Backstage

Love in Relationships, a Surprisingly Not Obvious Thing - "I believe that I am a woman." "And so do I." - The Danish Girl

On Saturday I saw The Danish Girl followed by a Q&A with Tom Hooper led by the editor-in-chief of Backstage. Afterwards I ended up chatting with one of the producers for a while about how the film has been seen in the trans community. It was all pretty wonderful, so thanks for tweeting about it, Backstage!

20151128_222816.jpg

Now, I could go on for ages about how the film itself is stunning and how the Q&A and discussion was insightful and interesting, and I would be right about all of it. I don't care that those are all subjective statements and matters of opinion. I would be right.

But that's not what I want to do here today. I want to focus on one very specific thing. Or, rather, person.

To me, Eddie Redmayne is pretty much a perfect actor, and I'll tell you why.

(#sorrynotsorry for putting what is essentially a clickbait title in the middle of my blog post.)

Tom Hooper said during the Q&A that he enjoys working with Redmayne because he's so emotionally open while performing. He said that, especially among British actors, you can oftentimes see not just their emotions, but their internal dialogue as part of them fights showing their emotions. And that can make for interesting acting in and of itself, but Redmayne is very in touch with who he is and what he's feeling, and he just... lets everything else go, and just shows what he's feeling right then and right there in the moment. And that's all true and wonderful.

But I think there is something else that makes him so good. He's just extraordinary at finding the love.

The material on which he chooses to work certainly helps with that. The Danish Girl, and last year's The Theory of Everything, are both filled with love. Like, you would have to find the love to do those well.

But on the way home from seeing The Danish Girl, I had the epiphany that everything is about the love. Every great story is a love story. It's not necessarily romantic love, it can also be platonic love, or passion/drive for or towards a specific thing. But it's all always about the love. And he knows how to find it.

The drier, more accurate and academic way of phrasing it is probably closer to "he clearly defines his relationships with everyone and everything around him in each of his roles." And, like, yeah. That's true. But I think, more than that, he also finds the love in each of those relationships somewhere.

Before I start repeating myself too much, the thesis I'm going for is that Eddie Redmayne is such an extraordinary actor because he not only defines his relationships in each role that he plays, but he goes beyond that to find the love in each of those relationships, which is what makes each of them effective, gorgeous, and human. And he's so good at it that he's made it exactly the kind of work I want to be doing.

Besides, it's also a beautiful way to take in the world.

...I may have spent this entire post fangirling over how good an actor Eddie Redmayne is, but I couldn't write a post about The Danish Girl without acknowledging Alicia Vikander and how extraordinary she is in this film as well. Not only is she also wonderful at finding the love, but she's also heart breaking, intelligent, and compelling. During the Q&A, Hooper said that Vikander is an actress who can make pure goodness interesting, which is a very rare trait in an art form that is attracted to conflict and discord. And her Gerda is so feminist while still being human and feeling pain. She's such a standout, and you should be on the lookout for everything that she does. Just sayin'.

Microblogging - "Brevity is the soul of wit." - Oscar Wilde

I read an article on Backstage about how actors should be "microblogging." The idea is that I would be posting a whole bunch of two or three sentence blogs about the things that I'm doing, with links to their websites. Posts like...

Come see me this weekend at Columbia University's BET Ensemble showcase "HEAR ME!: 10 Minute Play Festival Featuring the Columbia/Barnard Poetry Slam Team"! Tickets are on sale for Friday and Saturday. Hope to see you there!

(Fun fact: You should come see me this weekend at Columbia University's BET Ensemble Showcase "! Tickets are on sale for Friday and Saturday. I hope I'll see you there!)

(Fun fact number 2: I'm definitely going to do a microblog post of exactly that after I've finished writing this post, in case someone comes over but doesn't want to read this much longer post. So if you see it twice, you're not crazy. It's just that I am.)

The argument for more "micro" blog posts is that they're good for people who just want a quick update of what I'm up to, I can post more of them without looking obnoxious for throwing blog post content at everyone all of the time, they're good for people who aren't willing to read my longer essays about the industry or analyses things, and they help increase my search engine optimization (SEO) so this website is the first thing that comes up when someone searches my name. (Fun fact number 3: When I first created this website, if you searched my name, you had to scroll through several pages of Google results before it would come up.)

But for all of those very rational and legitimate reasons to microblog, it hurts my Creative Writing major's heart. There's no art to microblogging! I like writing longer posts because it can show more of who I am as a person, I can actually use my writing style and training, and it's just more personal - longer blog posts are not something a machine could churn out, but anything can post a link and type "check it out!"

So I'm going to ignore the people who say that you can't have it all in this as well as the rest of my life, and I'm just going to do both kinds of blogs. Because as helpful as microblogs can clearly be, I fail to see what the point of having a blog is if I can't passionately express my love for all kinds of media on it every so often.

Alternatively phrased: I fail to see what the point of having a blog is if I can't find myself incoherent and start writing anyway.

Finally, on a totally unrelated note, happy Purim! In light of that...

Recipe of the Week: Lazy Hamentaschen

Fun Fact (number 4, I guess): For all that it is a specifically Jewish holiday coming from one of our holy books, God's name is not mentioned once in the Book of Esther. (Source)

"Well, it's business drunk, it's like rich drunk. Either way, it's legal to drive." - 30 Rock, Succession (S2E13)

The other day, I went to the #BackstageMeetUp - an actors' holiday party/networking event. And I had a ton of fun there, not to mention the fact that I met tons of interesting people!

And it occurred to me how weird networking is.

I mean, there's the fact that I was told as a kid and over the course of my college career how important networking would be to me in my field... in fact, how important it would be to anyone in any field. I had always thought of networking as a Big Deal kind of thing that Grown Ups did for their Careers.

And now I'm doing it, and it's not only easy but fun and it doesn't feel like Networking. It just feels like meeting people and having a drink and chatting about everything from the business of being an actor to feminism and how misogyny is ingrained in our society in the most surprising ways.

Maybe this is just one of the things that comes with growing older and being an adult. That networking feels so natural and chill. And that's strange, because I usually reject anything that feels like being an adult out of hand due to my fear of aging.

But until I figure that out, I'm just glad that something that had always been built up to me as a Big Deal that I Need to Make Sure I Do is actually easy and fun. It probably helps that there's also almost always at least one free drink at these events to get the ball rolling! It certainly makes life so much easier, with networking being one less thing to worry about.

...Also, there are definitely pictures from this event, and you better believe that I'll be posting them soon. As soon as I find out where on the internet they are!