Updated: Nov 9, 2021
MOLLY: Hello and welcome to the podcast where we talk about creating experimental art in trauma-informed and sustainable ways that support artists, our communities, and the organization as a whole. I'm Molly, and you're listening to Any Other Anythings?
Welcome to Any Other Anythings? Chelsea!
CHELSEA: Hi Molly, how are you?
MOLLY: Hey, I’m doing all right. How are you?
CHELSEA: Good. I’m tired, but good.
MOLLY: Yeah, right? So, would you like to start with a bit of a check in? And a little introduction.
CHELSEA: Yeah. So I am Chelsea McCasland. I don’t even know what to say about myself right now. I'm doing good today. Chronically tired but thriving. Done work with Grey Box since, I think it was 2016? That sounds about right. I think it was that Summer we did, started working on Fool Me Once, Fool Me Twice. That might have been…
MOLLY: I think it was 2017.
CHELSEA: It was ‘17, yeah. It couldn’t remember how long I had been out of ASU. So since 2017, been doing work with Grey Box. I have a degree in theater from ASU, also my secondary teaching certificate from there to teach English. I enjoy long walks on the beach the usual. How are you?
MOLLY: And what’s your sign? Like if you wanna keep going with it.
CHELSEA: I'm a cancer.
MOLLY: Oh okay.
CHELSEA: This could get emotional for no reason.
MOLLY: Excellent. Excellent. I’m doing all right. Yeah. The A/C died in the first interview that I did this afternoon, so it's getting warmer. So if I’m dripping sweat, don’t be alarmed. It’s just 87 degrees inside the house.
CHELSEA: Sending you blessings. That sounds…
MOLLY: Thank you
CHELSEA: ...Not amazing. I couldn’t do it. So thank you for not cancelling because I would have been like, I need to be somewhere else that’s cold.
MOLLY: No, we’re good, we’re good. Yeah. Would you like to start us off with a grounding activity, and/or a warm up?
CHELSEA: Mm yes. I forgot step one today. I feel like I always do that. I like read the interview questions and then realize I didn't read one. I forgot to prep one thing. It always happens.
MOLLY: All good. All good. No pressure.
CHELSEA: Trying to think of what we can do. It’s hard, it’s interesting on Zoom especially since I have a headset on because it’s like we can walk around the space but like my space is a tiny chair.
MOLLY: It’s a tiny space.
CHELSEA: Yeah, I guess we can start with us doing, on the quarantine pieces. We can just start moving our bodies from our chair, from a seated position. The new way. So just start with your fingers, little fingertip movement there. Going, circulation, throw in some wrist action, activating those muscles, need those for typing. Maybe throw some forearms in there. I don’t know how you can isolate just your forearms though without your upper arm. I’m not...there we go. It’s a little weird. So I’m just gonna throw in the rest of my arm because my forearm and my whole arm like to go together. Maybe some shoulder action.
MOLLY: This is lovely. This is definitely good for audio. Good for audio.
CHELSEA: And maybe like a little spine twist. I know my back gets really tight when I'm sitting in a chair all day working from home. Got in some really good back cracks lately.
CHELSEA: And stretch up high if you feel so inclined, or maybe you want to stretch down low. Your body, your choice. And then just wiggle it out. Just get all the wiggles out. You can tell I’ve been working with 6th graders.
MOLLY: Yes. In this house, K through 12, primarily 6th graders happens in the living room; and higher ed happens back here. So yes, there's a lot of 6th grade energy around me. So I'm very used to it at this point.
CHELSEA: Oh yeah. Chris teaches 6th grade too, doesn’t he?
MOLLY: Yes. Yeah. There are like a hundred of them. I’m exaggerating. Slightly. Like maybe 75. So, yes, familiar with that 6th grade energy.
CHELSEA: it’s the best, but it’s also like I’m having to reground myself in it.
MOLLY: Yes. Lovely. Is that our warm up and grounding or is there something else you wanna toss in with it?
CHELSEA: Yeah. Since we got a little wiggly, maybe just do a deep breath in. Hold it. And let it out. And now we are grounded. I’m here with ya.
MOLLY: Okay. Hi. So could you talk a little bit more about the roles you’ve had with Grey Box? And, I feel like you’ve had some really unique experiences with Grey Box like our one-off experiences. I think you've been involved in like all of the one-offs. So share those.
CHELSEA: Yeah. So with Grey Box, I'm mostly in the role of ensemble member, performer. In the last piece we just did online, it was a little bit director, but we were all directing together, so I'm still going to call it that ensemble role because we were generating together. Yeah, I started with Grey Box with a show called Fool Me Once, Fool me Twice, and it was kind of my first experience, too with devising, movement-based theater. I don't even think I have a word for what we are doing at the time, but I was just throwing myself in. And then I think that kind of became what I did for like the next two seasons for Grey Box because we ended up the next year bringing... or I thought we brought it back like four times? Was it four?
MOLLY: I think it was like three total? Or like three and a half because we had the original.
CHELSEA: Because there was the tiny run at that dance conference.
MOLLY: Mm hm. Yeah. Cuz it was Boulder, and then we did like a preview for Boulder which kinda felt like a whole other show. So yeah.
CHELSEA: So that was interesting too cuz that piece was... every time I did it it was with different people. Which, which is interesting to do an ensemble kind of based show but every time you do it it’s with a couple people stay the same, and a couple of people transition in, now it’s interesting.
I’ve worked on some of our smaller pieces that we've done. So like our little nuggets, I don’t know. What do we call it?
MOLLY: Like a phase one is language we have used for it. Sure. Little nuggets. That’s fun.
CHELSEA: So I did a little dance party piece with Thomas. And then I was going to direct and then life got crazy with a job that, as it does with artists, sometimes we get thrown into jobs that take away what we're trying to do is artists. And cuz we have to decide between money, and passions, and all that nonsense. But it was fun, though, to do the beginning of kind of that directing process to see what that looked like, and get to talk with the other people who did go on to direct full pieces. And then, I also worked on, we did our first digital performance, is most recently in May. So that was all on Zoom. Yeah. That was definitely a unique experience. That was a lot of fun. But definitely a lot. I think everything I’ve done has been monumentally different than like the thing next to it.
MOLLY: Yeah, because you've done, you did like the immersive thing, we went to Boulder, we did a conference, our only parking lot piece that we, we've ever done, you were in it, and then online.
CHELSEA: Yeah, Boulder was, Boulder was a lot of fun. That's something I would, if, obviously we’re in a pandemic right now, but eventually we’ll get to go outside again, and enjoy the lovely other 49 states. So hopefully we get to, and the rest of the world; so hopefully we get to go out and do more things outside of Arizona. Cuz, I think what I liked most about that was, it was a Fringe Festival so it was supposed to be some of the most experimental stuff from around the US, like the fringe-iest. And people were telling us about our piece, like, “I’ve seen nothing like it before.” It was definitely unique. So to be told that at a Fringe Festival actually felt really good. It was definitely an interesting experience because that’s where you see that no one is doing, I think, what Grey Box is doing which is really exciting, and makes you wanna show it in more places.
MOLLY: Yeah, definitely. I think that’s one thing I find really exciting about gong virtual and being in such this, yes weird pandemic, there's a lot of horrible things happening in the world. On the flip side of that it’s incredible the kind of reach that can happen now, and the connections that can happen across the country, across the world. And so hopefully, we get to cross paths with fringe-ier people again. Yeah. Yes. Will you share some of the audience stories from that? Cuz I think that had some of the best audiences was the French Festival, or that show in general. There’s a lot of moments.
CHELSEA: Yeah. There was, that was the one piece where we definitely had more, I think, audience interaction than any other piece probably. Yeah, I remember we needed like, we were blowing up condom balloons cuz Grey Box. And one burst but I could not for the life of me find another wrapped condom on stage, and we had so many, so the fact that I could not find one is just ridiculous. So I called out to the audience, and of course, this woman from another show pulls one out, hands it to me, and makes a joke about how it’s ribbed. So that was fun.
A gentleman stole my lipstick. I still always wonder about that when we were in Phoenix. Cuz we gave them...
MOLLY: Yeah, I forgot about that.
CHELSEA: Yeah, we gave make up to people coming in, and I was going around, and Iike, I knew who had it. I was like, “Do you have my lipstick?” And just like, he wouldn't look me in the eye. Like, he straight up refused.
MOLLY: Like pocketed it?
CHELSEA: I was like, you know, live your truth, maybe you need that. That’s your business. There was a cat that came into our audience in Boulder. That was fun. I don't know. There's also something different there about...because we were also in a church basement doing a show about shame culture which was really interesting.
MOLLY: Yeah. You wanna talk more about Fool Me Once, Fool Me Twice? I guess any iteration of it, or if it's helpful you can come chronological or whatever.
CHELSEA: Yeah. Just kind of what it was about or?
CHELSEA: Even though I’m like, do we still...Like that show I wanna keep exploring it with a whole different crowd of people.
CHELSEA: Maybe even online.
MOLLY: There we go. I like that.
CHELSEA: Yeah, so the run we took to, the run that we did the first run, and then the one we took the Boulder cuz that had a portion, at least, of that first team. So it’s our first all-female identifying performer, performance; and we're exploring shame culture, and also like things that are taboo for women to do. And it was rooted in Brene Brown's work which, on vulnerability, which I think is really kinda...It’s really telling how I think, how great that was in the moment cuz Brene Brown is a huge name now. Brene Brown is on Netflix. Like I’ve watched so many movies where they reference Brene Brown and allude to vulnerability. So it’s exciting that we were kinda exploring and grounding ourselves in that work before it kind of took off. And I love that her stuff is very accessible, and that she's kind of a household name, which is really awesome.
I think that show was also interesting because it felt like a lot of different vignettes. There were comedic moments but a lot of the comedy was rooted in kind of this, I don’t know if darkness is the right way but definitely, it’s definitely dark humor which I can appreciate. And then there would be moments when it got very real and very intense, and then the next thing you know we're stuffing a shirt full of balloons to make it look like someone has a big bumm and big boobs. So, lots of different things happening. That's definitely a piece I've been in where the tone was definitely not... it was a way... it was up and down the whole time. The tone shifted and was like... probably for some people I think even mentioned almost jarring because we would just be in like one very deep place, and then whoop we get out of there. But I think that's really related to the human spirit cuz that happens all the time. You’ll be in one place and suddenly it’s like, “Okay, I need to go out, and maybe a different person today.”
CHELSEA: I need to be worker Chelsea today.
MOLLY: Right. I think I remember that coming up in some audience feedback around like you find yourself laughing at something, and then we would just pull a 180 on that story, and you wouldn't feel so uncomfortable laughing because we did it so quickly. There was wasn't even like so much of a swing from one extreme to another. It was a bit of a flip. And I've also been thinking about that creative process because we created that in my living room. And now like, everyone's like, “Oh we're creating in our living rooms.” And it’s like, we did it before, and we took that piece to Boulder, and we did win Most Relevant Theater Performance or something like that. I don't know. We were very relevant two years ago.
CHELSEA: Two years ago. We’re still on it. We’re still relevant.
MOLLY: Yeah. Yeah.
CHELSEA: When you mentioned the emotional switch and kind of the laughing and feeling uncomfortable, I remember it was really fun in Boulder cuz a couple of us had gone to eat for lunch, and there was a bartender there, and we told him, we were talking him and trying to...like you need to come to the show. It's super interesting but check it out if you haven't seen Fringe Theatre you should come. And he actually showed up that night and afterwards like, and I think it’s so nice whenever someone comes to your performance when you invite them. So we’re like, “Oh like. You know, like you can come grab…” We’re like talking and he’s like, “I don't want this to sound weird after watching that show. Um I don’t want you to be insulted. Did you guys wanna maybe go get like a beverage with me. I don't. I'm not, I'm not like coming..” He was just being so defensive and on edge, like, “It’s cool man, like”
CHELSEA: He was so affected by the experience which was a little bit fun to watch, if I’m being completely honest.
MOLLY: Yeah and I think there's something that ties back into that vulnerability. Like yes with the content of the show but I think, I think it was the first iteration that in our debrief, it came up that like because it was created in a home environment, in someone’s living room, it wasn’t until there was suddenly an audience, you’re like, “Woah! We’re like really vulnerable in this piece.” But because of the environment being so different, from a living room to a performance venue, it didn’t come up until like the night of.
CHELSEA: Yeah, no, I completely agree with that. That was, yeah that was probably one of, a stranger experience I think as performer, especially when, cuz yeah, when we're performing in living rooms, and only around close friends, and colleagues – people you know that maybe have seen us perform in something else, or like even have come in and already seen us in like, cuz we wore those high waisted underwear, and bralettes, and stuff. But we're surrounded by people in our own community that, you know, and like it’s a performance, they’ve seen me perform. But yeah, being like even the first time was like definitely different and a unique experience. But yeah you're so vulnerable. And then even more so when we went to Boulder, and that first time in that church basement. There's something, yeah there's something very vulnerable about being in a church basement in your bra and underwear.
MOLLY: That also, we joked about like just kind of worked for the show. Yeah.
MOLLY: And so now like flipping it to like now where we are performing in our living room, how, how does that vulnerability factor in? And maybe compared to some of the early experiences?
CHELSEA: I don't know. I feel like, I feel like with being online, I feel like I have more of like an unconscious like vulnera...like, I feel like there's a part of me that doesn't love it, or feels like very exposed. And you're having, it's basically like having people inside your home, but because I’m just staring at a screen, I feel like that kind of stays in the back of my mind. But, and, I feel weird a lot of the time. I guess that makes sense. But I don't know where those emotions come from. I was reading somewhere where it was like, you know, you're letting all these people like that you work with, or maybe who haven’t seen the inside of your house. You’re bringing them inside your home now. And then on top of that, if you're not turning your like self-view off, you're staring at yourself for upwards of six hours a day; which, staring at yourself that long is not healthy for anyone. But these are all news things so it's hard to identify kind of where those feelings are coming from sometimes.
MOLLY: Yeah. And thinking about… it’s just an interesting comparison between creating work in the living room, and then performing work in the living room. With these two shows that we’ve seem to have chosen to talk about. And both of them, audience interaction was built into either the score, the script, whatever you want to call it. So how did the audience interaction change? No one can hand you a condom out of their personal stock through the screen anymore. So...you also probably wouldn’t lose one in your own home but you never know.
CHELSEA: Right? Anything can happen in my house.
CHELSEA: I feel like with the online thing, I think in a way it was kind of good cuz our audience had a little bit autonomy about what they wanted to do. Cuz you can turn your camera off, like I can’t, I can’t be very forceful in having you do something or engage. Like we did have some people in the digital performance, for those who don't know, in the digital performance we did, there was like a makeup tutorial bit where we invited people on the Zoom call, if they wanted to follow along, and do crazy makeup in their own home. They were more than welcome to. But that was always interesting because it wouldn’t be until the end cuz you don't see everyone when you're performing. So it would be at the end of a piece in the talkback, I would just see a couple audience members, like have this really radical make up on. And I was like, “Oh you did it. That’s so exciting!” But I guess that’s kind of nice though. It’s kind of more like, “I'm doing this on my own terms.” And it's a little bit, I feel like it's a little bit, I think some of our other ensemble members were bringing up, it is a little bit safer for audience members too, when we kinda have this online spaces for audience members because they have more say in their like decisions that they get to make, and how much they want to be a part of it.
MOLLY: Yeah. Definitely. Definitely. It’s kind of like, it’s part of the new, the new ecosystem of performance right now. And maybe one of the things that, that allows people to, to get involved in new ways; especially like a makeup tutorial, you know, if you didn't have like your home stash available at the show, that probably wouldn't have worked.
MOLLY: So, yeah, there are new ways to get involved with audience for sure. I’m curious to hear you talk about some of the work, and the values around this work that you've experienced over the past three-ish years of doing Grey Box shows.
CHELSEA: Yeah. It definitely has, let’s see. So before Grey Box, I was doing a lot of, I guess more, traditional plays? What’s a good word for like pre-written. Pre-written shows.
MOLLY: Yes. There is a script.
CHELSEA: And ASU does, a lot of it was at ASU, and a lot of their stuff does tend to be new works, and even kind of go on that experimental ledge. But they are still written published works generally, with your typical director, typical roles like what you usually see in a theatre space. You have your director, your stage manager, your actors, your badada badada. And then came the Grey Box and was like this kind of ensemble, and we had you in a directive, creative role, but there was definitely a lot more freedom there. I was very confused at first, I remember. Cuz I was just used to like being told like as an actor like where I need to be on stage, how I need to say something, what I need to do, living out someone else's story. And then come to Grey Box it’s like, nope we’re gonna weave your story into this story. You can kind of decide how we move in some spaces, follow your impulses. It definitely made me a more vulnerable performer, which I think is really exciting. And I guess it worked out that the first thing I was doing was exploring vulnerability through Brene Brown’s work. But I think before coming to Grey Box, I kind of used theatre as this more like this mask, and I would kind of use it as a way to hide behind characters, and kind of live in someone else's shoes. So more of a kind of escapism. Whereas with Grey Box, it was more of a chance to be more vulnerable, and actually I guess, intertwine with my art. It brought me a lot closer to myself as a performer, if that makes sense.
MOLLY: Yeah. Thank you for sharing. Could...is there a like moment that led to that? Or a collection of moments that led you to being that more vulnerable? Could you walk us through that maybe like crossfade? Is what I’m trying to search for.
MOLLY: Going from that like very traditional that we all learned as Theatre majors once upon a time, and like, “This is how theater goes.” And so...yeah. Go for it.
CHELSEA: Yeah, I think it was like a gradual process. I don't think it was like one moment of like, “No, I’m vulnerable.” I think it was a process of kind of what we do. I mean typically in our rehearsal we have our check-ins, grounding exercises, there's usually space to talk with one another who you’re working with, write text about it. And I think it starts off slow enough, and then suddenly you're really deeply connected with these people you're working with. And I think that's the goal with working with an ensemble, especially if you’re starting out with people you don't know, is you want to kind of build up to now I'm suddenly. Yeah you kind of go from not really knowing these people, and then allowing yourself to be vulnerable with them. A journey of vulnerability and becoming a more vulnerable performer.
MOLLY: Yes. It’s like from that traditional to experimental world.
CHELSEA: Yeah. Although I think, I was thinking on it; I think the moment that stands out to me as kind of becoming more, a more vulnerable and comfortable performer was actually performing in, in the costume pieces that we had for Fool Me Once, Fool me Twice, because it was a little bit more revealing. And I remember that it’s interesting cuz I did a piece at ASU my last year there where we had to wear like one piece bathing suits cuz it’s about swimming. But like one day we came in and they're like, “Surprise. You’re wearing your costumes today.” And I remember it was like me and two other female actresses, and we were like very upset and jarred because no one had told us it was gonna be this day. We’re like, we didn’t know we had to be in like one piece bathing suits in front of like...and you’ve been at shows in college, like there’s random people coming in and out of rehearsal that are working on tech things and stuff. And it’s just kind of a big surprise.
But when we were doing it for Fool Me Once, Fool Me Twice, I felt kind of completely comfortable those first days we were getting into costume. And I think it's cuz we were working out of a living room, and having a female director helps especially when it's about kind of wearing more revealing things, and getting comfortable. So I think having you there, and having you as the leader kind of helped as well. I just remember being completely comfortable with myself, and it wasn't weird cuz I trusted everyone that was in this space with me, and in this living room. So it wasn't as jarring when we took it to the public, which I thought was really awesome cuz I remember when you kind of told us what we were going to be wearing, I was little bit at first, I was like, “Oh gosh, what is this?” And then it wound up being a completely comfortable experience, and I think that's a really telling of a company if you can build up that level of comfort with your performers in advance. And that shows that you value them and helps them want to be more vulnerable because they’ve had that time to get there together.
MOLLY: Mm hm. Yeah. That’s great .Thank you. So maybe expanding out a little bit from the individual shows, and I'm thinking about maybe some of these consistent experiences you've had around the company and like the structure that's embedded; whether it's through the grounding practices, going more like formally with our structure of trauma-informed creative practices, what are some of the key takeaways or maybe impactful moments that have really informed the work that you've done with us?
CHELSEA: Yeah. As simple as that check in and check out that we do. That kind of “How are you? What are you thinking about?” from person to person, that was something unique I hadn’t done in other outside rehearsals. But it is really impactful and that’s something, I even now, I do with just the students I teach when I can, just because I think it sets the tone, and it allows you to work from a place of honesty which is really nice. And it’s cool to show up to rehearsal and tell everyone I’m tired. This is nice. And not be like judged for it, right? I don’t have to pretend I’m not, that I’m not something, which is awesome. And in the closeout I think it's pivotal because I think we’ve all had experiences where we’ve worked on maybe a more emotional piece, and it's just like, “Rehearsal’s over, get on out of here.” That, we don't do that with Grey Box. We always check out. Like there's always time to make sure that everyone's leaving having expressed themselves until like no one's leaving, you know, very upset emotionally because we can talk about that. There's a space to talk about it, which I think is super important.
One thing I haven't done, we’ve only done a couple times with Grey Box cuz I mean I think it was really related to Fool Me Once, Fool Me Twice; I really liked when we were working out together which is very interesting. But I mean, it got the endorphins up, and I think it felt like we’re like...and it makes you feel strong. Getting out there, and just working out together, and then performing. I love anytime we write together, or we just free write. Cuz I think that's just kind of a brain dump on paper. It's really important cuz I’m sure as we’re working on, we always work with topics that have a big amount of grey area, and we have a lot on our mind. So it’s important we have that time to write our ideas down. And I always feel like we can share with each other which is really important. I've never been in a Grey Box rehearsal where someone's read something, and it's been like, “Oh why did you write that?” No, it's always met with positivity and we always all take from each other which is really awesome, and I think so important when we're creating. And that's something that helps me with my vulnerability because someone will share something, and they’ll express themselves. It makes you, a lot of times, want to share with them, and express yourself cuz they were willing to be so open with you.
MOLLY: Beautiful. Yeah. Little, little...
CHELSEA: They can’t see us shaking her shoulders. But there's a lot of shimmy-ing going on, everyone.
MOLLY: Yes. There’s a lot of gesture happening in the space. It's a lot of wiggling. It's all that sixth grade energy.
CHELSEA: I know.
MOLLY: So you mentioned like you bring in the check-ins and they're, you’re drawing upon what's happening in the rehearsal spaces outside of rehearsals. Are there other things that you draw upon from rehearsals that you take out?
CHELSEA: Can you… so things I take out of rehearsal into the real world? Not the real world.
MOLLY: That’s cool.
CHELSEA: It’s all the real world.
MOLLY: Yes. Is it? But like, like…
CHELSEA: That’s a different podcast.
MOLLY: When we run out of things to talk about on this one, that's where we’ll go. Yeah, are there things that, whether in it's like a mindset, or a very tangible tool like a check-in. Are there more elements like that that have carried over? Or spilled out of rehearsal?
CHELSEA: Yeah, definitely. I teach English so I use a lot of our free writing techniques and quick writing. And I'll ask the students deep questions for, I think 6th grade, cuz I teach younger students, but getting them to generate those ideas, and kind of write without the intention of being amazing authors. And that’s something I've been really happy to get to bring out of rehearsal because I think when you're in school, you’re taught like, “Oh I have to do writing and doing my best at all times.” So it’s nice to have someone tell you like, “No, this is just for you to get your ideas down. I’m not like grading your ideas. This is just for us to express ourselves and get those out.”
I like using anything that's grounding as far as movement, and stretches, and walking around the space. I think that's always good for... and I do a lot of teaching which intertwines a lot with things that are done in theater. You take a lot of practices from that which is nice. But even we’ll just be around people, and we'll take a moment of grounding. I think just looking at like, just a breath. That's been coming up a lot from work trainings I've been in. They're bringing in the kind of deep breathing that we’ve been doing in Grey Box this whole time where you, what's it called? When you do the breathing for four seconds, you hold for 4 seconds, and then...
MOLLY: Yeah. Square breath, meditative breath. Yeah. Something like that.
CHELSEA: As we’ve gone into this like online work space, I’ve noticed a lot of companies and businesses are like bringing in someone to be like, “ Now that we’re under a lot of stress like let's practice, let's do these breathing techniques.” And they're bringing those out of kind of the woodwork. And I’m like, “Oh. I’ve been doing this for years, so.” It’s been fun seeing other people bring in things we do in our rehearsal too, to other job life, or just other things outside of Grey Box.
MOLLY: Yeah. Definitely. I love how there's something about the pandemic people like, “Oh. We're stressed.” Like we were... I, I don't know about the rest of the world but I had some stress pre-pandemic. Yeah.
CHELSEA: It’s little... like a lot of it.
CHELSEA: It’s like, we’re stressed now? What was that thing we were doing before?
MOLLY: Apparently that wasn’t stress. Oh no. So you’re balancing, you mentioned this earlier, of balancing craving, craving art as well as having a career, and paying the bills. So what are some of your like tricks? And how do you, how do you do it? How do you do it all?
CHELSEA: Meticulous scheduling. I guess I’ve just been learning a lot about what I want out of being an artist. That was a big thing. Because originally, I think I wanted being a theatre performer to be like my main career, like being an actor. And I don’t know if that's what I want, or if I’ll go back into it, and a lot of it has to do with, you know, in Arizona there's not a ton of paid work for actors. And there’s people that are doing, and thriving off it, and that is awesome. I know those people put a lot of time and energy, and they’re doing the work. But I had to admit to myself, I don't currently like have the energy, or like the financial security that I want to be able to like put that much energy into it; which is kind of a bummer, but I think if you admit that to yourself, you know, then maybe one day I will have that great balance in my life where I feel like financially ready to now embark on following more my artistic ambitions.
But I've been lucky. I’ve worked at a lot of jobs that have been really lovely with scheduling. Also I do a lot of work I think with Grey Box because, as a company, it's more of a fluid ensemble as you’ve called it in the past where people kind of come and go. You don’t have the same people for a whole season. Everyone's kind of doing, comes in their own waves. Like I won't see people for two seasons, and then a year later, it’s like, “Oh hey buddy, I missed you. What's going on? Let’s work together” But that’s cuz, I think that's more realistic for what people are doing, cuz people have other jobs. They're trying to go out there and make a living, but also wanna enjoy being in an ensemble and making art together. And sometimes it's just not possible to do that for an entire season which can be five months. But maybe you can do it for eight weeks, you can do it for a show, you can kind of make your schedule work for that. So mine just has been a lot of scheduling, and admitting to myself what I can take on, and what I can’t, which I think is always hard for people.
MOLLY: Yeah. Do you have any advice for people around that? Or like what's the inside talk that you have to like have those moments with yourself? Of like, this isn't working right now.
CHELSEA: Whenever I notice that like my own work is suffering, and that I’m not communicating with people. Like when things start falling through the cracks, or I like miss a date, or something, that's what I know like, oh you need to be honest with yourself, and the people that you're working with because what you're doing right now is not working for anybody. And I think if you can tell yourself that, and, and it's scary. Like I even still sometimes like I get terrified by emails, and then you email after email, especially if you like disappeared from a project. Which is not a way to handle something but then it gets scarier the more you disappear because then you get more emails. So I think you just have to be brave and have the courage to communicate, because the response will usually be generous, and kind, and receptive. I think we just sometimes getting our head that no one's going to... that everyone's going to hate us, and not know where we're coming from, and be mad at you; when in reality, we're all doing the best that we can, and I think people in any business appreciate honesty.
MOLLY: Yeah. Definitely. Thank you for that. Are you ready for some rapid fire questions?
CHELSEA: Yeah, let’s do it. I’ll do my best.
MOLLY: And they should be like, air quote rapid fire. It doesn’t, saying the word...very well for me. But here we go. What is your favorite prop and why?
CHELSEA: Prop? With a ‘P’?
CHELSEA: Now I’m like, the slowest answer.
MOLLY: That’s okay. You’ve had a lot of props over the years.
CHELSEA: I love a lipstick in anything I've done. If I can just put a lipstick all over my face and body, I'm happy.
MOLLY: Excellent. What is your favorite artistic risk that you have taken with Grey Box Collective?
CHELSEA: I think going to Boulder and performing in a church basement. That was wild for me cuz I come from a Christian background. That was a trip and it was definitely a thousand percent worth it.
MOLLY: Awesome. Awesome. What's the weirdest thing you’ve had to Google for show research? Or like the most striking rabbit hole of the internet you had to go down?
CHELSEA: Oh. That’s tough. Cuz I Google like a lot of weird things. It’s not for Grey Box but once I like, for a comedy routine I went down a rabbit hole like looking into hemorrhoids.
MOLLY: There we go.
CHELSEA: I know way too much about hemorrhoids at this point.
MOLLY: Excellent. We have a an expert among us.
CHELSEA: If anyone has any questions, consult a doctor. Not me.
MOLLY: And last thing any other any things that you care to share?
CHELSEA: I'm just excited to see what else we do this year. It's, it's a weird year, and I'm sure 2021’s going to be weird too because things don't just get immediately better after a pandemic. But I’m just excited to do more work, even if that's online. Cuz like you said, we've already been working out of our living room. So this is nothing new. So we're kind of have the advantage here so let's see where we can take it.
MOLLY: Yeah. Love it. Thank you so much for chatting! Would you like to do a formal check out?
CHELSEA: Yeah let's do it. How are you doing, Molly?
CHELSEA: Oh. I stole the show.
MOLLY: Let’s see. How are you doing? What are you thinking about? I'm doing well. This is...it was lovely to chat. And I was really interested to hear what would be shared especially since you've done a lot of the, dark comedy has definitely hung with the work that you’ve done. So I really enjoyed listening to that. Because I think since, like when people think about we tackle tough conversations, and tough topics, it’s oh, it’s very serious. Like no, actually we, we have some pretty solid sense of play and humor among the group. So thank you for bringing that in today. And I'm thinking about like the A/C is turned on, and I'm really hoping that…
CHELSEA: Get your sweater out.
MOLLY: I know. I’m ready for a cold evening. How are you, Chelsea? What are you thinking about?
CHELSEA: I'm good. I'm thinking about the nap I'm going to go take which is awesome. I'm thinking about new work and development. I've been seeing Briana, who I worked within the last online piece, posting a lot about just expressing yourself as an artist, and doing more movement, and all the stuff; and I was like I should message her, because like, we should vibe. So I'm just interested in reaching out to more Grey Box performers, and just doing more stuff because I have a lot of time at home now.
MOLLY: Wonderful. Would you like to do a seal it? What did we use to do for Fool Me Once, Fool Me Twice? Was it a slow motion dance party and then seal it?
CHELSEA: I think we just sealed it but we can do a slow motion dance party.
CHELSEA: And no one will see.
MOLLY: Right. For listeners, just trust that we’re doing a really solid slow motion dance party, and that you can join us, like on your own. Do we clap at the end of this?
CHELSEA: Yeah. I don’t remember how we got out of it.
CHELSEA: A clap works. I’ll just follow you.
MOLLY: Oh okay.
MOLLY: I have no idea if that clap actually like picked up on the microphone.
CHELSEA: Some ASMR. We’re now clapping our hands together. Thank you so much listeners. Thank you for having me. That was a good time.
MOLLY: Yeah, that was great. Thank you so much!