My senior year of college, my troupe organized our first ever 24 hour Improv Marathon (that still runs as a yearly thing at BU). In the 20th hour of it, I was in the game “Pan Right, Pan Left”. I was punch drunk with exhaustion. My friend Justin and I were given the suggestion of “Lion and Lion Tamer”. We did this weird, completely unfunny scene where I was the lion and Justin was the tamer, and then every time you switched back, we started to morph into each other, so at the end I was the tamer, and he was the lion. We were giggling about it off scene the whole time, like, “What the hell are we doing?” I told Justin it was “a think piece”. We’re still thinking about it to this day.
I am teetering towards being broke right now, but I really need an entire new Fall wardrobe. Luckily, Express (which has been fitting my figure and appealing to my sense of style lately) has a sweet sale going on right now. Plus I have a coupon where I can take $50 off a $150 purchase.
Fashion friends—any advice on stylish staples for this year? I definitely need to buy one or two new pairs of trousers (I was thinking like a plaid greyish one and MAYBE a warm mustardy tan? I’m so torn about the mustard trend.), sweaters (what colors/styles!?!?) & blouses (what colors/styles?!?!). I also might buy some new leggings, a new fall/winter dress or jumper, and I was eyeing some nice black yoga-like pants that could come in handy for improv.
I should warn you that because my budget is so strapped, I’m thinking of optimizing my wardrobe by sticking to blacks, whites & greys—but playing with patterns and fabrics and accessories.
(Also, I can’t wear boho. I just can’t. I have a size 4/6 hourglass frame. That shit looks 10/12 in boho tents. I need more retro and fitted silhouettes.)
18 months ago I gave up blogging for “Lent”. For 40 days I refused to allow myself to whine about myself on a website. If I got bored, I had to open MS Word and keep freewriting a feminist YA novel (that also featured time traveling and fashion and sexy dudes) I had barely outlined. Looking at this is kind of painful because I’m already a much better writer and editor—but that’s also why looking at this is fun. Also, it’s about magic.
If you’re bored today and don’t want to whine about yourself, feel free to steal my idea and force yourself to write fiction. Or just amuse yourself with the overwrought, poorly written* first chapter.
*I start a sentence with “Betwixt the candelabras…”, people!
Guys, can we talk about how important it is that Depardieu said “I want to pee, I want to pee,” and not “I need to pee, I need to pee,” (which I believe would be “Je dois pisser, je dois pisser.”) nor “I must pee, I must pee.” (which I think is “Il faut pisser, il faut pisser.”)
All I’m saying is he might have been peeing in public on a lark. I NEED MOAR DETAILS ABOUT DEPARDIEU’S URINATING HABITS.
About a month ago someone asked me which improv teams I was on and I got really embarrassed because I wasn’t on a single one. Now, I’m on too many.
I just got cast in The Red Tie Mafia, which is a short form improv group. My specific team would have guaranteed shows at least twice a month in front of an audience. It’s kind of a great opportunity for someone like me who still isn’t eligible to audition for a house team at any theater (I will be able to audition for the PIT in January). However, I’m already in two indie teams, a weekly class and I’m planning a show at the end of the month. The weekly class is education and will be done in mid-September. The show I’m producing is super low-stress. The two indie teams are both great and are just starting out. I’ve performed with one of them and booked a show for the other. I can work everything out in my schedule improv-wise, but there are two big catches.
One is money. I can’t afford the dues* for more than two teams. Realistically, I can barely afford one. Two is stand up. I have almost no time for stand up anymore. I actually had a conversation with another stand up over text last night (out of the blue) and the conversation quickly turned into him trying to convince me to not “quit stand up” for improv. It’s not that I think I’m doing that, but it’s definitely starting to look like that. I used to get up at least 7 or 8 times a week for stand up. Now I’m lucky to make 2 or 3 mics. I’m still writing a lot of material—in fact, everything I’ve written lately is pretty good. I’m finally finding my voice and having fun on stage. However, I need to devote more time to it.
So I think I have to kill one of my indie darlings. The thing that sucks there is I like both teams and I made a commitment to my teammates. I already paid the monthly dues for one team, so I’ll keep with that until the end of the month. The other team won’t meet again until next month. So, I might take a month long leave of absence for the first one next month, and then in October decide which one I’m quitting. Or both.
It just sucks because I want to have fun with all of these people.
And yes, I know I’m complaining about a wealth of luck in my life. I’m so thankful that this is a problem, but I still need to make the choice of which artistic darling to kill. I don’t want to kill any of the fun.
*Most indie improv teams have monthly or weekly dues to pay for rehearsal space and coaches. They average for me $40-$60 per team per month.
I’m having dinner in a local Irish pub, which is kind of like representing the old country for me. However, every TV screen is on the Real Madrid-Barcelona game. It’s a Spanish game with English commentary and the commercials are for English films and products but with Spanish commentary. So it’s like watching TV from America’s future.
America’s future is way more charming than Republicans want you to believe.
So, I don’t think I’ve entirely kicked my weird fever bug. I’m feeling clammy again and that’s not good. I felt so much better yesterday that I went on a date, but now it looks like I shouldn’t even try to go to the final Woodshed mic at the Creek because I’ll probably melt into a fainting spell. Also, I wanted to see DCM shows and people from out of town.
But no…I have to be a big girl and put my pj’s back on and get still MOAR rest because that’s what we do when we’re adults.
(I’m going to miss the last Woodshed mic! Because my neck and head are clammy!)
What’s that thing where your body hurts all over like it does when you have the flu really bad, but you don’t have any other flu symptoms? And you switch between feeling faint and light-headed and having the chills? And you have the weirdest hint of a headache, but not a full out headache? And you’re stomach is feeling gross, but not achey?
Because whatever that is, I’ve had it for almost 24 hours now. I almost left work early yesterday because I was feeling so sore and dizzy. I had to leave improv rehearsal IMMEDIATELY last night because of it and go straight to bed. I fell asleep at 10pm and I woke up at 10am (with a brief wake-up at 7am to email my work that I would not be coming in).
Now I have to figure out what’s wrong with me (dehydration? stress? being too awesome?) and figure out if I can get out of the house and buy an everything bagel (and maybe some Ben-Gay at CVS).
I’m trying to understand the debt ceiling crisis. See, when it was happening, I didn’t care because it was not Game of Thrones or a cute boy I liked. Now, I need to understand it because I want to have a well-rounded and well-written sketch packet put together before I go to LA in a month. Well-rounded means I need a political sketch. I only have two political sketches (in rough draft form from a year ago). They are an Obama cold open about the oil spill and something called “The Real Housewives of the Republican Party.” I want to rewrite the Obama one because the game works for any crisis. But I need to understand the debt ceiling crisis. And John Boehner is not as hot as Jon Snow.
Basically…this is all I’m getting…America is broke because we’re interning at a super awesome ad agency that will hire us next year. We can’t afford food, so we’ve run up a tab at a local deli. Our tab is up. The deli guy is all, “I can spot you an extra $500 until the end of the year.” We’re like, “Cool.” Mom and Dad and our older, lamer siblings are like, “This is a terrible idea! You’ll go deeper into debt.” We’re like, “Fuck that. Bitches gotta eat.” Mom and Dad called the deli and said not to give us the tab without their permission. We had to agree to not bring our gay best friend over for the holidays this year and if the ad agency doesn’t give us a full time job, we have to move back to the suburbs and get our MBA at community college. Mom is scary and Dad has a weird tan. But we get to eat now. But then…the deli guy knows Mom and Dad are crazy and intense and we look like fuck-ups. The deli guy is giving us weird looks, and his loud wife keeps insisting we’re a lazy stoner kid who’s stealing their money.
“FYI We don’t call it ‘girls night’. We call it ‘winner’. It’s the perfect combination of wine and dinner.”—a text I just sent to my gentleman caller explaining the most important event in the world: WINNER (aka “Girls Night with Caitlin”)
The Great Undiscovered American Playwright and the London Riots
I interned at the Library of Congress in the summer between my junior and senior years of college. My job was to help catalogue 1,000s of plays that had been submitted for copyright in the early 20th century. There was a lot of data entry, but also a lot of free time to read the old plays and comment on them. There was this vague goal of finding the great undiscovered American playwright. The irony of that goal is that me and the other two girls who worked that summer did discover the great undiscovered American playwright, but because the woman we worked for was so obtuse, you’ll never hear about Ossip Dymow.
Why am I blogging about him now? Well, I was thinking about his work this morning while reading the news about the London riots.
“Dance in your spirit, but not with your body," she repeated over and over. Then she turned Myrracle around, placed Myrracle’s hands on her hips, and whispered in her ear: "Left, then right, then left, then right …”—Tyra Banks wrote a book called Modelland and OMGYOUGUYZ I WANT TO READ IT.
I'm moving to NYC and want to start taking improv class there (I've finished level 401 in Philly, which is as high as we go, and have been doing workshops and performing with indie teams.) Is there a particular school you'd recommend? Or not? I am having a terrible time deciding where to start, and so far have heard good things about UCB, PIT, and Magnet, and some bad things about UCB (but not enough to dissuade me so far). Any advice, however biased or incomplete, would be much appreciated!
Cool, cool! Congrats on moving to NYC! It will be the cat’s pajamas!
About a year ago, my now good friend, Caitlin, asked the same question of me, and this was my response. To be quite honest, my over-arching feeling towards the scene is largely the same. However, something big happened in the last year: The PIT moved to a new space.
The new PIT theater changes what the PIT is in the NYC improv community. First of all, it’s on the other side of town from the Magnet and UCB. Second of all, it has its own bar where people can hang out. Thirdly, there are TWO performance spaces. What does all this mean? It means that everything I wrote a year ago about the UCB and Magnet is the same, but the PIT is a bigger, flashier and more inviting place for a new performer. It is SO easy to get stage time at the PIT when you’re a new group, and at the same time, comedy heavyweights like Kevin Allison, Paul Brittain, Jet Eveleth, Vanessa Bayer, Julie Klausner, Jessi Klein, Lisa Lampanelli, etc…etc… are starting to perform there, too. Because there’s a nice lobby bar, you can go and just hang out. Seriously. I’ve met dates there. Also, everyone who’s recently graduated/in my Level 5/coming up in the training program is by and large funny, friendly and enthusiastic about sharing stage time and learning. My gut feeling right now is that the PIT is turning into what the UCB was 10 years ago. Meaning, you’ve got a safe place for new performers to cut their teeth alongside more seasoned people. It’s way harder to get that stage time at the UCB and it’s harder to mingle with industry people at the Magnet.
Of course, I’m loving my personal experience at the PIT, so I’m biased. However, I do hangout with UCB grads and Magnet grads, and when you get them all drunk and talking honestly, my PIT grad friends seem to be more exuberant about their theater and the improv they’re doing than my friends at the other two theaters. If nothing else, comedy is play time. I think the PIT kids are having more fun playing. Well…I mean…I have the most fun playing there.
But hey—I still want to take UCB classes next year and I still think the Magnet has the best improvisers in the city. I just personally have more “fun” at the PIT at this present moment in time—and I keep having more and more fun at the PIT which is something special.
I thought I was jaded. I thought I was ‘over’ enjoying improv class. But seriously, last night’s class was incredible. You know it’s good when you have to get up out of your seat because you are that engaged in the scene your classmates are doing. You know it’s good when you end up producing some of the most fun and funny scenes ever in just ‘scenework’ practice. You know it’s good when friends are quoting other friend’s lines from class on Facebook the next day. I love everyone in my class. It helps that by now, almost everyone knows each other from other levels, indie groups or just getting drunk at the PIT bar together. As a teacher, Scott Eckert is like that fun camp counselor who lets you play “Capture the Flag” and make lanyards and drink soda all day long. It’s basically THE BEST. I would encourage anyone starting improv at the PIT to stay with it because Level 5 is the shit. Every class is like this:
“There are the friends you meet for the occasional happy hour, and there are friends with whom you have longstanding Taco Tuesdays. Taco Tuesday means a bottle of wine for each person and peeling back the business-casual mask of the weekday while relaying mortifying tales of performed adulthood to one another. You hit reply all. You cried at your desk. You said “I love you” when you were unprepared or drunk or sober. Any day can be Taco Tuesday. These are the people who fill in your blanks. These are the right people.”—