Who says you have to do the same thing your whole life? You don’t! Reinvent yourself!
I love trying something new. Giving it a go. Taking the risk. Nothing to lose.
My latest reinvention is performing solo work. If you don’t want the backstory, just the 20-minute performance, the link is toward the end of my post.
But, the backstory starts in elementary school.
I was a bookworm. After I’d read all the books I wanted to in our elementary school library, I found little paperbound books of plays. I read almost all of them. At first it was just because there was nothing else to read. But I enjoyed them.
Hey kids! Let’s put on a show! (apologies to Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland)
And then I started writing little schoolgirl plays at home. I did this all through elementary school. In my head I cast them but never got a group of kids together to be able to perform them. I wanted to, though.
Once I hit junior high, I never read another play. Never wrote another, either. And forgot all about my love of performance pieces. Or that I’d ever written my juvenile version of them.
High school drama class? Nope. Auditioning for school plays? Didn’t. Community theatre? No. Not even a consideration.
Bestie is a playwright. For a decade she kept poking at me: “You should write a play!” My response was always, “I’m not a playwright, I’m an essayist. I have no idea how to write theatre.”
And then, in 2020, I was isolated in my hometown trying to push along the construction of a second home. With all the time in the world to myself and inspired by being in the place I grew up, I started writing. And writing. I thought it was an essay but then I recognized it as a performance piece.
Recognized. The Universe is always pinging us, giving us messages, asking us to pay attention. Sometimes we’re awake to those messages. But most times, we don’t recognize them for what they are: the Universe giving you the natural next step in your evolution or your life. So the first important way to reinvent yourself it to be awake enough to recognize the message.
Takg the risk. That’s the next step. Understanding how little there is to lose by taking most risks. Oh, not sky diving, of course. Or mountain climbing. But the risk of reinventing yourself is usually not as serious as we fear it is.
I found an online solo performance class at a San Francisco theatre to help me develop the piece I’d worked on into a real solo piece. It was a brutally deep and personal piece. Leave it to me to expose my guts in my first outing as a performer.
Making those emotions public and actually performing? Challenging for a skilled performer. For novice me? A risk. But it went well.
I was hooked.
So for my next class, I expanded a draft comedic essay I’d written a more than a decade ago about a camping trip. I cut that newly-rewritten longer piece in half for our class’ online performance. It went well, too. But more important? It was FUN!
Now, I’m REALLY hooked. I LOVE performing comedy.
Here’s the excerpt from Carol Goes Camping.
Yep. That link above. It’s the first 20 minutes or so of what I hope will be an hour long solo performance. The second half is in progress (yes, class, again). That class performance will happen by early February and I’ll post it then.
After that? I’ll put it all together into one longer piece, work on the performance and when I’m ready, I’ll try to be brave enough to send it out into the theatre world in the hopes of performing the whole thing, live, on stage, somewhere, some day. Covid-willing.
That’s the next challenge: getting on a stage. Live and in person. No safety net.
But, oh, why not? Why the hell not?
What about you? I’d love to hear about times you reinvented yourself or took risks.
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