When I was 19, I had an audition to get into the theatre program at Mount Royal College. After a lot of success in drama and theatre in junior high and high school, I was a bit cocky. I was comfortable on stage, probably more so with improv than scripted monologues, like the one I had to perform for the Mount Royal audition. We were required to perform a monologue and song. I memorized the monologue the week before and I chose my favourite Gershwin song to sing. I read over my lines over and over again, while my nerves increased as I saw people go in ahead of me. And then it was my turn, I entered the black painted theatre room, stood in the spotlight and squinted at the panelists in the shadow. A big voice boomed, “Andrea Marston please begin…” Please begin… my mind heard it but my mouth and brain could not coordinate the words of that monologue and for a second I was thrown but then I thought, “Screw this I am making up my monologue”. I remained in the intended character and made up the whole damn thing but I thought I pulled it off with my improvising. And then the big voice boomed, “That was off script. (long pause) Do you want to sing your song?” I choked out a yes and belted out “I Got Rhythm” with tears running down my face and my ever-so pathetic performance was received with a weak applause and, “Maybe next year Amanda.” Yeah, they called me the wrong name as I left the room to really dig that knife to my heart.
After that dastardly performance, I did not step on the stage again until 9 years later at a level one Loose Moose adult improv class. I remember that first class and how effing nervous I was. I was performing at a theatre I loved so much in front of a teacher who I had seen perform countless times and I was terrified. And then I got on stage and realized I get to use that door, that revolving wall, that window and that legendary couch I had seen in countless scenes at the Moose. The phrase that comes to mind when I think about that feeling, “A kid let loose in a candy shop” because all those old feelings of goofing around in drama class while doing improv in high school came rushing back to me. All that fearlessness that I lost was found and along with it was the awesomeness of being an adult and really not giving a crap what you look like when you are being funny and caring what people think of me. After about three level 1 classes, I moved up to the hard to find level 2 classes at Loose Moose. Those classes really elevated me to the next level by allowing me to perform with people with a little more experience and getting to step a bit away from the theatresport games and more into scene work. Plus, along the way I got to be taught by some of my Moose favourites like Rob Mitchelson, Andrew Phung, Dave Lawrence and Dennis Cahill. The place where I had been a loyal audience member since I was 15 years old, brought me back to my love of performing.
Unfortunately I am a girl with a little too much on her plate these days with working just about two full time jobs and all. My schedule has not allowed me to work within the Loose Moose’s volunteer for company classes and the chance to get on stage system. There has also have been no level 2 improv classes at the Moose for a while. So I have not taken a class since the summer and not having a creative outlet while dealing with life in the corporate world makes me a bit psychotic. So when I saw the Kinkonauts were offering level 2 classes, I jumped in! After really enjoying their last couple of show weeks, I was really optimistic about the class.
The last four weeks have been amazing. The Kinkonauts style is different from the Loose Moose in that it does not involve games, other than warm-ups, and the instructor does not jump in and give you notes until the end of most scenes. I feel like this style of performance let me experiment with my stage partner and gave us more power to see where the scene goes. This freedom on stage has really let me feel more confident and less afraid of making a mistake. My instructor Owen Chan, who is a wonderful performer with the Kinkonauts, was supportive and constructive in his criticism and his boisterous laughs ensured us all, we were on the right track. The icing on this sweet Kinkonauts cake was that I got to perform with old friends from other classes, people I have been lucky enough to have seen perform and was introduced to some awesome new friends. In the end this Kinkonauts class has inspired me to make more time for improv in my life because it makes me happy, and while money is great, happiness just makes life sweeter. Who knows maybe I will one day even be brave enough to perform on a stage in front of more than 10 people too?
Go check out the Kinkonauts unique style of comedy at shows running at the end of the week! For more information visit the Kinkonauts website.
Until next time, keep finding reasons to laugh everyone because it makes the world a little bit brighter!
Lots of love!