Throwback Thursday

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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…

7/23/2011

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.

Ciao,
Melissa

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Hello, June!

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It’s June?!

Jeepers, where did the first half of the year go? I have literally been going full speed for 5 months now, and there is no end in sight (fingers crossed). Between acting, teaching, writing, creating and networking, 2015 has been very good to me. I’m pretty sure you’re getting tired of reading me say this every month, but it is honestly true. I am finding my stride so easily this year, and I think it has a lot to do with my new year’s resolution of “persistence and consistency.” I have always had prided myself on being organized, focused, and driven, but this year it has hit a whole new level, and I am beginning to reap the rewards on the left and right.

Yesterday, I was fortunate to participate in the Brooklyn Generator Project’s reading of Eboni Booth’s, Worthy. Ever since my summer in Ithaca, at the Hangar Theater, I have always loved working with a playwright as they refine their text in the rehearsal room, learning more about their characters and the world of the play, as I read them aloud. After the workshop performance, I was overwhelmed by the comments our audience had for me afterward. This is not a humble brag, instead it was a moment where I was able to take stock and realize once again, “I am where I’m supposed to be, doing what I love to do.”

I think that is a great realization to have as my birthday approaches.

As I enter the second half of my twenties, there is a sured-ness present that I suppose just comes with time and life experience. I hope that this next continues to build upon this momentum and that there are amazing challenges and moments ahead that will continue to shape and strengthen me.

June, glorious June, so happy to see you again!

Ciao

Throwback Thursday

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Continuing with the Halloween costume theme for the month, here are some pics from the Halloween-themed children’s show I did two years ago with the wonderful Matt and Ian, directed by Jesse Bush. It was my first paid acting gig out of college and it was a blast to do! Enjoy

Ciao

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Return to Ithaca Day 2 & 3

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Well all i can say is that after reuniting with jake and lyndsay on friday, i knew that the rest of the weekend would be anything but boring. and boy was i right lol. saturday included our obligatory breakfast at ithaca bakery and then we were off to the wineries of upstate new york. on our itinerary was Americana Vineyard and Lucas Vineyard where we partook in wine tastings and bought these wonderful wine slushie concoctions (don’t worry we had a Designated Driver, our friend Jeremy, who knew all the best places to go) and i purchased a bottle of red wine the Banco Noir, which is without a doubt my new favorite red wine! After taking naps we got dressed for our pre-show dinner at the Boatyard Grill. Looking schnazzy and eating well we looked over the water as the sun began to set over the city.

Then it was showtime! We attended the closing night of the Hangar Theatre’s production of Sondheim’s Gypsy, directed by my mentor and current artistic director Stephanie Yankwitt. The production was fantastic and some of our campers from last summer’s Next Generation program were featured in the show. Leaving the theatre singing tunes from the show, we drove over to Corks and More, where the Hangar was holding the closing night party. It was great to see the cast of actors letting loose as we reflected on their performances. Since we were a little hungry after the bar, we drove over to Short Stop for sandwiches and snacks, chatting outside about our disbelief that we only had one day left in Ithaca.

Day 3 was a lazy sunday that started with me having a great chat with Stephanie, before Jake and Lyndsay rolled through for breakfast at, where else, Ithaca Bakery, before we went to the Farmer’s Market. The day was sunny and cool, with a refreshing breeze billowing through the trees. After purchasing flowers at the market and looking at the various stands and wares, we said our goodbyes to Stephanie before heading to one of the gorges to dip our feet in, before grabbing lunch at Wegmans with Andrew Keeler who was driving through on his way to Green, NY for a workshop.

All in all the weekend was long and short at the same time. We were able to visit all of our old haunts and reconnect and reminisce about last summer and predict what our future held in store for each of us.

Leaving Ithaca is always hard, but also necessary. I was able to reconnect with great friends, and remind myself why nature is so important for each us. If you ever have the opportunity to find a place that truly frees you, mind, body and soul, always hold it close to you and visit it as often as you need. It truly helps me get through the long days, weeks, and months i spend hustling in the Big Apple.

ciao

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Ciao

Ithaca Shower

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What is more freeing than crying in the rain?
As the heavens open refreshing the earth with cool wet rain
My mind and body are able to release the hurt, pain and unconscious feelings bottled up inside
Smelling the earth reinvigorated with the scent of green, dirt, and crispness of air
I am able to extinguish all doubts and fears that were trapped inside
Do not feel sorry for me
Feel sorry for those who feel they must never let go of what is inside of them
How else can we dream and envision a life worth living
If we are unable to let the clouds of our soul burst open freeing the ideas we have not yet opened and explored?

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