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23 October 2009 @ 09:53 pm
When the Momentum and the Moment are in Line  
It's about one moment, just when you're on the verge of success. You get the part of your life, you hold the ring in your hand. It's a new world.

The past month or so, I've been thinking back to the spring of 2006. I frequently bring up that semester as the time when I was most sleep deprived and busy in my college career. Defending my senior thesis, doing tech for Todd Theatre, directing a one act, doing more OBOC, and doing my first voice jury at Eastman. I often tell the story how all of the slides for my senior thesis on music transcription were made between the hours of 1am and 5am because of hell week for "The Hour." And at the time, I got really into my voice jury, singing "This is the Moment", because for me, it really was the moment when all I'd done was coming into play.

So then speed ahead to this past month. Within the scope of a couple days, I managed to act in a play, conduct an orchestra, give a talk to the entire department, direct a rehearsal, and almost write a paper. No one ever accused me of doing too little. Coincidentally, the talk I gave was on my senior thesis work (and the work that I've managed to get done on it in the past three years). The talk went over quite well. I think some people were just glad not to hear another talk on network protocols. In fact, some people told me it was one of the best student talks they had heard in the department. Not that my ego needs to hear that.

So a few words on the play I did at the Tin Ceiling. The production was a set of three one-act plays that had won the Tin's playwriting contest. They were all very different plays. One was a very Todd-like post apocalyptic exploration of "Fear Itself." The second was an old man looking back on his life and how it could have been different. And there was my play, the most realistic of the three. It featured two seniors in high school and their girlfriends. The two guys hang out on the roof and work on their science projects together. Randy is the athletic high achiever whose project is on "Opposing Exercises to Offset Damage from Repetitive Motion and Other Physical Dangers for the Baseball Pitcher." Morris ("M") is more introverted and did his project on quantum physics. Guess which one I played. Without giving the whole plot away, the play details their whole relationship, which, suffices to say, goes beyond science. "Hyphenate" was notable for featuring my first on-stage kiss, and it just happened to be with another guy. I may also have had to strip down to boxers by the end of the play. Oh, and after weeks of not having an actress to play my character's girlfriend, we finally found one, and the first thing I did after meeting her was rehearse the scene where we make out.

Despite the fact that I had to do so many things that were outside my previous comfort zone, I had a blast doing this play. Back in the spring, when I did a 24hour play with the Tin Ceiling, I complained afterward to Elise about the fact that it's been so long since I've had a real opportunity to seriously act. This definitely was that opportunity. It was tremendously hard, but I finally got to consider my character's whole arc, and make character choices, and actually get directed. It helped that I had a tremendously talented scene parter playing the other guy. I think its one of the best things about theatre when you can get up on stage with someone else, and not only completely trust them, but lose yourself in the interactions and discover new things each night in front of the audience. So yeah. That was fun.

In other news, Once Upon a Mattress (the Med school musical) is going well. I'm feeling really confident about this year's show. I finished watching Firefly and Serenity with Elise and a bunch of the med school people. Not to give anything away, but I'm a leaf in the wind. Watch how I wear hawaiianshirts. Plus, I got the new XKCD and [title of show] books. I'm also really getting used to having a bit of gold weighing down my left hand.

Last Sunday I ran a Halloween Themed 10K race in St. Louis. I dressed up as Harry Potter. It wasn't my first choice, but didn't have time to sew a Dr. Horrible lab coat (plus Home Depot doesn't sell welding goggles), and my Wall-E costume was really hard to run in. Note to Rachel: You'd be surprised how much mileage I've gotten out of that yellow tie. Despite my relatively good time, the 10K was a massive fail for me. I ran the first mile pretty quickly, passing lots of people and going relatively fast. After mile 2 I was getting tired and started thinking that I couldn't keep going at that pace for the whole time. So I scaled it back for awhile and let people pass me and plodded on. I figured I'd pick up the pace at mile eight. I was really shocked at how hard it ended up being in the middle. But I figured that was sensible, since I had taken a couple of weeks off from running, and only really trained for a week and a half before the 10K. Anyway, somewhere after mile five, I started thinking how much harder this was than the 5K I did in July. But I was getting a lot closer to downtown where the finish line was. Hmmm. Wait. Mile 5. 5K. Mile 5. 5 Kilometers. CRAP. So I picked up my pace for the last mile. METRIC FAIL.

Much like I had fun with Stingers, the WUPOPS trombone section is one of my new favorite outlets for crazy randomness. Backstory: trombonists need to keep their slides lubed up. Often, they put on some hyrdophillic compound which causes water to bead, thus making a smooth slide. So many trombonists carry little water sprayers to keep their slides wet. SOME trombonists, not naming any names, get huge plant sprayers for their slide care, which can very easily be used to spray other members of your section, and if you aim properly, the saxophones 4 rows up. So after a long rehearsal of spraying each other and the adjacent horn section, we realized one of the horns we had been shooting was in fact President of WUPOPS. Shooting the president seemed wrong, so we formulated a plan. The end result was this:

The best part was during rehearsal when we mentioned "El Presidente" and "the mission" in the same sentence, and Kira suddenly turned around with a giant moment of comprehension. Apparently we made her night/week and perhaps presidency. Stingers always was fun, but the WUPOPS trombones (aka the Decidious Brass) definitely go along with my crazy ideas more.

Finally, (finally), there's the small news tidbit that I've officially decided to switch labs and work on robots and theatre. I think its probably clear to anyone who's read this far that that's much more up my alley than bioinformatics was. And so I've made the transition from computational musician, to computational biologist, to, in the words of "The Darfstellar", a computational dramaturg. Part of the research entails helping train the actors by using robots, trying to get the human actors to be aware of their environment and respond naturally to it. And what, my theatrical friends, is this acting quality called?

Living in the moment, of course.
Rachel Marie :o)spychicr on October 24th, 2009 01:00 pm (UTC)
I wish that my plate could be as full as yours and I still be successful. I usually end up with a FAIL in one category or another when I try to do so much at the same time.

That being said, YAY yellow tie! Mine is around somewheres... I think that I ended up using it as a belt once, but that's the last time I used it.

Question: Email me your address?

...Dunno if that's a question or a command, but either way, that's what you should do.
h2g2ben on October 24th, 2009 03:34 pm (UTC)
Hydrophobic, David. Hydrophobic.

Hydrophillic would absorb the water, not cause it to bead.
David!!hawaiianshirts on October 24th, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it was one of the two. Now that I think about it makes sense.