Some of My Stuff

Witchy Stuff.

Theatre Stuff.  All the theatre stuff. Well, most of it. I mean, a lot of it.

Technological Stuff. I mean, really what im trying to say here is I like circuit boards and I grew up on the Internet and I am teaching myself Video Projection Mapping OR ELSE.

Delicious Stuff.  Coffee, chocolate, etc.

Sparkly Stuff. 

Lisa Frank. 

Space Stuff. 

Furry Stuff. 

Oceanic Stuff. 

Stormy Stuff.

Surreal Stuff.

Quantum Mechanical Stuff. 

Dance stuff, especially with drums. 

Theatre & Life (2)

Who am I?

There's this sensation I am familiar with that reminds me of in mostly sci-fi movies when beams of light shoot out of people, and their bodies are horizontal and usually levitating and their chests rise upward while the rest of their bodies arc away from the peak of their sternum the way magnets of the same pole repel each other.

This is the sensation intrinsically linked to my emotions surging—so intensely that my physical body wants to become the hose that channels the water that is on too high.

I spent most of my day (some days ago when I started this post) revisiting my teenage-to-young-adult psyche (age 16 to 23) thanks to the wonders of the modern world—my livejournal account is still active, no I will not share the link with you. I couldn't understand why I wanted to dive so deeply into nostalgia, especially THAT PARTICULAR nostalgia until... 

Gratitude.

So much has evolved and transformed and I am so grateful down to the tips of my little toes. For movement. For progress. For nestling into a rhythm of life that serves me, that holds me, that nurtures me, that is elastic and abundant and rich with love.

I spent most of my childhood and adolescence feeling angry, confused, and trapped by my consciousness and emotional intensity.

Not surprisingly, the times when my writing was the most grounded and present (as opposed to frenetically present) were during times of theatre rehearsals and performances. In fact, the livejournal was begun at a time when I was reentering the world of theatre in High School, and rediscovering why I loved it so much even though I didn't really know that at the time.

I have been on this "Nostalgia" train for the past couple of days. Revisiting, rediscovering, remembering—wondering in a way what life would be like if I had chosen a different way to get through some of the darkest parts of my life so far. 

Usually I would say this isn't such a great thing to do because I can lose myself in the what-ifs but this has been different. A return to self... sort of. A reinvigoration. The build up to Mercury Retrograde, no doubt, when all of these verbs that are prefixed with "re-" arise.

I am surging with emotion and overwhelm and tasks and wanting, and wouldn't it be cool to have a fairy godmother appear and organize everything into a data set of neatly outlined categories and action items. I'm not asking for everything to be magically done for me, just (haha, JUST) the data processing, the information architecture, so that I can steel myself with a comprehensive awareness of all the areas in my life that I want to clean up. Ironically, information architecture and data visualization are things I LOVE to do. So that'll tell you something, probably.

Finances. Material objects cluttering my existence, padding my consciousness from fear of lightness, boundlessness. My home. My work, in it's many forms. My time... using it to empower my self, my mind, my body, my soul.

Where am I going?

I started writing a piece without even thinking called My Stuff, distilling my existence into the things I love and gravitate the strongest toward. The things that excite a sparkling response in my being—the draft vanished through a series of technological malfunctions (I bet a writer before computers never had a draft spontaneously vanish from existence through some portal right in front of their eyes, note to self, remember this next time you start drafting something on a technological device) and so, being encouraged by Michael to "do it! rewrite it! do your work!" I rewrote it and now it is sitting safely in my drafts because I don't like it anymore, it lost something of it's oompfh because I had to THINK about it, and now I will have to overcome some insecurities in order to publish it.

But Anyway. The point being that theatre is probably the largest or widest or most expanded outlet in my life for processing and creating, but this poem, undoubtedly inspired through Felicia Day's You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) (a great book, almost too great, startlingly great and close to home, thank you Woodzick for lending it to me) was a way to channel all of these "re-" verbs that are coming up into something that I could see and sort of touch in a non-physical way. Something to grasp as I move forward in creating the life I want. Through theatre, yes, but also in ways that I don't understand. In ways that will undoubtedly show themselves to me by way of My Stuff.

An incongruous but ultimately relevant excerpt from You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

An incongruous but ultimately relevant excerpt from You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

Our lives, and specifically our childhoods, have so many buried treasures. Clues and keys to our dreams. I have been uncovering a lot of these lately and it is overwhelming to say the least. I feel like I am at a banquet of all my favorite foods and there is enough for everyone and there are a number of non-weird as well as questionable-weird recipes along with stories about all of these foods and I want to invite all my favorite people and share these stories, but at the moment I am full. Full of clutter. And perhaps it is the middle of the night so most people are sleeping and not prepared for a story-time banquet despite what fun it might be to spontaneously arrive in their pjs.

How am I going to get there?

A quick google search reveals these three questions (the ones that have been italicized as sort of headings in this post) are widely used in many facets of self-development, guidance, life-path, creative stuff. I came to them by way of one Mr. Andrew Grenier, whom I admire with all my heart, through a theatre workshop where I work.

This morning I had a devastating blow when I awoke to the realization that it was 10:00 and I was already late to arrive to his last workshop of the season and he was locked out of the building and I had royally, in my book, fucked. up. Thankfully my boss was there, bringing her daughter to the workshop, so it wasn't like he was completely stranded in the water, but my self-respect plummeted. Not to mention we collectively decided to cancel since there were only two attendees.

This was a program I had created, I had birthed, It gave me solace knowing that it existed because I believed in it, I believed that it was really fucking important to have these workshops and that it was equally important that Andy be the one to lead them. And yet, here we were. The life-force of this thing that I created had been neglected. I felt like I had neglected the teens and Andy and how fucking valuable the program was to myself, too. I still feel that way. (What is it, "Be the person who you needed when you were younger" ? Oofph.)

Andy talks a lot about agreements. Being in agreement and being out of agreement. This morning I was sorely out of agreement, and it forced me to take a look at why, because here was one way I REALLY DID NOT WANT TO BE out of agreement. I had not done anything exactly WRONG to be out of agreement, but the agreements that I had made were not the kind of agreements that I could uphold. Too many irons in the fire. Shit like that. A particular kind of failure of self and those you love and respect.

I think these are the turning points in life. These are the dark gems. The chances, and opportunities to recalibrate, to pivot our perspectives, and adjust our approaches. Granted, ideally, they can happen maybe in a more minor-adjustments-along-the-way sort of fashion, but generally we are all fucking human and cannot escape the ones that hit hard, I get it. But at least we can learn from them.

Theatre as Therapy - My WOW Talk

In October 2015, I was invited to speak at WOW! Stories 2016 -- the 5th Annual Women of Whidbey Conference, created by Seriously Fun Productions. I welled up while Lynn Willeford told me about the timeline of the process, barely retaining any of the information. I was so excited and honored to be asked.

Here we are, five months later, and it's all over! The process of writing this talk was really intense and took me through a lot, as did listening to all of the other stories from powerful and inspiring women on this not-so-little island I call home. It was a beautiful, two-day event and it went by in a flash!

The only photo I have from WOW—day two, when I got to sit and relax and just listen and be with the stories. Thankfully I was in the first half of Day One, so I got to finish out the first evening that way, too... (Check out two of the "walls" I designed for Dead Man's Cell Phone hanging out on stage, painted all red! :-D)

Multiple individuals have asked to read the text of my talk, so I decided to publish it here in full.

In a month or so, you'll be able to watch it on WhidbeyTV and in another few months, it'll be on YouTube, but just in case they (definitely) edit out my "fuck"... you can read it in its original format. ;)

I chose to include all of the photos at the end in one gallery so as not to interrupt the reading experience.

Enjoy!


About the talk: Theatre is a reflection of life and can be used as a tool for self-discovery, healing, and growth


Theatre as Therapy
Kathryn Lynn Morgen

Here we are! You, there, with all of your backstory. All of the choices you have made, or haven’t made, all of your experience in this life, your experience of the world and the people around you, and all of their experience, and all of mine. 

There are so many stories in this room, and when we tell stories we have the power to heal something in someone else.

How do we frame a story? Some stories focus on words that were spoken, sounds that were heard, some focus on the visuals—how the sky looked that day or what someone was wearing. Some focus on a specific event and some are more long-term stories that string many events together.

This level of detail in the world has struck me all my life, from a very young age. There are layers upon layers of meaning embedded into our lives. There is no way to control all of these aspects of our environment, but they are all connected. There is no way to truly understand all of these connections—but they have meaning. 

In theatre we can control many of these aspects—all of these elements, we can choose the connections, the layers, that we want to communicate. We can choose and control how to communicate the connections we believe in, not because these are what we think the piece of theatre is about—but because they are the essence of what it means to us.

We can create worlds. 

*

Now, let’s say, for example, your story is thus: 

Life is pretty chaotic in not-a-good-way from a young age, and you tend toward empathic qualities. As a child you don’t have the tools to create boundaries between yourself and others. You start reasoning out the choices everyone around you is making so that you can feel safe in the midst of all of these unknowns, believing that if you understand where everyone is coming from, then everything will be okay.

But there are so many layers and so many details and things change depending on all of these variables and it is all so much.

Where does that leave you when everything isn’t okay? What belongs to you and what belongs to others? What is being directed or scripted by what other people want?

When you can’t understand your own emotions, you can’t fully experience your own joy, so you don’t know how to follow your heart, and you can’t fully experience your own anger, so you don’t learn how to express yourself.

You lose yourself in this place and there is danger of never finding yourself.

Now you’re in high school. You were in theatre in middle school and really liked it and all but, like, haven’t done it in a couple years or whatever, and a friend of yours decides he wants to audition for the fall play but you have to come with him because he does not want to go alone and “okay! yes! I’ll do it!”

And you are cast as a lead.

And holy fuck, all of a sudden you have responsibility, accountability, you feel empowered, and scared, but you know that you can do it, and oh by the way, everyone around you is feeling the same things and working toward the same goal and there is nothing but support in the room AND oh by the way you are cast as Mary Hatch in It’s a Wonderful Life, who is a lively, playful, loving woman and you get to explore what it might be like to live in a world of nurturing, emotional vulnerability and laugh and cry and love and be loved.

You can find yourself. Suddenly you have a voice, you have ideas, and beliefs, you recognize your own personal creativity and process. You recognize your truth and you can share it with others. It is exhilarating, it is terrifying and joyous and heartbreaking and healing.

Life is alive and to be lived.

*

One of the things I love so much about theatre is this sense of Alchemy.

Alchemy is defined (by Google, anyway) as a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination.

Everything in the theatre is in specific relationship to everything else. All of these combinations make the theatre what it is. Not only the dynamic of the actors, but also the sound and lights and set, and the audience.

Every interaction in the theatre is completely unique to the singular moment of its existence. Each moment means something to everyone involved and each meaning is different, but we are together, sharing, transforming, creating.

Alchemy.

As someone who has lived with crippling anxiety and post-traumatic stress I find this extraordinarily therapeutic. As an actor, director, designer, producer, crew member, audience member…  Theatre is the glue that holds my life together.

As an actor, my job is to trust. Trust the script, my scene partners, my director to guide me, and myself to be present and accountable, to listen, respond, and create a person. An entire person!

As a director, I hold the ultimate vision. I am the one who says, “This is the world we live in. These are its principles, the laws that govern this reality.” Then, I guide the team in the actualization of that vision to its greatest potential.

As a set designer, my job is to manifest that vision into the physical environment of the story, often speaking subconsciously to the audience with specific intention.

For Dead Man’s Cell Phone, I worked with director Phil Jordan on the concept of the set. Grief, Near-death Experiences, Classical Greek Architecture, Film Noir and Stained Glass all played a part in creating this world, which had to provide 7 different environments—including a cafe, church, home, an airport, and the afterlife…

*

Theatre is truly a collaborative art. Each person has infinite variables within them with which to manifest the same goal. To feel and express the same feelings that everyone else is feeling in the way that only they can, together.

Every piece of it offers me something to explore and something to discover. Something for me to take with me on my journey, and something for me to leave behind that no longer serves me.

Sometimes, the greatest lesson theatre has to offer is impermanence. That everything which begins also ends. That it is not where we came from, but how far we’ve come. That it isn’t about what we’ve done but the way that we’ve done it—with intention, with connection, with sharing, with trust, and love.

Thank you.

Me, speaking at WOW by Tyler Raymond

Me, speaking at WOW by Tyler Raymond

Two days to turn in the first draft of my WOW talk and my heart is pounding. I've already written two drafts. I have this intention in mind that I'll read and revise both into one and yet as I am typing this I wonder, will it ease my mind to simply send all the words in? It is a DRAFT after all but is it what I want?

I am terrified to even look at the words I have already written, to be completely honest.

The last time I had fear this tangible was leading up to a singing audition. 

The fear of being heard is alive and well, and so fucking profound I feel like I am transcending space/tme just to write these words. My chest is on fire. 

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Five years ago today I was in a really bizarre place. Magic things, light and dark, we're happening all around me and I wanted so greatly to believe in something bigger that I began to give all of my power away, regardless of the effects on my mind, body, soul. (Through this process I discovered the magic of personal power but it was very difficult indeed, a hard road to choose. I DEFINITELY could have done it differently.)

On this day, I met two women.

One with whom I fell deeply in love with, to a place that tore at the thorns in my core and helped me uncover darkness that had been planted there against my will, but that is a story for... maybe never.

The other woman painted this bolt on my face and calmed my frantic soul. She dragged me on to a karaoke stage and told me we were singing a duet of Under Pressure together. I blinked in awe, realizing I had no idea how the song was sung, or if I could even truly place the words. She told me I knew it and I believed her.

So we sang. 

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