Basic at The Groundlings – Part 12 (The “Evaluation Day” Chapter)

September 6, 2012

Lisa Simpson hyperventilating into paper lunch bag Picking up from last time –

The final class day, Friday, June 23rd, finally comes.

We get paired up for two final scenes – with no side coaching. Oh boy.

By the end of my final scenes, every single tiny particle of energy in my body is gone. I am completely devoid of everything. I had too much adrenaline/terror/and I don’t even know what leading up to the last scenes (and by “leading up to,” I mean for about a two-week time span, at least).

My brain and body both said, “okay, girl, we gave you your big final scenes, now can we please have the answer we’ve been waiting for, so that we know if it’s time for tears of joy or tears of despair? We need to let go of this harder-to-breathe, super tense energy. Please.

Well, brain and body, I want to! But Kevin said now that the hard part was over, it was time for “fun.” What?! Oh my gosh! What could possibly be fun right now other than you putting me out of my misery. Please, I beg of you, I can’t live like this anymore!

We played some more improv games. Somehow we all continued breathing, though I was sure we’d start dropping from the suspense any minute. Finally the moment of truth came.

My classmates were sweet enough to let me go first since I had to catch a flight to Seattle. (Bribing them with cupcakes helped ensure their sweetness.)

In real life, I usually like going last, once there are fewer people crowding the hallways, and the pressure seems a little less intense. Granted, going first has it’s pros as well (such as getting it over with already!).

So, I walked in for my evaluation with Kevin. I had run various scenarios of this moment over in my head about 40 trillion times. I covered so many possibilities of what he might say. I thought about the possibility of passing. I thought about the possibility of not passing.

But I did not prepare myself for this.

I didn’t want to think too much of myself, or expect too much. But I worked ridiculously hard to save things after fateful Wednesday, and I thought I had saved myself.

What I was hoping, was that when I went into the room, he’d say something along the lines of, “oh, Aurora. You fell off a cliff last Wednesday, but somehow you grabbed onto a rope and pulled yourself up. It seemed nearly impossible, but you did it. Congratulations. Barely. Don’t do anything like that again.” I would breathe a deep sigh of relief, freak the heck out, and be on my way to Seattle, finally content and able to sleep.


He said he’d left it blank next to my name as to whether I’d pass. “I’m right on the fence. I just don’t know with you.”

Wh – Huh – Wh – Ummm…

I barely actually looked him in the eyes for the rest of the evaluation. My eyes were darting around, looking at the floor. My brain was on overload.

That’s when he said, “Fight for it. Tell me why I should pass you.”

All the air in the room got trapped in my throat as I instinctively took a huge, silent breath in – you know, where you simultaneously can’t breathe, yet you have more oxygen than you do in any other moment of your day.

And this is where I’ll pick up next time.

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