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At my dance class on Monday, my instructor asked us to say what we like about our bodies. For the first time in a long time I was able to honestly say, “Everything.” I’ve worked very hard to accept, love and appreciate my body and all it does and I was thrilled to hear myself say that.

Well, that victory took almost everything out of me and left me an excited, adrenaline rushing wreck for my first rehearsal with the new show Wednesday. (or that’s the excuse I’m going with).

Directing is something I want to do. I can see what I read. I know how I want it set up. I know how I want people to deliver. Even though I know this, I feel like I need to apologize because I don’t come from an acting background. I’m a dancer and choreographer. I get dancing. I don’t really consider myself from a theatrical background even though my parents worked in theatre in Chicago and I grew up hearing stories and attending shows of all kinds and calibers.

Attending Second City was getting into theatre for me. I didn’t even like actors before I came to Second City because I only knew the arrogant, untrained amateurs, not the ones who had quit their jobs or moved from different states to pursue training and job opportunities. I’ve really come to appreciate and enjoy actors. I’m even envious of them sometimes, how they’re able to shoot from the hip and hit their mark (I can do that at home but not in public on a regular basis), how they’re able to take something I’ve polished to a 9 before handing it over to them and they take it to an 11.

There’s “fake it til you make it” but sometimes I just feel like a fraud, someone who has jumped to high ranks without going through basics.

I’m also a nationally ranked dancer who didn’t appreciate her body and what it could do until she get back into dance…so I’m a work in progress. And that’s okay.

So I had my big victory that wiped me out on Monday, last week I sang in front of a group of people, held auditions on Saturday (which are just exciting and fun)…these are peaks on a pretty steady current of family turbulence with gusts of excitement and nerves for a show we’ve been working on since fall all came to a head on Wednesday where I became Rainman, the director.

I went over how I wanted the rehearsal to go as I drove into the city (I’m a good driver, very good, very good driver 🙂 ). We would introduce ourselves and say something interesting about ourselves. I’d thank them for coming out, explain how excited my writing partner and I were to be working with them, explain the show and why we were doing it, then hand out the first sketch.

It was so great seeing people again because I knew they were going to do great stuff with our work so my excitement really started to boil. Then my clock struck 10 pm, when we were supposed to get the classroom and start rehearsing. Another classroom empties. People sit like pensive sacks of potatoes in mine.

I had to fight to get auditions there much less rehearsal space, I wasn’t having a “scheduling mix up.” I’ve had to kindly remind people what time it is before (groups just go over, that’s fine, as long as they leave) but I went to the office to 1)check to make sure I had the right room number and 2)since the one room was opening, and the other was channeling a rock garden, could we go in the open one. Yes I had the right room number. No I could not go in the open room.

Class left and we went in. I should have stayed with my plan but because we were stuck in the hallway everyone had met each other. My poor actors had barely made a little circle with their chairs and sat down when I was thanking them for coming out, we’re excited, flew through the show description and why and was handing out the first sketch.
That’s when I realized I was curled up in my chair, sitting cross-legged. I hadn’t done that in almost a year. What was going on?

I wanted it to be this motivational Braveheart speaking to the troops moment where we came together and charged, but it ended up one of those bugle calls that sputters to a stop because the blower runs out of breath and you can’t see the speaker because they can’t see over the podium, but that’s okay because the speaker’s busy checking out their shoe laces instead of addressing the crowd.

Some fearless leader I was being. I didn’t sleep last night. I just couldn’t believe my actions. I was excited and not channeling it correctly.

Luckily I’m working with amazing actors. We read through and blocked three sketches and read two extended black outs. It was the first rehearsal kicking off with a rickety start and they still were already really good. It was really exciting.

So my big goal for Saturday is to breath. It’ll be fine. I know everyone else will be great, I just need to get it together.

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