On Friday I shared how I should have been anxious about an impending Sunday afternoon workshop with comedy writer and actor Lauren Weedman, but wasn’t, and why that should have been a sign of impending doom. Or not.
I suspected the whole afternoon would serve as confirmation that I should never be on stage, but then I’d have a few laughs and maybe grab a selfie with Lauren for my blog.
I realized on my way to the theater that this would be the first time in a long time that I was engaged in something completely for myself with absolutely no end game in mind.
That never happens. Sure, I do stuff for me, but always there’s always a point:
I run so I can (a) stay sane and in relatively decent shape, (b) train for the next event, and (c) get away from people around here.
I write so I can (a) exercise my demons, (b) breathe, and (c) entertain fantasies about becoming rich and famous.
I work so we can keep up the facade of a life of luxury.
I used to actually have hobbies. Mike and I took a watercolor class once for fun. I made baby quilts for everybody else’s babies but my own.
Then we started reproducing and my hobbies became keeping little people from choking on Legos and stifling my gag reflex.
All that aside, here’s how the afternoon went:
Twenty people, hanging out in a theater. After the first ten or so introduced themselves, I realized I was one of a minority of people over the age of 20, and who didn’t have a background in theater.
I thought awesome, a room full of adolescent actors, and me completely out of my element. It’s high school play tryouts all over again.
We each introduced ourselves and explained what we hoped to get out of the afternoon.
I didn’t hope for anything in particular, but I like to talk about myself, so I shared the story the high school play tryouts. I expected a laugh.
Instead everyone felt sorry for me right off the bat. I must have been off my game. Inspiring a room full of pity was not what I was going for. Things could only improve from here.
The introductions were interspersed with stories about Lauren’s own professional experience and the creative process, and Lauren’s hilarious, so this didn’t drag on like it could have. The guy next to me didn’t know who she was and asked about her credentials, and I wondered who has three hours on a Sunday to listen to someone they don’t know, and then: WHERE have you been that you don’t know Lauren Weedman?
I’d seen a couple of her plays and read her book. I was about ready to jump up and recite her curriculum vitae.
And then I thought, Oh crap, I’m a stalker, or maybe a FAN. Yeesh.
Lauren focused mostly on writing comedy, and led a couple of interesting flash writing exercises I will use. We didn’t get all into performance or talk about method acting or the virtue of pretending we were trees or anything kooky.
Then we were asked to share something we’d been working on. We’d have only enough time for a handful of volunteers, though.
I could have sunk into my seat and kept my hand out of the air without looking at all like a coward. I wasn’t crazy about elbowing an adolescent hopeful out of the way to get my time on stage. I’d been there. It wasn’t my calling.
I was a teensy bit disappointed, though. I’d planned to share my Target story, which is pretty entertaining for those with a strong stomach.
Instead I was just going to have to leave all these people feeling sorry for me.
Then, I remembered sinking down into my chair isn’t really my modus operandi, nor is it all that all that interesting to write about, and of course I’m really all about this blog and you people. So, you know, you’re welcome.
And there was the fact very few hands were going up. It was kind of amazing. I’ve worked with actors and reticence to share isn’t really their thing.
I thought well, crap, it’s like the UNIVERSE is calling me.
So I was one of a total of three people who shared. I told my Target story and I could feel my voice trembling. I’m pretty sure I was gesturing enough that everyone could see my armpit sweat stains, and I probably flashed the front row with my lower belly, and all its glorious stretch marks.
No, it wasn’t brilliant, but people laughed. They laughed three or four times actually, and all at the same time too, so I was pretty sure they weren’t texting each other jokes or anything. That was awesome.
And Lauren was complementary. She said I was funny and offered some thoughts on how I could improve the piece. She said she could envision something for the screen, like the way they set up Sex and the City, with Carrie Bradshaw closing out each episode as she wrapped up one of her columns.
That’s right. This girl. Just compared to Sarah Jessica Parker. Kind of.
That and an afternoon of total me time, with no end game whatsoever and a couple new blog ideas to boot. Best. Christmas present. Ever.
Except I never actually got that selfie with Lauren.
Save your pity people. But do vote.