Sunday, September 18, 2011

Southern Roots and John Denver

Nine to Five went well. I was happy with how I did and I had fun. Don't expect a call, but that is some of what this is about. My friend Kilee is starting out at an engineering firm as an intern. She was telling me about actually working on project on her own for the first time, and that's pretty much what I'm doing. Getting used to real life and letting myself ripen! (Banana anyone?) A huge chunk of my friends are grad schooling it, but the rest of us are in the same boat. Engineers, accountants, actors, teachers, or whatever else, we are all just trying to figure out our way on our own. We will fall down, but we shall get back up. If only we all could show the hutzpah of the kids I taught in Houston. Fall down, debate crying (it's theatre camp y'all!), then either cry or keep on playing. Generally, just keep on playing.
Y'all is not something heard in New Jersey. My roomie is a hardcore Czech Texan. Eyebrows, kolaches, and y'alls in abundance. She is sticking firm to her y'alls and wearing boots with sundresses whenever possible. I am trying to keep mine down to a minimum. Mine are less Texas than hers, but I tire of having to repeat what I just said (minus the y'all). There is no y'all in New Jersey or New York. Personal pet theory- colder climate vs. warmer ones. (This theory works in Germany too!) Southern climates are dealing with the heat. We don't move as quickly. A more drunken speech. Drawls. Oh yes. Up north its cold. The tight palettes of Chicago are merely because they are holding on to everything in an attempt to not freeze off their posterior. Probably not the way my dialects prof in college would have explained it, but it makes sense.
One of my favorite memories of her, is definitely from working on "Getting Out." Having a dialect coach from TN when doing a show set in KY is awesome. I still don't know why I was cast in that show, but it was fun to investigate my own southern roots (and discover my deep love for "A Coalminers's Daughter." Apologies to my roomie and her boyfriend for how many times I watched that and how much Loretta and Patsy I played).I grew up in Texas, as did my mom and dad to a certain degree, but there are tons of generations of us back in VA. You could probably throw a rock in the mountain south and one in the northern neck and hit multiple people I am related to. And we all have the genealogy mapped out to show it. I even have a cousin that takes his metal detector all over the battlefields. Yes, there are confederate cannon balls in my parents house. Even if we did loose the war and the plantation. :)
Anyways, back to KY dialect coaching. It was awesome to have Lisa (my dialects prof), talk about southern woman with me and realize that I had watched my Grandma do these things. Repeatedly. And done them myself. A lot. I had never really felt Texan, and it was weird and awesome to realize I was more southern than Texan. And I really feel that now that I live in New Jersey.
Question to northerners, what do you call someone when you don't know their name? Especially teaching and hopping from cast to cast, I have an abundance of southern pet names to cover up my not knowing your name. Honeybunch, honey, dear, sweetie, boo (this one has to be earned). I don't know how I would have gotten through teaching without these names. They all seem much nicer than merely pointing and saying "You." Unlike the y'alls, it's probably easier for me to just embrace this southern aspect rather than try to obliterate it. There is a huge amount of me that is who and what I am because of where I come from. I don't want to run around with a confederate flag and name everything after Robert E. Lee, but I don't want to loose my roots either.
And yes, I wrote this all listening to a John Denver album. And I have multiple John Denver albums. And I love them all.
So, go sit out on your porch with a glass of tea for me. Tom is going to be a manic day of auditioning, and I could use lots of southern backing. I've got five different auditions I'm trying to hit, plus an audition for a fairy tale haunted house. Because I need to play Snow White one more time. :)

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