parenting, thoughts

Theater and Raising Kids: A Lot More Alike than You Would Think

This past week, I found myself taking part in something I had loved before children, theater.

Before I had my kids, I had been a founding member of a small sketch comedy troupe called “Potato Sack Pants Theater”. Those years of my life had been wonderful. I was creating comedy with some of my best friends and getting the amazing chance to perform it thanks to the great theater, Off Center for the Dramatic Arts.

If you are ever in need of an affordable place to rehearse or perform, look no further, they are the cheapest option in the Burlington area!

Performing was and is something that I have loved my entire life. I suppose that I would fall into the same category as any other performing, it’s the engagement with the audience that does it. It’s wonderful to put something out there and, if your lucky, get back the addicting response of laughter back. Anyone who has performed stand up or comedy will tell you, that laughs are like a drug, once you get them once, you want them over and over again.

I would leave the theater after really good nights performing with Potato Sack Pants and be so amped up from the energy received from hearing laughter, that it took me hours to wind down enough to go to sleep. It’s a thrill and one that I definitely found myself missing after having children.

Now jog to a month ago, I had put a bid in for a slot in an upcoming showcase at Off Center. You put your pitch on paper, they put it in a hat and four pitches are pulled at random from the hat. Whose ever name is on the pitches pulled, gets a slot in the showcase, free of stage fees.

My name was not drawn, but I was the second runner up, should the person ahead of me not be able to fulfill their slot. A month before the showcase, I got a phone call telling me that the person ahead of me can not fulfill their slot. I’m up.

Oh my God. I haven’t written the piece at all. Having not thought I would need to, I had forgotten about it. Now, there’s no forgetting, I need to do this.

I hang up the phone and I’m instantly terrified. The piece that I now have to write is a dramatic piece, not a comedy at all. I struggle. It’s been years since I’ve written anything and the last thing I had written was comedy… a completely different animal all together.

Finally, the week comes when I have to perform this, very shaky, solo show. It’s terrifying, with the blog starting up and running a 12K with my sister in San Francisco, there wasn’t enough time to prepare.

But once I start actually performing it, I wonder if there ever would have been enough time to prepare.

There’s silence when performing a drama. There’s dead silence and without the laughter to feed me, I’m floundering. This is terrifying. Are they asleep out there? Are they checking their watches? Am I going on too long? Am I enough to make this work? The questions are endless.

In comedy, you can tell if something is working, instantly and if something isn’t working, you always know in the back of your head, “Okay, maybe this sketch isn’t working, but there’s the next one, or the next one.”

In drama there’s none of that, just silence and hope.

The show has ended now. I took a leap, a scary creative leap and I’m glad I did. It’s uncomfortable stepping out on that stage with your hopes in your hand and nothing else to really shore you up. I hope I connect with them, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to tell, but boy, I hope I do.

How like raising these kids of ours. I hope that I’m making an indent, some days all I get is silence and I have to sit with the uneasiness of that silence, wondering if their falling asleep or checking their watches while I parent them. But then there are those really great days, where I hear the laughter or I get a hug and I have reached the audience and the high from that will keep me up long hours after they’ve gone to bed.

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