Hand to God was a surprise hit in New York, but, more than that, it is a reflection of a dark and disturbing time in America. Random violence is at an all-time high. Presidential politics are reduced to schoolyard behavior. A loss of faith and civility dominate the social landscape. More often than not, fear causes us to lash out in our grief instead of seeking out the help needed for healing. Pressure leads us to bad behavior and unhealthy habits. The constant hate and violence that we witness causes us to search for a scapegoat. Hand to God asks the question: "Is the devil to blame?" But it also, perhaps more importantly, forces us to ask ourselves: "How do we share the blame?" - Bryan Fonseca, Producer
Current Events, Everything, Theatre, Writing

Enough

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted anything on here. I’m so sorry. It’s been a busy several months, but once again I find myself horrified and nearly speechless at the actions of others.

I just don’t know what to think.

I’m not going to talk about guns (though something needs to change) or religion (though it really shouldn’t be blamed for this). I’m going to talk about people. Specifically, the people, most of whom were likely part of the LGBTQ+ community, who were murdered and injured on Sunday.

There have been enough mass shootings. One is enough too many, but there have been way more than just one. There are now enough people I know, myself and my boss included whose birthdays have been marked by a horrible mass shooting event.

There are now enough people who won’t get to celebrate another birthday because they’ve been murdered in a mass shooting. There are now enough parents and family members who won’t get to celebrate a birthday of a loved one because they were torn away from this world too early.

One is enough too many.

Enough.

Enough judging others for who they are.

Enough telling others they aren’t good enough or are going to go to hell because of who they are or for this choice or that. Enough making yourself the judge of other people’s bodies, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and anything else other people do.

Just enough.

Now is the time for action.

Now is the time to reconsider our policies.

Now is the time to stop judging others.

Now is the time to create a culture and society where everyone is welcome to be who they are.

Now is the time to be kind to others.

Now is the time to be the change.

Donate. Give back. Vote. Run for office. Call out others for hate. Stand up for people. Stop using language that perpetuates a view that others are less than you. Just do something good.

I’ve had enough of prayers, silence, inaction, false promises, hate, injustice, death, murder, and judgement.


I want you to know that you are loved and cared for and that you matter.

You are beautiful. Your soul is beautiful.

You are intelligent.

You are supported.

You are enough.


I want you to know that:

We lived through times when hate and fear seemed stronger;

We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer

And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.” – Lin-Manuel Miranda


Additionally, I recently saw the play, Hand to God. This was a quote from the producer, which I felt was extremely relevant. How do we share the blame?

Hand to God was a surprise hit in New York, but, more than that, it is a reflection of a dark and disturbing time in America. Random violence is at an all-time high. Presidential politics are reduced to schoolyard behavior. A loss of faith and civility dominate the social landscape. More often than not, fear causes us to lash out in our grief instead of seeking out the help needed for healing. Pressure leads us to bad behavior and unhealthy habits. The constant hate and violence that we witness causes us to search for a scapegoat. Hand to God asks the question:

Advertisements
Everything, Grad School

Grad School: Experiences with MUVEs

This is a post for my LIS S401 class: Computer-Based Information Tools.

My husband Daniel and I at the IUPUI Regatta dressed as Harry Potter characters.
Daniel and I

This post has two parts: a description of an experience using a MUVE and ways libraries could use MUVEs.

For this post, I have interviewed my husband, Daniel, who has lots and lots of experience gaming and playing MUVEs.

A MUVE is a “Multi-Universe Virtual Environment,” where you can interact with a virtual world and other people inside of the virtual world.

Fun Fact: Daniel works for a local theatre which is currently running a show called The Nether, in which characters interact in a virtual reality (think The Matrix) MUVE called The Hideaway.”

Daniel’s first experience with a MUVE was with the MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, or MMO) Anarchy Online way back between 1999 and 2000, when he was around 9-10 years old. This is long before World of Warcraft came out, which is usually people’s first introduction to MMOs. Anarchy Online came out around when EverQuest was the ultimate MMO.

Daniel’s dad (my father-in-law) had bought a one-month subscription for him and his sons to it because he found the idea of MMOs intriguing and there weren’t many things like it. When the game first released, it was massively buggy and basically unplayable. When Daniel’s dad bought it, most of the bugs had been worked out and it was finally starting to gain its virtual land legs.

This was Daniel’s first time where he actually got to make and design a character in a game. Most games in those days just had standard basic characters (basic wizard, basic warrior, standard military dude, etc.), but in Anarchy, Daniel really had control over the character, and he liked that he had more flexibility with it. He could choose to play a male character, or he could choose to make a female character if he wanted to.Anarchy Screenshot

Anarchy Online is a futuristic game, so Daniel also had the option to play an alien race if he wanted to. He spent a long time flipping through the different options he could play until he finally decided on one: Liadon, a female solitus (human). On the next screen, he also had a large choice as to what profession he wanted his character could be. Each profession had a description, so Daniel spent time reading through each one until he settled on the Adventurer profession, which sounded similar to a Ranger. Daniel figured he could get an animal companion based on the image of the sample Adventurer, but he later found out Adventurers could become animals.

With character creation complete, Liadon (Daniel’s character) was dropped into a futuristic junk yard. There was no quest, there were no windows that popped up and told him what to do, he was just dropped in. He just had to figure out what to do.

He noticed some robots that were walking around, and as he walked around, he found a little green oasis that had a little shop with a shopkeeper. Daniel spent a long time playing with the buttons and options to figure out what he could do. It was really, really, really confusing for him. Eventually, he learned how to attack things, and after he would kill things, he would collect loot to sell to the shopkeeper in return for better gear.

Later on, Daniel came in contact with another player named “Romulan2,” another solitus, who had been playing the game for some time before Daniel joined. He just sat down with Daniel for hours talking about the game, how to do different things, and then he showed him how to get to a big city. If it wasn’t for Romulan2, Daniel thinks he probably would have quit the game because he was so lost.

This was the first time Daniel was ever in an open world that was absolutely gigantic where you can go anywhere, do anything, and it was weird for him not to have a purpose or someone telling him what to do. He had to make his own adventure, and it was the sense of exploration that kept him going.

The game became more enjoyable when he started meeting other people, making connections with them, and started exploring things together.

Daniel became “pretty obsessed” with the game, and he played it almost every day for three years. Even to this day, he still logs on to play (and he has even shown me the ropes).

Daniel and his brothers eventually started fighting over who got to play the game, because back then, they didn’t have a computer and account for everyone.

Daniel has formed really good friendships and connections with the people in the game. Looking back on some of the times that he’s played, he says they’re some of his most fond memories of gaming.


MUVEs are great ways for kids and people who have social issues to communicate and work together in a safe environment. It allows people to step into a world where you can be yourself without really showing who you are.

MUVEs can be a new way to learn for a generation who has grown up with video games.

Libraries could use MUVEs in several different ways.

One way would include either being a game designer or employing them. Libraries could build MUVEs that center around books and the exploration of books. Rather than just reading a book, they could really walk around in and explore the world that the book takes place in.

Another idea could be that libraries could use MUVEs as teaching tools. Whether it’s teaching students to work together or about a specific topic, a MUVE could be built so students can explore those topics and work together.

A third idea is to form a group inside an existing MUVE, such as a book group, or just a group that goes around exploring together. People could either come into the library to play together, or they could play from home. Librarians could make themselves available in the MUVEs to be moderators and also leaders.

There are lots of ways libraries could incorporate MUVEs, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. I’m currently reading book called Video Games and Learning: Teaching and Participatory Culture in the Digital Age by Kurt Squire. I would highly recommend it.

The set of Buyer and Cellar at The Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis.
Current Events, Everything, Theatre

Thoughts: Buyer and Cellar

In my fifteen or so years being involved in theatre, never have I seen a show quite like Buyer and Cellar at The Phoenix Theatre.

Firstly, it’s a one-man show written by Jonathan Tolins, starring the charming Scot Greenwell, and directed by Indy powerhouse Chuck Goad (who was in Clark Gable Slept Here). Tolins has set up a world based on the true fact that Barbra Streisand has built a private mall in her basement, consisting of possessions that don’t have a place in her home above-ground.

Greenwell plays Alex, an actor that has found himself in need of work. He’s hired to be the caretaker of the mall, which includes more than just dusting shelves. Occasionally, Barbra herself comes down to do some shopping, and Alex must draw on his improv and acting skills to stay employed.

The set of Buyer and Cellar at The Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis.
The set of Buyer and Cellar at The Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis.

Tolins has opened the door into an imaginary world that is reminiscent of a daydream. For the duration of the show, you are wrapped up in the goings-on of Alex’s life and Barbra’s basement, and you might not want to leave (though staying overnight in the theatre will not transport you to the basement of Barbra Streisand, sorry).

The story is much more about actors and basements, however. It tells of the real-life struggle many of us face to fit in and to be accepted by the surrounding world. Many of us might feel like Alex–stuck in our materialistic basements waiting to join the party above. Through the course of the show, you might just discover the inspiration to find the way out of your personal basement.

For those who might be concerned about sitting through a little over an hour and a half of a one-man show, don’t be. Greenwell does a fantastic job of keeping the audience connected with the story. He introduces us to Alex’s boyfriend,  Barry, Barbra, and several other characters as though he were telling us the story over a cup of tea.

The script is humorous, the set is meticulous, and the acting is marvelous. So, if you’d like to hear the full story of how Alex finds himself into Barbra Streisand’s basement and back again, you can check out the show until Sunday, April 5th!

It’s at The Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis on Thursdays at 7:00, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00, and Sundays at 2:00. You can buy tickets online or call the box office at 317-635-7529.

Everything, Theatre

Theatre Q&A

I got this Theatre Q&A from promptsbydee, a blog you all should check out that’s run by a lovely friend and former classmate of mine. 

57986_1612677319492_1502375_n

1. How old are you?

Twenty-one.

2. When did you start getting into theatre?

I have been acting since I was maybe seven or eight. I honestly can’t remember.

3. How many shows have you been in?

Oh dear… Last time I checked it was well over twenty. That isn’t counting the small bits and scenes from shows I’ve done in classes either.

4. Favorite role ever played?

I’m not sure… Maybe Hermia in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She’s short, feisty, loyal, and fierce, and I think we can relate to each other.

Old school mirror selfies for the win
Old school mirror selfies and braces for the win!

Also, I had a good time playing the Pippitfly in The Curious Quest for the Sandman’s Sand when I was little. Whenever the character would eat cheese, I think, she would sneeze and fly backwards. We had a gigantic ramp that I would have to run, er fly, up backwards.

5. A tip you always give to new theatre kids?

Just keep acting. Don’t worry about what parts you get. Just keep doing it. Also, auditions are intimidating, but they are well worth it.

6. Biggest theatre pet peeves?

When people forget they’re part of a team, and when people forget why we do theatre.

7. Who is your biggest inspiration in theatre?

Oh goodness. Probably just the “big stars” in my local theatre community. It has been amazing to watch them perform in show after show after show and how they never lose their love for bringing stories to new audiences.

8. What’s your dream role?

I don’t know if I have one, to be honest. I think my dream would be to play as many diverse characters as possible. Like, do a lot from different genres and play different types of characters. Villains, heroes, college girls, old ladies, moms, daughters, sisters, mentors, etc. Just to branch out and play characters that are outside of my comfort zone.

9. Plays or musicals? 

Both, but if I had to choose one… musicals?222840_2009359876308_164776_n

10. Favorite drama game?

The “This is a what?” game. It’s to get you to focus on two tasks at once, without faltering.

It’s hard to explain by typing, but it has a group of people in a circle. They get an item and have to show it to the next person by saying, “This is a ___.” Person B responds with saying, “A what?”

It goes like this:

“This is a ___.” “A what?” “A ____.” “A what?” “A ____.” “Oh! A ____.”

Then Person B turns to the next person (Person C) and tells them what it is. Person B has to not only hear what the next item is, but they have to relay the first item to the next person.

Does that make sense?

11. What’s your favorite show?

I recently got to see River City produced by the Phoenix Theatre, and it has definitely become one of my favorites. In terms of musicals, one of my favorites is Miss Saigon. More favorites would include, The Importance of Being Earnest, Avenue Q, The Producers, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and there’s probably so many more…

12. Most awkward onstage moment?

Probably when an actor forgot all of his lines and started making things up, which turned out to be hilarious jumbles of words (“It’s Shakespeare, no one knows it anyway”). It was really hard for everyone onstage (and backstage) not to break character and laugh.

13. What would you do if theatre didn’t exist?

If it had never existed: I probably would have struggled with trying to find a creative outlet for my energy and would be very bored as an adult.

If it were to suddenly be outlawed or something: I would probably start or join an underground movement to bring it back.

I’m going to tag chommpers and anyone else who wants to share!

Are you involved in theatre, or do you prefer to just watch it? 

Everything, Theatre

Thoughts: Clark Gable Slept Here

Last week I had the chance to see Clark Gable Slept Here written by Michael McKeever and directed by Bryan Fonseca at The Phoenix Theatre. Aside from the amazing acting (as to be expected), I was very happy to have several interesting topics emerge.


1. Does it really matter if someone enormously famous is gay? 

Without giving away too much of the plot, there is someone who is famous that is gay, and according to everyone around him, the news that he is gay would totally ruin the careers of everyone involved. Is that really true? Do we as a society really care so much about the gender of who a person loves, sleeps with, etc. that it would ruin their acting career (let alone the careers of those closest to them)? Why?

Along with that, Raven-Symoné was in the news this week after appearing on Oprah saying that she rejects the notion of labels, especially related to her sexuality. This TIME article sums it up pretty well. She’s got a point that speaks closely to the plot of the play: sexuality shouldn’t define a person or their career.

2. A play can have both English and Spanish in it while still flowing well.

I don’t speak Spanish (though I am learning), and I can almost guarantee you that most of the 35 other people in the audience that night didn’t speak it either. Not being a speaker of the language myself, I can’t attest to the quality of the Spanish (check out this article about Spanglish in television). The actors playing the Spanish speakers did an excellent job, and I would hope it’s because the Spanish dialogue was well-written. 

With that said, there isn’t enough Spanish to make the show understandable for Spanish-only speakers, though there’s enough English to make it suitable for English-only speakers. However, it’s a play being performed in a place where there are mainly English speakers; it doesn’t have to cater to Spanish-only speakers, but it would be neat if it did.

I don’t know much about Spanish-language theatre, but I plan on looking into it. Regardless, I’m happy there was a lot of Spanish. It tells the English speakers in the audience that there is more than just English in the world and to not be scared of other languages appearing in theatre. Good plays challenge us to think, and I think that having a bilingual play challenges the audience to learn more about another language and culture.

I hope I’m able to see more bilingual plays, and I hope the dialogue is done well.

3. There’s a lot we might not know about the world of Hollywood.

It should come as no surprise that what comes out of Hollywood influences the way we think and do things. From advertising to the TV shows and movies we watch, we are being fed ideas (good and bad). However, as it’s said in the play, the people behind the scenes create the legacies of the people on the screen. It hints that there’s a lot that goes on that we mere mortals never see. They make these people into supposed super-beings. They aren’t humans who make mistakes (though they really are and we all know it). To the audience, they appear to be perfect beings, and that is the image that is crafted for us by Hollywood.

The real question here is what are the motivations of people in Hollywood? Why can’t celebrities be normal humans with a very public career? What are they hiding from us about celebrities and why? Is it a privacy thing, a money thing, both, or something different all together?

I’m not saying I want to know every detail about their lives (nor do I have a right to know), but why do actors need PR managers? Can’t they just be themselves without someone micromanaging every detail of their lives? I don’t know. I’d like to know more about what goes on behind the scenes in Hollywood and why certain things are the way they are…


Back to the play, Clark Gable Slept Here was a very interesting eighty minutes. Though it wasn’t the greatest comedy in the world, it brought up a lot of interesting topics that still need to be investigated further.

That’s the great thing about theatre. It asks questions. It makes the audience think. It questions our beliefs without us being totally aware of it. Michael McKeever does a great job of challenging us without making it overly obvious.

That’s good theatre.

Everything

On My Radar

I’ve decided to try and start a new series called On My Radar. Credit goes out to The College Prepster for the idea. These posts will consist of interesting links, articles, videos, pictures, etc. that I find throughout the week.

It’s been a great week. On top of working, I’ve been reading about all kinds of interesting topics, and I even got to see a play this week. Here are some of the top things that are on my radar this week:

ONE // “Dear Campus Speak & Sara Lowery: Are We on ‘Punk’d’?” by Niki Messmore

This great article by a staff member (the wonderful and amazing Niki Messmore) at my Alma Mater. Basically, it states that people who are experiencing homelessness are not an example “to educate college students on leadership skills.” It was written in response to an email she received advertising a program where a student affairs professional does just that. Read it. It’s excellent.

ONE & 1/2 // Am I a Jerk for Critiquing CAMPUSPEAK and Their Speaker? by Niki Messmore

If you enjoyed reading Niki’s first article, make sure you check out the follow-up. It’s just as excellent, if not more so. Let me know what you think about both in the comments, or just comment on her page and let her know.

ONE & 3/4 // Follow Up with Campus Speak” by Niki Messmore

Niki contacted Campus Speak and they came to an agreement of sorts, but it’s not everything that it should be. Good to hear about them following up.

TWO // Clark Gable Slept Here at the Phoenix Theatre

Thursday night, my mom and I went to see Clark Gable Slept Here, performed by the Phoenix Theatre. It was a good show with an interesting message. I’m currently drafting a post on it, so you’ll hear more about it later. UPDATE! Here’s the post.

Mom and I before the show.
Mom and I before the show.

THREE // Bluegrass (and clean) Version of Anaconda by Postmodern Jukebox

This is one of the strangest and most interesting things I’ve come across this week. It’s a cleaned-up version of Nicki Minaj’s song Anaconda set old-fashioned bluegrass style. I love her voice.

FOUR // “50 Fun, Cheap Dates To Make Fall Your Most Memorable Season Ever” by Chrissy Stockton on the Thought Catalog

I think my favorite one I want to try with my husband would be number 25: “Bundle up and bring a few blankets and drive to somewhere you’ll be able to see the stars. Spend the night talking and trying to identify as many constellations as you can.” What’s yours?

FIVE // This picture sums up my outlook on life completely, and it’s just plain adorable.

1606278_973564892670211_3635949591989066817_o