Director/artist/enfant terrible Tony Kaye once enraged a roomful of ad people who’d come to hear him speak at the Clio Awards. He walked to the podium, leaned in to the microphone, and said…
Then he walked off, to booing and hissing.
Now Tony’s a weirdo, no doubt about it, but he did have a point.
On Saturday, my team and I did a set based on the show Roseanne.
We all loved having such clear-cut characters from the outset. I played Roseanne, and it made me realise the importance of having a point of view or “deal.” It freed me up to respond in the moment the whole show.
At one point, I was in a scene that got swept. Everyone moved off stage right except me; I walked stage left and stopped, because I’d forgotten this particular stage had no “off stage” on that side. All it had was a wall, a chair, and more stage.
Instead of panicking (a fave go-to of mine historically), I sat in the chair with my back to the wall. Even though I was clearly visible to the audience, I decided just to stay quiet and observe the players who’d taken centre stage.
DJ (played by my teammate Chris Besler) and Darlene (Maria Hajigeorgiou) discussed their sister Becky’s departure in the previous scene. Then I watched as “DJ” mimed opening his bedroom window, and exited the scene.
Now Maria was alone onstage. A beat went by and I heard myself say, “Looks like it’s just you and me, Darlene.”
She spun around and looked at me. “Mom! Have you been here the whole time?!”
I wouldn’t have made that move a year ago, and it felt amazing to have the courage to stay put, shut up, and when the time called for it, take focus. Most of all, it felt great to be supported by my team.
Trust yourself. Trust your teammates. Trust in the unknown.
P.S. After the show Maria told me that in one episode, Roseanne actually hid in Darlene’s closet. How cool is that?