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Readying for Intercon Q this weekend

I'm snowed in my house today; one of the advantages of working for schools is that you usually get the day off when it's really coming down. So I'm spending the day getting all my ducks in a row for Intercon this weekend, plus, if I can get my head into it, doing some writing.

I've got a LOT of Intercon stuff to pack. My game, Silver Lines, is totally ready, with pretty much a full complement of physical props. I think it will be a pretty cool experience, one I've never really managed before in a game, but it means there are a lot of pieces. Fortunately for me, inwaterwrit agreed to be my co-GM, which will make managing everything a million times easier than trying to do it on my own. But I also have costuming to bring, both for the game I'm playing and to return to people, as well as the pipes and drapes I'm lending to lightgamer for his game. And I'm bringing the remaining hard copies of the first issue of Game Wrap Magazine to sell at the registration desk. I'd love to do some of the packing of that stuff into my car, but I don't want to mess with it until the snow stops coming down.

But I'm excited. I think Silver Lines is going to be super fun to run. I really love the story of the game and think it's a great mystery. Also, I'm excited to see how the game runs with full props and environments. I think it's going to add a lot, and I'm super glad to have Jenn's help. This is the first time we've ever done it that way, so wish us luck!
Gallery of images from Vivat Regina at Arisia 2017!

Photography by Annushka Munch
Costume design by Jennifer Giorno
Makeup design by Jessicalee Skary
Set design by Bernie Gabin
Production design by Phoebe Roberts

VR Performance-10

Arisia 2017

See the rest of the gallery on Mrshawking.com!

Finally taking the plunge

I have started a new writing project recently. I'm not ready to say what it is yet. But it's one that I've been considering for a long time, not least because I've received some urging from other people to do it, but up to now I've been avoiding it. It wasn't EXACTLY what I wanted to do, it seemed like a huge investment of time and effort, and perhaps more than anything else, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do a good job with it. It's kind of out outside my wheelhouse, and I don't have nearly the experience or training for it. I know the only way to improve is to write garbage until the practice improves you, but this isn't a project I wanted to turn out bad. So like a coward, I've been avoiding it.

But in the last couple weeks, I've said screw it and dove in. I've had success in the past with just drafting to the point of being technically complete, and then worrying about making it not suck later, so I'm trying to make myself do it. I set a very low bar for daily progress goals, and it isn't much, but it's been effective in making me write SOMETHING almost every day. I'm not sure I don't hate what I've done-- but I'm making the attempt. We'll see how it goes, and if I'm likely to talk about it based on my progress.


Mutton working out as lamb

I've been working out in the gym at Lesley University lately. It's been very convenient, as I can go after I teach my classes, and it has very nice facilities. Mostly I just want to run indoors while it's cold outside, as I tend toward weird asthma-like symptoms when I breath cold air for too long.

As a faculty member, I'm allowed to use the gym for free, which is nice. But I've never seen anyone other than students in there-- at least, never anyone I thought looked like post-college-aged adult. I've decided not to feel weird about it, as I know I'm allowed, but it does seem a bit odd. Where are all the other people like me who can use it as a job perk? Why do I never see them? Is it just the timing? Or are there just not many others who choose to use it?

When I'm teaching I dress very professionally to give myself some authority, but in the gym I wear my typical workout clothes, often just a sports bra and leggings. I dislike seeing students of mine in there, as I don't know if it makes a weird impression. Like, hi, I'm in charge of your grade, and here's my midriff? God, I've been dreading running into one in the locker room. I know I would not have wanted to be around my professor while one of us was changing.

And I wonder how the students who don't know me read me. I've been mistaken for a student at Lesley before, but usually by other employees; only once by an actual student that I know of. Do they assume I'm one of them, or to kids of their age, am I obviously older?

I mean, I know I look good. I am beautiful. Honestly I'm in better shape than most of the students, not just in general but even those I see in the gym. But I wonder how old I read, at least to people younger than me. I turn thirty this year. My skin has been really clear lately, thanks to the excellent acne medication I've been using, but I've begun to worry about the two spots on top of my cheeks that I think are beginning to look sun damaged, or possibly just showing age. I'm afraid my metabolism might slow down at any time.

Only a ridiculous person wants to look twenty forever. But aging is a great fear of mine. So I cling a little bit to things like when I get mistaken for still a college kid. But the truth is, I'm not a kid anymore, and I worry when that's going to catch up with me.

Accomplishment chart, 1/27 – 2/2

Accomplishment chart, 1/27 – 2/2


- drafting for prose project
- stupid fan fiction scribbling
- 2 LiveJournal entries

- attended “Cage of Light” audio drama with Theatre@First

- printing for Silver Lines larp at Intercon Q
- prepared Silver Lines larp to run at Intercon Q

- posted Syd Weinstein’s video recording of Base Instruments at Arisia 2017 on Mrshawking.com

- planned 1/30 and 2/1 lessons for Writing and the Literary Arts
- designed essay assignment #1 for Writing and the Literary Arts

- attended CAIR protest against the Muslim ban and anti-immigration restrictions in Copley Square
- called my reps 3 days

- 3 two-mile runs
- 2 fighter abs routines
- walked 10,000+ steps 3 days

- listened to episodes 90 and 91 of Tom and Lorenzo’s Pop Style Opinionfest

- made meatloaf with steamed broccoli
- made broiled sirloin with steamed carrots
- made sliders with guacamole and sliced cucumber

Preparing Silver Lines for Intercon Q

For once I'm actually on top of getting my game together for Intercon ahead of time. I have most of the materials for Silver Lines ready to go at this point, and I still have over a week to put the finishing touches on it, and make some decisions about how much I want to use things like physical props.

I said that I'd planned to test this "conversion to larp" at SLAW this past November, but honestly that didn't really happen. I had made a number of modification to the running style and the player materials, but I ended up having a visually impaired player sign up for the run. Since most of my modifications were visual aids or involved rearranging furniture to represent a space, it seemed like that version at best wasn't going to add anything, and at worst would be actively less accessible. So I basically ended up just running the original tabletop version, which seemed to avoid those issues, as well as gave the players a perfectly good time-- even if in that form you probably can't call it a larp. But it does mean I'm going into this Intercon run with an untested version of the game.

I am reasonably confident it's going to work okay, even if it's not perfect. It's basically the same game content-wise, just with some changes to HOW it's presented and run. I know the story works, which is the most important part. But I hope the players bear with me a bit if there are any bumps in the execution.
We are proud to announce the video recording is now available for our performance of Base Instruments at Arisia 2017!

Base Instruments by Phoebe Roberts

Base Instruments from sydweinstein on Vimeo.

We are so happy to be able to present part 3 of the Mrs. Hawking series recorded for you to enjoy whenever you like. Thanks so much to Syd Weinstein and crew, who filmed this at Arisia 2017 and edited it together for us.

Please be sure to visit our Shows page for the video recordings of all three of the Mrs. Hawking so far, and see how all the hard work of all the great artists in our cast and crew come together to tell these amazing stories.

Crazy speculation set down for the record

Just writing it here for the record in case it happens.

I'm not one for believing in complicated conspiracy theories when simple greed, corruption, idiocy, and incompetence will explain everything. But for a long time it's bugged me how many Ruepublicans sided with Trump even after they denounced him as incompetent, or he verbally abused them. I mean, see above-- they want to be on the winning side, the slimebuckets. But last week it occurred to me that as Speaker of the House, the notoriously spineless greed-driven coward Paul Ryan is third in the line of presidential succession. And I found myself wondering if he threw in his lot with obviously unqualified and explosively controversial Trump, who he initially opposed and who in fact insulted him, in order to play a long con and at some point take advantage of that fact.

Trump's approval rating just hit fifty percent, a low that it took George W. Bush three years to finally reach, in the first goddamn week of his presidency. His indiscriminate use of poorly-planned and legally-unvetted executive orders, also in the first goddamn week of his presidency, are creating more and more of a case that we are in a Constitutional crisis. Not to mention Trump's other violations, such as his refusal to divest his business interests placing him in breach of the Emoluments Clause. People are already calling for his impeachment, and I think there is at least a fair chance, even if I'm not being too optimistic, that it could happen. It could be due to his recent unconstitutional policies-- like, there's been tape surfacing of Rudy Giuliani saying Trump literally asked him how we could find a legal way to institute a Muslim ban. And if it is, there's also a chance Pence would be found complicit in them as well, as it seems clear he's given his support and approval of them. So maybe Pence could be taken out too. Which would clear the way for... Paul Ryan. Who is the leader of the body who'd be bringing the Articles of Impeachment.

Yeah, that's ridiculous and unlikely. The Republicans as a self-interested, loot-and-run party probably stand to gain much more as an entity without their president being impeached. Even if Ryan wanted it, as a group I doubt they'd all go for it. But... Trump is nuts. And Ryan is probably more in line with their goals at large. We learned during the primaries that most of the establishment hates him, and even though they need him for their goals now, I seriously doubt that they have learned to like him any better. So... maybe?

If so, you heard it here first.


Accomplishment chart, 1/20 – 1/26

Accomplishment chart, 1/20 – 1/26

- had 1 phone call with producer interested in my work
- drafting for prose project
- finished editing for Hood pilot, version 5
- finished editing for Hood bible, version 3
- 3 LiveJournal entries

- saw Trans Scripts, Part I: The Women play at the Loeb Drama Center

- confirmed role as GM Liaison for Brandeis Festival of the Larps 2017
- bid Silver Lines for Brandeis Festival of the Larps 2017

- attended Women’s March on Boston
- called my reps 4 days

- 2 two-mile runs
- 2 fighter abs routines
- walked 10,000+ steps 5 days

- made 4 turkey and avocado sub sandwiches
- made grilled turkey sausage with sautéed peppers and onions
- made chicken marsala with mushrooms, onions, and peppers

MJ Rodriguez as Luna, from Instagram @MJRodriguez7

Thanks to a ticket generously offered to me by niobien, I saw "Trans Scripts, Part I: The Women" at the Loeb Drama Center in Cambridge this week. It was described to me as kind of like the Vagina Monologues, in that it was a series of personal narratives of real people that were turned into dramatic pieces, but in this case from transwomen. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I found it to be a really excellent show, where you literally laugh and cry.

The thing I thought made it so strong was it dealt with a wide diversity of transwomen. They really did demonstrate how personal and individual a gender journey is, even within those who are ultimately exploring the same identity. Some were butch, some were femme; gay, straight; young, old. Some knew that they were women their whole lives, some came to it as a later step of their personal evolution. Some had no problem with sex work, some strongly disapproved. Some cared about the physical reality of their bodies, some felt their truth transcended it. Some wanted to be out and proud as trans, some just wanted to be able to walk down the street without anybody noticing anything about them. These various aspects in various combinations gave each character her own specificity, which conveyed an incredible humanity. That was the best part of it to me-- that everything was so human.

You may be inclined to think that was just because it was drawn from actual people, not made-up characters. But I think it was because the piece seemed to be put together in the interest of telling the stories of THESE WOMEN IN PARTICULAR-- not representing TRANSNESS AS A CONCEPT TO ITS COMPLETE DIGNITY TO THE WORLD. If you know what I mean. There did not seem to be a lot of concern of "Are we taking all the precautions to be as correct as possible for educating the people?" A lot of trans narrative I've read, including personal ones, are very concerned with this, sometimes to the detriment of the story because it turns it into kind of a dry, technical lecture.

Now I totally understand why people end up doing that-- transness is so widely vilified and misunderstood, there is definitely a need to prevent misperceptions, stereotyping, and anything else that could damage the ability of actual trans people to live their lives. But I kind of appreciated that the ladies were not trying to give me a gender studies lesson, but rather to just talk about themselves, their journeys, their feelings, their lives as trans people. The transness informs every part of it, like, trans life in practice rather than just in theory.

Honestly, there were probably a lot individual positions represented that some people would find problematic. Many of them used controversial terms to describe themselves. One woman's first step on her gender journey was becoming a really accomplished drag queen. Another resented the idea of other transwomen who weren't willing to commit to genital surgery. But I kind of liked that the piece didn't judge any of them for it. Not because I necessarily thought all of their positions deserved to be beyond critique, but because their imperfections and vagaries made them that much more human. These were NOT object lessons on gender theory-- these were the stories of real people's real lives.

There also wasn't a huge emphasis on negativity. They DID talk about some of the dangers trans people faced-- they mentioned the murder rate of transwomen of color, for example, but not much other violence, like sexual assault, for example. I wonder if they should have talked about more. But on the other hand, it reminds me a bit of how there are no lesbian date movies because lesbians in film always die, so it's nice to be able to give a lot of time to happy stories of marginalized people. And they did talk about struggle, in a lot of very personal and individual ways.

I believe five out of the seven actors were actual transwomen, while the remaining two were played by men. That kind of surprised me. I wonder if any of the actresses had a problem with that, though from perusing their social media and stuff they all seem to be very proud of the project, and there were also transwomen involved in other aspects of production. In theory, I believe it's basically an actor's job to pretend to be something they're not, but with so few roles for trans actresses, I sincerely hope it was because they just couldn't find enough of them to fill all the roles. For the record, all the actors were great.

Overall, I highly recommend it, and I'd even be open to seeing it again, in case anyone would like me to go with them.

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Recent Productions:

2016 WCSF logo with Day

MRS. HAWKING part 1 and 2

at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Mrs. Hawking
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM


Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 6PM

Saturday, May 7th 2016
in the Auditorium at Government Center
at 119 School Street, Waltham, MA

Other Achievements:

"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

Latest Month

February 2017



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