The picture attached to this post was taken 53 weeks ago. It was from my sketch writing class with Kevin McDonald and the first time I had performed in front of more than 10 people in over a decade. 53 weeks ago performing in front of a crowd meant something completely different than it does today. At that time, I was terrified and spent a few minutes in the bathroom trying to muster up an excuse to get out of performing. The show was not that notable or fantastic, our sketches were okay but something in me must have changed on this day. Because today I jump in eagerly to any chance to perform, whether for 10 people or 100. In fact when I found there were not enough opportunities to try out new things I wanted to experiment with, I took the sage advice of my friend and improv guru Mat Mailandt, and together with my good friend and fellow comedy geek Christine created Giggle Duck.
Giggle Duck was created to give us a place to play around with short form and long form formats we don’t always get a chance to play in. We wanted to give this opportunity to people from all skill levels in the community to come play in a low stress and joyful environment. Christine has an amazing eye for set design and we now have three themed shows under our belt with the amazing support of senior members of the Kinkonauts and Obviously Improv. The community has been really receptive to our vision and we have had some really fun shows and workshops that embodies our vision for the group. When Mat asked us to open for the Fresh Notes Festival of Musical Comedy, I did what I started to do 53 weeks ago and jumped right in. We found a venue, we cast a show and we held two really well-received workshops before our show this past Thursday.
The show ended up being the epitome of what we had pictured a Giggle Duck show to be. Joyful and fun for people to play in and (hopefully) watch. It gave people like me who constantly go to shows and see cool shit done, a chance to try it all out. A place where you don’t have to be hesitant because of a nasty note that may be waiting for you after the show or a judgy scene partner. Giggle Duck promotes a judgement-free, fun show experience. And no matter what some antiquated critics may say, seeing people have a good time makes the audience have a good time too. It was nice to see every piece of worry and work put into the show, pay off. I was really proud of our show and our players.
53 weeks changed my life and rejuvenated my very soul. 53 weeks has lead me to my tribe of weirdos in this wonderful improv community and has brought me joy, momentum and friendships that 54 weeks ago weren’t in my life. 53 weeks ago I took a risk and 53 weeks later, I am so grateful for where I am and hopeful for the 53 weeks ahead of me and what I can accomplish, if I continue to just jump in.