September 2008 Archives

Let's Talk About Stage Fright


I have been performing since I was 4 years old. I started ballet classes at 4, started performing the Nutcracker at 5, and was a lead roll in my kindergarten graduation play. I haven't stopped since. I have always known what I wanted to do with my life, and never second-guessed it growing up. I performed all through Jr High and High School, majored in theatre in college, and started improvising at 18. My improv group in MS inspired me to come to the Chicago Improv Fest, and I moved to Chicago in 2000 at 21 and started my new life. I have been very successful in my comedic, theatrical and dance endeavors since then, and have worked consistantly.

I have always been on the stage. It has always been my home away from home. I could always talk in front of any size group at any time. I am really good at impromptu wedding speeches and getting the attention in a room. When I was younger, people asked how I could speak in public so much; I'd reply "oh, it's nothing."

When Dad's cancer was found in May of 2004, all my priorities changed, and I found myself starting to dread doing shows. I've always battled the issue of "having to go do shows" or "having to go to rehearsal"--I don't like it when my time doesn't belong to me. But it got worse than normal. I started inadvertently trying to find reasons to not go to my shows, I started having bad panic attacks beforehand, I started throwing up before shows. As time went on, it got worse and worse and worse. It was scary to me, because before I would always be comfortable on stage, and now it made me sick. After the freak out and the show, I would almost always feel fine. Even Don't Spit the Water, a show I've done a bazillion times in the last 4 years, became something that I was afraid to do.

I decided that the physical and emotional turmoil was very unhealthy for me and my body, so I last year I stopped improvising. I thought "Why put myself through this?" I quit my improv team and started turning down projects that people sent my way. It was weird. Then, around that time, I heard that Meg White of the White Stripes cancelled their fall tour because of anxiety. I wasn't the only one! If she could listen to her body, and her millions of fans would understand and be ok, surely the 8 people that would expect me to do shows would understand, too, right? I was reminded that Barbra Streisand rarely performs in public because of her crippling stage fright. Aha! I am in good company.

Performing in the DADA show is an interesting experience. Once you have your makeup on, you are in character. My character is a freaky weird creature who has a physically hard time talking and contorts her body into weird stances. We would get into character a good half hour before the show ever started, so we would just live in this DADA world for the evening. While the show is more emotionally raw and physically taxing than any other show I have done, it was easier for me to do. I lost myself, and became someone else. Someone who didn't have to worry about her sick father, helping out her family, or wanting to be somewhere else. It was good therapy for me for many reasons. And a relief that I could just zone out and not worry about how sick I was going to get beforehand.

After DADA closed, I did 3 weeks of DSTW in Arlington Heights, and then was in MS for the rest of the year. In 2008, I did a few DSTW shows (we went to LA!) and a guest appearance in Ken Barnard's one man show. I turned down everything else that people asked of me. I stopped everything. It was both good and bad, but it was definitely a relief to have one less thing to worry about. When Pastor of Muppets had their last show a few months ago, I told them I wasn't going to do it, but then at the last minute decided to go for it. I psyched myself out, and had a good time. When the opportunity arose to do Neutrino, I thought it would be a good way to start performing again, because you aren't in the room with the audience, you are only doing a scene with one or two other people. It is a lot of fun and low maintenance. So far, so good.

I am finding, though, that I am enjoying being behind the scenes and producing, and I'm not too terrible at it. I love choreographing and teaching dances, and there is no performance pressure there. With Impress These Apes, I help make the show happen, then get to sit back and watch it. We are starting to work on the new DADA Christmas show (which I will be performing in), and in the one meeting I've attended have felt exhilarated. I think I am starting to figure out where I work best in this field.

Do I want to stop performing? No, not at all. It is my first love and a major part of who I am. But I just have to keep working to make it work for me. I still get freaked out before shows, so I have to listen to that. I am in therapy and I am working a lot of stuff out there (I cannot recommend therapy enough, by the way). But it is something I am battling, and don't know if I will find a solution for.

Maybe it is because I have grown a lot in the last few years, but also, I now more than anything just want my friends and peers to be successful. I used to feel the pressure all the time to Make It, Try Harder, Do More Shows, Become Well Known. Are those my priorities now? Absolutely not. I realized that I don't have what it takes to become a household name or even be in a commercial. And I am ok with that. I am just little old me. I would rather give someone else that opportunity, and I will stay home and snuggle with my husband and cats. I like who I am, and I am damn proud of what I have accomplished. While I don't know what the future will bring for me and my career, I am fine with taking it one day at a time.

Neutrino Project: MetroMix Best Bet!

Metromix Neutrino.jpg
Best Bets
Our top picks for today's events and more coming up
By Julia Borcherts, Bathsheba Birman and Rebecca Palmore

WED 9/24
Reel magic
After a three-year hiatus, FuzzyCo improv troupe revives "Neutrino Project: The Instant Movie" for a fifth run in new digs. How it works: The cast gathers suggestions and a couple of objects from the audience, then splits into three crews to create an hourlong flick in neighborhood streets. Audience members watch the themed video unfold inside the theater. 8 p.m. Through Nov. 19. $10. ComedySportz Theatre.

Get tickets here or call 773-549-8080.

Cutest Couple Ever





Impress These Apes!
Monday nights at 8pm
The Lakeshore Theater
3175 N. Broadway
SPECIAL OPENING NIGHT TICKET OFFER! Email me here to find out what!
First Challenge: Stand Up Comedy!

Neutrino Project: The Instant Movie
Wednesday Nights at 8pm
The ComedySportz Theatre
929 W. Belmont
Only $10!!
SPECIAL 2 for 1 Advance Ticket offer for this Wednesday Sept 24th! Call the CSz Box office at 773-549-8080 and ask for Neutrino 2 for 1s!

Latte is a Happy Kitty


Pissed Off


I know that life isn't fair, that I am not the only person in the world who is going/ has gone through this, and there are far worse things going on in the world, but I am pissed off that Dad is gone. That he had to die. That a stupid disease had to take away one of the greatest men in the world. That I can't call him to tell him about what I am doing. That I can't hear his laugh and giggle or do our good night ritual that we have done since I was a kid.

I am listening to Classic Rock today at work, and it just makes me sad.


Oh man, don't you want to see this show?!




I got to see this beautiful girl when I was home.
Read about her here!


| 1 Comment

We are back from MS! We are back with loads of photos, treasures and flea bites.

I have a LOT to say about the experience, but with Neutrino and Apes opening (Wednesday and Monday!) and a whole musical to choreograph in only a couple days, I don't have much time. So stay tuned and you will read all about it.


The Answer!


Everyone's a winner! But, yes, it was all of the above. I'm classy!

I don't know who anon was in the comments, but everyone else will get a special surprise.

Quiz of the Day!


Today I am wearing a very odd layered ensemble.

Do I have:
a) a hole in my sweater
b) a hole in my dress
c) a hole in my jeans
d) all of the above?

Winners will receive something from my house. Vote in the comment space.

Remember When?


I met Penn...

and Teller...

and was creepy next to Judy Tenuta...

and chilled with the Doughty (and Andrew)...

and talked to a puppet...

and canoed with horses (and Fuzzy)...

and had to put up with this shit...

and had blue hair...
Blue Hair.jpg

and wore this ridiculous outfit?
silly outfit.jpg

Yeah, me too. Good Times.

Comedy and Politics

| 1 Comment

Hey Dudes.
So I endured another week of pain with the ole chompers, but it looks like things are getting better and better. A check-up this morning means no more nasty ole clove oil, no more doctor checkups, and apparently, I will be feeling remarkably better in the next 3 days. Boy oh boy, I am looking forward to that!

Parker is in my lap right now, but there is no way to hold her like a cat an fully support her massive body, so she is sitting in my lap like a little kid. I am a kitty booster seat.

Labor Day weekend was good--VERY productive--mainly running errands and getting show stuff ready. Speaking of show stuff...

Woo hoo! This show is so fun to do and watch. The last time we did it was 3 summers ago, so it feels good to be bringing it back. Here are the deets:
FuzzyCo Presents:
The Neutrino Project
Wednesdays at 8:00pm
Sept 17-Nov 19th
ComedySportz Theatre
929 W. Belmont

Yes yes, that means that I am producing 2 shows that are opening in the same week. You are correct. (The other being Impress These Apes, which opens Sept 22)

I just learned that the first presidential debate this year will be held at Ole Miss. Way to go, Mississippi! And, not just because I've been an Illinoisian for 8+ years now, but GO OBAMA!! If you are one of my MS friends or relatives, or anyone else for that matter, and you are reading this and unsure of our friend Obama, I highly encourage you to ready up on him and his campaign. I feel that he can truly change this country for the better--and we can all agree that we need that. Click Here.

Fuzzy and I head back down to MS in just a few days to go take care of some family stuff. I have no idea what to expect, but I am happy to be heading back down.

I wish you all a blessed day!