Enter Title Here

Life.

It gets in the way of everything,

Even though it’s here for the exact opposite,

There is a balance to everything

Until you consider thought,

Because thought is what has allowed

Life to get in the way

 

We are born already drowned in

Oceans of systems,

Lost within

Ranges of conflict,

Indebted to

Constellations of expectation.

 

We get only one chance

With every passing second

With every taken decision

With every step forward.

 

The rest is an amendment

 

Tonight there is a full moon,

As I begin to see it

It will start disappearing for others,

It is already tomorrow somewhere

And the cycle will start over

 

I got only one chance

And I can only chase the moon with my eyes.

Contemplating it

Has been the most irresponsible use of my time

Given how much I ought to do,

How much I am expected to do,

How much sleep my body needs.

 

Thought just got in the way of me and

This natural state of beauty

A free luxury from existence

Which now gives me a little bit of regret

Having had it

 

But we get only one

Chance

And then

The rest is an amendment

NOVEMBER 21ST

 

It is hard to believe it has been 2 years since our grace period ended. What a public yet intimate celebration we had that day.

October 6th 2014: Insofar as I can imagine, I will be fine.

From Imagining O. Photo by Marina Levitskaya @ The Alexander Kasser Theater From Imagining O. Photo by Marina Levitskaya @ The Alexander Kasser Theater

Insofar as I can imagine, I will be fine.

I am most recently dueling with the withdrawal from the last show I was involved in. And by involved, I mean as involved in a relationship with about 20 people that became my artistic lovers, siblings, and mentors. Artistic in the same quality of life. After 7 weeks of what one could only taste in dreams, of exchange, of inspiration, of rage, of love, of pain, of confusion, of growth, of clarity, of politics, of physical, emotional and intellectual stimulation and exhaustion: what now? I am back to the question that has haunted this blog from its very beginning a year ago. What now?

But I prick myself deeper with the question: what now what? What should be or happen now?

Now being both the time and place I live in, does not realistically paint a pretty picture to me. I don’t need it to. If in anyway this recent experience has marked my life is in restoring my hope in the limitlessness of my mind, of my creativity (and everybody else’s!). Insofar as I can imagine, I will be fine.

Imagining O, the production I am processing about (nor writing nor talking seemed enough to describe what I am doing here), was all about, well, imagining. And not really all just about that of course,* but imagining was obviously so central to it that its title takes on it. And it is in my experience of imagining through Imagining O that I want to make a/some/no point here.

A couple of years ago I found this book called Environmental Theater; it would shape the rest of my career, more, the rest of my life. Not only did I recognize in it many of the ideas I have been exploring and struggling with through my somewhat traditional undergraduate training in the theater, but it revealed an exciting world of possibilities that had been in the making since long before I was even born. How come I never knew of this other world and boundless way of creating? I found my privilege in finding this world myself.

Was it not a challenge, reading this book? It was! I wanted to agree with it all and yet I couldn’t, but as I read through its pages the lessons taken from its author’s experience in creating this other kind of theater, I kept imagining myself as a part of this wild all-encompassing process. This book gave me something to pursue both artistically and intellectually (if I decide that those two are separate things), but not just this book, its author did. I decided I needed to learn more about these artists, these ways of creating, so that my own creations could be richer than whatever otherwise they would be. It was a moment in which I was truly disappointed in art and the world. It made sense at the time that academia would save me; but not academia in the traditional sense, academia in the sense that the author of this book who is both an academic and an artist had coined in the shape of what is Performance Studies (to him): a field, a methodology that “must refer to, come from, and refer back to embodied behavior” and that has “no fundamental” so that “any list of established text or performance must be revised and changed.”** And so I dived into getting my Masters in Performance Studies, romantically seeking to be saved.

I was probably more troubled than ever before in my life through my grad school experience, not to mention it is at the very heart of my financial headaches and the parent of this blog. Yet it has saved me in many many ways.

Not longer than a year after graduating I was sitting in a dance studio in New Jersey with my scene partner by an awkwardly large table, 2 porcelain cups filled with coffee in front of us, and in the presence of the director and his assistant. We were rehearsing.

 

“You have the talent, you just need the courage” tells me Richard Schechner, creator and co-director of Imagining O, author of Environmental Theater, and founder of the Performance Studies department at NYU. He tells me not in one of my preposterous sentimental dreams, but in that dance studio, 8 weeks ago.

 

And he tells me over and over again in my head as I now walk in the now of the “show is over” and “now what?” I do need the courage, we all do, and nobody can give it to us, it is only from within that we may build it or find it. I knew right away what I needed my courage for, and it was for imagining, and not for imagining just for myself, but for him, for my scene partner, for the entire company, for my family, and ultimately for the world. Throughout the process of Imagining O, we were constantly reminded of how harmless and fruitful it can be to just let one’s imagination run. There’s a pleasure and a horror in going there, so what? Just about two years ago I was imagining myself in the middle of a workshop for an environmental theater piece, and there I was just a couple of weeks ago diving in slow motion into my own death at the last performance of Imagining O, which according to Richard is “the most environmental piece” he’s ever done. And while I had imagine these moments wildly, more often than not the actualization of those fantasies exceeded any dreams I could have had about them. The immediate feel of trust among the company, the generosity with which we all arrived to our first rehearsal-workshop, the love that we shared, the intimacy we created, the inspiration we exchanged, is incomparable to anything I might have imagined would happen. Now I have more to imagine. The piece is about our collective imagining of the characters, authors, and texts that we explored; our collective imagining: from the designers, to the directors, to the production team, to the cast. So, with higher standards for imagining, now I imagine more, and I know, I will be fine.

 

 

I originally wrote this text on October 6th 2014 with the intention of posting it on this blog. But then, for some reason, I didn’t post it, until today. Maybe I just needed the courage.

 

Insofar as I can imagine, I will be fine.

 

 

*More about Imagining O: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/13/theater/richard-schechners-imagining-o-at-montclair-state.html?_r=0

**From: What is Performance Studies? Interview with Richard Schechner http://hidvl.nyu.edu/video/003305515.html

 

A-Quick One-Act Some-History of-Education (Inside-My-Head)

Characters

Person of Power 1

Person of Power 2

People-Students

Act 1- Scene 1

(An office, in the past past past, People-Students are heard protesting right outside )

POWER1

I don’t think education should be a right, sounds too dangerous that way. Let’s keep it a privilege.

POWER2

You are right. But, these people are revolting because they want it.

POWER1

Hmm… let’s just give them some “pretend education system,” and they’ll shut up.

POWER2

Done

(People-Students cease protesting).

POWER2

(Looking out the window)

Hey! Look! They seem to really like it.

POWER1

(joining POWER2 at the window)

They do…are you thinking what I am thinking?

POWER2

Yes! let’s make it a little more expensive.

POWER1

And they won’t be really able to afford it, so we can lend them money, and we’ll make even MORE money!

POWER2

Done

[…]*

(Protests start again)

POWER1

This again?

So annoying.

Ok, Why don’t we get rid of a couple of them to scare them a bit.

POWER2

Done.

(Protests cease)

POWER1

Just keep those prices rising. Easiest business ever!

POWER2

What about the quality of education?

POWER1

What about it?

POWER2

Nah, nothing.

To be continued…

*Insert/improvise some conversation about breakfast.

 

And while you are here, please check out this article from the HuffPost about the movimiento that has started in Mexico due to the disappearance of 43 students and the appearance of dozens of mass-graves with unidentified bodies:

Mexican Government — Tell Us the Truth — Where are the Ayotzinapa 43?

 

“Go. See. It.”

Debra Kirouac

Debra Kirouac
Debra Kirouac

Check out the review that Debra Kirouac from Woman Around Town just published about The SM Cabaret: Slaves of Sallie Mae!

She definitely enjoyed the show, and she urges you to “Go. See. It.”

The S.M. Cabaret: Slaves of Sallie Mae is not only fun but also an important play. While it does point out a lot of problems with the student loan system as they exist today — high interest rates, inflated costs of degrees, low-paying jobs vs. high debt — the show’s message is that even though most of these women are indebted, they’re still strong, talented performers who have something to say. – See more at: http://www.womanaroundtown.com/sections/living-around/the-fleecing-of-young-america-the-s-m-cabaret-slaves-of-sallie-mae-student-debt-stories-with-class-and-sass#sthash.Nwyurnkz.dpuf
The S.M. Cabaret: Slaves of Sallie Mae is not only fun but also an important play. While it does point out a lot of problems with the student loan system as they exist today — high interest rates, inflated costs of degrees, low-paying jobs vs. high debt — the show’s message is that even though most of these women are indebted, they’re still strong, talented performers who have something to say. – See more at: http://www.womanaroundtown.com/sections/living-around/the-fleecing-of-young-america-the-s-m-cabaret-slaves-of-sallie-mae-student-debt-stories-with-class-and-sass#sthash.z54LC4EE.dpuf
The S.M. Cabaret: Slaves of Sallie Mae is not only fun but also an important play. While it does point out a lot of problems with the student loan system as they exist today — high interest rates, inflated costs of degrees, low-paying jobs vs. high debt — the show’s message is that even though most of these women are indebted, they’re still strong, talented performers who have something to say. – See more at: http://www.womanaroundtown.com/sections/living-around/the-fleecing-of-young-america-the-s-m-cabaret-slaves-of-sallie-mae-student-debt-stories-with-class-and-sass#sthash.z54LC4EE.dpuf
The S.M. Cabaret: Slaves of Sallie Mae is not only fun but also an important play. While it does point out a lot of problems with the student loan system as they exist today — high interest rates, inflated costs of degrees, low-paying jobs vs. high debt — the show’s message is that even though most of these women are indebted, they’re still strong, talented performers who have something to say. – See more at: http://www.womanaroundtown.com/sections/living-around/the-fleecing-of-young-america-the-s-m-cabaret-slaves-of-sallie-mae-student-debt-stories-with-class-and-sass#sthash.z54LC4EE.dpuf
The S.M. Cabaret: Slaves of Sallie Mae is not only fun but also an important play. While it does point out a lot of problems with the student loan system as they exist today — high interest rates, inflated costs of degrees, low-paying jobs vs. high debt — the show’s message is that even though most of these women are indebted, they’re still strong, talented performers who have something to say. – See more at: http://www.womanaroundtown.com/sections/living-around/the-fleecing-of-young-america-the-s-m-cabaret-slaves-of-sallie-mae-student-debt-stories-with-class-and-sass#sthash.z54LC4EE.dpuf
The S.M. Cabaret: Slaves of Sallie Mae is not only fun but also an important play. While it does point out a lot of problems with the student loan system as they exist today — high interest rates, inflated costs of degrees, low-paying jobs vs. high debt — the show’s message is that even though most of these women are indebted, they’re still strong, talented performers who have something to say. – See more at: http://www.womanaroundtown.com/sections/living-around/the-fleecing-of-young-america-the-s-m-cabaret-slaves-of-sallie-mae-student-debt-stories-with-class-and-sass#sthash.Nwyurnkz.dpuf

“The S.M. Cabaret: Slaves of Sallie Mae is not only fun but also an important play. While it does point out a lot of problems with the student loan system as they exist today — high interest rates, inflated costs of degrees, low-paying jobs vs. high debt — the show’s message is that even though most of these women are indebted, they’re still strong, talented performers who have something to say.”

SO COME TO THE CABARET!

Click HERE for the full review!

slaves-to-sallie-mae-520x434

grace period//no bullshit

I want to vomit whenever I imagine running into a teacher from high school, an odd thing I do now as a form of self-flagellation. Quakes of shame toss my stomach until I feel sick. I imagine saying, hey, thanks for those letters of recommendation – I’m a receptionist now and my boss calls me cutie. Not that there is anything wrong with being a receptionist, except for its being boring as fuck.

When they knew me I wanted to work as a chemist. Dual-degree. A dancing chemist? they would laugh as they asked. I would smile and say, that’s the idea. Now I smile and say, do you take cream or sugar with that? Now I try to work the fact that I’m a dancer into every conversation, ignoring the fact that I’m a dancer is far from fact. I haven’t performed since graduating college and moving to New York – calling myself a dancer is like the non-baptized calling himself Catholic.

Yet I continue to genuflect my life to art, and I will continue to identify as a dancer. I will give myself this month, this year, these years, as a grace period, the time when I cut the ego and its bullshit. I will remind myself that those high school teachers have likely forgotten about me, which is just fine. Everything is fine.

Katy Telfer*

 

 

 

*Katy is our newest collaborator and she will be performing with us @ The SM Cabaret: Slaves of Sallie Mae.

 

 

 

We love to serve you Parody, Champagne, and a little Burlesque!

SMCABARETPOSTER

The Grace Period Blog Premieres

THE S.M. CABARET: SLAVES OF SALLIE MAE

May 2nd and 9th @ 9:30pm

The Duplex

61 Christopher Street (NYC)

The Grace Period Blog invites you to their world premiere of The S.M. Cabaret: Slaves of Sallie Mae. In true cabaret fashion, it will be an evening of song, shimmy, and debauchery that will put a smart sexy spin on the student debt crisis. Naturally, a degree is included with every admission (interest-free). We could go on and on preaching about the downright criminal interest rates inflicted on American students and the astronomical rising cost of education, but it’s so much more entertaining with parody, champagne, and a little burlesque.

The Cabaret features adaptations and impersonations of classic Broadway songs and stars, as well as original songs and dances. There will be solo and ensemble works written and performed by The Grace Period Blog members: Sydney Arndt, Sarah Lucie, Gabriela Moreno, Laura Marie Mooney, and Katy Telfer. Rumor has it that the infamous Sallie Mae and the lesser known evil step-sister, The Great Lakes, may even make special appearances.

Reserve your ticket for $5 in advance by clicking here: Friday, May 2nd or Friday, May 9th

Or pay $7 at the door without a reservation. (NOTE: There is a 2 drink minimum at The Duplex.)

Can’t wait to see you there!

The Grace Period Blog

 

 The Grace Period Blog is committed to redefining the length of the student loan repayment grace period by continuing to build creative careers in writing and performance past the 6-month time allotment. They also encourage others to live the creative lives they planned on living despite their debt burdens.

 The Blog was co-founded by NYU MA Performance Studies Alumni, Gabriela Moreno and Sydney Arndt. The idea was born as a response to the contributors’ personal experience with the student debt crisis in America.  It became active as a blog in September of 2013 with the intention of creating content that would be used as raw material leading to a date-specific performance on November 21st, 2013—the end of the founders’ student loan grace period. This play, “November 21st,” premiered in Washington Square Park and incorporated public participation from audience members and passersby. Since then, The Grace Period Blog has continued exploring issues surrounding student debt while evolving its performance styles and expanding its body of contributors.