An Artist at Play

Show Time

Two weeks before the show at the Broad Stage, we had a rehearsal. The night before the rehearsal, my boyfriend and I were supposed to go to a comedy show, but he had a panic attack. I ended up going to the show alone, since a friend of mine was performing. That night, I came home and found he had fallen deeper into depression. I consoled him as best as I could, but I also knew I had to be alert for rehearsal so I had to sleep in the other room. Luckily, my mom took over. I don’t mean to sound like a bad girlfriend, but I had to do what was best for me. Sleep is very important to me. If I don’t get enough sleep, my muscles become even more uncontrollable and I’m pretty much not functional. I did the rehearsal on sheer adrenaline. I also was still worried about my boyfriend, but didn’t let it show. That’s the thing about being an actor, you have to put whatever bullshit aside and pull off the show. Fortunately, my boyfriend got better.

However, the week before the show, loving girlfriend that I am, I made him sleep him on the couch because he snores. My batshit crazy pitbull was happy to lick his face in the morning. I continued practicing my piece with my speech therapist every day. The more I practiced, the more confident I became. During rehearsal, I noticed I got nervous when I first started the piece so I was extra aware this when I practiced the piece. I always get nervous in the beginning; then, once I get going, I’m okay.

The week before the show, my nerves really got to me. Not to mention my dad was moving to San Diego during this time. Between the show and visiting my empty bedroom at his old apartment, I had lots of breakdowns and mood swings. I was a lot of fun to be around. Seeing my empty bedroom forced me to say goodbye to my childhood. I’ve been an adult for six years, but I sure don’t feel like it. It’s also a bit hard for me to keep my inner child alive since I had to grow up very quickly. However, I’m able to have lots of moments of immaturity. The people around me keep me laughing and remind me that life isn’t all about work.

The day of the show, I was ready to do it. I felt like I had done all the preparation I could and since it was so time-consuming, I was ready to get back to focusing on other projects. Like all shows I do, I made sure I looked good. I figure, if my performance sucks, I’ll at least give the audience something that’s aesthetically pleasing.

When I got the theater, I tried to explain to the tech person that a mic that rests on my ear wasn’t going to work for me and that I’ve been doing this for a while so I know what I’m talking about. But they insisted on trying and failing with those mics. Finally, they let me use my tried and true one lapel mic on each side of my vest so that no matter how much my head moves, it picks up my voice.

The Broad Stage is a beautiful theater. I was thrilled to be performing in such a place. I was a little intimidated to be sharing the stage with Benjamin Bratt, Muse Watson, Amy Brenneman, and Stephen Stills since they’re all accomplished in their own right. Zach Hatch is also a really talented actor and poet. There was a part of me that wanted to go in with my SAG card displayed on my neck to show that I’m really an actor. Everybody was really nice and supportive. It was my first time doing a professional theater show. I was not expecting the thirty-minute curtain call, which was more like a forty-five minute curtain call. Or the fifteen minute mic call. Luckily, my friend Marty, who does a lot of theater, was my assitant for the evening and guided me through. Everything was funny to us because I was so nervous. My coping mechanism is laughter. There was a bottle of tequila in the green room I was tempted to take a sip out of. When I first started doing stand-up comedy, my parents used to give me a drink because I would get so nervous. I worked through that. I actually intended to have a celebratory drink the day after the show, but was too tired. 

Waiting to go on stage was the hardest part. I became surprisingly calm. I just went into the zone, I guess. I was the last actor to go on before Stephen Stills. As soon as Benjamin Bratt got on stage, I waited at the curtain for him to get off. Although each piece was only about fifteen minutes, it felt like an eternity. When I got onstage, I had many things going on in my head at once. Which is surprising because usually, there’s not much going on up there! I was making sure I paused and planned (my piece looked like Colin Firth’s speech at the end of The King’s Speech; it’s good to know I used a tried and true method), connected with the audience, didn’t strain my voice, tried to keep my hair out of my face, and have fun.

It worked. I got a standing ovation and hugs from the rest of the performers when I got off stage. After the show, I received a lot of praise for my performance. I was worried that my head might not fit into the car for the drive home. Michael Chiklis surprised me by being moved to tears by piece. The evening made me feel like I was doing something right. All my hard work was worth it for those fifteen minutes on stage. I look forward to doing more often.

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Comments on: "Show Time" (1)

  1. todd waring said:

    I’m thrilled you had such a good time and did so well! You’re a clutch player, Alli. So sorry I couldn’t have be there. You rock!
    And jiggle sometimes and generally move around a lot. Love, T.

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