Naked in a Fishbowl!
Tonight is my Naked in a Fishbowl premiere night! I’ve been in plays before, my Big Fat Gay Wedding and also singing at the Friar’s club, but in those instances I’ve known what was going to happen, but this is my first improvisational performance. I know enough about theater to know that you usually have a practice beforehand so you get comfortable with the other actors, so I went yesterday, just 24 hours before the performance! I was asked this morning by some coworkers if I was nervous, and I told them “out of my skull!” They asked why I’m doing this, and the reason is when I’m asked to do something like that I almost always automatically say “of course!” I do really like doing it and I always have fun, but I hate the few hours beforehand and get extremely nervous. I was even nervous right before the rehearsal. Going in was a bit intimidating because it was a rehearsal space I had never been to before at the Ripley Grier studios. They have like 30 rehearsal rooms in there and you have all these different Broadway shows like Billy Elliot and so on rehearsing right there. Anyway, it turns out the group that I’m rehearsing with consists of five women that have been doing improv together for 5 or 6 years. They introduced themselves and their character and began to explain to me the improvisational method.
First, you should always respond with yes and to never respond with no. As they went on, I realized that these aren’t just methods for improvisational theatre, but it’s also good methods for living life too. At the beginning, you have an unlimited number of choices and once you make these choices, they begin to narrow down, but once you say no to a possibility then the options and choices are done. For example, if you ask someone to dinner and they say yes, it opens up more possibilities, but the minute you say no you’re done. Second, you need to commit. It doesn’t make a difference to what you make your commitment and focus to, but to do it. Even if it’s to watch a cockroach, if you commit to it you’ll have a different energy that others will want to follow along with and watch. If you’re indifferent about something, obviously no one will want to watch you because you don’t even care about what you’re doing. I thought that was an interesting perspective.
They then asked me if I get recognized in public, which I responded that most people recognize my face but they don’t know at first where they know me from. So we did this exercise where I get trapped in an elevator (which is already one of my fears) and they had this other character recognize me but not know where she knew me from, and this other character recognizes me and decides to unload on me. It was a lot of fun! They then followed it up with having me play a drug addicted author who has a melt down on the David Letterman show, which was maybe the most fun I’ve ever had!
But seriously, if you get a chance to do improvisational theatre, it’s so much fun and I actually got to learn a few things that I could relate to daily living as well. I’m not sure how tonight is going to go, but they do video and podcast the performance on their website, so anyone who can’t make it can still check out the performance by heading over to NakedInAFishbowl.com after the performance. For those who can make it, head there as well and grab those tickets while you can!