? No i hit the ball with the racket and in the process cause the ball to move further away from me and therefore not achieve the bounce i desired in picking it up. This means i now have to run bending over to get the ball which  I will inadvertingly kick in  my haste to pick it up that time. In the end I resort just to asking my coach for a new ball. It is really embarassing and doesn’t seem to be letting up.
 
I have however mastered the confident tennis player walk and on a good day, my shots stay within bounds and my serve is coming along quite well. Then there are the regular days of balls flying into the road or going two courts over or even hitting my coach in his head while he is on the sideline. I am getting better though…now i only hit him when he is on the court funnelling balls to me. 
 
 
I can cite so many examples of my failed attempts at sports and even worse my failed attempts at being an active gym member but these make no sense since they all end in me stumbling or bumping into something that causes some measure of embarassment.  Amazingly enough, this affliction hasn’t reared its ugly head during rehearsals for the play (that’s because most people think that it is just the character i am playing). The play opens this Friday…..wish me the best.
 
I am fighting the good fight in overcoming my affliction. The incidences are becoming fewer and fewer. i guess age does brings grace. As a child, the desire to go running through the fields or streets, as the case may be,in wanton abandon (lol) always resulted in cuts and bruises and in one instance a trip to the hospital and an overnight stay due to a mild concussion. Yes, at the age of 8, i somehow slipped on some moss and hit my head and was out of it for about 5 minutes. On arousing in a semi-lucid state, all i remember is an elderly neighbour patting my head and face under a shower and screaming at me ,"YOU TOO HARDEN BOY!!!!  STAY INSIDE NEXT TIME!!!!!". In my dazed state i apparently gave her the finger (That I have no recollection of, but my brother remembers it well). My mother had to leave her office and come and take me to the hospital, where I fell off a bed there witihn an hour of being admitted. This prompted the overnight stay as they thought something was seriously wrong. (I was trying to balance on the bed and pick up a book on a nearby counter, but no one believed me).
 
Now at the age of 33, I am still plagued with bouts of imbalance but I now seem to be able to disguise them better. If someone can explain to me how i still manage to twist my ankles in the simple act of walking, i would be very grateful. My ankles no longer swell when it happens but I wonder if I may have some condition that they just haven’t diagnosed as yet. I am sure there may be a pill for it but i bet one of the sideeffects would be dizziness and nausea.
 
Here’s hoping for a cure………..
 
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Posted by on March 13, 2006 in Uncategorized

 

A Little Clarification


I am doing really well with my Lenten penance and the whole no meat thing is going splendid. However, those around me will have a different opinion. Apparently, I seem to me moodier than usual and prone to snapping for no possible rational reason. Whatever!!!! I am fine. So what if a man cutting me off in traffic evoked a response bordering on road rage (I am still going to hunt down that bastard) or a comment  such as "How are you" gets a death stare? These things aren’t knew in my eyes.
 
I already loathe people who ask me about my day or if I am having a good day. Jeez man?? It’s work. If I had time to answer these questions I would be on the road sellng shower caps for one dollar or something. Work is Hell!!  After a long day at the office the last thing i want to hear is "So How was your day?". I prefer to retire to my room and just relax. Social conversation at this point is futile and bordering on insubordination to the rule established by "The Gospel According to Stefan"(TGATS).
 
Here are some simple tenets from the TGATS:

1. We’ll get along fine as soon as you realise that I am God

2. Focus on me. Focus on me (dont bother me with your problems…I am the important ONE here)

3. No Touching. Unless you get expressed permission from me, there is to be no physical contact. You can  speak to me without making contact.

4. Maintain distance. Personal Space Infringement (PSI) is a serious offense. PSI means you are about to violate rule 3.

5. Do not question my whereabouts? Only the Holy Mamee can do that and she doesn’t ask. So know that you are out of place.

 

I think these should give you the general theme here. It is amazing how many people seem to violate these simple rules (especially family) with their assumptions that I need a hug or some form of human contact. One will be informed when contact is necessary or even appropriate.

 

But I have  digressed……. My apparent meat deprivation is playing havoc on my ability to tolerate nonsense and the supplements that i have been taking to combat it seem not to be working.  I am however determined not to let this thing beat me. So what if a few humans get an unnecessary death glance for calling me "Steven" or spellng my name wrong? These things happen. Please know that while my face may signal that harm is around the corner, I am not a violent person and therefore you are safe. I will remove myself from your presence if the situation warrants it. Of course, if you take the initiative and vacate my space, then your blessings are guaranteed in the near future. Trust Me on that.

 

Oooh yesterday for the first time in a long time, i saw someone that i found really attractive and all i could do was blush like a real idiot. In the midst of speaking to me, I started to laugh and grin like a teenager. She didn’t notice or pretended not to notice (she is a prima donna and lives by her own gospel "I am beautiful, all men must fight for me").  Her gospel, while based along similar lines, conflicts with my word being law, so that avenue cannot be explored. Plus after our conversation, she seemed to have forgotten my name two minutes later. Strange??? She knew it during carnival well enough to call me for a ride when she was stranded??  Tsk Tsk. I may find your aura irresistible but my focus will always be "Me" and therefore my infatuation will pass like a "fart".  *snicker*snicker*

 

Anyway, all I am asking is for a little sympathy as I deal with my meat withdrawal symptoms. They are almost under control.  On a good note, I think that I am losing weight as a result, not "The Biggest Loser Type" weight but small amounts.  When i finally weigh myself, I will let you know. Well not really…..

 

 
 
 
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Posted by on March 8, 2006 in Uncategorized

 

To Be Or Not 2B


The first day of my Lenten penance was almost a tough one. Everywhere i looked for food, there seemed to be very little items that did not contain some form of meat. Sigh Sigh. What am I to do? Well I had vegetarian Pizza that’s what i did.  It wasn’t tasty but then again what do i expect without the sweet taste of cooked flesh entering my mouth and awakening my tastebuds to its soft and tender nature. Sigh ,I do miss chicken.  Is it okay if I classify Chicken as a vegetable? After all, it is a staple in the diet of most Trinidadians. 
 
Anyway onto the other reason that I write today. Acting..boy this thing is hard and the directors can drive you crazy. If you don’t know by now, well I am in a Derek Walcott play called "Beef, No Chicken" in the role of Cardiff Joe aka Alwyn Davies.  He is an ex-miner , boxer and fiance to Euphony Hogan. He has just returned to his fiance from Wales where he has been for the last ten years. And she waited on him for that long.  Crazy , isn’t she? But i digress, hmmmm…let’s see now…oh ok we had a reading of the play yesterday afternoon with some new cast members. Why do we have new cast members? Well we had a reading with the playwright about  two weeks ago and he apparently did not like some of the originallly chosen cast members, so they had to go.  Now while I know that I am still here in the play, it brings me no comfort to see cast changes especially to principal roles when the play is supposed to open on March 17th. Everytime i read my part, i sometimes feel as if I am not understanding the words or just not getting a feel for this character. The director hardly ever says anything to me but always makes reference to the fact that the cast is not a particualrly good one. Fine. i understand that he may be playing a psychological game with us to get us to improve on our performances but it is doing the opposite number on me.
 
The song "Nothing" from "A Chorus Line" comes to mind whenever I read a line or act a scene for this play. If you have ever heard it, trust me you will understand.
 
I am therefore a wreck everytime I go to rehearsal. I say my lines  (have to use a semi British/Welsh accent – don’t know what the hell that is) and yet I feel as if i am doing it wrong. My accent is not the best and my acting isnt that great. I still have a lot to learn with regards to acting but so does everyone else. My fear is that he will blow up (as he normally does with everyone) at some late stage and tell me how bad my acting is. A little guidance would be appreciated but special attention would imply that i think that I am some sort of prima donna or worse a retard.  I like to prove people wrong in their assessment of me but it is hard when no feedback is given so you dont know what to improve upon. Trust me when I say that i am not being hard on myself. 
 
What further complicates matters is that most of the main cast are seasoned professionals and therefore know what they are doing. They just flow through the lines and seem to come up with ingenious ways to enhance their character’s mystique etc. I ams truggling to feel like a boxer without looking as if  i have a mild form of Touretts.  My acting experience in Trinidad is very very limited and my experience in "The Lion King" cannot compare to this as that was more musical theatre than a straight play (trust me when i say that there is a big difference).  So in the midst of my insecurities, i am proceeding with being part of a funny production. It is not a farce but there are some really funny moments. A lot of them actually.
 
I guess this is what it means to be an actor. Someone once told me that "Singing is the soul exposed and Acting is you running naked through a million people" . I used to cling to the former phrase but now i understand both of them and the degree of exposure and potential humiliation associated with each. In the end, performing is all about conquering fears and establishing within oneself a sense of pride and some measure of fortitude and overall confidence in ones abilities. Hmmp why couldn’t i just take  pill for this? Must the trial and tribulation part always go with the life lesson? Can I not learn it via a Lifetime Movie or on an episode of Seventh Heaven?
 
Anyway, we’ll see what the next few days bring. I will keep you updated on my potential public embarassment.
 
 
 
 
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Posted by on March 2, 2006 in Uncategorized