If you are an arts patron, if you are a theatre lover, if you are a person living in this society and find yourself in LA between now and February 10th... you've got to see this show!
And not just because I am in it. Seriously. I am the least of a reason. I am on stage as a Supernumerary; simply put, as a representation of another segment of the society in a different place and time.
See it because the cast is brilliant. See it because the direction is alive. See it because the set is spectacular. See it because it is provocative. These are not overstatements. I am in awe every night by the magic of this production, the execution by the players and the #message it carries for all of us.
An Inspector Calls runs January 22 - February 10th @ The Wallis
At the end of last year I got the news that I #booked a co-star on CW’s new show All American.
Great B-Day gift!
I’ve been following the show’s first season and love everything about it! From the talented cast, headlined by veteran Taye Diggs, to the cinematography, to the music and clever hip-hop episode titles, the show is emersive in LA culture. It feels like the contemporary follow-up to Boyz n the Hood, the John Singleton classic that sits comfortably on my top 10 movies list. Yet, the show also gives you the sleek lens of teen culture in Beverly Hills. It’s a balance I can relate to, the title characters both battling the struggle of Double-Consciousness at different ages. It’s rich.
I’ll be on-screen during a community wide initiative to clean up the local park, expressing concern for my young daughter. I had a great time on set with the entire production team. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season as a fan.
m.A.A.d. City Airs Wednesday, January 23rd on CW.
Alright. So I attended the Grand Opening party for LN2 Pizza Shoppe last weekend in LA. First things first: The pizza is amazing (try the Shrooms pizza)! The ambiance is hot! the Nitrogen homemade ice cream is bomb! The cocktail menu is fire (your Melrosita will literally come to your table on fire)! And you have to try the brussel sprouts... cray. Not kidding I'm going back this week.
But, your girl was not red-carpet ready and should have just passed by and got straight to enjoying the festivities. Here's what happened. I was a last minute plus 1 (yay for knowing people). So, I closet shopped, did my own hair and make-up, and forgot to take a look at my nails before walking out the door. What turned out to be a great look in person - raking in lots of compliments - simply DID NOT photograph well.
There were a few lessons learned here:
1. Everything that looks good in person, may not look good on camera - including make-up.
2. I need a stylist.
3. If the nails aren't done, skip the carpet.
4. Jackets like this don't photograph well.
5. When in doubt, skip the carpet. Did I say that already?
I was happy that Getty Images decided to leave mine out of the bunch published for the night. But I was happy that my girl, Tysha Williams, dug up these taken by Bob Delgadillo so that I can see what I was really giving.
I'll get 'em next time. Ain't no thing.
enisha b jane
In my own words.
Back in December, I received a call from my acting teacher who had been given the responsibility to cast a promo for the California Innocence Project. I quickly agreed after hearing that this promo was to serve as yet another way to get the attention of Governor Jerry Brown to consider adding any of the California 12, or CA12, to his Christmas Clemency list before exiting office. The producers, Alastair Ramsden of 21st Street Creative, and director, Keith Boak of Freedom Films, decided to highlight the story of Kiera Newsome to represent the CA12 toward this goal.
And here was where I came in. What you see above is the full final product. I walked for a fraction of a moment in what I imagined to be the everyday reality of Kiera Newsome and it was grueling, painful, and took me to places emotionally that were difficult to bear. What this one-day shoot required of me (and what the resulting aftermath taught me) was the true power and possibility of this art form in a way I had never known before. Finding the place in my body, mind, and heart to hold up this space for Kiera became a duty, an offering of the slightest I could give, in honor of the many years, months, days, hours, minutes that she has counted being behind bars and knowing that she is innocent.
Above is the video that resulted in the efforts of the cast, crew and production team.
I posted, reposted, tweeted, retweeted, emailed the governor and prayed that the efforts of those in the California Innocence Project would result in some victory for Kiera or any of the wrongfully accused of the CA12.
Christmas day brought great news for Kiera Newsome. Read the article below.
Clemency Granted in Murder Case - San Diego Union-Tribune Article
For more info on the CA12 and the work of the California Innocence Project please visit their site.
You know that IG post from Will Smith where he's in his trailer talking about the 99% of people who are not willing to put in the work to make their dreams a reality? I re-watched that video and got super pumped about my life and career. Here is a 1% I am proud to be part of.
In the video he repeats what is obviously one of his life mantras: You must have self-discipline. In the last month I have proven to myself that I will never be defeated.
I am determined to never be defeated by:
The illusion of time (starting too late, passing time)
My life, my happiness, my hope are all choices. I have chosen to be victorious. I have chosen to activate all that I am in control of toward the fulfillment of my deepest wishes. I have activated the mystic law of the universe to rush to my aid in this mission. It's that clear. It's that definite. I am that sure.
Maybe all of this sounds too esoteric or just plain weird. The truth is, it doesn't matter how it comes off. What I have come to understand is that we truly are the masters of our destiny. We can transform our thinking, our reactions, our family and community dynamics, the trajectory of our lives, simply by being aware of the choices we make in every moment.
I have chosen to never give up on my career because I know that I have something of value to share.
I have chosen to keep fighting for my dream because the fight awakens my most powerful self.
I have chosen to be in a constant state of improvement in order to always be ready for the next step.
I have chosen to create happiness in my personal life in order to reflect joy in the world.
I have chosen to see the goodness of others in spite of all of the negativity we are inundated with.
I have chosen to regard all challenges and difficulties as an opportunity.
Therefore, I will never be defeated.
So on to the latest good news:
I booked and shot a co-star role on the new CW show All American
I signed with a new Theatrical Talent Agent
I failed to book, but was in high consideration for, a lead role in an international feature film
I have been called back for a large co-star role on a network show.
I have been called back for a lead in a pilot presentation
I re-qualified for that good-old union health insurance based on last year.
These are the benefits, be they small or large, that reaffirm my determination and fill my cup with gratitude. :)
enisha b jane
In my own words.
Seven whole years. It's been 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, SEVEN years since I moved to Los Angeles this week. It's difficult to quantify that much time having already passed... partly because time feels more like a construct in a climate like this one--it goes from a dry summer to a brisk fall. No winter. No rainy season. But also because, like this year, time flies by so quickly. Were we not just in March? My head is spinning thinking about it. And when you have back-to-back years like 2018 it just... goes.
So, I forced myself to examine each year that I've been in LaLaLand and QUALIFY each with a Big Win and a Big Lesson. So here goes:
Year 1 (Fall 2011 to Fall 2012)
Big Win: Booking Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
This would come about 6 months after I arrived. It was my first leading role in what would be shot like a film. I learned a ton!
Big Lesson: The Follow-up Opportunity
Yeah. I hadn't yet found consistency in my work. So I was not able to capitalize on the momentum of Halo or Footloose in the way I wanted to and missed some big follow-up opportunities as a result.
Year 2 (Fall 2012 to Fall 2013)
Big Win: Adding Humvee Driver to my Special Skills
I booked a recurring role on the show Perception and was tasked with driving this military "armored" truck in a desert scene. Cast and camera crew in tow. Loved it!
Big Lesson: The Consequences of the Wrong Crowd
Mmmhmm. I had to relearn this elementary school lesson. I was freshly out of what would be the last booking in a few years. It was the consequence of being highly distracted. My focus was completely off of my career and being drained in a toxic relationship.
Year 3 (Fall 2013 to Fall 2014)
Big Win: New Acting Technique
I discovered a technique that would gift me with the consistency that I had been so sorely missing. It also gave me something productive and career-driven to focus on. Acting class was my saving grace!
Big Lesson: No One is Coming to Save You
I learned that there are people who will laugh at your pain and watch you sink. True friends are rare. But ultimately, you are responsible for you.
Year 4 (Fall 2014 to Fall 2015)
Big Win: Learned the art of the Win
I had to defend myself in a small legal injustice with a landlord who unfairly refused to reimburse my rental deposit. After several attempts to solve the issue myself, I decided to take him to court. I won. At a time when I felt attacked by so many forces, I determined to fight and win.
Big Lesson: The Power of "No"
It was after that win that I reintroduced the word "no" and the phrase 'not good enough" into my life. It didn't feel good in the moments, but in the depths of my being I understood it to be right.
Year 5 (Fall 2015 to Fall 2016)
Big Win: LOVE
I met my husband-to-be! And despite a few battle scars and a few thick layers of protection, I was able to open and let love flow.
Big Lesson: Seize the Yes!
Career wise, I learned to be unafraid to cut my losses with dead-end relationships and seize new opportunities when they presented themselves.
Year 6 (Fall 2016 to Fall 2017)
Big Win: New Community, who dis?
I landed a spot in the ABC Discovers Showcase and found a new tribe of talented, silly, actors and a relationship with a studio. I also dove into a fresh spiritual practice that also came with a community of positive, uplifting people.
Big Lesson: New Levels Bring New Obstacles
I worked harder in this one year than any other year in Los Angeles. I was constantly faced with my own self-fulfilling limitations and was forced to move through them.
Year 7 (Fall 2017 to PRESENT)
Big Win: Purpose
This last year has allowed me to envision and outline a path to my purpose. My goals are clearer, bigger, and feel attainable. This year I have experienced genuine happiness far more than in years past.
Big Lesson: It All Counts
All the skills, lessons, and obstacles make sense now. I learned that everything I have ever succeeded or failed at are part of the story. Nothing is for nothing. It all counts.
•They say we are completely different people every seven years. I'd say that's true.•
A "Shit List" is one way to call it...
Another way to call it is a "Can't-Quit-Till-I-Prove-These-MFs-Wrong" List...
We'll go with the latter. It's more proactive. This list is not exhaustive. There are some strong honorable mentions not actually worth mentioning. But for the 5 people below, I have dedicated the following Haikus to their extraordinary contributions to my determination to win!
1. For "Mr. Springer"
That one producer
Never a Leading Lady?
Thanks for the inspo
2. For "Mr. Little"
That one director
You were lucky to have us
What's your claim to fame?
3. For "What's-Her-Name"
Threats to my career
Assume, then apology?
Next time just ask first
4. For "Ms. Cakes"
Said I'd run back home
Thought you were there to support
Why so bitter, though?
5. For "Ms. 4-Leaf" and the Like
You hope for the fail
Go ahead, keep checking in
You motivate me
Basically, Thank You!
It's a strange choice to pursue acting, to pursue an art form where there is no separation between the art and the art maker. There is no piece of music to play, no canvas or print to present, no sculpture to stand behind. The actor's work is contained within her. She learns to insulate her art with thick skin. She receives criticism and rejections not to a body of work that exists in her absence, but to the body of work that is her body, mind, and interpretation.
It's a funny business this show business. It is not for the weak or impatient. And many are poised and ready to root against you. But that's the game. And the winners know how to transform those voices into activation. I literally can't stop until I have proven each of these folks wrong. (A few I already have!)
A productive life calls for some planning. I’ve been an artist and entrepreneur for all of my adult life so I know that maintaining a productive and balanced work life can be challenging when you are your own boss.
Here’s a little prescription I intend to use in order to chase away my post-show blues and get back into the flow of a winning #artistlife.
I N S P I R A T I O N (20 Minutes Minimum Daily Requirement)
B R E A K F A S T (Daily. May be consumed during the Peak Performance Period when necessary, but no more than 2x per week.)
P E A K • P E R F O R M A N C E • P E R I O D (Morning Edition. 5-6x Weekly. 4 hours)
L I G H T • P H Y S I C A L • A C T I V I T Y (2x Daily. 15 minute intervals. May be skipped on days of Heavy Physical Activity.)
H E A V Y • P H Y S I C A L • A C T I V I T Y (3x Weekly. 45 Minutes Minimum Requirement. May be accomplished A.M. or P.M.)
L U N C H (Daily.)
P E A K • P E R F O R M A N C E • P E R I O D (Afternoon/Evening Edition. 5-6x Weekly. 3 hours.)
D I N N E R (Daily.)
T H E • C H E C K - I N • P E R I O D (4-5x Weekly. 30 minutes.)
G R A T I T U D E (Daily.)
*Updated with productions stills and link to reviews 6/25/2018
Opening night is fast approaching!
These feelings of excitement, adrenaline, and readiness to share was you've been working on that accompany an opening night of live theatre have been so elusive. Theatre was my first love. Before I'd ever dreamed of hearing "Rolling, rolling. Action. Cut" There was, "Cross down stage. Quiet backstage. Places."
And here we are in tech week for The Goddesses Guide: Adura For the Women of African Diaspora. We will play in a 50-seat house, a la black box theatre. My first experience with black box was in a theatre production at Kennesaw State University performing excerpts from the show Don't Bother Me, I Cant Cope as a guest student actress. The audience is right in your face. There's no space for mistakes, no room for non-focus or overacting. The style of acting required of black box theatre is equivalent to that required of camera work. The moments must be real, subtle yet intentioned, powerful yet controlled. For The Goddesses Guide our audience becomes the story. We communicate directly to and about everyone in the room at varying times during the 50 minute show.
I play the Yoruba Orisha, Oya. She is the goddess of change, finances, life and death, of truth. She is a powerful goddess whose influence is felt through the weather - one of the most tangible indications of great change. Our playwright, Camille Jenkins has positioned her as the goddess who resists the idea of creating a guide for the women in America. In The Goddess Guide, Oya struggles with her feelings of detachment from the women of the african diaspora. She is wrought with disappointment as she watches the goings-on from afar. She is at a loss considering if and how her guidance would be received and more importantly appreciated for a people who are "disconnected from their past."
The play also features Oba, the goddess of family, loyalty and motherhood played by Olu Agora. Also making an appearance is Oshun, the goddess of love, sex, relationships, and beauty played by Brianna Hunt. These sisters have much to figure out together. It will not be easy.
The Goddesses Guide presents many provocative questions:
How do women of the African Diaspora thrive in the west?
What is the importance of maintaining a connection with our African Heritage?
What do we risk if we do not?
How do the Yoruba Goddesses reflect our issues and conflicts with identity and purpose?
How would we change our actions or thoughts if we knew we were being guided?
If you are in LA, I hope that you will come out and see this dynamic show!
enisha b jane
In my own words.