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Monthly Archives: March 2010

Don’t Let Me Get Me


…….I’m a hazard to myself. Don’t let me get me……..(Pink:Mizzundastood)

 

It is always amazing how dysfunctional we are in this world. This dysfunction ranges from one woman suing another for US$9 Million (and winning) for breaking up her marriage to a co-worker who needs to sexually harass EVERYONE at the office, so that he feels wanted.  Now, look. I don’t claim to be normal in anyway at all but I just don’t think I’m that bad. My friend Clint however, thinks differently and it is reflected whenever he says these lines to me:

 

“What must it be like to be in your head?” or “You need to come with a user manual.” 

 

And true enough, he is correct (well slightly, I don’t think I need a user manual).

 

I pride myself on trying not to adopt an emotion filed approach to most things that I do. I try to be on the side of logic. I go through what I consider to be the logical or simple flow of things and always challenge people as to why they chose a different route. Clint then reminds me that while there is some structure to what I say/suggest, most people don’t operate that way.  My friend Matthew just sighs at me and just says my name out loud. “Stefan”. And within the single utterance I understand that Matthew regards me as being difficult on some level.

 

Again, I guess they are right, but I am not being difficult or am I? I don’t chose to be difficult. I never do. HONEST? (Insert innocent smiley face with Halo here) Angel

 

I believe that I am just misunderstood. When I make my intentions known to people on a matter, they all assume that I am stone-walling them or just bluffing.  And that’s the problem. In my head I am clear as to what I want form others. However when it comes to what I want from myself or what makes sense to me, well …I don’t think I’m playing with a full deck of cards.

 

Here’s why.

 

I recently completed a two weekend run of a Staged Reading of a Play called “Boxes” written by an American called Ebony Rose Custis. The first time I sat in on the reading of this play, I felt a connection to her work. I loved it.

She isn’t a playwright by profession but there was something magical about what she put on paper that just moved me.

 

“Boxes” speaks to the fact that some people spend their lives going around in circles. And others, consciously or unconsciously, create boxes. Deep inside those boxes, buried in the subconscious mind, psychological dysfunctions are stored; unresolved issues, troubled emotions, hurt, pain, anger, fear, disappointment, heartbreak, unaccomplished goals, emotional fantasies, childhood dreams, unfinished business. Some boxes are cluttered with many issues; chaotic, confused, illogical, and messy while others have been neatly packed, tucked away and almost forgotten. ’What’s in your box?’ is the question that it poses to you.

 

And boy did it shout that question to me.

 

In one scene of the play, I am a young man talking to an older gentleman in a fictitious place where men come to store or retrieve stuff they have placed in boxes. My character came to drop off “Fear”. In a moving little moment of the scene I utter these lines:

 

“I look at photographs sometimes. Old school pictures, family photos you know.

And it always takes me a while to remember which one is me.

I’m living behind a mask, a grown man mask.

People see me as this real guy with a job and responsibilities.

And the person they see, well he’s smart, seems strong and confident. But he doesn’t look anything like me. I mean, how he looks.

It doesn’t match the way I feel.

I’m not that man……..”

 

After I read these lines at the first reading, I spoke to God immediately and told him that I had to be a part of this!!!! It spoke to MY life. It was something that I needed to voice and there was no way this opportunity was going to pass me by. Thankfully, the writer felt the same way about me. 

 

So what started off as me being in one scene turned out to me being lead in three scenes , one being the final scene in which I stand alone talking to the audience while the voices in my head kept taunting me about being a failure at everything I tried to do. It is a really nice scene and one that I was proud whenever I did it.

 

Anyway I digressed a wee bit.

 

So the play was off and running and every night I got compliments about the good job I did on stage. I took these compliments as people just being polite to actors (as I have done the same in the past). I didn’t pay it much attention. Then they kept coming. The praises. My friend Kurt, who came on opening night told me that he was really impressed with me. My friend Cindy and her family (who were also there opening night) declared me to a great talent and that during the play they stopped seeing Stefan and just saw the characters.  Strangers hugged me and when my family saw it, even my older brother told me how good I was in it.

 

You would think that this would be enough? Oh hell no. Even with all these compliments, I didn’t get one from the director, Mervyn De Goes.  Let me just say that I am so happy this man continues to call me to do stuff with him when EVERY actor I know desperately wants to work with him. He is a tour-de force- as a director and everything he touches comes out brilliant and he has the awards to prove it.

 

So anyway, Mervyn never complimented me, so I just kept on doing what I did on stage and hoped that over the run of the show that (in his eyes) I was improving.

 

Then one night before the final show, he told me that most of his friends who saw the show loved my performance. I just told him thanks and had a shy kind of smile. Reason? I didn’t care what they thought I wanted his opinion. Sigh….actors can be so insecure.

 

Then after the run finished and I was talking to him about the musical that I would be doing next, he said this:

 

Mervyn: Stefan, I’m going to give you a list of names of directors that you are NOT to work with.

Me: Oh Ok…why

Mervyn: When they approach you, tell them your Manager says you otherwise engaged.

Me: (smiles) Really?

Mervyn: If they ask who is your manager. Tell them “de Goeas” and watch them recoil. Hahahahahaha

 

Now folks, I don’t know about you but at this point I felt on top of the world. While he didn’t declare me to be one of his favourite actors (like he does with Keino Swamber), I took the compliment and ran with it. Finally I felt as if I had done really good work. Relax I won’t get swell headed but it just now makes me want to try harder at perfecting my craft.  

 

After that show, I finally felt confident enough to declare that I am an ACTOR!!!

 

It is only as I write this that I realize how insane I must’ve been to disregards tonnes of compliments just because one person didn’t say anything to me.

 

So here’s to hoping that I’ve become a little less neurotic after this experience. 

 

Ha Ha Ha…If wishes were horses…….

 
 

 

 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 25, 2010 in Emotions, Entertainment, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,

Know Better


A couple months ago I put a comment out into the universe that I was bored. I felt extremely restless and that I wanted something to do as I wasn’t able to quell the riot rising up within me. Well be careful what you wish for.

 

As I write this I am going over lines for a Staged Reading Dress Rehearsal that I am going to this afternoon from 6pm til…… Yes, folks I’m in a mini play at the Trinidad Theatre Workshop for the next two weekends and I’m happy.

 

I would be ecstatic but at the same time that I sometimes have rehearsal for this play, I have rehearsal for the musical, Once on This Island (OOTI), that comes off mid April into May.  You remember the audition I told you about where I was a little sneaky with?  Yeah well I got the part. So I’ve been busy. Well more like insanely busy.

 

My work day therefore never ends with me leaving the office and just going home and harvesting crops on Farmville. Oh no, when I leave the office, it is to either go to a rehearsal for “Boxes” or one for OOTI. Usually on weekdays, the rehearsal is normally only for OOTI. Those run from 7pm to 10pm and involve A LOT of dancing and movement that my body is so not accustomed to.  

 

Over the course of two weeks I have gone from a position where I could not reach my toes to where I can actually grab them. Well not for long,  but the classes are making me slightly limber. I have even had a Limbo class where my knees refused to bend very far and where the teacher seemed to take a liking to me and was determined for me to thrust. Needless to say, I was in serious pain the next morning and for a few mornings after that. But it’s still all fun.

 

Weekends? Hahahahaha! These no longer belong to me. OOTI rehearsals usually run from 11-4 or 12-5 and then” Boxes” starts at 6 -10 on both days.  I normally just crash when I get home and pray for snow so that I can get a day off to recuperate. .

 

While OOTI is more movement at this point, Boxes seems to want me to pile dialogue on me as if I am an experienced thespian. I went from being a main character in one scene to being a main character in three. To top that off, one scene is 14 (FOURTEEN) pages long and guess who has dialogue on EVERY FREAKING page? So out of a play with eight(8) scenes, I am one of the main characters in 3 and minor characters in another 2. Just not fair is it. As much as I welcome the challenge, I am basically spent at the end of the day and so learning lines is proving to be very tedious. Nothing is sticking.

 

Oh well tonight is a Dress Rehearsal and tomorrow and  Saturday are actual shows, so my ass better get it together by then. Will update you in due course. 

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 11, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Crash Into Me


I have been holding off on writing this blog for a while now. The reason lay in the fact that every time I thought about the situation I got really upset and logic kept failing me in my writing process. So 17 days after the incident occurred, I write…….

 

On Sunday, February 14th 2010 around 2am, I returned to my apartment after dropping a few friends off the a Carnival fete (that I just didn’t want to attend). On driving into my street, I noticed that there weree two cars blocking my gateway, preventing me from parking in my garage. After I cursed under my breath, I parked behind these cars and headed upstairs to my apartment for a good night’s sleep.

 

I awoke around 10am and just basically lounged around the house (I had no where to be that day). Around 12 noon, I decided to drive to Joe’s Pizza to get something for lunch. On arriving near my car I notice a BIG dent in the driver’s side door. My head spins. The entire area around me seems to spin as well as I quickly survey to see if any one of the neighbours are outside and have noticed my distress. Nothing.  No one.  I then examined the damage and looked to see if the person that hit me left a note/message etc. Nothing. I cursed out loud.

 

I drive the car into the garage and head back upstairs into my apartment only to resurface on Carnival Tuesday morning as only then had my initial depression and ire over the event somewhat subsided. I was however still ashamed to be driving a car in that state and upset that I would have to fork out money to pay for something I didn’t do as the person that hit my car just left the scene of the crime.

 

My internal daily (hourly actually) prayer to God was for swift justice. And in the tradition of the Color Purple, I envisioned Miss Celie’s finger pointing at Mister and I uttered to the heavens ;

 

“Lord until the driver do right by me, everything they even think bout gonna fail”

 

I wanted justice. I demanded JUSTICE. I just couldn’t understand how someone can walk away from an accident and not feel any remorse. Have we become that type of society? No music at that time could comfort me. I found solace in one song that I palyed constantly during that time. Trick Daddy’s Let’s Go was blasted in my apartment for a 4-day period in the hope that the anger in me would subside.  After a while Ludacris’s “Get Back” provided some relief as well but Trick Daddy, helped to keep the demons at bay.

 

Anyway, on Ash Wednesday, I got a call from my landlady asking me if Mr. Lawrence had given me any money as yet. I was confused. Why would Mr. Lawrence be giving me money? She then informed me that two neighbours had seen Mr. Lawrence hit my car that morning and had left messages on her phone informing her of the incident.  I thanked her for the info and said that I would deal with him later that day. However that was impossible as I was not going to get home until about 10pm that night.

 

WAIT!!! Oh my bad. I left out the most important piece of information:

 

Mr. Lawrence lives across the street from me. DIRECTLY across the street.

 

Yes, folks the bastard that hit my car is my neighbour!!  Not only is he my neighbour but he is one of the few that I actually have conversations with. He is about 65 years old and is a recent widower. Well his wife died about a year and a half ago from cancer. How come I know all this info? Well, would you believe that I used to carry her every Monday and Wednesday morning in late 2007 for chemotherapy?  Yes folks, I did that.  Not for praise or glory but because one evening they both asked me since he was on crutches at the time and couldn’t drive her himself. She couldn’t drive their car herself due to how really  ill she felt after the treatments.

 

Amazing huh?

 

I was stunned. Absolutely stunned. I walked around for hours wondering what I did to him to deserve this type of treatment. I couldn’t figure it out. Then Trick Daddy started to play in the background of my mind……

 

Lets Gooooo! (Lets Gooooo!)

If you want it you can get it let me know (let me know),

I’m bout to f#@& a n^*$a up, Lets Gooooo! (Lets Gooooo!)

If you want it you can get it let me know (let me know),

I’m bout to f#@& a n^*$a up, Lets Gooooo! (Lets Gooooo!)

 

 

On Thursday February 18th (B-Day /Beyonce Day) in Trinidad, I got home early so that I could change for a rehearsal I had at 6pm that afternoon. I walked up to his gate and rang the bell. Only his housekeeper came out and informed me that Mr. Lawrence was sleeping. I left a message for him to contact me. You think he did? Steups…

 

Saturday was the next time I was able to go over and ring his doorbell.

 

RING!!!

De duty bitch comes out with his cane looking all greasy.

——————

“Hi Mr Lawrence. How are you today?”

“Boy I good yes. I was just inside resting a bit.”

“Oh Ok….”

(remain calm Stefan….your blood pressure rising right now)

“So I don’t know if you’ve noticed but my car got hit the other day outside my apartment. I went to the Police and they told me to ask my neighbours if they saw anything as this would help in the report to the insurance company, so my premiums wouldn’t go up. Did you see anything?”

“Boy I can’t lie to you yes. Is I who hit your car”

(You should’ve seen my stunned face. It was magical)

“Huh? “

Boy is I who hit yuh car.

(Tell me you hit my car one…more …time….)

“Boy I was in a hurry for church. As you know I give out communion and I was late that morning and I just back out too far.”

“So how come you didn’t say anything to me?”

“ Well I was waiting for you to come over and talk. When I see a few days pass, I thought you were just not going to bother with it.”

“(Singing hymn in my mind) Oh ok. So how was I to know that you hit me? I didn’t see it and I was under the assumption that someone from the Vale Breakfast Party had done it.”

“ Nah it was me. Boy I sorry dey. But  boy like you people hit my car too and I always had to go repair it myself.”

(Ignoring that comment)

“ So what you want to do about it?”

“ Well all I have is 3rd party insurance, so we could go through insurance.”

“ Well if I give the police this information and then you make a report , you might be charged for leaving the scene of an accident.  Let’s not go down that road.  Here’s what, when my “straightener” takes a look at it, I’ll give you the invoice”

“ Oh ok, maybe we could split the cost half half.  The amount of times I had to repair this car this year boy I……

(At this point the look I gave to him, must’ve told him that if he didn’t change that statement that I would beat him like a snake)

“Anyway just give me the invoice and I will fix you up. Sorry about that eh. I don’t know what happen that day.”

“ I understand. I was just shocked that you didn’t call me or anything after it happened. You know me.”

(Trick Daddy starts drowning out the hymn I was singing in my head):

The AK go chop, chop, chop, chop

The SK go fire, fire, fire, fire

The AK go chop, chop, chop, chop

The SK go fire, fire, fire, fire

 

“Yeah I understand what you mean but boy I so busy these days and when I see you driving it up and down I say everything alright.”

“ Eh heh. Anyway, I’ll be in touch.”

———

I surprised myself at how calm the entire discourse was and proud that it seems as if I am maturing nicely in my old age.

 

My landlady called me immediately when I got back to my apartment. She had witnessed the entire conversation and wanted to the low down or rather she just wanted to talk.

 

Land Lady:

“Boy these catholics not easy. They feel they better than we Anglicans but they worse boy. How he could do yuh dat? Even Ms Taylor across de road remembers all the things u did for them when de wife was sick and now he come and spit on yuh like that.”

 

Me:

“Well it was shocking but..”

 

LL:

“Boy I telling you now, take that car to an expert in body thingy and charge up he mudder ass. Let he pay through he “broko-foot” teeth. Anyway ah gone dey, ah sure is Ms Taylor calling to find out what allyuh talk about.”

(Click)

 

For the next few days, Mr. Lawrence was suddenly present every morning when I was driving out. He gave me the numbers of four guys that do body work but he recommended one guy who said that the job (without seeing the car) would cost about TT$1500.00.  I told him that I would check with my guy and let him know.

 

I did check with my body repair guy and his price was TT$1,000.00. Once I told Mr. Lawrence this, he was ecstatic. He gave me the money on Monday March 1st and I carried the car in right away. I am due to get it back today (Wednesday). I’m not sure of it though but once it is fixed, I will suffer without it for now.

 

Hmm I should’ve made Mr. Lawrence drop me to work every morning for spite.

 

But I can’t do that. I am a nice guy. A man of the people. Mother Theresa has nothing on me!!!

 

I traveled by taxi to work yesterday.  While I did not pull out any hand sanitizer while in the taxi, I did have my Ipod in my ear all the way to work just so that no one would try to talk to me.

 

Hey!! Morning drives to work are usually my quiet times. I can’t adjust that fast!!

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 3, 2010 in Uncategorized