How I got my “HELL YEAH” back.

So I have a renewed sense of HELL YEAH!

It’s come to me in a few different forms since last I blogged.  Let me break it down.

-Deana’s Educational Theatre. OK so I have always been grateful to be a part of this since I was hired into the company in 2008.  But 2011 in particular has been really important to me.  I have done many “Yellow Dress” shows, as many other actors in the company have as well, and I am amazed at the courage and strength of so many women I have met throughout New England this year.  They share their stories with me and others they trust to seek help, to feel better, etc.  To me, that is  the most joyful part of working for DET.  We help people to sift through their fears and stories to become stronger people, and to me, that is one of the best things you can do in life. SO HELL YEAH I love that job!  And HELL YEAH I am making a difference!

-DANCING.  Okay.  So  I haven’t had any formal training in about 5 years.  So when my boyfriend started suggested things we should try together, I was a little surprised when he suggested dancing. (Note: He’s in the army.  I KNOW he’s amazing, right?)  Looking back, I loved dancing in college.  We usually had three classes a week from 2 hours anywhere to 4 hours a day. It helped me relieve stress, feel confident, and of course, stay in shape!

To be honest, I wasn’t good at dancing at first.  I would see all the steps and freak out and try to count and my brain would fry and I would fall over my feet.  It literally got to the point where Christine, our dance instructor pulled me aside and said “CASEY. STOP thinking. Stop.  Just feel it.”  That was at the end of the year.  So when I came back Senior Year, I remembered her words, and I guess she was right. Muscle memory kicked in and finally I could dance without thinking.

Anyway, back to the present.  My old fears started kicking in.  But I couldn’t say no.  So I said, “PSH, sure boyfriend, let’s take lessons.”  Panic started simmering below the surface, but I held it at bay.  After the advice of another dance instructor, Miss Jean, I decided to do what she said…”Let Go, have fun and let loose, you’ll be fine!”

Well. We went to our first dance lesson with KATYA and oh my goodness whaddya know I knew what to do without really thinking about it.  She showed us the moves, and we were able to do them.

SO HELL YEAH I DO REMEMBER HOW TO DO…STUFF!…LIKE DANCE!  SO THERE…ME!

Back on set.  Not that I haven’t been on set. I just haven’t done background  in some crazy amount of months.  So when I saw all of my old friends (and new friends!) on set of “Here Comes the Boom,” I was so happy!  I love hearing about what everyone else is up to in life.

But on set this past week, I had some interesting moments of clarity and well..what I like to call “HELL YEAH” moments.  Here is a sampling:

One person said to me, “Casey.  Keep doing movies. Okay?” as we were walking outside after wrapping.  I fumbled with my glasses, shoved them on my face whilst walking to the shuttle and said, “Yeah, okay!”  And he said, “Just keep doing it. You’re gonna make it.”

Me, with a smug "Hell yeah" type face.

Totally out of the blue and it was just the gas I needed to feel even more empowered and ready to kick ass.

Another friend of mine was talking to me about auditions and the biz, etc.  And he said, “It doesn’t matter.  It never matters.  Everything you need to succeed is in you.  Don’t label yourself.” It was the strangest moment because I realized that even though I consider myself levelheaded and able to handle auditioning, I have still been in the mode lately of judging / grading myself with auditions.  NOT ANYMORE!  Another crystal clear moment for me.  He also said, “Remember, we’re all the same.  No one is better than you, we’re all equals.  You can do anything you want.”

Now these particular quotes may seem like the typical “Go get ’em, sista!” type quotes, but to me they meant a lot.  I really believe that I needed to hear these encouraging words this week.  Just what I need to keep pushing on.

In regards to my yellow jacket and purple sunglasses, my friend Jim Powers said to me, “Casey, you dress like a star.”

To that I say

HELLLLLLL YEAH!

Ides of March + Irish luck FTW

Actors need to keep themselves healthy.

When I was in school, I always thought it was a little weird and pretentious that we were taught to refer to our bodies as our “instruments.”

At least, I felt that way until I got hit by a Dodge 4×4 truck after a tech rehearsal one night.

I was walking across the street from the drama building, over to where my car was parked across the street, and literally, my last thought was, “I can’t wait to have some Rocky Road ice cream when I get home.” and suddenly I look to my right at the last second and ka-POW!

I think I blacked out for a second, because the next thing I know, I’m on the ground and I’m not wearing any shoes.  Luckily, two of my friends, Glen Nicholes, and Jimmy Gallo, were across the street and ran over t0 help me and call 911, etc.

To fast forward, I didn’t break any bones, but I did mess up my back a little bit (hardcore physical therapy took care of that).  But my body was hurting so badly and I was in such pain for so long, that it made a lot of my classes really difficult (dance class, suzuki training, etc).  I tried to play it cool, but it really sucked.  I mean, I got hit ONE WEEK before a premiere of a show I was in.  I couldn’t even wear the full period costume due to the bandages I had to wear from where I got a nasty road burn.

Anyway, my point is, that is the moment when I realized for the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE that I was not invincible.  I guess sometimes it takes until your early 20s to realize that you are not immortal.  Or maybe that was just me, but it made me realize that I actually had to take care of myself, my “instrument,” because it’s the only I one I have in this lifetime!

This does bring me back to my original point, believe it or not.  My original point is that actors NEED to keep themselves healthy.  This includes:

-keeping in shape (not just for vanity reasons, but also to keep up endurance for long days on set, long days in the theatre, etc)

-not getting hit by cars and trucks.  or at least, avoiding that as much as possible (I should probably follow this rule…better).

-MAKING SURE EVERY FILM YOU ARE ON HAS INSURANCE (something I learned the HARD way in 2009. I was on a friend’s film set. There was no SAG insurance.  SAG insurance is inexpensive, by the way.  Let’s put it this way. I broke my foot so badly I needed surgery. oops)

Here I am, within the hour of getting my foot AND ankle crunched in several different ways. Don't try this at home.

-eating healthy, drinking lots of water, taking vitamins!  Because you don’t want to be sick.  Especially not right before your show is about to open.

This leads me to my latest foray of needing-to-take-care-of-myself.  I’m sick.  But I am getting better!

It hit me like a Dodge 4×4 in the middle of rehearsal on Sunday. Okay..maybe not THAT hard, but suddenly I was freezing, achy, and unable to stop coughing.  And ya know how hard it is anyway to act and be awesome and be great onstage?  Well, being sick made me remember how much harder it is to do all that and..well…be sick at the same time.

So I went to work on Monday and by the end of the day I was wearing my down jacket and double fisting a tea from Starbucks and theraflu thanks to Allegra. Phew.

Yesterday, I was the best actor EVER.  At least in regards to being “good” aka “healthy” aka “SMART and not stubborn.”

I slept in LATE. Well, 9am.  I ate breakfast.  I watched “The Sweetest Thing.” Don’t judge me, it was on HBO and it hurt to reach for the remote.  I then promptly fell asleep for an hour.  I MADE MYSELF NOT DO ANYTHING.  Then I recall maybe doing something else, but then I fell asleep for another three hours, got up, and went to rehearsal. BOOYA!

Today, I feel awesome.  Well, besides the fact that I have a heinous cough.  But I don’t feel like death every two seconds.  This goes back to my first blog post o’ the year: “This year I will be more awesome.” I shouldn’t quote myself like that because I’m not sure if that’s what I actually said.  And I must be more awesome by taking care of myself and MY INSTRUMENT!!! (Yell this in a old man british accent and you’ll know what I mean)

Also, 6 years ago TONIGHT was when I got hit by the truck.  Cheers!

Now go be healthy, you actors AND non-actors, you!