My posts about my high falootin’ improv misery make me uneasy. I’m tired of my own whining. I was awfully tempted to take down yesterday’s post. I didn’t, because I want this to be an honest blog, and sometimes an honest look at the darker corners of our ego is ugly.
When I really take an honest look, I have had more success in sketch and improv than most people. More so in sketch/scripted works than in improv. That’s fricking great, and for some reason I focus on the parts where I didn’t bloom.
That’s not fricking great.
I have been blessed to have stage experience ranging from amateur to professional since I was 6. I had a glorious year as a chorus member in the New Jersey Opera. I performed in college shows. I performed in Chicago theaters. I WROTE and DIRECTED a part of a show (non-speaking, it was all movement) that received critical acclaim.
I choreographed and assistant directed a show that I ended up being immensely proud of and that consistently sold out both runs.
I have performed in dozens of shows just in the last three years.
Improv gave me a starting point. It gave me a new network of friends. It gave me an ability to LET GO and LET THE CHARACTER be. It gave me freedom as an actress. It gave me freedom as a writer.
It has given me access to some of the best and brightest in Chicago theater — writers, directors, producers, musicians.
I am inspired, when I’m not spiraling into my whole ‘Waaah, I’m not good at this.” silliness.
A Second City faculty member who is also a close friend (and probably one of the best teachers and music directors I’ve known) has seen a lot of my work. She was wonderfully honest with me the other day.
“You’re not an improviser. You’re an actress. You’re a writer. When you come on stage, all eyes go to you. You own the stage. You use basic improv skills to create characters. I love watching you on stage.”
For awhile all I could focus on was the “You’re not an improviser,” which I worried was an insult from someone who works in improv.
But I stopped. Last night I was musing my little pre-sleep musings and I heard the rest of her statement.
This is the moment when I need to accept and love what I am and see what I have.
I am feeling this way partly because I’m listening to that voice that tells me to stop the goddamned whining about improv. To see what it’s given me. To see how I’ve grown and HOW MUCH I’VE LAUGHED in the last few years.
Improv, that brilliant, wonderful art form, is not my calling…but it has been the bounciest springboard I could have asked for.
My inner 6-year-old is calling to my old fuddy-duddy ego as she bounces on that springboard! “Look at me now! Look what I can do!”
The other part of this is my main task today. A cohort at my kids’ school lost her husband the other week. She has three kids under five. She has said that she worries about what will happen when life “goes back to semi-normal” and the wave of support she’s had the last few weeks dies down as people go on.
I’m bringing her family dinner. I don’t know her well. I tend to over think these things and worry I’m treading on sacred ground or bothering her.
I’ve heard her at the school. She feels “done” — her hopes and dreams are darkened right now. Her focus is on figuring out how to explain to her children why Daddy isn’t there. Her focus is on figuring out how to go at this as a single parent. Her focus is on getting out of bed every day.
I woke with hope. Every day I can “worry” about these gifts I have the luxury of “suffering” through is an opportunity.
I’m shaking myself out of pity and looking at all I have and all I can do.
That 38 and 1/2 seems young today.