I’ve thought about writing a blog for a long time. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to take on the pressure of figuring out what to write, what is entertaining, who’s my audience, blah blah blah. But I know that when I read other people’s words and reflections, it moves me. It speaks to me. And I often see my thoughts in their thoughts. So I figure, it’s about time to share what excites me. Because I am at a point in my life when there is a whole lot of new adventures that are pretty damn exciting!
For starters, I am currently living in Sydney, Australia, playing Princess Jasmine in the new Australian production of Disney’s ALADDIN! What?! How did that happen? Literally 5 months ago, I finished my contract with the Broadway company of Wicked and didn’t have a clue where life would lead me to next. Oh, the actor’s life… Living into an unknown future day after day. For example, you could get an unexpected phone call one morning and get invited to live on the opposite side of the planet for awhile. As I told my friend Matthew Lee Robinson yesterday, that kind of uncertainty about one’s future can either make someone grow old really fast, or stay young forever…. depending on the kind of person you are.
I think I’m the latter. I’ve always been open to adventure. I’ve always loved taking trips, finding myself in new places and discovering hidden cafes or parks, and seeking out a random spot that I’ve heard is a diamond in the rough (see what I did there?). ;)
When I came to Sydney, the only landmark that I knew about was the iconic Sydney Opera House… (because, let’s face it, it burrowed its way into my heart at the end of Finding Nemo). So my first night in the city, I ventured out alone to see this legendary structure in all its glory and walked straight into an annual colorful light festival called VIVID Sydney. It was a mind-bending explosion of projected digital artwork, lighting up the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and numerous stand-alone light sculptures placed sporadically around the entire area of Circular Quay. There were hundreds, or thousands of people; families, groups of friends, couples strolling along the wharf and the walkways under and around the waterfront. Everyone was out, and enjoying the light spectacles and the warm winter evening! Everywhere I turned there were new dazzling surprises for the eyes. And I thought to myself, “This must be how Princess Jasmine feels when she escapes from the palace into the unknown, exciting, hustling-bustling crowd of the marketplace!”
(Okay maybe that’s cheesy, but seriously… an actor can and should borrow from life experiences if they help you understand the journey of your character!)
If you’ve never been to VIVID Sydney, this video will give you an idea of how cool it is!
I sat on a park bench on the waterfront and gazed at the moving pictures lighting up the Sydney Opera House for a long while, just taking it all in. My videos didn’t come out great, but I got a few good pictures on my phone.
I felt serene. And honored to be sitting on a bench on the other side of the world, watching a light show that almost seemed to be welcoming ME to the city! I’m at the start of a life-chapter that I will never forget. And as my time in Australia passes, there will be many moments that I will want to share with you. Things I’m learning about Aussie’s and their culture, their slang words, their food. You guys, it’s a whole new world out here, Down Under. And this girl, raised in California and living in NYC, is down for a little high adventure. Who’s with me?