Return to site

Loving the Long Commute

Making the Most of the Subway

· theatre,New York City,Books

As if having a 40-minute commute isn't hard enough already, I also have to deal with all of the malfunctions the MTA is having during what can only be described as "The Summer of Hell." I am lucky if my commute is 40 minutes long these days; it usually veers more towards the one hour mark. However, I have found a way to make the most of my long (and sometimes longer) commute.

I am usually the type of person who has to have a very controlled environment with no distractions in order to get a goal accomplished. Travelling by myself on the train has become one of those controlled environments. Yes, there are distractions ("It's showtime!"), but the majority of my ride is quiet, albeit slow. During my daily commute, I take the time to switch between listening to music, podcasts, or reading. My actor friends in LA have a ton of time in traffic, where they listen to audiobooks, etc., and my commute serves as an opportunity to look for new audition material, learn (or re-learn) a language, or just read a good book.  

I've decided to list what is in my current rotation; hopefully, you'll like some of the choices.



100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write: On Umbrellas and Sword Fights, Parades and Dogs, Fire Alarms, Children, and Theater by Sarah Ruhl

  • Playwright Sarah Ruhl puts together a beautiful compilation of essays on various topics she had written over the course of 5 years.
  • I haven't gotten to the day job essay yet, but I still find myself chortling on the train while reading this compilation of essays by comedian, writer, and mental health advocate Sara Benincasa.
  • 97 scenes and monologues written by women and trans playwrights should be enough to tackle any commute, no matter how long. 
**Yes, I totally carry all three books (and the plays that are listed below) in my bag at the moment. The one advantage LA actors have is that they can leave their stuff in their car. If I leave my stuff on the subway, it is very unlikely that I will see it again. My bag(s) is not as heavy as you would think. I've found that when I only carry one book/play, I give myself excuses to not read it. When I carry multiple, I am never bored. And because each of the books are divided into vignettes that are smaller than chapters, I can easily go back and forth between books or just read a few vignettes and still learn something.


I'm Gonna Pray for You So Hard by Halley Feiffer

  • This young playwright/actor writes the darkest and funniest stuff. Can't wait to be in one of her plays.

All This Intimacy by Rajiv Joseph

  • So, I saw a regional casting call for one of Rajiv Joseph's unpublished plays that had a Russian character in my age range and immediately wanted to see if there were characters my type. All This Intimacy definitely has a wide age-range of female roles.

Oil by Ella Hickson

  • I saw this play last Thanksgiving in London at the Almeida Theatre and this is the best play I've ever seen. It bridges style, time, and space. It left me speechless and perhaps even writeless. I am determined to be in a production of this play, even if I have to produce it myself. It definitely encapsulates the damaging creation of where the Western world is today. Wow. 


Let's Play: The CREATE Podcast with Kristin Hanggi and Natalie Roy

  • If you have ASMR, you will LOVE this podcast. What's better than two powerful women with the most soothing voices ever telling you that you can accomplish your dreams? Throughout this podcast series, Kristin and Natalie combine the biz and spiritual learning and healing to help set you in a goal-oriented and fired-up mood about tackling your latest creative endeavors. 
  • Yep, those are Russian words spelled in the Latin alphabet. It translates to, a helpful website and podcast (under the same web address as the name) for people who are looking to learn how to speak Russian or in my case, relearn. I gotta get prepped for all those spy roles when this joke of an administration is over, right? 
What do you do on a road trip or long commute? Got any recommendations? I'd love to hear them.