How did you get involved in music/theatre?
For music: My grandma and one of my many uncles play piano, and I remember watching them when I was reeeally young and being mesmerized by their hands and feet working the keys and pedals at the same time. We had an upright grand in our house, so I would sit at it (my feet were probably barely even hanging over the end of the bench) and mimic them as best I could. I took lessons from age 5 to 18 and continued playing just for fun until So Long, Stargazer formed in 2014. The scariest part about that was singing - until that point, other than a couple of musicals in high school and college, I *never* sang in public. 6-year-old me cried the day I realized that no, my bedroom was not soundproof and yes, my entire family could hear me belting out "Part of Your World." I'm more comfortable with it now... maybe resigned to it is more accurate.
For theatre: Again, I was making up characters and stories or mimicking what I saw in movies and TV shows since I can remember. I think I lived in my own little world in my head and in my notebooks for a very long time... OK, fine, I still do. But I'd only ever "acted" in grade school plays that everyone participates in until my sophomore year of high school when I decided to join Today Productions (a community theater group in Toledo, Ohio)... as part of the stage crew. I didn't think I wanted to be on stage with people looking at me. Or maybe I just didn't have the courage for it at the time, I don't know. But after doing crew for one show and watching the actors perform on stage every night, I knew that's where I wanted to be. I auditioned as an actor the following years and majored in theatre at OSU and, after a few years off, am now performing with It's All Been Done Radio Hour and in Theatre Roulette and whatever else I can worm my way into. My aversion to attention/being looked at always loses out to the pull of performing.
General pet peeves: line-jumpers, chronic plan cancelers, and that person in every group who is "fine with anything" but then is the first to complain about everything. (To That Person: You're high maintenance. Embrace it. Be proud!)
F***, Marry, Kill: Ryan Gosling, Channing Tatum, Chris Pratt
F Ryan Gosling, M Chris Pratt, K Channing Tatum*
*Dear Mr. Tatum...Channing...can I call you Channing? I've just murdered you, so I would think so -
It's nothing personal. It's just that of the 3 options given, yours is the work with which I am least familiar. I am told that were I better acquainted with you, my decision would most likely be different. I am open to that opinion, as I don't like to make decisions with limited information. Especially important ones like whom to murder. Therefore, I reserve the right to bring you back from this hypothetical death I've fated you to. Maybe in zombie form? That's always popular.
So in the words of Todd Rundgren, can we still be friends?
It was 4 years ago that I saw my first full Roulette at MadLab. There was something about Roulette 2012 that stuck with me. Peach with Chris Lane and David Thonnings, blew me away so I came back again for another night, and was transfixed by Slipping into Anarchy with Jim Azelvandre and Jennifer Feather Youngblood, so I came back for the final night and fell in love with MadLab due to But, Was it an Approved Death? With Vicki Andronis, and Jim Azelvandre again.
In all fairness, I had been turning into a bit of a Lab-Rat already, having started hanging around several months prior and getting involved, but coming to Roulette inspired me to write my own short play. I mentioned my idea at the after Roulette cookout to a few people and got the standard. “Hey, sure. Let me know, I’ll look it over.” (I’ve since learned that a lot of people SAY they’re going to write a play, but never actually write one.) But, I did. And it was… Well, it was finished. I sent it off to a few people, got some notes, and some confusion, and set it aside.
In 2013, I acted in Roulette, which was a thrill. I was excited to be part of Roulette, but I still had the desire to write for the show. I’d gotten a play selected for 3 in 30 and felt like I was getting better as a writer, so I went back to my first idea and re-wrote it 3 more times. The idea was great, the title was dynamite and at this point I’d seen enough great short plays to fix what didn’t work, and I took a writing class. I crossed my fingers, and submitted the play.
Now, the trick was to do it again. I’d been writing a lot of sketch comedy and was studying at Second City Chicago. I started looking through all my pieces and had a crazy idea: I’d submit a whole collection for the Playwright Spotlight Night! Ambitious? Yes. But, why wouldn’t I reach for the stars? What’s the worst that can happen, that I don’t get it?
Well, I didn’t. And, since I put all my eggs in one basket, I was locked out of Roulette. I was going to be out of town, so I didn’t get to act in this one, either. This gave me the opportunity to enjoy watching and enjoying Roulette 2015, and it was great. But, still, that thing was licking at my brain saying “Write for next year.” But, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say.
I went back to Second City and studied Show Structure for creating a revue and talked to a couple friends that direct shows at Second City after watching their shows. I asked questions: “Why did you do this here?” and “Why did you put that in this slot.”. I went back to my collection, spent a couple weeks doing full re-writes and re-submitted it. It was leaner, more focused and I found a way to get my voice consistent and uniquely me over 60+ pages.
images from ".., but it's not about that" by Erik Sternberger
And It was selected! I jumped in the air. A lot. This time, I came to watch Stephen Woosley direct the amazing cast every night, and I loved it every time. Okay, I’ll be honest, the first time I was nervous for the first two of the six plays. Not because I didn’t trust MadLab, but because every person in the packed house was there because of “me”. I had visions of them thinking me too weird and waiting outside the door to hound me as I ran to my Ford Escape.
But, by the third play I was able to relax. The plays were landing how I hoped. Everyone was laughing and I felt like my kids were flying high and free and I didn’t need to hold the string anymore.
You have until the October 1st deadline to submit and start (or continue) your own Roulette story. Check out the Theatre Roulette page under the Theatre tab for more information and submission guidelines.