Let me dust off the pages of this blog to update you on the latest micro-tragedy of my life. Ahem.
So for the last year and some change, I have been taking improv classes and workshops, and basically plunging myself into this hobby as a way of getting over a devastating breakup. Improv was therapeutic for awhile, and then as it became the focus of my social group and most of my free time, I began to develop anxieties about it. Nothing too out of the ordinary, just the usual sophomore slump.
Last month, all of a sudden, everything started clicking for me and falling into place rapidly. I was invited to an upper level performance class that involved five shows (a lot for a month!); as soon as class wrapped, we formed an independent troupe and were able to get a practice space, two shows booked, and a coach within the matter of days. I was also invited to play with another indie troupe in the area, this one quite established and with a good reputation. I started to feel like, hey, maybe I am good at this.
And then yesterday, I auditioned for the major improv company in town.
I did this last year as well. I (obviously) failed to get in, but strangely felt good about myself afterwards. At least I got out there! I tried! I wasn’t called back then, but afterwards one of my instructors told me that there had been “positive chatter” about my performance. I walked in this year thinking that if I didn’t get in, I would be just fine – I’m in two indie troupes that I would hate to leave anyways, so why worry?
Oh, but this year it felt SO much more personal. After waiting outside in the cold for what seemed an eternity, we were let inside and the director called out the list of names for the call-back. I listened and clapped loudly as each and every person present, with whom I’d been in troupes or classes or workshops, was announced. And then…”that’s all, folks.”
I bailed very quickly, not before enduring a few pitied glances cast my way, and ran over to the nearby diner with the one friend I knew who also hadn’t been called back. Had it not been for her, I probably would have walked off a bridge.
It’s the morning after, and I am trying as hard as I can to rally. After some supportive phone calls and messages from friends and troupe-mates, I am resolved to continue improv, even though at this point I feel like the universe has finally exposed me for fraud. I am James Frey-ing it, at this point. A lot of my friends ended up making the final cut, and I am very happy for them – or will be, once I get my head out of my own ass and stop feeling so sad for myself.
I don’t know what to do. Universe says, maybe I should stop this hobby, and maybe take up another one that doesn’t cause me so much emotional angst? This feeling echoes very much the breakup that caused me to delve into improv in the first place. But then — a lot of my social life revolves around improv. And I am unlikely to get any better if I just take my (red) ball and go home.
2014 in general has been a year of rough turbulence for me. I guess this makes up for a long stretch of years in which I was too happy and carefree to feel or express any real grownup feelings.
Vicki, the girl robot from “Small Wonder.” (Also, incidentally, the inspiration for one of the best scenes I have ever played).
Now, thanks to improv, I feel all of the feelings – glad and sad. (Mad? Afrad?)
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