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  • Writer's pictureJenny Hanrahan

Lead With The Heart [original blog post 1/22/2020]

Updated: Jun 15, 2020

We're trying to be more regular here! Albeit brief. With showcase now less than a month away, the chaos of the basement is hitting a sharp increase. Hence my personal desire to more regularly sort out all the brain squiggles into something coherent here. So this idea of leading with the heart. Beth (our singing teacher) said this to me on Friday. That was a day ready to be comprised of dead fish slime in my insides. My exhaustion from the preceding day (really all the preceding days) made my sleep through two classes before finally dragging my sweet little self to the theatre. My mood was immediately enlivened by a wonderful coaching with Alan on my industry showcase scene (From Lee Blessing's Fortinbras). Having spent so much time with the scene already, my partner and I both felt a dip in the life and energy of the work. This energy was jump-started by 45 minutes with Alan: talking about life, death, a battle of gender and a reclamation of power from an abuse victim (also are Kostya and Nina another telling of Hamlet and Ophelia?? Discuss). Basically, got me hyped again to deepen my relationship with Ophelia.

My energy and faith has also been flagging in my own vocal work. While I have made tremendous progress in my vocal conditioning over the last year and a half, I still maintain my inherent impatience with any kind of slow, progressive work (throwback to my decade+ of piano lessons). My lesson with Beth built beautifully on another coaching with the speech teacher earlier in the week, both geared toward lessening my fear of the behemoth that is Trina's big breakdown in Falsetto's. On top of all the continuing muscle conditioning, so many of my problems are solved by leading with my heart. Physically, mentally, spiritually. Most outwardly, this mantra stops me from collapsing in on my solar plexus, as is my habit. But this phrase has been ringing loudly with me ever since as it pertains to my general ways of walking around the world. Though it needs some more time to fully marinate in my brain and body.

On another note! I would be a damn fool if I failed to mention my experience in the Painting Exercise, the latest of many exercises offered to us by our acting technique teacher, Jackie. Last Tuesday, I felt like the Most Special Gal as I was dolled up to work on "Interrupted Reading" by Jean Baptiste Camille Corot. I found this delightful painting when I visited the Art Institute with my mama over break, and was so excited to dive into the world of that lady. I chose to use the exercise as a study of Yelena from Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, and it provided me with so many epiphanies and discoveries. I've never felt so alive and magical in my work as I did in that bright little snowglobe of an exercise. More pics to come (@jenjen_han on insta ;-]).

I'm realizing as I write that this is a much more detailed look into daily circle life than I have normally thrown on here in my more vague, month-ish-ly posts. But this kind of swirly self analysis is just about always where I'm at here (and I think the same is true for my classmates). With every challenge comes a plethora of possible explorations and paths forward and with each brand new discovery comes one hundred more questions. This month leading up to showcase is heavy with questions, and I have no doubt it will be a strenuous process preparing for the Big Event. Hoping to document as much of that silliness as I can over these weeks. With that silliness in mind, here are some things that are keeping me grounded:

  • Playing piano. Mentioned it above, but I've played piano for more than half my life, and I have been desperately missing being a musician. Re-introducing that to my days has been just beautiful.

  • Journaling. Daily, usually at the end of the day as a way of bringing closure before I snooze and dream.

  • Solitaire. Just learned how to play and boy does it empty my brain.

  • Schitt's Creek. Charming. Delightful.

  • And obv a couple of soft kitties

a moment of silence for our cowboys. you will be missed. talk to ya soon xo







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