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For a fairly long portion of my life, I’ve had immense stage fright. Even when I know what to do, if it involves being watched by other people, I freeze up. It’s especially tough for me to do improv, because I have no script, so I’m not only being judged on how I act, but also what I act. While I can’t say that this club changed that entirely, looking back on my visit, it helped make me significantly more confident about myself on stage.

When I arrived at Jones 306 for their interest meeting, I had no idea what to expect. Us interested people had to wait outside of the room for a while while they were setting up. Luckily, about 10 minutes after the scheduled start, they came out of the room with what seemed like improvised sheets of paper asking us 10 extremely random questions about us, without providing us anything to write with. Though I can only guess as to whether they intended for us to improvise writing materials or not, we all had brought enough pencils/pens among us to fill it out easily.

Once the papers were submitted and introductions were done, they split the seven of us into groups of three and four people, and had us improvise different scenes in pairs. As you might have expected, I did quite poorly due to stage fright. I had four scenes to improvise, hairdresser, adrenaline junkie, astronaut, and one other that I forgot. Each time, my partner in the scene took the lead and I mostly stood still and responded to their questions with short, one or two word responses. I’m still in awe over how well my partners managed to keep the scene going without effective help from me. Yet, my partners and the club members didn’t make a single negative comment about my performance, which I think reflects on how nice people at W&M are.

I had to leave a few minutes early to get to the Archery Club interest meeting in Chancellors (across campus), and as I was getting my stuff together outside Jones 306, a member of the club came outside to check on me. I was prepared to apologize for my bad performance, however I was pleasantly surprised to hear what she said. She said she actually came outside to check if everything was okay with me. I told her I was doing fine, which I was, but what I didn’t get to mention before I left1 was that that was probably the single nicest action by any single member of any club I’d been to up to that point. I think that the concern showed by this person really helped me feel more confident about myself after what I had considered a disappointing performance.

Overall, even though I’m a STEM person, this club was quite good. I’m definitely glad I auditioned, as it helped prepare me to be less of a complete mess on stage, and everyone was supportive. Finally, if anyone from I.T. sees this, please thank the person who checked on me, because I don’t know her name.

1. I didn’t get to tell her because I didn’t realize that it was so nice until later.

#Arts #Auditions #Comedy #Theater

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