Browsing articles in "School"

The Coffeehouse that serves no coffee

Jan 14, 2010   //   by Alida   //   Career, Creative Discontent, School  //  No Comments

By the time December 18 hit, I was pretty ready to be finished with school. I’ve loved it, but it’s been a long few years, made even longer by the fact that Colin and I were doing long-distance through the entire thing. No matter how ready I am to move on, though, there are always those things that are hard to leave behind. Things I wish I had a bit more time with.

Besides the obvious — friends, In-n-Out, my Starbucks employee discount, and the weather — it was hardest to leave behind the Coffeehouse Theater. I’d spent three semesters as resident producer, along with my good friend Michael, and if there’s one thing I wish I’d had more time to work on and leave my mark on, that was it. Read more >>

Let’s get back to business

Jan 11, 2010   //   by Alida   //   Career, Creative Discontent, Real Life, School  //  No Comments

Well, Christmas is over, and I had absolutely no contingency for any sort of regular updates during the last month of school and over the break, but it’s time to get back to posting regularly. For that matter, it’s time to get life back into a routine of some sort, even though I don’t really know — yet — what that routine will look like.

It’s been a wonderfully relaxing few weeks; time for both Colin and I to decompress from our very busy fall seasons. We’ve spent more time sitting in front of the TV in the past 3 weeks than we did in the rest of 2009 combined. I think the past few weeks have included season 1 of Dexter and Weeds, seasons 1 and 2 of Chuck (in preparation for the season 3 premiere last night), season 2 of Friends… and I know I’m missing something, but those are the ones that stand out right now. Read more >>

Take the Name

Nov 25, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Career, Creative Discontent, Faith, School, Theatre  //  No Comments

I can’t think of that ninth commandment, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor,” without my mind jumping to “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain.” Two separate commandments, but they go hand in hand, to me.

More than just an admonition against swearing, particularly blasphemous utterances, that third commandment is a reminder that, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, we literally take the name. Whether it’s identifying as God’s Chosen People or as Christians, something about our very identity invokes God’s presence. Read more >>

6 weeks!

Oct 29, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, School  //  No Comments

First, go take a look at my recently-updated portfolio page. I’ve finally got a good chunk of the documentation from this summer up there — and I must be really on the ball, because Waiting for Lefty, which only closed two days ago, is already up! Read more >>

Dinner and a movie

Oct 20, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, School, Theatre, Weekly Round-up  //  No Comments

Ah, this was the kind of weekend that makes my heart sing.

I saw the West Coast premiere of Eclipsed at the Kirk Douglas Theatre on Friday night. Saturday, I saw Medea at UCLA Live — two very intense, very brilliant nights of theatre. Which, of course, meant that I needed a comedic break, so Sunday, I saw Whip It. Read more >>

Five years later

Oct 16, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Ministry, Real Life, School, The Arts  //  1 Comment

The one “real” class that I’m taking this semester is an Entrepreneurship class, which is really kind of a goal-setting and career-planning class — you know, the kind that almost every school offers in the last year or semester before graduation. In some programs, it’s a mandatory class; this one isn’t, but it’s a great class anyway.

This week’s assignment is to outline goals, starting with long-term, and then breaking it down into 5- and 10-year steps. Now, in my opinion, setting goals like this is good for two things. One is, of course, the (stated) intended purpose: to be able to look ahead at where I want to be, and then to figure out how to get there and what the steps are along the way. Break it down into manageable steps that are, in a sense, accomplishments in themselves, as well as being milestones along the way to a larger goal.

The second is having a record to look back at and see how life changes. The best thing about setting goals is being able to watch them shift and fluctuate as life changes, watching priorities and important moments change along with them. Read more >>

Happy Thanksgiving!

Oct 13, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Real Life, School  //  No Comments

Happy Thanksgiving!

Alas, I didn’t fly back to Calgary for the weekend this year, so I’m missing out on the turkey dinners — one yesterday with Colin’s family (which he cooked, so I’m extra-disappointed to have missed it!) and one today with my family. I suppose that’s the way it goes when I’ve only been back here for just over 2 weeks as it is; or, at least, that was the rationale behind the decision.

In any case, I hope you had some delicious turkey and a great weekend with family and friends. Read more >>

What we do best

Jul 6, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Culture, Faith, School  //  3 Comments

Ever feel like there’s a message that keeps hitting you over the head, getting more and more obvious?

John Cosper, a Christian playwright and filmmaker, posted a manifesto about “Christian films,” particularly talking about what needs to change. It’s a great read, and I wholeheartedly agree — and if you’ve ever heard me talking about many, many Christian scripts, you’ll have heard the same concepts as they relate to very specific pieces that I’ve worked on.

However, the broad meaning of his manifesto isn’t what struck me most today. Instead, it was the following paragraph:

Seek out the best teacher or mentor you can. Don’t go to a Christian teacher just because they’re a Christian. Go somewhere that you can learn from a true artist, one who is a master of the craft in their own right. In other words don’t seek to be the best Christian writer/actor/director you can be. Seek to be the best writer/actor/director you can be.

A few hours later, a very different entry popped up on my RSS reader. Cole Matson, a theatre artist and C.S. Lewis scholar, is writing a series of posts on his transition from the Protestant church to the Catholic church, and it’s a fascinating and deeply personal story. Today, part of his entry talked about the decision to go to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, rather than Wheaton College, for his undergrad:

I had loved Wheaton, and had been in awe of its existence as an intentional Christian community of scholars “for Christ and His Kingdom,” as Wheaton’s motto goes. However, I also wanted to study to become a professional actor, and Wheaton did not have a theatre major, much less a professional training program. As a matter of fact, there did not seem to exist a Christian college of Wheaton’s faithfulness and academic caliber that also provided professional arts training. (This gap is one I hope the C.S. Lewis Foundation’s C.S. Lewis College can fill.) The other school to which I had been accepted was NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, which has one of the top undergraduate theatre programs in the country. I asked my dad, who I knew was pleased that I had fallen in love with his alma mater, for his advice. He said:

“What do you want to do?”

“Become an actor.”

“Then go where they do that best. In this case, that’s not Wheaton.”

Twice, in very different contexts, the concept of choosing a school or other training for its quality rather than for its theology.

Two things strike me as I think about that.

Read more >>

This is why we do it

Jun 12, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Real Life, School, Theatre  //  5 Comments

I don’t think I’ve ever not had an understanding of producing. There are some artists who don’t know or understand what it takes to actually put on a show (or an exhibit, or whatever), but that’s never been me. Yes, I have training as an actor and director, but I also have always put in the production work to make it happen, even when that wasn’t my primary role.

One of my jobs at CalArts is Resident Producer in the Coffeehouse Theater, which is an interdisciplinary space open to students to present non-curricular work. The committee acts in a curatorial capacity, as the Coffeehouse is primarily a presenting, not a producing, entity. That means that we work with a lot of artists who want to show their work, but have no idea what goes into producing it. Our job is to walk them through the process, step-by-step, and teach them how to work with a presenting organization, because those basic producing skills are things that every artist should know.

In any case, that side of things has always been, to me, an integral part of the art-making process, and I started doing it simply because no one else was. I needed to have a place to do work, and, like many artists who begin producing, it began with that simple need.

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If there’s no room for you, where is there room for me?

Mar 20, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Faith, School, Theatre  //  1 Comment

It’s the responsibility of any artist to champion the creation of art that he or she disagrees with, doesn’t understand, or is offended by.

This is a theory that I’ve been mulling over for a while–about a year now, I guess–and I think that I can fairly confidently boil it down to that statement.

I subconsciously became aware of it when I was considering CalArts, but I actually put it into words last spring, when I was deciding whether I was going to take the job with the Calgary Fringe Festival for the summer. In that case, it wasn’t about whether I was artistically opposed to anything, but it was the fact that a lot of the work I’d have been associated with and working on would be work that I was morally, ideologically, religiously, and politically offended by.

Could I put my name on that kind of work professionally? Well, in a sense, I do it every day, simply by being at CalArts. A lot of what comes across my path is work that I don’t find very aesthetically pleasing, work that is in direct contradiction to my beliefs and the way I live my life, and even work that mocks the things I build my life around.

Read more >>

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