Tag Archives: improv

Scared shitless

Because I am nothing but honest with my readers/fans, I would like to share a little story. I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared shitless in my entire life. Why?

Well, it’s a long story and I’ll get to that. I was one of those children whose WORST fears when it came to anything social was being in a crowd and not knowing what to do. The feeling that everyone knew what to do but me. Especially if I was being watched or anything was expected of me. There are certain things I have trouble memorizing (sequence, for starters.) The reason I write out-of-sequence, before putting pieces together.

When it comes to acting plays you can see where this may become a problem. As a child I opted out of anything that I’d have to learn rules/sequence (except dance, but even then I ended up joining a troupe of mostly improv moves, subtle visual cues and just learning to trust my fellow troupe dancers and myself)

I always thought if I got into acting, I would suck at improvisation and was always terrified to try. But it’s the monologues I’m having trouble with.

Tonight we had our first “stumble through” of our upcoming play. Not only did I get the impression everyone knew more than I did- They did. They all knew their lines either in part or whole. Yes, as a mystery dinner theatre it’s partial improv with some monologue that we’re allowed to play a bit with. Ok. BUT… I’m a busy woman (no excuse). Let’s try again. I’m riddled with fear (nope, that’s not right either) I rewrote my monologues last night (that’s the truth) and failed to memorize them on time, then panicked and forgot everything I did have memorized (all my other lines, when to come in, last lines of others’ monologues so I knew when to come in- my guiding star. Etc.)

I’ve discovered a lot about myself in this endeavor. 1. I’m learning all about ME. 2. As long as I know WHEN I come in, I can memorize anything I damn want. I always knew that where my efforts of sequence are AWFUL, my skills of memorization are precise, quick, photographic. As long as I know what line to listen for an actor to say, I know exactly where to come in and how. So put the new monologue aside, realizing that’s a non-worry and it’ll be completely memorized by tomorrow. It’s when actors change their lines on stage that confuses me, then leaves me with that “everyone knows what’s happening but me” sensation.

See, tonight I tried to go “au-natural” my term for NO SCRIPT (except my new monologues, one nearby to glance at briefly, the other longer one on a piece of paper to glance at in my hand.) The rest I went over enough to remember where I came in, since my miscellaneous lines are brief and mainly improvised when I speak them. I have nothing against my fellow actors improvising, when done at me I can usually respond pretty quickly. But when they add, forget or change that last line of theirs I had memorized to know where I follow, all is lost, and I’m like… Duuurrr….

Anyway, I am learning to overcome that, along with my childhood fear. I learned: Even if that is the case, nothing bad happened! The world did not end, I did not die, I did not run out of the room, people did not stare at me funny or make fun of me or decide I’m horrible on the spot. I was ok. I am ok. And that’s the best thing to remember.

So moral of the story, Trust yourself, and listen to your inner voice.

You’ll surprise yourself every time.

-Stacey Katheryn

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“To survive, you must tell stories.”

-Umberto Eco

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