Sunday, November 22, 2015

IrishTheatre ( World Theater) doesn't like pregnancy.

Why do we deny actresses the opportunity to work?
I worked almost exclusively in Theatre for two decades. I won't say it's hard work, certainly not compared to a multitude of other occupations. But it is demanding. You can't call in and take the night off because you have a sick day to use. Or because you're invited to a wedding. Or because it's Christmas Day. No. The show must go on. And if you're cast, you show up. You can't even call to say " I'm running 20 mins late , sorry!".
So theatre actors are often robust creatures of habit. Doing 8 shows 6 days a week eats into your life. It does consume. Particularly with your headspace , as all focus from when you wake ( subconsciously or not) is towards the time of the curtain.
But its different for men and women. Women have to deal with a lot just to get a job. One job . There are less parts written for women. If they are cast, they are often supporting roles. And while it is far less than the requirement in TV and Film ( which is absolute) actresses are demanded to be sexy. Sexy while sad, sexy while mad , sexy while happy and super sexy while being sexy. And über sexy while being cast. OK, it's not as prevalent as that with casting .... Perhaps... But there is a pressure we male actors never have to think about. Actresses dress as the part for auditions. They are very prepared. Actors grab a good coffee on the way. And try to remember a good anecdote for the room. ( ok maybe that's just me)
So our actress gets a job. Maybe gets a few. She's the hot young thing ( men are never a "thing" btw ) .
She's in her twenties and the world is exciting and fresh. The hard work is paying off. She has a couple of months rent in the bank.
She may be in a relationship. Having been hit on by actors, directors and crew for years , things seem to be in a really good place. This could be the guy ( or gal) ( disclosure , I'm married to an actress I worked with.... and her costume was a nun's habit.  Go figure.)
So this is usually the start of the end for most actresses. You see the biggest threat to this woman is not the industry that's stacked against her because of availability of parts. No. The biggest threat is inside her body. The threat of having a child. The threat of becoming pregnant.
OK , it's not an occupation where you can work right up till labor , it would be difficult to hide a pregnancy on stage ( although it has often been done) while playing a young virgin falling in love for the first time, perhaps ! Rather like an athlete , pregnancy impacts work.
And this is where we in theatre, we supposedly caring empathetic artists , destroy actresses. You see by this time there's a younger sexy "thing" on the scene. While the new mom is exhausted at home with no paid leave, No longer willing to jump through hoops because perspective has arrived. We move on. New mom can't afford child care. And can't be bothered to organize an entire day to read a " mom role" ( to teenagers) on two days notice. Because damn it she's breast feeding and hasn't worked the pumping out yet.
And we move on.
And then the baby is starting to feckin teeth and she hasn't been getting any sleep, and she feels like shit and not wanted and the last thing she wants to do is put up make up and a dress that used to fit a little differently and basically say " want me " to a director . Because deep down , or not even that deep , she doesn't feel anyone could want her. Other than this damn kid that she loves , but is sucking her career away each day. And she can't even go out the way she used to with the gang for a break , because she's still not drinking, because the breast feeding is going on longer than she had planned. Everything is going on longer than planned. The hours in the house alone , the walks in the rain with the stroller covered up, the time between phone calls from her agent.
And then a year has gone. And we've moved on. And maybe she should think about a second kid . Well, because.
And we assume she has given up.
A high percentage of the women I've worked with who have sustained careers in theatre do not have children. I have no idea of numbers , it is just anecdotal, but to me it's true. I have know actresses who didn't want kids and could sustain a career . I have known actresses who have wanted kids but didn't have any because they were getting work. And didn't want to loose a career. And then found themselves at a precarious age to have their own child. And I have known and witnessed actresses whom I've admired , disappear.
My wife disappeared for 7 years,( but that's her story to tell ) .
So here's a suggestion for the Abbey. Or the Gate , or Druid. But mainly the Abbey.
Last years budget for the Abbey was something like 6.2 million ( I think I heard that number, I may be mad wrong) This suggestion does not cost much. Just announce next week that you will provide childcare during rehearsals and shows for any actress or director or playwright who works on a production. ( I'm presuming staff get leave) . What a great piece of PR that would be! What a caring gesture. What an incredible impact that could have on women's lives. Immediate impact. A simple gesture.
We loose too many voices because of childcare. I have been around actresses who have managed to do theatre while in the early stages of motherhood. And a more civilized work environment won't be found. Babies and moms at a work place make us all better. We all know that.
It's easier to be a mom acting in tv and film ( still hard) but I've been on sets where we work around feedings etc. And it makes us all better humans .
Lead Abbey Theatre. Lead .
It's a simple thing. Would you deny it to your wife? Daughter ? ( I'm addressing all who make the decision s there )
And why hasn't the 2016 program been changed yet? Were voices not actually listened to? Does stronger protest need to be planned ?
Because I know I'm holding back. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Great Craic with Micheal and Marian.

The brilliant producer Micheal Colgan fired me once.
And he was right to. It had a knock on effect that was to shape my life as an actor in a very positive way. But at the time it was a miserable experience. I had let my colleagues down, I had let myself down. (He did recently make an overture to have me back at the Gate, which unfortunately , I couldn't take up). It is not something I am proud of. I wish I had immediately learned something from that experience. I never got fired again, but the source of my problem, or rather the manifestation of my problem, alcohol consumption , was something I didn't  deal with for years to come. Needless to say I hurt a great many people during that time.
I'm sure Micheal Colgan hurt a great many people with his interview on the Marian Finucane  show. (btw I'm not suggesting he was drunk!) Lets face it, if you are a producer on that show and you want to have a person come and explain what Waking The Feminist is ....... Micheal Colgan may not have been top of my list. Unless it was an opportunity to finally hear about his record and what he had to say about it. But that didn't happen did it.
Instead I listened to one of the most brazen tone deaf interviews in a while.
You see, unlike Fiach , who will undoubtedly bounce back , be stronger and loved , Mr Colgan sounded like some General who has no idea a revolution is taking place. Comical Micheal , if you like. The group started the discussion about WTFem with laughter. It was revealing in that it genuinely felt like they were all talking about something for the first time together. In a back room. And that it didn't matter much. Which was alarming when paired  with interviews with Fiach and Garry Hynes , both of whom it seems this will be a defining moment in their professional and personal lives.
Not so with Mr Colgan. He was dismissive from the beginning, with valid reason. He couldn't get a seat for the Abbey event. No seat was kept for him. He even called only 25 minutes after the seats were released and couldn't get a seat. Somehow this showed how silly WTFem was.  He couldn't think of the word "viral" , one must presume because he is immune to whatever virus WTFem is spreading. He talked about Fiach's  "house" and had a dig about  budgeting. He gave us a lovely image of himself ( away from those horrible computer thingys) not only a voracious reader of novels, but of female novelists. That's how comfortable he is with women. He did feel that the whole thing had blown up rather too much but conceded that everything had in fact changed . And yes, eventually he said there was a disparity. But you got the feeling listening that everything was grand. Although as the discussion progressed I got the feeling Comical Micheal started to hear distant rumblings of tanks progressing up Abbey St and making a difficult right on O'Connell St.
Nobody asked Mr Colgan anything. They just let him talk. And give his opinions. Shine the brass on his shoulders.
I really didn't know what he was doing . Until he played his trump card. Or cards. Turns out Mr Colgan had 6 queens in his back pocket all the time. He placed them gently on the table before us. He has six women working for him he told us. Six women and himself making the decisions for the Gate Theatre.
Why has the Gate not been held up as an example of  how to do things correctly ! Talk about righting the wrongs of the past. Six women. And Mr Colgan.
This information threw up so many questions for me I momentarily stopped worrying for any women related to Kevin Meyers. If every women in Irish Theatre was clamoring to get to the Abbey to voice their , well, voice , were these six women there also? . Do they diagree ? Why have we not heard from them? The Gate 6 . Showing how they run a Theatre ( with Mr Colgan) the right way. Not like the Abbey.
I would love to hear from them. Or hear them talking with Mr Colgan.
Something doesn't add up.
And doesn't the fact that there are no men seem a little odd. Maybe I'm old-fashioned and not the progressive that the Gate courts, but I don't know. That just seems odd.
Equally odd is the fact that I haven't heard much from the WTFem about his interview. Maybe thats not what they're about . I haven't seen much reaction online . Maybe Mr Colgan is right and its all over. Maybe I've read it all wrong.
Mr Colgan has presided over many storms. I will forever be jealous of him. Having had relationships with Beckett, Pinter , Friel in the manner in which he had, would fill any producers resume with such quality that everything must seem mundane.
Even women making noise in the Abbey.
Maybe those gallant women driving those revolutionary tanks from the Abbey have actually made a left. Maybe they are not interested in The Gate. Its full of their own, surely.
But if they are , and if they listened they way I listened, we'll be hearing more of Comical Micheal soon. At least I hope we do.

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Wake at the Abbey. Boycott the Gate?

It looked amazing at the Abbey yesterday, and yet , like plays that are recorded ..... you need to be there  to get the full effect. Thank you to the people who organized it and periscoped it.

I was thinking of the word Wake. Yesterday was billed under the magnificent banner of Wake The Feminists. But while I watched I thought of it in the terms of an irish wake. It was the celebration of someone (thing) who had lived a long life, too long really, and now it is time to bury him. So we had a lot of speeches about the corpse yesterday. Some were careful to announce that he had some good qualities , and it was appropriate in his house that he be spoken of with some respect. But we all knew this guy  was an asshole, really. He had treated all of the mourners with contempt for decades. And so when the women were waking him , they were celebrating their own empowerment.
But it is only a wake. The story goes that irish wakes are 2/3 days to make sure the corpse is dead. As happy as I was to witness yesterday. I want to see the funeral. I want to see him lowered into the ground ( or cremated, less fuss, and you can have glee tossing the ashes) . But it is important that he ( the history of exclusion) is buried. Then its time to get rid of his belongings, clear the house , get a fresh coat of paint on his moldy room and invite people over.  He wasn't a nice guy. And it needs to be done fast. Otherwise we are back in the same house and everything looks and feels the same.And remember the will seems to be saying that the deed will be handed over . Of course the will hasn't been read yet. Thats a problem.

I , along with the audience applauded Fiach for his speech yesterday. It was brave to sit there, he applauded everything that was said, although almost everything that was said was damning towards him and the institution. Thankfully there isn't a witch hunt. Because he has humbly admitted he was wrong. Very admirable and brave.
But Fiach needed a director and another speechwriter yesterday.
Fiach don't read a speech whose pertinent line was " I didn't look up" with your head buried in your notes. In fact don't read notes. All you needed was two friggin words. Spoken looking at this incredible gathering. You stand up. You Pause. You take a breath and say  ... "I'm sorry".
the ubiquitous forms of 12 step programs focus on the first step of admitting you have a problem. They then go on to suggest a house cleaning of "character defects" , which you have to look at first of course. But then these programs suggest you make an apology . When said apology is made you  ask the poor unfortunate who had to deal with your horrible behavior , is there anything that one can do to make things better.
Fiach is stuck on step one of admitting he has a problem. I heard nothing of his list of the Abbeys defects clearly spelled out. He did not issue an apology , and then told the victims of his ( Abbey's) behaviors what they would do to fix it. Errrr no. No . Thats not how it should work. Thats ridiculous. Cop on.
You say your sorry . You ask the 600 people in the room what they need to make it better. Don't rant on about boards and shit ! they are sitting around you !!!! "Im sorry, and I'll be in the office for the next month asking you how can I fix it for YOU ".
Made me angry, not at Fiach , because he is a really good person . But we all have to Wake up.
Does the Gate theatre actually exist in Dublin? Does it have some kind of diplomatic immunity ? Is it the embassy of some foreign tyrant? Is it time to boycott it?

Mr Colgan wasn't there yesterday. ( although I believe the Gate  was represented) Mr Colgan has said nothing on this debate. That I have seen, perhaps I'm wrong. Nobody from his staff have said anything that I can see. Their silence speaks volumes. Mr Colgan is the brilliant producer of Beckett and Pinter  but his admiration of silence and a pause regarding WTF is alarming even by their standards.  Mr Colgan , by his silence has reaffirmed the status of his theatre company regarding women. Given the nonexistent female voices in that ivory tower at the end of O'Connell st. , what can one assume other than his total disregard for female voices. Even now, when it is the loudest shout in the history of irish theatre.
 Mark my words , when he does speak he will say he was giving space for the WTF to be heard. It was about the Abbey specifically yada yada.
Unless these two men  ( Abbey / Gate ) announce  immediate  new programming change , the corpse will not have been buried. The wake will continue . And if the wake continues, a boycott of the two main Theatres in Dublin should be called for. No more putting it on the long finger. There's talk of committees already !!!!!!!
 I have no idea what Garry Hynes will do. The first woman ever to win a Tony for directing, and she built  that with the help of her female friend from a sleepy fishing town in the West of Ireland! Two kids still in college . They are extraordinary examples of strong female practitioners. Not just in Ireland but world wide. But even she has  risen her hand to say Druid should be looked at too. And it should be. We all need to look at ourselves.
But particularly us men.
Watching the Estrogen Rising yesterday I had this one funny thought. Imagine if this was men. What type of discourse would be happening if we were the excluded. How quick would we be demanding change to happen?
And lastly ....... would men rally with this passion, enthusiasm and dignity to enter a profession that would surely condemn us to a level of poverty. That to me is the truly beautiful thing about these incredible female voices. Its a fight to be heard, nothing about money. In what seems like decades of men roaring about Celtic Tigers and then Austerity. Woman are stepping forward to just say, "listen". "Stop." "There another way." How beautifully refreshing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

You wanna play ?

 Isn't it strange that when the veil was lifted on the Wake The Nation program from The Abbey , it was actually lifted from our eyes?  It was so simple and clear the absurdity that was being presented. It is absurd ( that's why changing the program must happen). But what has occurred since has been equally odd. In a good way.
                                            I remember a day as a young man in London deciding to shave off my beard. I wasn't working at anything. I knew I would never be an actor so I was living vicariously through my girlfriend who had, remarkably, secured a West End job straight from Drama school. I sat in a basement off Ladbroke Grove and shed the bearded, tweet jacket wearing image, I had been cultivating.  It was shocking to see this fresh faced youth looking back at myself. Lost really. 
Then the radio announced the Berlin Wall was coming down.  What !!! Just like that? No warning, no one  had informed  me it might happen. No one  had suggested I run out and grab a Guardian newspaper and get caught up on what I needed to think. It just happened, or at least I felt like it had just happened. From my perspective. I sat with my baby complexion and watched scores of people drive through this impenetrable divide. It was incredible , and I was shaved for the occasion. It felt like anything was possible in the world.
                                         In a way, ( and I'm aware this may sound absurd too) I feel I'm witnessing something similar in Ireland. This great wall around Theatre has collapsed. It seems almost easy. Although the truth is women have been throwing themselves at it, trying to break it or scale it,  while I wandered around the garden inside. Blissfully smelling the flowers . A decade ago I realized it was a garden I didn't want to be in, but thats another story. This garden is about to be cultivated. And it's not before time. The soil is old. It doesn't produce like it used to. Nobody really seems to know what to grow anymore. Nobody really cares what it produces. Lets be honest. 
                                           But here come the women. Finally. To save us.To help us all grow together.
                                         The crazy timing of it all really helped. Fiach's mad dash to the airport may be the greatest moment in Irish Theater. Seriously. A PR machine was not able to respond to dampen the questions from the first responders. Lian Bell and Belinda McKeon , among others, were not rebuffed thoroughly enough. The ridiculousness of Fiach charging off on holiday after the business was announced highlighted the complete institutional blindness. His hasty tweets do however show the reason why change will happen. They were very human. He shouldn't have replied , he pressed send . There was no pause. He had a flight to catch, probably a passport to locate and all that too too familiar rush we all are engaged in. And then he went silent.
                                           It was beautiful. A space was created to whisper, shout, rail. Moments of personal reflection buoyed by collective support. #WakeTheFeminists rallied. The wall came down because we on the inside were on vacation. We didn't realize the gate used for entry was hopelessly small. As I watch women stream in now, I see amongst them Irish speakers, Travellers, Immigrants, LGBT,Disabled etc. I hope I do.  I see the real world. 
                                         So what is it all about I wonder. As I, thankfully get older , I know it all to be play for me. Life is just play and storytelling. Nothing else, for me.  I find myself pretending to be something that my deep insecurities tell me I'm not. I act at being a good father, a good husband, a good friend. As I do this people respond to me as if I am and I believe it. And become it. I fail miserably at various times daily of course. But I actively participate in the story of who I am. The world is, in fact , a stage. And we are, indeed, all players. But its no fun playing on your own. 
                                          Imagine a playground where we witness boys in control of all the playing structures. Occasionally letting a girl or girls  play with us.  Imagine that. No, really, conjure it. Ok. When I listened to Fintan O'Toole suggest on the Women's podcast ( with the enlightening Ms Donohue and Ms McKeon) , that a women's theatre festival be set up  in response , I guffawed. So his reaction is to create a special corner of the playground for girls to do their own thing. This is a very smart man whom I admire. As is Fiach. And they are just wrong. Not a judgment on the good people they are. They are just wrong. At the moment.  No Biggie. 

                                           Listen , men. My brothers. The jig is up. We don't own the playground. Our job is to listen and encourage the voiceless to speak. That's all. Here's the thing, these girls won't take over the playground and keep us out, like we did with them. They don't want that, from anything I've seen . They just want to play. We all get to play together. Its a joyous thing. We just have to listen. And let someone else lead. We will all change as a result of this. And it will be better. And we will grow together. It will be uncomfortable, and mistakes will be made by us all. But the change has happened. The wall is down. 
                                            Well done to the Abbey for opening it's door to the meeting, and for Fiach to attend. I presume Garry Hynes and Micheal Colgan will be there listening too. And Heather Humphreys ( if she's not too busy searching for the next board member for IMMA) . And Orlaith McBride.  I will be listening with great excitement . Maybe even on  Irish radio that we now learn has 78% male voices ..... well I mean that has to change too , right? Who decided that ?  Thats not right is it? I guess that should be changed while we're here. And what exactly is going on in the Film and TV industry? Who has the numbers ? Its all about numbers you see. Just plain simple numbers. Not hysterical women. 
And while we're here , who the hell says I decide what happens in your body. In YOUR frigging body !   ah here....
                                            Before the meeting starts in the Abbey, some of the leaders of the group hosting the meeting should stand outside the GPO and read a proclamation that women voices will be heard, and then walk down Abbey St.. Turns out the Revolution will start 99 years later.

                                         Thats just a suggestion by the way.   I'm not telling you what to do. I'm really just interested in listening. Its not my time . Its women's time . I know that.  

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Exciting times at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

November 4th 2015.
Los Angeles.

 I'm a little giddy.
 I was angry. Not for long, I did have Twitter to vent a little. And I talked to some people. And I made little decisions and plans . That made me feel good. I don't like feeling angry. It's usually a lonely place. Even now with our "social" platforms it seems futile letting ones feelings be revealed as there is usually someone with  as strong opposing feelings with much more time and faster typing skills to contend with. You know those anonymous cowards.
 But this time I see something happening. Out of anger mostly, initially at least. Heads are popping around corners, curtains are being pulled back. The unmistakable sound of shackles being dropped. Something is afoot. Someone has said the Emperor has no clothes. The murmor has started. A shout is heard. Soon , very soon, this will become a roar.
 I'm a little giddy.
 The most moving political moment in my life so far was the legalization of same sex marriage in Ireland. The journey ( in the end) to get there seemed lightening fast. It was joyous and exuberant, hopeful and free of cynicism. Of course it was overwhelmingly embraced. But where did the spark come from that set the tinder alight and burned so bright, it was seen around the world?
The Abbey stage!
A friggin Theatre! But listen ... it wasn't even part of the play that night. It was a speech afterwards. A call to converse.
It gets better; it was a man, dressed as a woman, being honest about horrible discrimination in his life.   And we all got to see it on "social" media. Millions of us, in Ireland and around the world. Of course the great thing was the Abbey , our National Theatre, got behind it all. No doubt it's proudest moment. It led, almost by accident, and the country followed. It was glorious. It was needed.
And now it's time for the really, really, big change. Once again the Abbey has allowed a space for the spark to be lit. Unknown to itself it seems. But the burn has started. We must collectively fan this flame and once again show it to the world.
Women in Theatre are not second class citizens.
Women in Ireland are not second class citizens.
Women in the world are not second class citizens.
My mother and my sister have not been given the same chances as my father or me. Thats a fact. A fact I disagreed with, and was cognizant of , but did not do enough to rectify. When organizing any arts events I strove to have parity in gender, I thought I was on the front foot with this "issue".
I was wrong.
I'll share my moment of enlightenment. I have a depressing addiction to following the exploits of Celtic FC. I try to watch games, on my computer at ungodly hours. For a middle aged man, I have a worrying amount of Celtic Jerseys taking up closet space. My two young daughters (7and 5) are aware of my affliction. I don't watch sports on TV though. That's their domain at weekends, and family movie night. But, when the last world cup came around, I decided to liberate said flatscreen to a few games.
Then it happened. At the beginning of some first round game, Molly turned to me and said "why do you only watch men playing sport ?"
I looked at my daughter , I didn't know what to say. Because she looked disappointed . Disappointed that her Da (that tells her she can do anything , is equal in every way to every other human being) doesn't care about girls sports. I was jolted. How could I be so blind.
The only tv show I watch regularly is "Later with Jools Holland". When I discovered it on a cable channel here, I thought , I must get the girls to have a look at this. Some amazing musicians, an eclectic mix, be good for them to witness.
The girls took to the couch. We watched, and then they immediately  started doing it. The thing they always do  now. They count the girls in the band. First thing each new group comes on. The girls start ....'One, Two .....". they decide who they'll be. Then they rock out. Or not.

My girls look to see if they are reflected. In everything. My other sporting passion is the NY Mets (who played in the World Series last week). I haven't had to watch them for a decade because they've been so bad, but watching recently, Molly became distressed that she could never become a baseball player. She could never become a member of the Team I was leaping and screaming passionately about.
I remember when I fell into Drama School in Dublin, I started to go see some theatre. I had made it to 18 having seen just one professional Play ( at the Abbey) and only a few movies in the cinema . I never really thought I was going to become an actor. I mean a real one. Gracing the Abbey. How could I ? I was from Cavan. It seemed only Dublin people were on the stage. It was the 80's , culchies were culchies. And then one night I watched Brendan Gleeson stick his hand out from a toilet door (on stage , the Olympia or maybe Gaiety ) and introduce himself in a broad Cavan accent . His name was Valentine. The play may have been called House, it was great etc .... but all I still really remember was there was a Cavan character. And I still remember the feeling the quiet voice inside me that said , I could do that. I'm from Cavan.
What must it feel to be a female playwright in Ireland? When our National theatre says you're not important. We don't need to hear you. And it does so with the best intentions at heart. It does so unbeknownst to itself. It does so being run by enlightened people.
It is a profoundly difficult, lonely job being a writer. A playwright perhaps even more so, because your chances of seeing a production of your work is tiny. And it's a life of poverty for many. How about that? Why would one want to do it? Well of course there's an awful lot of reasons why! Which I'll not get into, as it would demand a discussion on Theatre (which I believe is broken almost beyond repair yada yada ).
But if one did want to become a playwright, and you spent your time being poor and you have your manuscript . You finally look up , and you have a play that is extraordinary, about , say ,The Easter Rising ... And if you are a female Playwright,  you have a voice , and you have a story .... who do you give it to? To celebrate it. To celebrate your voice? Well obviously not the Abbey Theatre.
The same Abbey Theatre that wrote to the son of Irish immigrants in London 20 years ago  to give him advice to stop writing ( literally stop) when he submitted a play called the Beauty Queen of Leenane to it. Because he thought maybe his voice would be welcomed there. But it wasn't. Now it wasn't welcomed at any other theatre either btw.
 This year female Playwrights weren't programmed into next season at The Manhattan Theater Club in NYC. There was , thankfully, uproar. So this is not a peculiarly Irish phenomenon.
But maybe we also have a history of crushing female voices across our ( Irish )society. Maybe this can  be about playwrights and more.
Maybe the Abbey can, within a year,  cause another storm. I encourage them. It should happen. It will happen.
I assume an apology is being typed up to be issued to female playwrights. I assume corrections will be made. I assume this is a moment to be seized by them (Abbey), and embraced . Embraced fully , spectacularly. Other wise it should cease to exist.
And the rest of Irish Theatre should pause, and reflect. It is long past time for change all across Irish Theatre. Its long past time for change in Irish society.
Finally something that would honor a rebellion for independence in 1916 ; a rising of women in 2016 ! Given voice through theatre and the arts. Now that's exciting. Throw the doors open. Let everyone see and hear what Irish women have to say. I want it. I need it.
This is an exciting time.
I'm a little giddy.