For the past year or so I’ve embarked on a new journey in my acting career… something that feels very foreign, but liberating at the same time… I joined the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Hollywood (yes they spell it the proper British way!) For those of you who are unaware… the UCB is an AMAZING organization that was created by some well-known improvists/comedians… one being no other then the amazing Amy Poehler, and features alumni from SNL stars to characters on primetime shows like “the office” and “workaholics.” The theatre holds performances nightly that are always sold out and completely hilarious… it also allows improv students to participate in classes to perfect their skills on stage!
As an actor in Hollywood… being a part of the UCB can lead to some amazing opportunities… plus it’s so much fun– why wouldn’t you want to be a part of it! But as I’ve taken more and more classes and advanced through the program… it has only gotten harder and more intimidating! Improv seems easy… but it is so difficult… you have to be smart, funny, quick and witty– all things that for me on stage… is not quite possible. Performing in front of an audience… with no script? You can bet, that when I’m up on stage, my palms start to sweat and I have a mini-panic attack!
Usually after my momentary collapse, I pull myself together and try to DO-SOME-IMPROVISING! At my most recent show this past weekend, I attempted to do exactly that… I wouldn’t necessarily call it a disaster… but more appropriately a triumph and progress! I can assure you, I didn’t rock it, I let my insecurities and nerves get the best of me, but I still did it– and in hindsight– I wasn’t half bad! Am I proud of myself? Hell yes! Did I learn something? Yes! And will I try again? Yes!
At the beginning of every professional show there is a monologist that tells personal stories to help inspire improv sketches for the performers and warm up the crowd– when the monologist has the stage, they should be proud, friendly and confident…unfortunately at a recent show I went to, that wasn’t the case– she was so uncomfortable on stage, that she made the audience feel uncomfortable being there… it ruined everyone’s experience and probably prevented her from doing a better job than just walking on stage and being like– “I’m doing this!!!! I’m going to embrace this!!!!!” If you’re scared… the audience will be too… reminding us all to always put on a brave face with any challenge we face! It’s a good lesson to learn… with this attitude, you’ll always learn something new about yourself and have more fun along the way! If we should step out of our comfort zone with our heads held high, the possibilities will be endless…
I guess I’ve learned some great life lessons from this wacky experience… and I can’t wait to do it all again soon!
Check out shows near you if you’re in the mood to laugh and see actual professionals rock it out CONFIDENTLY!… chicago.newyork.losangeles.ucbtheatre.com
– SFG Jackie
p.s. look at this goofy headshot of me– I think I’m ready for my first comedic TV show! hah