Cringe to Creative: My Turn As an Improv Actress

Improvise ring – orangeboxjewelry. Click image for details.

“You did what? Eegh. Ack. Urggh. WHY?”

This was a snippet of a conversation I had with a friend at Uni after she had told me that she had very kindly informed my “crush” that I liked him. It wouldn’t have been that bad, but this was the exact same “crush” who she was now “going out with.”

I don’t remember her answer to my “WHY?” I do remember that my cheeks felt like the red hot embers of a dying fire, and my ears were ringing with one hundred decibels of embarrassment. And I do remember wanting to slap her.┬áIt was a fleeting thought. Of sorts.

The conversation came to mind as I’m contemplating taking up acting classes again. (You’re probably aware by now that self expression is my thing).

I acted for fun throughout my twenties. And one fine Saturday our drama tutor told us to improvise a piece based on something that had happened in the past.

So as I schlepped across the wooden floor to the table and two chairs — our trusty props in the middle there — I pulled out a file from my memory bank and signaled to a class member to be my acting cohort. We had to share the story outline with the rest of the group and then proceed to improvise with words, movement, and gesture.

After the first, “You did what?” cue sharp intakes of breath. Then, “So you thought it would be a good idea to tell him because you were solving which world problem precisely?” Cue audience falling around laughing.

“Hmm,” I thought to myself, “not so bad at this improv stuff.” Apparently it was the facial expressions.

It was quite something because I’m someone who laughs at her own jokes. I double over before I’ve delivered the punchline, and once had such a fit of giggles while talking to a journalist that I had to pass the phone to a colleague.

The memory that used to be a yucky one became a yummy one as I’ll always remember my fifteen minutes of comedienne fame.

How have you turned embarrassment to entertainment, dud to dreamy, or cringe to creative? What hidden talent surfaced from your shame?

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