I am a natural born worrier. I worry about being late, about getting hurt or embarrassed, about doing a good job and about making the people around me happy – pretty much on daily basis for as long as I can remember. There has been countless times I let fear get in my head and definitely in my way and too often I have lived to regret it. For a long time that translated into stage fright and it stole too many years away from my passion for storytelling.
Since January, fueled by the promise and vigor of a new year, I decided to plainly and simply get the eff out of my own way when it came to my pursuits in improvising. I have wholehearted jumped right into every opportunity I have had to take a class and perform. Sure that nagging feeling of fear rises up as it always did but pushing through and getting lost in a story or a character, makes every fibre of my being feel alive. And after being a corporate zombie for a few years now, it is a refreshing feeling indeed.
For the past month of Sundays I have been taking a class with a group of women that has really helped me conquer my nerves and grow confident with what I can bring to a scene and how I can support my partner on stage. The tools given to me by my ballsy, badass teacher Laura Tennisco really showed me how to be a powerful, present performer on stage. My favourite lesson I have learned from her class is the “cardboard box theory” – an old Keith Johnstone technique requiring improvisers to act like they have been in a cardboard box all week awaiting an opportunity to be on stage (aka the story of my life these days).
Tonight I got to celebrate my love for improv and all that I have learned with my talented class with Laura. We opened the show up with high energy and few hits and misses and it was as always joyful to perform with these lovely ladies. After us was a group of some my improv lady idols – Laura, the deeply talented and wonderfully grounded performer Renee Amber, the always hilarious Marie Boston and fresh from a stint with Second City *swoon* the ever engaging Lindsay Mullan. To even be associated in a show with these talented women was a huge thrill for this improv nerd! The night was awesome and made me fall even harder for improv!
If there is something that you are passionate about – like playing soccer, making music, cooking – and even if it does not pay your bills , make sure it plays a role in your life – no matter what common sense and all your worrying tells you. This is your life, so make it what you want it to be. And as for fear – punch that sucker right in the nads and get on with being happy.