Making this house my home.
When I was 16 I joined a band full of guys in their mid twenties – they’d already had some success, with play on triple M and triple J and in my eyes, these guys were music gods. Somehow I lucked into the situation. Right place, right time. Right place being my brother’s bedroom (he was the lead singer) right time being the day their bass player quit.
My first show was an EP launch to a sold out Espy Gershwin room. Goodness me, was I terrified… As if this is a logical first show for a 16 year old! I exclaim with textually sarcastic intonation – You might as well have called me Gabriella Cilmi.
I had butterflies in my stomach as my brother drove us there, he was doing vocal warm ups and I was trying to keep my dinner inside myself.
I took all my queues from the guys in the band and from that day and for another couple of years those three guys taught me everything I needed to know to tackle the stage on my own for years to come.
For years now, I’ve stepped on stages with only a small trace of the nerves I had that first year. Sure, some shows are very important and I sweat attendance numbers or whether or not the hero of mine I’m opening for is going to like me.
But most shows – I show up, we all plug in, we count to 4 and we all have the best time ever. I know all the words, I know who I am, I know what comes next, and I always know what to say. I feel at home on stage. No concerns. No thinking. Just strumming, and singing, and laughing.
Until… I decided to do improv.
My origin story in terms of improvised comedy is not a romantic one. I was sitting on the toilet with my iPhone in my hand. A very funny friend of mine from the states, a comedian by the name of Rajan DharnI posted something about an improv class he took. He’s posted similar things the entire time I’ve known him, so I don’t know if it’s because I was being particularly reflective on the toilet that day, or if I find farts so funny that I was open to the idea of being a comedian. But whatever it was, on a whim, I asked Lord Google for guidance…
God bless Adam Kangas and his SEO skills, because the Improv Conspiracy drew me in immediately. “Chicago Style” that’s the bit that grabbed me.
Because we all wish we were famous Americans right? Plus, I’m a Bulls fan, so the word Chicago just makes me think of wearing second hand Air Jordans in primary school and comparing the price of them with the shoes Marcus CarattI was wearing.
Thanks to The Improv Conspiracy I’ve spent 6 months now welcoming back those butterflies to my stomach. Realizing that I’m SO far from the fearless performer I thought I was and being so completely challenged each and every week by the over-powering and inspiring beast that is Improv.
All of a sudden I DON’T know all of the words, I DON’T know who I am (on Wednesday night I was a reluctant Unicorn Hunter named Charles or Clarence or something I can’t even remember). I DON’T know what comes next, and I am not sure what I’m going to say until I’m saying it. Just reacting, in the moment. Good or bad, it’s just me, my scene partner and that blissful terrifying moment.
I use ‘terrifying’ in about the most positive way one can. It’s an exhilarating scare.
Staring into the eyes of your scene partner having NO clue what they are about to say.
I’ve realised I wasn’t as at home on stage as I thought I was. Now I consider my music career to be where I built my house and laid the floor, only now am I properly getting acquainted with all that lies inside that house. It’s a super fun discovery.
Thanks to those who have watched or helped or joined me in doing it up to this point.
I’m looking forward to learning for a long time yet.
See you at a Harold night.