Over the past year, Cassie has become one of my favorite humans. No Joke. I could go on and on about why I think she is Grade A, top of the line, angelically inspiring, wonderful to be around, and beautiful in every sense of the word. She was one of my first FFB features (Read HERE!) and I adore her so much I had to have her back! 🙂 I’m so excited to share her light and beauty on FFB through this amazing feature she wrote called Balancing Act that is a keyhole peek into her amazingness. Her amazingness is such that it feels unfair to only give her this tiny space of blog segment. In my opinion, this little snippet is a complete firework on my blog. I feel so lucky she’s a firework in my life and grateful there’s a soul like this skipping around New York and spreading light all over Broadway. Cassie, you’re a gem!
Where does the time go? I surely haven’t caught my breath today, yet I find myself saying, “I did that TODAY?” everyday. On any given day there are classes to be taken, laundry to fold, an album to record, abs to crunch, shows to perform, thank you cards to write, bills to pay, greens to eat, a cat to cuddle, inspiring humans I call ‘friends’, scripts to read, scripts to write, scripts to rewrite, scripts to shoot, scripts about scripts, ::INHALE:: water to drink, rehearsals to be had, rehearsal for the rehearsals to be had… Did I write that down? I think I’ll teach myself guitar. Have I called my mother this week? Wow. Cool. This is my life. What abundance! Everyday, I have the opportunity to experience a Technicolor world. Awhile back, I traded in sighs for exhales. Juggling is a skill and it takes rhythm to find balance.
In July I joined the Broadway Cast of Matilda. I adopted the role of The Cook (Affectionately named Taz – One of a gaggle of gals I juggle on the daily). It has been nothing short of surreal. Matilda is a magical show. It’s a genius piece that is artistically rounded for any and every person inside and out. The cast has 16 children (4 Matilda’s, 8 onstage players and 4 off). How could I begin to describe? I’ve reverted to “tiny aliens from heaven,” and really that’s the closest I’ve gotten. Shout out to the other 20-something astonishing, superhuman storytellers that I am lucky enough to make a lot of funny faces with. It’s impossible to be unfocused, absent minded or off your game in the company of the company. It is an inexpressible reality that is only felt very notably in a warm, grateful place in my heart (I’m tearing up, maybe it’s time to fold laundry).
There is a colorful in between. The short time I spend outside the theater is imperative to nurturing a healthy career & lifestyle. Preparation, timing, diet, fitness and rest are only a few components you must take into account. Every role is different and requires individual demands and that is true for any medium. I’ve found that a little bit of structure can leave a lot of space for freedom. During my time with the show, I’ve explored some new shades (not of Gray) as my regular routine was challenged to change to better suit my new roles. Here are a few of my favorite gold nuggets I’ve found along the rainbow.
I love the description of our body being our instrument. Every morning I tune in to mine.
I love that ooey gooey hour in the very early morning when the world is quiet, fresh & full of possibility. I call this time of day, “the calm before the storm.” I ease into the day with gratitude as I sip my coffee or tea (it’s never tea), indulging in the natural sunlight. I consider this time pretty sacred. I watch the world from the window, kiss my cat, Mr.Columbus & stay UNPLUGGED (CAPS for emphasis). I like to meditate or journal. It’s a very smiley place. Some days this oasis is a 3-5 minute parade of events, but it happens nonetheless. Mr.Columbus simply insists on it.
I ease into the flow ASAP on the mat. I like to set the mood, because I’m a zen ninja like that, with candles, incense, lights, etc. I make sure everything I need is on the table in front of me because I finish what I start and it’s a downward spiral once I step off for any reason (example, 20 minutes to grab a pair of socks 15 feet away.)
Side note, I like to use my psychic ability to set myself up for success. Check yourself before you wreck yourself kind of mentality. (I know you know I don’t actually have psychic abilities… Or do I?).
I love to take class. I love to learn. I love community. Unfortunately, my schedule doesn’t allow me to practice in a live setting as often as I would like to. Especially on days with earlier shows, an extra 30 minutes of commute to class is valuable time. So, I started to look into online classes. I’ve been investigating warm-ups & cool downs for the past few months. Matilda is set on a “raked” stage (sloped upward, like a ramp) which calls for special attention, physically. It’s like doing a show on a small hill. Here are a few great sites I’m looking into right now:
I did the 2 week trial and then subscribed. These two sites both have a ton of options for targeted areas of the body, duration, apparatus, prop, difficulty, speed, etc.
Pilatesology is the real deal. All the teachers trained with Joseph Pilates or are an extension of his or his protégé, Romana Kryzanowska.
Pilatesology streams anywhere! This is a big deal on the go, especially in the theater, where we get little to no service or Internet.
Pilatesology includes workshops in their membership fee, no additional cost.
I love to hate the foam roller classes on PilatesAnytime. It hurts so good. The instructors (with Australian accents – a bonus all in itself) give detailed, creative and targeted exercises. Working in heels on a raked stage, has proven that rolling is vital. Having a set with reps is a luxury when working with the roller. With the membership, I am able to partake in rolling workouts pre show and targeted rolling classes post show.
My roller will fall out of my closet when I hang my coat up in a very mocking manner and I can hear the universe screaming. We’re frenemies. But, I always feel revived & grateful afterward. So, touché, wellness.
I love to use the VICKS steam inhaler.
I steam in the morning, afternoon if I can help it and night.
In the morning, I use this time to check e-mails, connect with the world, share news articles or videos with pals, and nag my sister for more pictures of my niece & nephew.
An amazing article:
A silly video:
Look, y’all: Matt Farnsworth Voice App
Matt knows the voice. He has helped me to morph into so many molds. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of his App. It is a true well of wealth including videos, exercises, techniques, demonstrations, etc. It’s out this month in the APP store & GOOGLE PLAY! Let’s breathe together. Literally. I demonstrate some breathing exercises.
I encore the SMM (Steam Machine Movement) in the shower & entertain my entire apartment building with a pre show warm-up. I’ve actually had neighbors compliment me when we have trash can run ins. Moving on.
I am not a big pre show eater. So I eat something packed with a punch. Right now I’m obsessed with Superfood Cereal from LiveSuperfoods.com. I mix it into some mashed roasted pumpkin or sweet potatoes with a bit of almond milk. It’s got great crunch and healthy unpronounceable ingredients that are described on the back of the bag.
Remember my psychic abilities? They know the 2 show day all too well. So, they set me up for success.
A warm meal is important to me, especially in the winter. Usually I use my Friday evenings to crockpot a weekend meal for Saturday & Sunday. I use my mother’s super secret cooking technique called “throw & go.” In addition, I bake a big batch of versatile mix-ins like grilled chicken or roasted veggies. I like to pre make salads in mason jars. If I’m stuck on combinations, I’ll look on Pinterest. I save money, time, health & stress by making bulk meals at home. Crockpots are the wave of the future… I just wanted something really epic to describe Crockpots. *Pinterest a better epic term for CROCKPOT.
CHEESY MOMENT: I’m living a dream. My inner stage mom doesn’t want to miss a MOMENT. Speaking of, one recurring theme is MOMENTS.
It’s an easy gift to set myself up for success by setting ample time for magic and mistakes. The same way I found a few moments at home, I will some times use this pocket to breathe or stretch. And yes! I grab socks beforehand. I see you’ve tapped into your psychic abilities too. Welcome, Ninja.
I love to use different senses to build familiarity when I’m in a new space. I learned this trick when I was on location in Toronto shooting Hairspray. I always have some lavender oil from the farmers market (lavenderbythebay.com) on hand, organic herbal tea (coffee), some family pictures, Spotify, a handmade blanket I’ve traveled with since childhood and some inspirational quotes (hold your surprise). These comforting individuals make any space my home.
Still with me? Here’s the post show run down:
- My psychic abilities help me to finish the big stuff before the end of the show, so that I can actually unwind when I hit my front door.
- I hang up my coat (cue roller).
- I bribe myself with TV or a Film while I roll out and cool down.
- I grab a snack. I could write another article about eating before bed. I get into this conversation often with brilliant, wise minds with better willpower and a 9-5. I snack. It is what it is. I sleep better.
- I write best at night and I won’t allow my computer in my bed. I’ll handwrite or read. This goes down until I do.
I feel so lucky to be munching on the delicious vocabulary of Roald Dahl, Tim Minchin & Dennis Kelly. I also eat books. Thank God I’m an actor. It allows me to chew on some of the most profound articulations. The Thesaurus is my Candy Crush (and it doesn’t involve pestering my pals on Facebook). I find that reading helps ease my mind from nerves when I’m on.
When I’m in the glitter heels of Wormwood, I get to tackle the number “Loud.” I use Singer’s Saving Grace to help coat my throat for hydration and health. I prefer the alcohol free Professional Strength. CUTE ALERT: One of the children thought my throat spray was mint spray for my breath and gifted me some mints for Christmas. It’s worth mentioning that moments like this happen on the daily and I’m always confident that I could at any moment die from adorability overload. If you’re reading this, I’ve survived.
The Wormwood make-up palette is reminiscent of my Rock of Ages days. Shimmer, Lashes, Contour, OH MY! Make-up has always played a big component (for me) in transforming into a role.
Here are a few basic drugstore gems:
I’m the curious of Cass’s on this side of my apartment. I love to discover. What can I do to feel good right now? Where is my integrity? Why is this important? What would T Swift do?
Simplify. See what is in front of you. Do one thing at a time, as often as possible, with absolute care.
Starter kit to kindness: “Yes, please.” “Thank you.”
Here’s the thing. I could write the names of people, Matilda specific, that have held a paintbrush to the canvas, longer than this article. And if you watch with glittering eyes, you’ll easily see a sea of sparkling magic.
“You are not alone.” Roald Dahl’s Matilda