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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Father’s Day

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Papa,

There are no words to express the profound connection we have

our twosome will stand the test of time

the laughter shared

the inside jokes used against mom

the deep political and social discussions we have face-to-face and on the phone

the numerous business schemes developed over the years

the soccer games coached

the plays you’ve researched and traveled to

the planned projects at home

the road trips to family vacations, summer jobs, college and apartment move-ins

the unsolicited advice

the original songs written

the hugs divvied out

the strength shown in the hospital room

your stubbornness

your spirit

your intelligence

you business savvy

the movies watched, quoted and rewritten

the methods shared (on dish washing, home improvement, and New York navigation)

all of this is, and so much more

is the love you have wrapped around me and why I am thankful for you everyday.

Happy Father’s Day, Papa

My dad (center) on the 72nd Street crosswalk

My dad (center) on the 72nd Street crosswalk

i love you 🙂

A Love Letter

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I know many actors say this after the close of a show, so i guess you can add my testament to the pile, but this last production has changed me. sure the accolades, compliments and congratulations given after each performance were inspiring, uplifting and reaffirming but looking back over the rehearsal process that brought the Upper West Side Ivanov, I found new family members and friends.

At the first table read I felt extremely connected to a Guest, as if we had met somewhere before, struggling to find a mutual event or acquaintance that linked us. Being afforded multiple laughs from a woman named Zinaida (who i know will become a sister to me in the coming months and years)  who seamlessly voiced all of the thoughts rambling in my head as we navigated through the anxiety and grotesque ridden world of Act Two. A heart-to- heart about Trayvon Martin and racial tensions in the South with Gavrila, a woman who never uttered a word, during a short ten-minute respite, allowed me to finally communicate my feelings and anguish about that sad event. Being afforded the opportunity to work with one of my dearest friends, Borkin to some, in a completely raucous scene was everything I could have hoped for our onstage reunion. The fits of giggles that happened each rehearsal watching Sasha compose herself as I had my “fits” right next to her on the couch. Having riveting discussions about the arts and its role in helping uncover the masks of prison inmates in South Africa with Ivanov, and learning a thing or two about communicating with the opposite sex from TB-ridden Anna and matchmaker Avdotya. Singing along to “Careless Whisper” as Kosykh played the melody on his saxophone, and teasing Lebedev on his vegan eating habits every chance i got. Loving every song choice that would pop up courtesy of DJ Lvov, at the cast club riot (lol) as Yegorushka showed us a thing or two about getting down on the dance floor. And lest I forget the moment when Shabelsky’s improv of “make it rain” made me break character on closing night as I was carried offstage.

Whodathunk that going into this Chekhovian world, seen through the eyes of Anouk and performed with passion, grace, and love would allow me the chance to make such deep connections with a great group of people?

This is why I do what I do. Sure filling someone else’s shoes for a short time is rewarding but its the relationships forged in the rehearsal room that can be trans-formative and everlasting.

To the cast of Ivanov: Thank you. I love you all and could never have dreamed that this would be the end result. 🙂

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Ciao