May 9, 2011

SLAM! I broke my butt.

Saturday was my second ever SLAM.

SLAM is an annual fundraiser with Plan B Theatre Co. I'd never seen SLAM until I was in my first one last year. I remember everything about it, including the first words out of my mouth when it was over, "I will never do that again".

Nothing bad happened. I had a great piece by Julie Jensen. Acted alongside Mark Fossen and Stephanie Howell and was directed by Andra Harbold. It went just fine. More than fine. Not only was it fun to do, but it even went on to be published. But I saw some other pieces where the actors seemed to have pages and pages and pages of dialogue. Tons. I was blown away how they had memorized it. I didn't think I could have done it, and that's when I got scared. Holy shit, I'd gotten lucky! Maybe I should leave it at that. I didn't think I'd want to take that risk.

Yet, there I was for another go.

SLAM is this: Five plays, ten minutes each, written, memorized, fully staged and performed in 24 hours.

The way it breaks down for us actors is this. We get to the theatre at 9 am the day of the show, and we're told who's in what play, who's directing what, what props we have, we have a quick meeting with the playwright, and then we begin. Showtime is at 8 pm.

It's hard. Real hard. You learn a lot about yourself as an actor in that day. You do the unthinkable and truly surprise yourself at what is possible. You completely get out of your own way because you don't have a chance to second guess anything you're doing. And I absolutely love that. It's also hard to recover from. Real hard. The day after is spent completely wiped out. I'm still feeling a little bit of the SLAM hangover today. And so is my butt. But more on that later.

I loved the piece I got to do. This year each play had the same title, "Control_Alt_Delete". Each play had one prop, a cardboard box, and a slightly different image on a screen behind us.

Matthew Ivan Bennet was the playwright, Mark Fossen and Carleton Bluford were the other actors and we were directed by Kay Shean. It was an absolutely hilarious script and I loved what I got to perform. That's the thing about SLAM. You have no idea what you'll be performing so you can't really prepare for anything other than try to keep calm, go in with a super focus, and ready to accept anything and everything that comes your way.

Time seems to go both too slow and too fast all day.

Doing SLAM more than once must be like what they say about having a baby. You forget any trauma or difficulty and you agree to go through it all again!

It seems like it's so far away then suddenly the day is here. The night before and the morning of you want to make up an excuse to get out of it. You're wondering why on gods green earth you agreed. You are certain you'll never be able to memorize your script let alone give any kind of a performance, and you'll be the one to mess it all up. But you also have butterflies because it's all so exciting. It's all part of it and you secretly love it.

It's a good thing you don't give into your fears because it always comes together. And believe me, halfway through the day you're sure you'll never make it out alive.

I'm still on a high from being able to perform such a great piece. A piece that hadn't even existed even the morning before! I loved a chance to be silly for a room full of people who see me as serious more often than not.

It's not every day you spend your time riding a stool as a horse as an exercise to get closer to your husband while Dr. Easy not only guides you through, but hops on to "help". ;)

Sure, it'll be awhile before I can comfortably sit on my butt, but is was so worth it.

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