Sunday, February 17, 2008

One big problem.

So Caroline recently and hilariously wrote about the horror of unflattering digital photos and the posting thereof on Facebook.

Oh, MAN, can I relate. I go down one wardrobe choice every single time I see a photo—or worse, a video—of myself in a show. This one makes me look
schlumpy, that one…oh. Wow. I thought that was a cute top, except that it MAKES ME LOOK LIKE I HAVE A HUMP. Even if I manage to lose myself in a moment on stage, it’s all ruined if I see digital evidence afterwards.


I would loooooove to be one of those people with no issues—completely happy in my own skin, comfortable in body-conscious knits without worrying about overflow issues, able to play sexy, confident characters without any thought that the audience might be thinking, “C’mon, who is she kidding?” (Or worse, “Ew.")

I wish I could resist the compulsion to foist my discomfort on team members when we watch videos or look over photos…but there’s a thing in the back of my brain that says, “You must ACKNOWLEDGE THE BACK-FAT so people will know you’re not deluding yourself into thinking you look OK.”

I’ve been busted multiple times by several directors for my two primary defense mechanisms:
  • Portraying weird, insecure and/or gender-neutral characters.
  • Not. Touching. Anyone. Ever.
(It’s all so very, very attractive. And stupid and debilitating.)

It breaks my heart when I see kids (or anyone) I coach struggle with the same issues. I reassure them that they’re the only ones in their own way, and I put them in situation after situation to prove it’s true. And in their cases I absolutely believe it.

Yeah, I know.

It’s hypocritical. It means I’m not as versatile a player as I could be. It shows fellow players I don’t trust them. It’s whiny, needy and self-indulgent. And the fact that it’s a fairly common girl-disease isn’t much comfort.

So it’s no-more-excuses time. From this point on, I’m not allowed to let my own butt get in my way when I’m improvising. Here’s the three-point plan:
  1. Actually take better care of myself. Get enough sleep, stay hydrated, cut down on post-show beverages, don’t eat crap, work out. That kind of thing. 
  2. Focus out in scenes—stay connected to the moment and what’s going on around me, and give the scene what it needs.
  3. No more public lamentations over the state of my own ass or how it looks in digital media. None.


  1. I believe I will go along with you in those resolutions...I'm whiny needy and self indulgent as well as think I look so totally disgusting in pictures. (making my choice to start a photoblog very illogical by my own reasoning...perhaps I'm also narcissistic. *shrug* Guess I'll have to deal with that. In it's awesome magicalness!)

    Disreguard that last idiocy. ;-)

  2. Your "not. touch. anyone. ever" is incorrect as I have broken that personal bubble on stage several times. The good news for you is that now every member of Tantrum will do the same to help you get over it. Kudos, you're on the road to recovery.

  3. Over the last three weeks I've been finding that not eating out at all (no subway, no first watch, no kona, no NOTHING) is going a long way in a hurry to help my healthiness. Maybe consider it for yourself too. Its tough. Those paninis at Filling Station are very tasty.

    Simple, non-threatening way to initiate contact on stage that I use a lot: hugs. Lots and lots of big hugs. Also goes a long way in character/relationship development :)

  4. Pete: Yeah. Working with you and Tantrum has definitely shrunk the bubble--the trust we have in the group makes a big difference. Though now it sounds like I want my improv life to be one big game of grabass.

  5. When I first met you way back in 2000(?), you were very heavy. You worked hard, lost weight. As far as I can tell you have kept the weight off and just keep getting cuter. Who wouldn't want to play grabass with you onstage?
    Tribal peoples sometimes believe that cameras steal your soul. Don't let a camera steal yours!

  6. Clay, have you never met a girl? Your opening line should never include anything about her weight. Boo. And on your wife's birthday.

    Improv does amazing things to shrink the bubble. Anyone else find they have to censor their actions/words for the "real" world?

  7. Fortunately most of the people I work with are more like the improv world than the real world. Whew.

  8. Yeah, you are lucky. I just had someone at work describe me as quiet and serious. That's what the non-improv me turns to when she doesn't know you.

  9. My sister used to complain that when she introduced me to her friends—sorority girls who completely intimidated me by being skinny and rich and pore-less and shiny—I stopped being the person she described to them. I've always been a little intimidated by the beautiful people (also the talented people, the competent people, and the confident people).

    So yeah.

  10. How ironic, Trish - when I'm in such a situation, I find I turn up my improv skills and "become" a character who is most like myself, only with a little more self-confidence and assertiveness.

    I always look at it this way: What do you care what others think, your Richard Feynman ( ...of course, I usually insert my own name!

  11. You'd like to think these physical 'flaws' you have noted make you un-beautiful to confirm your self-loathing, but it is simply not the case. You are beautiful, Trish. Deal with it.


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