Wednesday, February 19, 2014

This blog is now closed!

Ok, kids.  I've been living here for nearly three years now.  This whole "keep up to date with Amy's news in her new home" facade can be maintained no longer...the home is not so new anymore (the ambiguous smells in the kitchen agree).  If you're interested, I now have an actor website, with a blog there:
Thanks family and friends for caring about my travels! Texas has been good to us and will continue to be a great home.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013's Work in Review


Main Street Theater

The Magic School Bus LIVE!
Into the Woods (in rehearsal - opens Jan 16th, 2014)

Texas Repertory Theatre

Blithe Spirit
Jeff McMorrough as Rosencrantz, Matthew Keenan as Hamlet,
and me as Guildenstern.  Photo by Pin Lim.

Stark Naked Theatre

The War of the Worlds (reading)

Classical Theatre Company


Image Source

Legacy Community Health industrial


The War of the Worlds was an unexpected blast.  To be honest, when I first read the script I thought, "how on earth do you make an hour-long news broadcast interesting?" But we did, and had so much fun, as did the audience, so many of whom said it was their first time at Stark Naked Theatre.  I could feel the audience on the edge of their seats.  Plain old-fashioned good storytelling is a wonderful thing.


Touring children's theatre is both a blessing and a curse.  There was a lot to love about the Magic School Bus tour, but the bone-crushing fatigue of the busiest weeks was among the hardest things I faced this year.  But there's also something to be said about the satisfaction of working that hard - it's kind of great.


This year I auditioned for Houston Shakespeare Festival, many voice-over spots, Main Street Theater, Texas Shakespeare Festival, Ozark Actors' Theatre, Stark Naked Theatre, Back Porch Players, Classical Theatre Company, the Houston Theatre Alliance, Tall Tale Pictures and Ensemble Theater.  Twenty-four auditions all told, of which four got me the gig, plus I got cast in three projects based on earlier work.  So we're looking at about one yes for every two nos.


The audition for Time Stands Still at Main Street Theater was exhilarating.  There are full performances I haven't enjoyed as much as I enjoyed that audition.  I got to read four times with different groups of people, and the joy and satisfaction of hours of hard slog in preparation meeting magical in-the-moment creativity was something pretty special.  Plus that's just a kick-ass script.  I walked away almost (almost) not even caring if I got cast or not, just thoroughly satisfied with my performance that night.


Nerves on an empty stomach saw me hurling up my guts about half an hour before my first Macbeth audition - nausea is the worst feeling in the world, I reckon.  Good old body, though - it got it together at the last minute, managed a very respectable audition, and got me through to the next round of callbacks.  I even got the gig.


This year I worked on dialects at home with some helpful resources; took Hope Stone's teacher training, contined in Kim Tobin's Meisner class as well as taking her audition preparation class; and took ballet, jazz and tap classes.


When you first work with Kim Tobin you get the impression that she can read you like a book.  Now that I've worked with her for over a year I have this spooky feeling she can see into my soul and every so often just knows exactly what I need to hear.  I have often despaired as I progress to new levels and realised just how much I don't know, but Kim gives me a great mix of encouragement and a kick up the ass when I need it, and her studio has become a sacred place for me that has seen so much of my growth.


The teacher training at Hope Stone was valuable but occurred in a very busy time for me (during the Magic School Bus tour of exhaustion), so I wasn't feeling particularly patient when the session ran overtime that day.  Something must have made it through my fatigue-fogged brain though, because my teaching has improved.

Other Work

Hope Stone - teacher and blogger
Main Street Theater - substitute house manager
Houston Grand Opera - lightwalker

I have grown a lot this year, and enjoyed such landmarks as moving from children's theatre into grown-up theatre, earning my first Equity points, getting cast in a film project and getting up the guts to submit a play I wrote to a theatre.  I hope your 2013 has been satisfying - would love to hear about it.

Friday, November 8, 2013

My Thoughts on International Stardom

I'm sick with the psychotic-killer-queen of throat infections so I've been watching a crapload of tv this week.  I've watched Tin Man, another one of the "let's consider The Wizard of Oz from another angle" stories that the world seems to be obsessed with, Glee, Parks and Recreation (which apparently has a Houstonian and classmate of my friend Leslie on the writing staff), and The Slap, on which I was an extra for its first day of filming before we moved to Houston two years ago and which I haven't gotten around to watching til this week.
Look, guys, there I am!...can you spot me?
The Slap didn't air on Aussie TV until after I left, so I wasn't really around for the buzz of whether it was well received or not.  I think it was a mixed reception.  Anyway, I really like it and I'd love to read the book it's based on now.  
It got me thinking about two things.  One, Melissa George.  Oh, btw, it's her international stardom I was talking about, not my own, although given my huge exposure in this mini-series (see picture) your confusion could be forgiven.  She stars as the attachment-parenting-style mother whose kid gets slapped by another adult at a barbeque.  I was looking up interviews with her because I was curious about the four-year-old kid she is openly breastfeeding in a couple of scenes (yes, he was a child actor and no, he was not her kid in real life and unsurprisingly, she said it was pretty challenging), and I came across this article called Melissa George is Kind of a Dick.  It slams her for some comments she made last year on a return visit to Aus about how she hates the big hoo-ha about her being this huge international hit that got her start on Home and Away.  And yeah, saying "I just need them all to be quiet" about our home country is kind of a wankerish thing to do, but I suspect that there are some mitigating factors rolling around in her brain, and not just how strange your life must be if you're famous.  Australia's very complicated relationship with success, for one, and the fact that she had to leave the country to pursue her work to its highest level, and that weird feeling about home that you get when you've lived away from it for a while and kind of like it better somewhere else.
On that note, the other thing it got me thinking about was just how Melbourne it was.  The shops, the cafes, the houses, the people, are all so Melbourne, and it made me smile and inwardly celebrate one of the best cities in the world, but it also reminded me of a reason to celebrate not living there.  Because in episode 2, when Rhys is in Anouk's gorgeous classic inner-suburbs of Melbourne house, old and spacious with polished wooden floorboards to die for and trams running right outside to take you to a lovely coffee shop, he sits on a radiator.  And I bet that radiator is the only thing that heats that draughty house in the cold grey Melbourne winter (that doesn't even include Christmas).
picture nabbed from 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I dream of great theatre on a rainy Thursday morning...

So (by the end of October) fall is finally solidly here.  It's been hinting at coming round for about a month, but now it's lovely and stormy, rainy and grey, and when it's not, there's a beautiful light in the sky in the evenings.  Fall in Houston is something special.  You really feel like you've earned it, with about five months of relentless tropical summer behind you.
Last night as a Halloween special Stark Naked Theatre put on a reading of The War of the Worlds, on the 75th anniversary of its original broadcast by Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre on the Air.  I had such a blast.  It was a good challenge for me, being huge slabs of text I had to speak in an American accent, and I think I did it justice.  I also just had heaps of fun.  It was a pretty full house, and you could feel the audience hanging on the story.  The other four actors and I did our best to bring the play to life, and one of the best things about the way Philip had set it up was that we got to sit on stage and watch the whole thing when we weren't speaking.  A really fun night, an excellent play.
And it's only a week until the wonderful Antonia Lassar comes to town! Joel and Heidi (friends from Stone Soup in Melbourne) saw her show The God Box somewhere on the east coast when they were travelling the world last year and encouraged me to bring her out here to Houston when she announced her national living-room tour.  So we are! There's a show at our pastor Jenni's house on Sat 9th, a show at Zeteo on Sat 10th and a show at our house on the 12th.  I'm super excited to meet her in person and turn my lounge room into a theatre space! You can see a trailer of the show here and if you're in Houston. check out our event page on the Zeteo website and text me for my address.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Upcoming Theatre funness

My darling sister asked me for the backstory of all my theatre bits and pieces at the moment, so here it is, with much love.

  • Blithe Spirit is being put on by Texas Repertory Theatre, where earlier this year I was in Company.  I didn't audition for this one, but got a call to be in it after someone else dropped out.  Which meant that I joined them a week into the process, without having seen a script in advance.  I didn't fully realise I had an actor's *process* until I was in a show that didn't give me the time to go through it.  But I'm having a lot of fun, and it will be a hoot, and we open this week.  Best line: "Servants are awful, aren't they?"
  • The War of the Worlds is another opportunity that was handed to me on a platter by the company's Artistic Director, or rather handed to me over drinks at Onion Creek.  This one is with Stark Naked Theatre, of Macbeth fame.  One rehearsal, one performance, and you better hope I get all that text out in the right accent.  
  • Last year when our friends from Melbourne Joel and Heidi were travelling around the world, they came to visit us by way of [somewhere on the east coast], where they saw The God Box, by Antonia Lassar.  When Antonia announced her tour this year, Joel messaged me and suggested we bring her out here to Houston.  So we are.  
  • Into the Woods I did audition for.  I am playing Cinderella's Stepmother and Jack's Mother! Andrew Ruthven, who directed Magic School Bus and was in Company with me, invited me to audition, very kindly gave me the low-down as to why I was called back for two roles that on first glance seem impossible to double and for which I am rather young, and then cast me.  We start rehearsal just before Christmas and open in January.
So there 'tis! I am so happy that I'm a part of the Houston theatre community.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A New Gig

How my first visit with my new friend went!

So last week just as I was thinking "yeah, I really do get bored when I'm doing only one show at night" (my only-do-one-project-at-a-time promise only seems to be necessary when it's children's theatre - beautiful, exhausting, early-morning children's theatre), I got an email from my boss at Hope Stone that went like this:
We had a mom call with a daughter who has terminal cancer.  She is 13 years old and the mother is desperate for someone to interact with her in some way.  She is in bed on oxygen.  She mentioned anything from guided meditation to music or storytelling.  
Her name is Lily.  I thought, here is someone who I need and who needs someone like me.  I can help entertain her, facilitate her creativity, give her a voice through some theatre, and doing that with her can give me a reason not to be stuck at home all day getting depressed.   And trusting to the synchronicity of it all, I set up a meeting with her and her mom and stepdad.  (I took Lucas with me just in case "Lily" turned out to be not so much a real person as the name of their gun.)
The initial meeting went well and so we had our first work/play session yesterday.  We wrote a story together, read through a ten-minute play, and taught each other some games.  I can see that I'm going to need two things: a) patience for when she's not particularly lucid and b) lots of two-hander scripts that are appropriate for a teenager in her situation for us to read through.  We both had a good time and I'm seeing her twice next week.  Hooray!