Basic at The Groundlings – Part 8 (The “Fateful Wednesday (or Class Nine)” Chapter

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

An “I’m driven; I’m ready” look.

Sorry, I know this blog has kind of become Groundlings Stories Central lately. We’ll continue to talk about other things too, I promise.

Picking up from last time

I came into class 9 ready to improvise! Here I am on an upswing. Strong midterm. Strong class following the midterm. I’m gonna rock this class (puts on musical theater driven/dreamy eyes).

Or not.

At the beginning of class, we played this game – “Follow the Leaver.” (Someone in the scene gives a reason to leave, then new people jump in to start the new scene of the new place where that person is going.)

There I was, watching intently and waiting to jump in. There’s the problem. Waiting. Oh boy. Of course Kevin called me out it. (Read these next two sentences in a way that terrifies you.) “Aurora, what are you waiting for? Get in there!”

Wait a second. Where have we heard this story before? Doesn’t it sound a little familiar? Oh, that’s right. It is literally the exact same thing that happened in Jordan’s class.

I knew what had happened last time in Jordan’s class. I knew that I’d melted into a puddle of a being. Sometimes half of the battle is knowing what the challenge is, right? I’m a smart girl. I’ll shake this mistake off. I will not let that day of spiraling down further into failure with each exercise happen again.

Or I will.

I could feel the same thing happening, yet I couldn’t stop it. Somehow, I lost control of my life/mind/body for a couple of hours. I could only watch my life playing out in front of me. I couldn’t do anything to stop my awful, horrible decisions in every scene.

As I sat down from the Leaver game, desperately trying to mentally wipe that exercise off of me, Kevin called me up to go first in the next exercise. Geez to goodness, man.

All of a sudden I’m beekeeping on a hippie commune. Of course, I don’t know anything about beekeeping. Or hippie communes. I don’t know anything about anything, actually.

I know, I know, I know. When you don’t know anything about the suggestion you just make it up. Anything will do. Nothing is wrong – it’s only a new opportunity to justify why something is right.

Intellectually, I know that. In the moment, I was doing a horrible job of making things up. I got paired with Sean again. Of course, he’s brilliant and was coming up with all kinds of stuff – special gas and plants and things. I did a horrible job in the “and-ing” part of “yes, and.” I would yes him, then just kind of repeat the thing he just said. (Sorry, Sean!)

I made a lot of dumb mistakes in that scene. And I got super called out for one, specifically. I said I was going to my house. But we were in a commune. So, tent was much better. But I’m an idiot and didn’t realize that people lived in tents in communes. It is possible that that was a fact I knew and just couldn’t make a coherent thought anymore. Who knows.

As we were getting toward the end of the rotation of people doing the exercise, I realized that because of the number of people in the class that day, someone would have to go twice.

Okay then. I’ll do it. He wants confidence. At least I can volunteer to put myself on the line again. That has to count for something, right?

Well, probably not when you screw it up royally. I went up there and my scene partner was this really gorgeous, sexy girl. In the scene, my character ended up coming on to her. It just happened! I didn’t think about it. We were in a spa, playing with mud. It’s sensible.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

But, I heard people literally groan at me. Ugh. “Oh, you gonna come on to the sexy girl? How original, Aurora.” (That was the subtext of the groaning – not things people actually heckled out loud. But there was, in real life, groaning.)

I jumped into my head – no one’s ever groaned at me onstage before! I mean, I guess that’s a thing that happens with comedy. And it’s really not pleasant.

It was as though I leapt out of my body, trying to escape from class. I just stood there like a total deer in the headlights – which is what my teacher said when he called me out on it. Sorry, again. Consarn it!

This is where I’ll pick up next time.

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