On Monday, I went to my first acting class as an adult. Surprisingly, it was not much different from acting class as a kid. I assumed it would be, because well… adults aren’t supposed to be silly. Adults are mature. Adults are grown-ups with jobs and serious faces and wine glasses and hors d’oeuvers. The truth is we spent the majority of the time playing.
It’s called improv, but really it’s just playing. After introductions, “such and such is my favorite actor/actress, blah blah blah is my favorite movie…” the teacher announced we would play a game.
This is where I got nervous.
That’s right, I got nervous. I was nervous because I thought I would play “wrong” and embarrass myself . I dread feeling like a fool. Thankfully, I didn’t have to go first. As I watched my classmates all make a fool of themselves, it started to dawn on me: making a fool of yourself is the whole point. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is what it’s all about. Yes, in acting, but also beyond that. Exposing myself to potential ridicule, putting my emotions out there for others to see, and above all learning to enjoy that moment is really all that I am after here.
Playing is enjoying vulnerability. It brings out that side of you that says, “hey, it’s okay to leap and do something different. It’s more than ok, in fact, it’s encouraged.” From skydiving, to swing dancing, to eating weird food, what I’m looking for is play. I am looking to put myself in a situation I’ve never been in before and where I will, therefore, have to acknowledge my vulnerability ang learn to enjoy it. That’s it.
I won’t lie and say that realizing this made it easier to go up in front of my classmates and make a fool of myself. Nope, I still felt like throwing up every time I got called, but the more we played the easier it started to get. It was daunting, yes, but it was also really funny. And, believe it or not, laughing together tends to bring people closer faster…and so does being scared together.
I am a long ways off from being ok with feeling vulnerable, but I have 354 dots to go and seven more Mondays in this acting class. I think I’m gonna learn to like Mondays.
Next Monday I have to perform a script from a commercial, I am nervous and will probably bum. No matter what, I will try to embrace the vulnerability that comes from being judged by strangers. I’ll let you guys know how it goes :).
|“When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.”-Cynthia Heimel|
Check out the links below for two Ted talks I love about play and vulnerability. If nothing else, they will make you smile.
This talk made me laugh so hard I cried, and cry so hard I laughed.
This talk just made me cry because I don’t live in New York and there is no Improv Everywhere in Houston.