Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2006

Travelogue and Character Studies

I like to travel. I like airports. Mind you, I wouldn't want to do it everyday, but every now and then its pretty fun. I travelled to the Columbia Airport with my friend Ian, who was flying home to New York. We chatted a bit in the waiting area until it was time to board my flight. I didn't really speak to anyone again until my brother picked me up in Salt Lake. But I watched everybody, and I saw some fascinating people. I had a blank piece of paper with me, so I took some notes on a few interesting people.

Mr. Flight Attendant Kid
He is young, possibly younger than me. At least, he looks unimpressed with everything - a sure sign of youth, I hear. He drones out the safety procedures litany with barely disguised boredom and cynicism, obviously reciting the words from memory without making any attempt to communicate by giving the words meaning. You can tell by the way his breath pauses appear unnaturally in the middle of a phrase. Throughout the flight, he does as little as possi…

First Semester Retrospective

The following is an excerpt from a paper for one of my courses, detailing the essence of my progress this first semester. It is applied specifically to the art of acting, so you actors out there may find it especially interesting, but the heart of it is pretty good stuff thats useful in almost anything if you are interested, and frankly I can understand if you didn't want to read some boring paper I wrote for class...

We were told that the first semester of graduate school was going to be rough, but I don’t think I really understood what that meant. After all, the obvious problems of adjusting to a new and rigorous schedule, meeting high expectations, multi-tasking various assignments for several different classes, and still finding time to stop and breathe every now and then were daunting, yet hardly something I had not encountered before in my scholastic life. But what I did not understand was how challenging the first semester was going to be mentally, because basically what I f…


Attention everybody. I will be returning to Utah to celebrate the holidays on the 18th of December, and I will be staying until the 8th of January. Prepare yourselves, for I am coming.

That is all.

On Thanksgiving and Stuff

Well the Thanksgiving break is over already. This year marked the first celebration of the holiday in many years in which I was not with my extended family in Utah enjoying Grandma's celebrated home-style cooking, but I was able to make it enjoyable none the less. Yes, the day is all about family, but what is so great about the holiday (and what makes it perhaps my favorite of all holidays) is that people who aren't family, who are in fact perfect strangers, go out of their way to make a family together, if only for that one day, for that one meal. I ate the feast with a group of local transplants from Utah, like me, and though I barely knew them we became a family together as we enjoyed the meal and gave thanks for how lucky we really are. So while I missed my family terribly, I was far from lonely on the big day.

Besides the expected self-indulgent food rampage on Thursday, my weekend also included a trip to Savannah, Georgia with some of my dear friends (for pictures, look …

An Endless Cycle of Discouragement

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the forces of Fate are combined for one ultimate purpose: to defeat and destroy me. That may be dramatic and illogical, but it does give me a sense of importance I would otherwise lack; and, as I've said before, it is easier to accept cosmic enmity than cosmic apathy.

Not too long ago I was riding on a new surge of confidence after a highly successful audition for summer work. That confidence has been challenged by a grueling weekend of auditions for our upcoming mainstage shows. First off, let me say that I was screwed in the beginning, before the auditions even happened, because of the selection of the plays. They are great plays stuffed with great parts that I cannot play, for one reason or another. Most call for an age or a look or quality that I do not possess, or, even more likely, am not perceived by the powers that be to possess. A good chunk are beyond my admittedly raw and yet untrained acting capacitiy. So I went in to the pro…

A Disturbing Tale of Disturbingness

So the story goes like this:

I am sleeping, snuggled up comfortably on my inflatable single bed, dreaming of peaceful shores and relaxing breezes. I feel a delightful tickle on the back of my neck, like a cool breeze on a summer's day. I feel refreshed and peaceful. The tickle then moves to the front of my neck, on my chin, and then on to my face. It is at this moment the realization pierces through my sleeping brain that there is something alive and crawling on my face.

You never have seen something go from so inert and inactive to alert and active. You never have seen someone jump up five feet into the air from a prone position. You have never seen someone bolt out of their little room in seconds, the blink of an eye. When the light was turned on, the culprit was found. A very large coakroach sitting innocently on my pillow, looking at me as if to say, "What? Yeah, I crawled on your face. You got a problem with that?" Unfortunately for him, I did. Down the toilet he wen…


Check out the production photos from "Good Person of Setzuan" and you'll get an idea of the craziness that has been my life for the last two months. Points for you if you can recognize me in any of the pictures!

Production Photos

A Most Wonderful Day

Yesterday I had a great day! I've been having a very rough couple of weeks where I have been greatly depressed about a great number of things, including my acting ability. I have this recurring nightmare that I actually suck and nobody is brave enough to tell me. Well, I received the perfect confirmation that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be yesterday, when I went to some screening auditions for summer work. It was a ridiculous cattle call style audition, with group after group of would-be actors filing in and trying to impress auditors in only 60 seconds that they are good enough to be considered for professional work. It was even scored on a points system, with those receiving the highest points being passed on to the actual audition for professional companies in March. Out of a possible 84 points, I got 83! Here were some of my comments:


"You are instantly likeable."

"Easy to follow, clearly spoken."

"Well done - you know wha…

Pictures - South Carolina State Fair

Poetry Time - A. E. Housman

Oh who is that young sinner with the handcuffs on his wrists?
And what has he been after that they groan and shake their fists?
And wherefore is he wearing such a conscience-stricken air?
Oh they're taking him to prison for the colour of his hair.

'Tis a shame to human nature, such a head of hair as his;
In the good old time 'twas hanging for the colour that it is;
Though hanging isn't bad enough and flaying would be fair
For the nameless and abominable colour of his hair.

Oh a deal of pains he's taken and a pretty price he's paid
To hide his poll or dye it of a mentionable shade;
But they've pulled the beggar's hat off for the world to see and stare,
And they're haling him to justice for the colour of his hair.

Now 'tis oakum for his fingers and the treadmill for his feet
And the quarry-gang on Portland in the cold and in the heat,
And between his spells of labour in the time he has to spare
He can curse the God that made him for the colour of his hair.

A Note

I've come to the rather surprising conclusion that I'd rather be the one who is hurt, rather than one who causes the hurt in others. At least then you have somebody else to blame for the pain you feel inside.

Another Picture

Those of you I've talked to a bit have heard that the play I'm currently in here is a bit.... unusual. Here's the only publicity photo I could get my hands on, and even though I only have a very small part they used me in the photos. Yes, thats me on the far right, sneakily stealing some rice from Brian's bowl. The whole cast will be in white face for the show. Should be interesting.

I've done with complaining about this play. Its coming together alright, but there's something wrong when we get called to an all-day rehearsal and never get used once. The director is from Romania and there the actors are getting paid (by the government usually) to be at the theater so they all come whether they are being used or not, but in a school it shouldn't work like that. Oh well, we get this Thursday and Friday off for Fall Break, and I'm looking forward to some good old-fashioned loafing about. Also, an exciting event is happening soon (unconnected to school or th…

The Long Awaited Picture Post

At last, picture proof of my adventures in South Carolina!

This is a shot of the very first day we all met each other, in the Longstreet Theater, where the department offices are located.

Here's a good shot of the whole group (minus a few), when we went to Frankie's Fun Park to celebrate Actor Jock's birthday. (That's AJ himself sitting on the rail on the left there)

We had a lot of fun last weekend when we went to a Kareoke bar to celebrate Jen's birthday.

Sonny (Brian) and Cher (Jen) sing "I've Got You Babe"

Downey, recently voted by me as the coolest guy on the planet, had a little too much to drink...

...and sang "You Can Call Me Al" as if he was William Shatner...

... and danced with an old woman in a wheelchair...

...and endured the endless shame of an alcoholic gone out of control.

His wife, Liesl, recently voted by me the coolest chick on the planet, sings a song and tries to keep a happy disposition in despite of her drunken husband.

We try…

A Sample Day

And the work goes on!

Here’s a few tidbits from my day today, which may give you a good sense of the experience I’m having in general. This morning I taught my acting class, which involved watching a couple students perform scenes in which they were to tell us a story, communicating clearly WHO they are, WHERE they are, WHAT they are doing, and WHEN it all takes places, simply by performing logical actions that give us that information. That was interesting. One student kept looking at me to get my reaction during his entire scene, which made me cringe because I KNOW I’ve done that in acting classes and it looks way tacky. After those scenes, I had them do some improvised scenes involving this idea of communicating given circumstances in ways other than speaking. It seemed to go pretty well. Even though my class is pretty quiet and reluctant to get into discussion, they will get up and do whatever I want them to without complaint. They also laugh at all my jokes, which is a big plus. …

My New Life

Ok, so you really can't blame me for not posting more often on my blog. For one thing, I'm not sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day with only about two hours worth of work to do, so I don't have the abundant opportunity or the desparate need to fill up time that I once had. For another, its difficult to know what exactly to do with my blog during these turbulent times of change. I never wanted it to become an online journal: "Then I did this, then I did this, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow so I can do this..." I wanted to use it to write about whatever in a semi-artistic format, like personal essays or whatever. Problem is that now that I'm so far away from everybody who reads this, its the easiest and most effective way to keep everybody posted about what I've been up to in my fabulous new life. So, I'll be working on combining these two roles of the blog in future posts. For now, more general stuff about my new life. If you&…

First Day of Classes

Holy cow!

That's all I can say so far. My time here has been a blur, but at the same time I feel like I've been living in Columbia, South Carolina for AGES. Still don't know my way around though, but at least I can get to all the buildings on campus I have anything to do with.

Most of the last week was filled with training meeting after orientation meeting after meet-and-greet session, one right after the other. We met people five hundred thousand times, which is great because I need that in order to actually remember names and stuff. Yesterday there was a little showcase, where all of us first year MFA actors presented our audition monologues to the entire department faculty. There are ten of us in the class, and I have been amazed and humbled by the level of talent that each one of them exhibited in their monologues. I don't know if I'll be able to keep up! I don't know if I can say that I am the worst actor in the group, since thats really difficult to judge…

A Brief Update

Just a quick note to let you know the conclusion to my epic journey. I'll write a longer blog later when the dust clears some more. We arrived in Columbia on Sunday night and its been a crazy whirlwind of excitement ever since! My new roommate, we'll call him Jock Actor, or J.A., (since using Blog Names is all the rage now days), seems like somebody I can live with and laugh with, and our new apartment is, surprisingly, very nice considering we didn't have a clue what we were getting when we signed up for it. Somebody let us borrow a TV, somebody else gave us some air mattresses for a while, and we were able to bum a couch from the department. Things are coming together!

I've met everybody in my program now, and they are all absolutely amazing. I've been amazed at how quickly we've been forming bonds. Almost instantaneously, we've become a family in just a few days. We all laugh at each other's jokes and enjoy each other's company. Working with thes…

Journey, Day Three

Journey, Day Two

Journey, Day 1

Last Day at Work

Today is my last day at work – after this, the countdown to my departure begins in earnest. I'll spend most of next week packing, finalizing travel plans, making sure I have a place to live in South Carolina, spending time with friends, freaking out, and playing computer games. Then, the week after that is when it all goes down. A four day cross-country drive followed by weeks and weeks of adjustment to a new life.

This is so different than what I've grown used to over the last year and a half. My life as an out-of-college full-time employee has been anything but busy or unpredictable. Every single day has followed the same schedule, week after week of basically the same thing.

I've worked at this job for nine months. Ironic, isn't it. It's been like my own little gestation period and now I'm ready to be born. I'll squeeze out of this cubicle womb and face the world, covered from head to toe in amniotic fluid.... wait, I guess I'm taking the metaphor a …

my time is at hand...

Eventually there comes a day where you stop waiting for inspiration to hit and just write something, anything, to put on your blog. Of course, having a slow-paced job helps quite a bit, but even that has not been enough to get me blogging lately. I did write something last week about the new computer game I've been playing, but it was really nerdy and I thought that we've had enough of my nerdity (its a word if I say it is) for one month.

I've not been up to much in the last ten days. My life is very simple and surreal at the moment. I perform regularly in my play at the local community theater, spend the days sitting here at this desk in this office, go to the gym on occasion, relax at home, and generally avoid thinking too much about all the stuff I have to do soon. These activities are accompanied by the constant pressure to stay out of the insufferable heat we've been subjected lately. Its the kind of heat that leaves you a lifeless, sweaty husk. Seriously, I don&#…


I thought I'd take a moment to shamelessly plug the play I'm going to be in that opens this weekend. You absolutely must come to see it, not just because I'm in it (though that should be reason enough for most of you!) but because, for the first time in a while, I'm doing a play that I can be reasonably certain every single person on this planet can enjoy.

It's called “You Can't Take It With You” and its playing at the Hale Center Theater in Orem. You can go to their website and see the performance schedule and buy tickets. I play a young successful businessman named Tony Kirby, Jr. who has recently become Vice-President of his company (his father is the President, can you say nepotism?) but hates the stuffy corporate world and longs to break free (didn't take too much acting there.) I've fallen in love with my secretary, Ms. Alice Sycamore, a very nice and normal young lady who happens to come from a family of questionable sanity. I kind of like the fa…

I like Superman, but I love Clark Kent...

I like Superman, but I love Clark Kent.
Though, despite the elaborate disguise
Consisting of a single pair of bent,
Simple specs, they're not two different guys
But only one, still I said what I meant:
I like Superman, but I love Clark Kent.

I like Superman, but I love Clark Kent
I guess because one of them's more like me
And does not always get what he wants
And struggles with our vulnerability.
And does not by his perfection command
The adoration of every woman and man
But sits in the back, with nothing to say
Just hoping that Lois Lane looks his way.

She doesn't - her eyes are glued to the sky.

Wake up, Lois! Can't you see the guy
Waiting to love you with all of his might?
He may not leap buildings, he may not fly,
He may not see through you with x-ray eyes,
He might need YOUR help, if that's alright,
From time to time, when his mortal heart cries.

He combs his hair neatly and fights through the crowd,
Decides what to say, and rehearses out loud,
He summons his courage and paces the…

Let America Be America Again - Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of str…

The Ambivalent Nerd

Though the infrequency of my blogging might suggest otherwise, I lead a quite full life full of interesting events that would, in theory, make great anecdotal posts. Unfortunately, most of these stories (such as the one from last weekend where I ended up with an ice pack on my groin – don't ask) are not exactly fit for the public at large, because they reveal aspects of my personal life I would prefer to keep hidden from those who still somehow have a good opinion of me or are just flat out too embarrassing.

Accordingly, there are a number of things that I do and enjoy every day that I never talk about my blog. It's time to come clean and confess everything. I'm sorry if this disappoints anybody, and I'll understand if, after hearing my big secret, you'll never want to talk to me again.

I am a nerd. A comic-book loving, D&D playing, fantasy-books reading nerd. Yes, I play Dungeons and Dragons. I am more recently known to my fellow D&Ders as Murphy McWatt, a l…

The X-Men: Deconstructing the Other

I am, as has been brought to my attention on several occasions, something of a “movie snob.” This means I regularly turn up my nose at mainstream Hollywood flicks in favor of more obscure, antiquated, or pretentious artistic films like “The Lion in Winter,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “Henry V,” etc. etc. However, I have tried to reassure my critics on this point that, despite the prevailing opinion to the contrary, I do on occasion enjoy a good big-budget movie along with the rest of the masses. This weekend, in fact, I went to the movie theater in the mall (the temple wherein America worships high-priced and flashy banality) to watch “X-Men 3: The Last Stand,” a major summer motion picture, albeit the heyday of its popularity was SO three weeks ago. And I rather enjoyed it, just as I enjoyed its two predecessors.

If you can lower your artistic expectations and have a healthy ability to suspend your disbelief about the science of the whole thing, the story of the X-Men is really great. It…

Hamlet Pictures, Part 2

I was extraordinarily fortunate that, by a strange twist of fate, I was able to do Hamlet again this past semester. This was followed by being fortunate enough to continue on to be in our spring Shakespeare show: Greatest Hits. Thanks to Sam, our resident cross-dresser and MVA ("Most Valuable Actor"), I now have pictures to prove all this.