Sunday, April 15, 2007

Word of the Day April 12


Meaning cute is Japanese
Cute like overwhelminglling sickeningly cute
Used on obejcts and people but also as an entire world view.

Hello Kitty is Kawaii!!!
Jessie is Kawaii!!!
Small furry animals are Kawaiii

Eugene April 12

Aiyah! nerves! -- Keep writing

The cast had their last rehearsal in the rehearsal space yesterday. It
hit me hard as I realized that we were loading in Monday, and that in
less than a week, the show will be up. I just couldn't believe it.
Last night, I couldn't even sleep. I kept worrying about how my
friends were going to get tickets. I kept worrying that my mom will
leave during intermission and not return to see the 2nd Act. I spent
the night with my eyes squeezed tight trying to slow down time so that
maybe opening night won't come so fast, because if opening night
doesn't come then closing night won't come. Then this will never be

I'm not quite ready to finish this story yet. A part of me wants to
keep writing. I want to know what happens to Asha and Kaylin, Vincent
and Jessie, and Tony. And Mother. But definitely the story has come to
a point where there is closure. There is a really sweet and touching
ending to the story, and there is some closure to certain issues in my
life too, which makes this premiere so appropriate. As if I'm closing
one of the many chapters of my life. I just wish it was easier to let

Melissa April 10


Well . . . almost. Yesterday we said goodbye to our silver walled rehearsal studio that's been our home for about a month and moved into the theatre today. And WOW! The set looks great! And it's not even 100% complete yet. Which is very exciting because I'm already impressed. Moving onto the stage and seeing the dinner table, the Wu home, and the acupuncture shop makes everything feel more real to me. It helps me envision Kaylin's environment better and understand her world that much more. The dinner table has got to be the coolest set piece so far. That giant table just slides in and out of scenes, appearing with all the utensils set and food! Wish I could have that in my apartment! Life would be so easy . . .

Tomorrow will be another busy day. Class in the morning, frantic attempt to write my 10 page analysis paper in the afternoon, another class, a costume meeting with Amanda, and then a run through with tech in the space of Act II till 11pm. Busy busy busy! But all very exciting stuff. I can't believe previews are this Saturday! And while I'm looking forward to this weekend, I'll be much more excited about the following weekend, when my family will come up to see me! 11 days and counting! Yay!

Megumi April 9

A Week to opening!

we have exactly one week until opening night and i am both incredibly
excited and yet extremely nervous. will people like it? will the music
sound good in context? will the story work? will everything flow? will
the actors enjoy themselves onstage? will i enjoy myself in the
audience? ahhh!!!

today we had chinese lessons with the actors. everyone has at least
two or three cantonese phrases they use in the play, yes even Asha,
and none of the cast actually speak cantonese. in fact, no one at
rehearsal can speak or understand cantonese except me, so when they're
off in their pronunciation, I'm the only one who notices.

the actors all had fun pronouncing "cho sam" i think it's their
favorite. i know it's definitely megumi's favorite. i'm still trying
to get them to hit "tong yuen" right.

i'm enjoying the connection between Megumi and Abria more and more
each day. Kaylin and Asha are hot together, they have amazing
chemistry, (except when kaylin is being self-absorbed and bratty,
which is when I just wish Asha would leave her ass and find herself
some other hot lesbian in hong kong).

Hyunsoo is a punk in real life, kind of like my own brother, which is
really nice for the role of Vincent. Gary is so sweet I really wish I
had an Uncle just like him, although I wouldn't want him performing
acupuncture on me. :)

Mariko told me today she wishes she got to play a lesbian because it's
fun playing roles that are nothing like who you really are. Maybe in
my next play she can be the butch lesbian?

And Judy, well she is still cute to me, even in her motherly clothing.

Melissa April 7

Friday, April 6, 2007

Big Momma

Not really!
One of the fun things about costuming is transforming actors.

For "Nian" the biggest transformation is in the character of Mother. The actress is in her 20s and we need to age her oh, let's see, about 40 years! Paula Kelly the makeup artist for "Nian" and I have a plan.

I started by building her a bodysuit--it has sags and a little tummy and looks like gravity has started its course on Mother's body. Next, I've found clothes that are matronly--longish skirts, long-sleeve tops and plain dresses. Next week at dress rehearsal, we'll add black rimmed eyeglasses; slight graying to her hair; and aging makeup. I am eager to see how it works... and if we succeeded.

None of the other characters in "Nian" have such elaborate transformations as Mother. But the actress playing Jessie does have a fun transformation. For "Nian" she is outfitted from head-to-toe and even to fingernail. Her character is a Paris Hilton wannabee and shopping for her has been fun!

I am looking forward to dress rehearsal next week and to seeing the wonderful technical aspects of this show come together with its talented cast.

Amanda April 6

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Good daughters

Very often, I do favors for people, and because I want to focus on preparing for the show, I started telling people NO, and all of a sudden, I'm not a nice person anymore. Some are nice, and ask me what I need, and I tell them TIME and MONEY. Others just get offended. Now, I know who my real friends are.

Anyway, I read the entire script for the second time, and once again, I was moved quite a bit. The first time I've read it, I was so overwhelmed with emotions that I got physically exhausted. Because I can relate to both Kaylin and Mother Wu. I, too, have been away from my family in Japan for, actually, A LOT longer than Kaylin. (Let's not talk about how long...;P) Reading Mother's lines/songs, I realized what must have been going through in my own mother's head.

I want to be a good daughter and do more things for my mother, but doing things for her and doing things for myself, often times, don't go well together. For that, I am so far away. I want to make more money so that I can provide for my aging mother, and I want to make her happy by telling her how well I am doing. I just don't feel that I am giving her back the love that she's given me.

By saying I can relate to the Mother, I'm not saying I have children of my own. :D But, I've had a few relationships in which I had been like a mother to the boys. Not a good thing. You never get what you want or need.

As far as playing Jessie, it's funny how I got into her character so quickly, even though I'm more of a simple kind of person. I actually went in the first rehearsal with TRANSPARENCY and OPENNESS rather than RIGIDITY by studying too much. Okay, this sounds like an excuse for not knowing my lines very well. :(

The way Patrick is directing is very helpful when building my character, because it gives me a frame to play with and stretch within.

I began to remember that I was an actor. I forgot about that fact..., since I've been doing those easy, good-paying "acting" gigs such as prints and videos.

Hope I can get my instinct back to work as soon as possible. And, yes, my singing voice as well.

Sending good thoughts to all of you,

Mariko April 2

Monday, April 2, 2007

14 Days 34 Outfits

Or is it 15 days 40 outfits? Whatever it is exactly, it's a lot!

I am Amanda Mujica the costume designer for "Nian." Today I had a fitting with Hyunsoo. He looked great dressed as both a "mamma's boy" and dressed by his Paris Hilton-wannabee girlfriend. And it was great to actually see an actor moving around in the clothes I've bought.

Whenever I tell people I'm a costume designer they almost always have the same reaction--that must be so much fun. And it is, but it is a lot of work! For "Nian" I am trying to age certain actors; make other actors look younger; make some look bigger; some taller; and get everyone in out of costumes quickly. So before I can buy any item I have to make sure it's easy to get in and out of; it's in the right color palette; it's right for the character's style and age... and the biggy, it's within my budget! So I have gone through this process what feels like a million times.

I have been working with Patrick Wang the director of "Nian" for many years. As a designer, it really helps to know a director well. He, I, and Paula Kelly, the makeup artist, have been talking about this show for a long time and I think we've made some great decisions about how the look of certain characters will change as the show progresses. For example, when is Vincent (Hyunsoo's character) dressing himself and when is his girlfriend choosing his clothes for him? And how does he have his
own look by the end of the show that is somewhere between the two? I know my costumes will be enhanced by the beautiful lighting of Nathanial Packard. Good lighting designers are every costumers' best friend.

I'll write again after I've finished fitting the rest of the cast.

Amanda March 30 2007