Basic at The Groundlings – Part 1 (The “Freak Out, I Passed” Chapter)

July 1, 2012

Some alums/current members of the Groundlings main company. Much love. Much hilarity.

Because of the super long marathon story, and the crazy person rant around my birthday, I’ve fallen behind in telling you about two half marathons from last weekend.

I’m so sorry to say that I still can’t talk about them yet, because first I have to share my (record scratch)
hu.mongous. news.

I passed Basic at the Groundlings.

That didn’t get an exclamation point ’cause I’m still in shock. I’m looking at you with my super wide, barely-believing eyes, smiling a little more throughout the sentence as I say it to you super slowly. When you read it, imagine that I’m taking my time on every word so that I can try to let me and you take in this insane, factual statement.

I passed.

A lot of you who aren’t in LA don’t know what I’m talking about. Fear not. We’re about to talk about it. (A lot.)

Before I get to the whole explanation of the school and my experience there (so far), let me answer a couple of quick questions:

1) Why are you letting your half marathon posts get pushed back so very far – why don’t you just tell us story this after you post about Seattle and Arroyo Creek?

You need this information to hear about those races. A fairly big part of my thoughts and feelings during those races revolve around this.

2) If this is the biggest news in your universe right now, and you found out on June 22nd, why are you waiting until now to tell us about it? Shouldn’t you have interrupted all other posts much sooner to bring us the scoop?

Yes, maybe. But, if you happen to stick with me to the end of the story you’ll see why it took me oh so long to process this, and why the story wasn’t fully resolved until late last night (making it so that I couldn’t post about it until today).

Back to explaining things:

I take improv classes at a theatre school out here called “The Groundlings.” For the past six weeks (ramping up to especially the last couple of weeks), I have done practically nothing but live and breathe improv.

I practiced. I went to shows. I let improv eat every single thought in my mind.

I wanted to talk to you about it every single day, since it was enveloping my life. (I don’t know how I did anything else. Well, I barely did do anything else.) But I didn’t want to say anything here in case I didn’t pass my class.

There are four main levels at the Groundlings – Basic, Intermediate, Writing Lab, and Advanced.

From what I’ve heard, barely anyone makes it through them all without having to repeat somewhere along the lines. (Barely anyone makes it through them all, period.) There is no shame in repeating. And I was repeating.

You only get three chances to pass Basic as well as Intermediate (and only one chance for the last two). While there is no shame in repeating, there certainly can be fear, since you’re using up one of your three precious tries.

I took Basic back in September of last year. I pretty much did it as an excuse to interact with other human beings, and to have some fun onstage again. (I miss theater with every bone in my body.)

I don’t think anyone (including me) has ever thought of me as much of a comedienne. Being funny was never my thing, per se.

Not that I think I’m devoid of the ability to be funny. I was just more known for singing (and maybe dancing a little). (Yes, I know a lot of musicals are comedies – but not the ones I was in!)

In high school, I was terrible at improv. Awful. A mess onstage. I would count the seconds until I got to sit safely back in the audience, and dread the moments I had to get up onstage again.

Yes, I know that’s an odd sentence to read on my blog – a time when I didn’t want to be on a stage? That can’t be right, can it? I love being onstage. Give me a score, and I will do my best to sing my face off for you. Put me up there and give me a suggestion? Uh oh.

I do hate being bad at things. Since I happen to be out here with access to The Groundlings, which is such an amazing school, I thought, “Why not at least try to get a little better? Improv is part of life.” So I tried. I auditioned for Basic, and made it in (somehow).

I’ll pick up here tomorrow.

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?