this is a relatively late post, but hey, better late than never! This weekend was a whirlwind of performances, travel, family time, productivity and friend demanded recovery time. From a fabulous performance at That Bachelorette Show to taking a 6am bus to DC to spend a quick day with my brother and his family to finally nailing down the first weekend of “principal photography” for Shampagne, it was a grand ole time.
Sunday afternoon I was #pooped! But I have recovered for the most part and have a few photos to share
Yesterday, my dad asked me a question:
“What’s your testimony today?”
I rolled my eyes (he couldn’t see this) and said “Dad, that’s not why I called you this morning.”
“I know, but you know the last time I was asked that was…”
And my father went back to a moment, when he himself had to answer the unexpected question. Hearing him open up about the changes that were occurring in his life, and how it all worked out in the end personally, financially and professionally, I was moved to speak.
“Actually, Daddy, I do have something to say”
You see, yesterday was my niece, Ava’s, 6th birthday. My brother’s first child, and my parents’ first grandchild. Whenever Ava’s birthday arrives, it is a day of happiness and love, two-fold; one, because she is becoming more loving, beautiful, and exceptional with each passing year, and two, because my father has been blessed with another year on this earth.
Let me start at the beginning.
For me Ava and Papa’s lives will forever be intertwined for me. My brother and his wife announced the pregnancy with snow globes for each of my parents, with a small picture of Ava’s ultrasound, on a December morning in Jackson at the Cracker Barrel. In the new year, we found out that the soreness and pain my father had been feeling on and off for the past few weeks, were symptoms from his now diagnosed cancer.
Talk about facing life and death.
As the months progressed Ava grew and my father experienced numerous health setbacks and scares as the doctors tried to determine the best way to combat his internal foe. Meanwhile, marooned in New York, I felt helpless, unable to see Dad or celebrate with my brother as Ava’s birthday drew near. It was the first time my mother uttered to me, in the middle of the night, after waking from a terrible nightmare, “Lissa, we’re always where we’re supposed to be.”
In time, check ins with mom turned into “check ups” on Dad. I was afforded an amazing opportunity to flex my acting muscle at Williamstown Theatre Festival, I had my doubts about not going home for the summer, but Mom and Dad assured me, that I had to keep moving forward and if anything should happen, they’d get me home.
A few weeks passed before I got the phone call, “Hey Aunt Melissa!” from my brother. Ava was beautiful! All ten fingers and toes, and Dad was starting to receive treatment and was getting somewhat accustomed to his new circumstances.
Now I could keep going but I’ll stop here and say that just last month, my dad got to spend time with Ava and his two grandsons in Jackson. Look what God can do!
Birthdays are always amazing days filled with reflection, gratitude and joy. But when I think of Ava’s birthday, it’s a birthday for my dad as well. A day that symbolizes life for them both.
Graduation season has come and gone. Seeing the caps and gowns of various shades moving through the city brought smile to my face. Hard to believe it has been four years, since John Sexton announced we were officially graduates of New York University over the Yankees PA system.
Yes, graduating from NYU was, and is, one of my major life accomplishments thus far, however, the summer following graduation is what set the path I still follow today.
My apprenticeship at the Hangar Theatre from June-August of 2011, formed strong friendships, challenged me in unexpected ways, and helped me to see just what I would need to expect of myself in order to make it in the performance world. An exercise we did at the end of our time there is still with me to this day: a letter to myself to read the next year.
I wrote my hopes and dreams for the summer and my career, handed it off to Laura and Kris and forgot about it. Sure enough, one year later, almost to the date, my letter arrived in the mail. In honor of Throwback Thursday, and 4 full years out of undergrad, I have decided to post the letter here.
Life can be funny sometimes…
Melissa can you believe its been year since Lab Company? Well little old me at the end of this journey want to leave you with a few hopes and dreams.
1. I hope you are fighting the good fight and are finding work that speaks to you and allows you to bring a piece of yourself to the work that you know no one else can do.
2. Your goal of having one paid acting gig before Christmas really did come and you, Myles, and Kyla celebrated in a great way. (karaoke preferably 🙂 )
3. That you continue to build strong ties with your sister-in-law showing your love through acts of kindness and not just words.
4. Build a relationship with another casting agent and always remember you can call Stephanie whenever you need.
5. Stay true to yourself, listening to your voice and the voice of God. Making tough decisions with clarity and grace.
Never forget where you came from! Hope you enjoyed Jilia’s wedding, that Langston, Ava, Mom, Dad, and Frank are healthy and well and that you’re even closer to getting that Equity card.
June is here, and I realized that I wasn’t very consistent with my
April May posts. Oops. But, luckily there are photos that I can plaster up NOW, to give you an idea of what I was up to. In all honesty, I was a pretty bad blogger. There were a lot of amazing things that happened in May: my Adler ladies brunch, performances, reunions with friends, walks in new neighborhoods, that I just didn’t record or photograph.
awful bad. But, even if I don’t have an image to go along with these moments, the memories are good enough for me. After all, I didn’t always have a Facebook. Instagram, Xanga, blog as a resource for all of the internet-world to see and relive my life, so it’s kind of fun for me to have a few things for myself. 😉
Below you will, however, find a May slideshow chockfull of photos from Andrew’s New York City art debut, roomie night out with Alicia at Apotheke, Lauren’s graduation from NYU, a day at the Whitney with Kyla, drinks after a busy casting day with Glen, Pierre, and David and more!
I have been so fortunate, thus far, to have been involved in a project or production since the first of the year. With this momentum, I have had the opportunity to meet and work with such beautiful people in talent, spirit, and joy. I think what appeals to me so much about the theatre, are the comrades I interact with along the way. I have been unable to post the many photos I have taken behind the scenes since The Fire This Time Festival, and I thought it would be a great post to publish today in light of Private Lives’ closing on Sunday.
I have had oodles of fun with each person you see in these photos and my heart has a place for each and every one of them. You see, they are not just cast mates and co-collaborators, they are my friends.
This photo collage includes photos from Cafe Le Monde, Private Lives and reunions with cast members from The Fire This Time Festival and Ivanov.
I am absolutely giddy about my upcoming trip home in a few weeks! It’s hard to believe that I haven’t made my way back to Jackson in almost a year and a half (jeepers). Looking at Facebook posts from friends, I see that the city has definitely gone through a renaissance in many ways since I was last there, and I can’t wait to act as tourist during my quick trip away.
This week’s Throwback Thursday features photos I nabbed from our photo stockpiles and can’t wait to grab a few more when I head back down. 🙂