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Intention Inferno

January 29, 2013

I’m tardy to the New Year’s party but I hope this post serves as a reminder that 2013 is still young and there’s plenty of time to make this your most fulfilling year yet.

If good intentions pave the road to hell, I’m on the fiery path headed to the ninth circle.

About a month ago, as I was considering my resolutions for the new year, I came across Craig Wallace’s thought-provoking article in Backstage on New Year’s intentions for actors ( . I’m taken by the concept of creating a list of intentions, as it’s active and vivid. This speaks to me as an artist as it’s using the language I’ve been taught (ie: creating intentions and objectives) and taking it beyond script analysis. Over the past month I have compiled my own list of intentions for the 2013.

I’m not new to writing out my goals. Over the past few years I’ve been very methodical, bordering on obsessive compulsive about it. Each year, from January 1st to January 9th (my birthday) I work on solidifying my goals, objectives and dreams for the year. This is the big picture. With each new season, winter, spring, summer and fall, I take a few of the goals off the list and work on making them happen.

Instead of writing out my laundry list of goals and things I want to do in the new year, I found Mr. Wallace’s way of approaching this to be more useful. I present to you, my 2013 intentions:

– I intend to move beyond creating theatre that starts conversations and into creating work that leads to action. I’m certain we can make lasting change if we stay committed, allow ourselves to make mistakes and document/share/build off of successes and failures.

– I intend to write more about and document said journey.

– I intend to expand upon my understanding of theatre in terms of space, audience and political/social power. Part of this will include committing myself to curating a series of plays in my apartment in conjunction with Co-Op Theatre East including Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues (February), Suzan Lori Park’s Top Dog/Under Dog (April) and My Name is Rachel Corrie (September). All three of these (very different) plays tackle significant social/political topics. I want to see how we can use previously published work, on a very low budget to move the needle on issues beyond just starting conversations (though I’m not suggesting conversations are not important).

– I intend to write about and document said journey.

–  I intend to continue working hard and setting audacious goals for Girl Be Heard (formerly Project Girl Performance Collective). We have some big new projects coming up, including the creation of a piece about gun violence and adaptation of Marat/Sade set in a juvenile detention facility. We are also working on bringing our show about child exploitation and sex trafficking back to NY for a longer run. Additionally, we are continuing our Girl Be Heard: Unplugged (open mic series) and weekly writing/performing workshops. Check out our new page (after January 28th) at

– I intend to bring Girl Be Heard to the Jersey shore this summer. As you may know, my home town was hit badly by Hurricane Sandy and the girls are in need of a safe space to write/create work and blow off some steam. We have the space and logistics ready to go but we do not have the funding in place.

– I intend to continue training and taking regular acting class.

– I intend to have a completed reel by the last part of the year.

– I intend to join AEA by the last part of the year.

– I intend to launch “In Trouble With the King” with my genius photography partner in crime and roommate Patrick . Though this (and even outside of it) I intend to take more photos and use them as a tool for activism and social justice. I have lots of ideas for photo essays and projects.

– I intend to turn my apartment into a place for living and performances.

– I intend to work my way back into academia as an adjunct professor. (At moments I consider… gasp…  PhD programs) I miss the challenge of reading and discussing social and political theory. I’d love to return having some “life experience” under my belt but I don’t want to give up what I’m presently doing.
– I intend to write one blog post per week. This means I will have to carve out time to write in my schedule and must turn off the internet, phone, facebook and other distractions to make this happen.

– I intend to learn to play the ukulele and sing. I don’t know if this will be together or separate or only in the privacy of my bedroom but it will happen.

– I intend to take dance class.

– I intend to start developing a body of choreography.

– I intend to be completely vulnerable in my work so that others can see themselves in me. (I borrowed this from Mr. Wallace)

– I intend to start/continue the documentary theatre pieces I started outlining in 2012…

– I intend to write 10 short plays and/or monologues

– I intend to do a reading of some of my short plays with the hope of working to get something published.

– I intend to write 1 full length play.

– I intend to begin writing (or at least outlining) a TV pilot and/or web series.

– I intend to begin writing (or at least outlining) a young adult novel. (The Girl Be Heard company members truly believe I will write the next great “banned book”)

– I intend to be a present and supportive partner. (Are you familiar with my boyfriend’s theatre company Eagle Project?)

– I intend to shut off my iPhone and not “work” when I’m at home.

– I intend to have more fun and spend more time with friends.

– I intend to learn a practical skill (like herbal therapy, holistic medicine, identifying birds/wildlife/trees and astronomy)… In retrospect, I’m not sure how practical these skills are but I find my birding is always an interesting conversation starter.

– I intend to take at least 1 or 2 random classes at Brooklyn Brainery.

– I intend to spend some time studying psychology.

– I intend to act like a “grown up”. That means: communicating better, do my dishes right away, brush my teeth before bed, watering my plants regularly, doing laundry regularly. It may also mean other things too…

– I intend to travel to at least 30 places I’ve never been before, whether in my building, NYC, within the USA or abroad.

– I intend to see more film. You know, the films that are cited in pop culture and that everyone should apparently see… I intend to see these films … Malcolm X (1992), The Godfather (1972)  and The Godfather Part 2 (1974), Shawshank Redemption (1994), Pulp Fiction (1994), Sunset Boulevard (1950), Inception (2010), The Dark Night (2008), Memento (2000), Gladiator (2000), Requiem for a Dream (2000), Braveheart (1995), Psycho (1960), Lost in Translation (2003), It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), Rain Man (1998), A Few Good Men (1992), Apocalypse now ( 1979), Alien (1979), Back to the Future (1985), Casablanca (1942), Clockwork Orange (1971), Die Hard (1988), Fargo (1996), Fight Club (1999), Lord of the Rings (2001), The Wrestler (1998), Trainspotting (1996), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), The Great Dictator (1940), Cinema Paradiso (1988), Some like it Hot (1959), Rebecca (1940), The Terminator (1994), Twelve Monkeys (1995), Gandhi (1992), The Graduate (1967), The Gold Rush (1925) Citizen Kane (1941), WALL-E (2008), Airplane! (1980), Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Goodfellas (1980) and The Social Network. Any other suggestions?

– I intend to read the Harry Potter series.

– I intend to spend more time outside. I love nature. I could move to the mountains, live in a cabin and be perfectly content…

– I intend to read more fantasy and fiction. Last year I developed an affinity for dystopian novels. I intend to keep exploring this interest.

– I intend to improve my use of social media and to maintain my professional online image (ie: sending a monthly newsletter via Mail Chimp, learning how to use Twitter.

– I intend to maintain a healthy lifestyle to the best of my ability and not beat myself up if I slip up.

– I intend to add about 10 more things to this list before the month is up…

So, 2013 is busy.

Like Dante, I hope to escape 2013 by going through the center of the earth and coming out the other end to a clear and starry sky (there is a metaphor here… I think?) If not, accept my good intention.

Ashley Signature

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Dorry marra permalink
    January 29, 2013 7:32 am

    The bad seed 1956 you would love watching that movie. The ending will flip you out. Would make a great play. Check it out.

  2. January 30, 2013 5:57 pm

    Holy Moly, you will be busy! But I have no doubt you can do whatever you set your mind to. I also like the idea of intentions and like that you mix some concrete ideas with more ephemeral ones. 🙂

  3. The Growing Artist permalink
    February 2, 2013 10:43 am

    Great post! Good luck with all your goals!

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