I made a new friend this week. Her name is Andie, and she’s not a real person. No – I’m not crazy. She’s my character from the 10-minute play festival that I acted in this weekend.
That’s right. I was in a play this weekend. For the past two weeks, I’ve been rehearsing every night, memorizing lines, blocking out movements, practicing being someone I’m not (sort of).
I used to be a part of a comedy improv troupe in college called Charcoal Pony and I loved it. I loved being on stage with my Charcoal Pony Family, performing with them, making people laugh. When I graduated, I didn’t realize how much I would miss those hooligans and all the laughter and love. But I missed it. A lot. I missed spending evenings with other funny people, other performers who also loved to be out on the stage providing joy for other people. I missed the adrenaline rush of a big show and the feeling of incredible joy and relief when it was over. It’s been a year since I performed on a stage and for a while, I was itching to get back out there, but I was nervous. What if I wasn’t any good anymore? What if I had lost the instincts? What if I hadn’t actually been good at it and my friends just helped prop me up? (They were probably joking when they called me “Weakest link”, but what if they were serious? You were joking – right, boys?)
Exchanging one date for another.
Two weeks ago, a friend of my parents texted me and asked if I would be interested in auditioning for a community theatre 10-minute play festival. With a little hesitation, I canceled the date I was supposed to go on that night (Sorry, dude…) and showed up to auditions with very little idea of what I was getting into. I read a couple of different parts and, even though I wasn’t expecting anything, got a text later that night saying that I got a part in the festival. If I was to accept the challenge, I would be going on a first date playing Andie.
You know what is so funny about Andie? She’s not a real person, but I know her. I’m familiar with her swagger, her inability to refrain from poking fun at her date. Even though it’s their first date. Even though her date is obviously extremely awkward and uncomfortable. Andie was good natured, confident, laughed easily, and had a total lack of control when it came to facial expressions. Andie and I are very much alike. (This is probably cheating, especially for my first theatre attempt.) Even so, she taught me a lot – mostly, she showed me why I’m so single. She’s bold and confident and says exactly what she wants, which would NEVER go over well on an actual date… [Please see Andie’s final line/flirting attempt: “We can go for a walk through the arboretum if you’d like. You can walk off all those chips.”] Sometimes, I say what I want, can be a little too confident for my own good, and I’ve learned that sometimes being bold is a turn-off… But if Tessa (Andie’s date) can accept Andie and me for who we are, I’m sure there is someone out there who will be enough of a saint to handle me. Or will at least have a good enough sense of humor to laugh through their annoyance.
If you’re out there, good sir, I look forward to one day walking off all those chips with you. 😉
Until then, I’m thoroughly enjoying trying new things, being bold, being confident, living the Andie/Bex life. I told my new theatre friends about my improv history and my desire to get back into it, and wouldn’t you know – they knew of SO MANY improv-ers and local improv troupes. Thanks to them, I’ve got some great connections to reach out to. I’m really excited, guys, the improv itch is back.
Remember, it’s always good to embrace yourself – no matter how bold, confident, or wild you are. And even more importantly, don’t let yourself stop doing something you love. I’ve spent a year away from improv and performing on a stage and I’ve missed it every second. Don’t waste that time like I have. Stick with it, keep practicing what you love.
Have a really wonderful week everyone!
Be a little bit like Andie, but not too much… Try not to insult anyone, if you can manage.
A big shout out of thanks to my AWESOME castmates and director, and everyone else involved in this play festival for being so wonderful and making my first real play experience fantastic.
Thanks for not laughing at me when I forgot my script on the first night (because I’m so used to not needing one with improv), and for helping me with fun chants so that I remembered what order my lines went in. I’d pour beer in a fake plant with you any day.
Also – Thanks to my family for coming out to watch my performance, and to Jordan and Thomas, the real MVPs – my only two friends to show up to laugh with me.