Thursday, July 15, 2010


Today I weigh 63 pounds less than I did six months ago. Since the initial weigh in on January 15th, I had not stepped on a scale.

At six this morning I stumbled out of bed knowing this was the day. The six month anniversary of my flipped switch. ON Fitness. ON Health.

It’s ridiculous, for I already knew of my great progress regarding my weight. The new clothes. The waist sizes not worn since 1992. But still, as I went downstairs to the basement where the scale sits in its judge’s chambers, I felt my stomach drop as I stepped on and waited that two to three seconds for the digital numbers to pop out a verdict.

What I did not expect was my reaction to seeing the number and doing the math. And then realizing “this is real”. For those who have not battled their weight, it may all seem the stuff of a bad Oprah episode. But for me, my war with food is something I've waged in shame – like so many people. Through reckless eating, I gave birth to ½ a new self - a coating that encased the born me and sought to give protection for many, many years.

Assaulting me was a sense of relief mixed with intense mourning. That other self is now gone. He did his job and had to go. But I’m not sure he’s fully accepted that yet. When I cross in front of a pane of glass and catch the transparent reflection, he is ghosting there for a fractioned second before being replaced by the true image. And when I bathe and stroke the soapy cloth over my body, I feel him wanting to be washed too – but when you’re gone, there is no need to shower. How can I tell him this in a way that is not hurtful? He worked so very hard to protect me, never understanding that he only perpetuated my pain and anxiety.

So for now, I am both exuberant and haunted. I have pride in my dedication to adopt new respect for my body and well-being. I give great thanks for the support of friends and family. But I also face the ghost of that extra me. And I wonder – with a touch of fear and a lot of curiosity – if this next phase is about a gentle fading into a permanent good-bye, or the revelation of a needed exorcism to rid myself of the risk…that he will demand a return.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wet Ink

Check it out!
Playwrights West: Wet Ink
A Festival of Hot-Off-the-Press New Play Readings

by Matthew B. Zrebski

Saturday June 26th at 8p
Sunday June 27th at 2p


Chris Murray as LEVIN

Cecily Overman as LEANDRA

Nathan Urbach as HADRIAN


Natalie McDonald as the Stage Reader

"A man with many secrets. A woman with many secrets. A teenage boy who loves to spy as their secrets collide. Because he has a secret too…a secret about his origins…his birth…from the dangerous fire sparked by a kiss. And he’s about to make his move..."

All tickets are "Pay What You Will". Get tickets at the door or go to: And be sure the check out the schedule for all the other incredible plays.

And for more information on Playwrights West: HERE

Thursday, June 10, 2010


In a nutshell, I love the show Glee, because it dares to offer an optimistic release in the midst of a cynical entertainment landscape. Cynicism is celebrated in our culture. And I can hardly blame anyone for that. How could one not be cynical these days? But truth is, cynicism is lazy. And it's easy. It takes no courage. It takes no thought. may take an intelligence laced acerbic tongue if you wanna get noticed. Nothing gets a bigger laugh than the cynical zinger in comedy these days. But really, it's safe. Don't hope. Live in fear of all intentions. Hide.


Glee has been a hit, because people crave a touch of rainbow filled, cotton cloud abandon. But even I could grow weary of that if it weren't for the other thing Glee is doing. It is working very hard to progress social causes and promote equality. Is it at times prescriptive? Yes. Forced? A bit. But necessary? ABSOLUTELY. As a teaching artist, I have seen the positive impact this show is having in's huge, people. And it's exciting.

Over at they succinctly display my glee on this subject, pitting a moment on Glee against the sad truth in Congress as discussed by Rachel Maddow.

Check it out! HERE

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Trend Away!

A very quick blog post to say that I want this new trend to go away. Far away. It creeps me out. I don't know exactly why. But it does. And I'm sick of seeing them at the gym, worn by the type of people who "get ready" to go to the gym to "be seen" with finely coiffed hair and smelling of cologne and sprayed with fake tan. Those people keep wearing these ...


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cool Art, Man

Three recent cool things...

1. Hey, Nostradamus by Douglas Coupland

Yes, I am incredibly behind in reading this acclaimed novel, but I have to say: wow. It captured me so fully, and the final narrative in the quartet was one of the most devastatingly bittersweet pieces of prose I have ever read. If you are interested in a moving exploration of violence and spirituality…true spirituality, then pick it up now…

2. The Human Centipede directed by Tom Six

Many will think I’m a nut for listing this as “cool”. But I do think it ranks as one of the boldest cinematic experiments I’ve seen in some time. Not unlike Antichrist in its audacity, it dares to take an audience into the realm of horror so uncomfortable, you either laugh or vomit. I have always been a fan of Cronenberg films – particularly Videodrome and The Fly. Like those films, Six investigates a purgatory on earth where one is caught in his/her own body as it hangs between life and death in a grotesque cage. I do not “recommend” it – most will curse the film, but I think it is quite an achievement…and it has stayed with me for days.

3. The Gray Sisters by Craig Wright, presented by Third Rail Repertory Theatre

I was so prepared not to like this play. You see – I dislike most monologues. I detest shows where people talk and talk and go on and on. And as a playwriting instructor, I consistently push my students away from using them. So when I learned that this newly commissioned play was a quartet of monologues, I groaned. I went to see the show, knowing that these four brilliant actresses were well worth the time – but I did not anticipate just HOW good they would be. And I certainly did not anticipate discovering my favorite Craig Wright play. His use of the one-sided monologue was so well crafted, so fresh, and the exploration of family, abuse, life, and death so rich...well, you get the point. Shame on me for pre-judging. And all applaud Third Rail for yet another brilliant production.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A handprint has touched me...

Tonight and tomorrow evening are the final two performances of Handprint Alley. This was a well paying commission to both write and score - and then direct a new theatrical work that would experiment with style, genre, and storytelling techniques. It has been one of the more ambitious undertakings of my entire career - and also one of the most fulfilling. Oh but did I mention?...

It's a high school show.

And therein lies the seed of this blog post. You see, over the past two weeks, I have had to hear no less than four times a statement akin to this: "I don't know how you do it. Aren't you sick of having to teach and do these high school shows to pay the bills?"

And with one exception, these comments came from colleagues who are, themselves, considered "teaching artists". What became evident to me - and this is no real shocker - is that many arts professionals do indeed take teaching gigs and do education based theatre (or dance, or music, or art) for the purposes of "paying the bills." To them, I say - stop teaching. If you are merely a frustrated professional artist who falls into teaching as a necessity, then you are not meant to be in that role... Judgmental? Maybe. But boy, do I mean it.

I write this as a simple response - from my heart. There is not one tiny atom in my body - not one shred of mental firings - not one kernel of spiritual ether - nothing, nothing, nothing within me that feels compromised whatsoever in my career for taking part in the beautiful communion between young artists and myself. It is a privilege to share and learn with young, gifted people. And as I get older, I realize just what a blessed life I lead to continue to spend much of my artistic energy in collaboration with such raw talent. I learn more from them than they could ever gain from me. I remember what authenticity is. I remember what first inspiration is. I remember the pure and simple joy of why I do theatre at all. And for that, I owe these young artists a great deal.

As for Handprint Alley - is it perfect? No. Of course not. It is a big, bold, often epic experiment in theatrical devices and song and myth and movement and visual relationships. I have much to consider regarding the piece once we close. But I do think in the course of my career, this play may be one of my most genuine. And there are beats that feel true - to the very core. I'm not sure I've ever reached that before. And it is precisely because I have been given this opportunity to work with youth that I was able to reach that goal.

I am happily breathing in these final two shows...filled with much love and appreciation.

Handprint Alley
written, composed, and directed by
Matthew B. Zrebski
Two Shows Left:
Friday May 21 at 7p
Saturday May 22 at 7p
$10 / $5
All tickets at the door
1151 SW Vermont St. Portland

Monday, May 17, 2010

a Re-Launch

This poor blog has been so neglected. Months and months have gone by without a post. I have no idea who will read this, given anyone keeping track gave up long ago. But I made a commitment that this blog would be there for me and no one else; I’d post when it felt right. And now…it feels right.

I could go on and on about the shifts in my life since winter fell on Portland. And there are days when I’d love to find words to illustrate my turn down a new avenue. But really…is it that interesting?

So I’ll keep it brief for now (someone told me brief blog posts should be the only blog posts).

Since my last post (October 14th!) I have opened seven full play productions and two readings – all new works. And I have lost approximately 45 pounds – maybe more. I can’t say, because I have not weighed. And I did not set out to lose weight. I set out to change my relationship to food and to stop indulging in wheat, non-fruit sugars, corn productions, and most white rice. The result? I am wearing a size of clothing I have not worn since I was 22.

But with this shift came a lot more. And if it feels right..I will blog about it.

Evil Grins…it’s good to be back,