Why it’s worth daring to have fun.

What fun thing would you love to try if only you dared?

    Here’s my story.

I didn’t know I’d love the stage. Seriously, I was one shy kid. People say that’s hard to imagine now but it’s true and she (that quiet mouse in me) is still in there quietly reading a book under a tree, being ever so good and not making a peep.

I used to mark everything I did out of 10. In my opinion, back then at age 12, it was so often a ‘1’ that I sometimes just didn’t speak for days, especially not in groups. I absolutely avoided drama and quaked in my student boots whenever I had to give a presentation later on at University.

I also have a funny brother. Well, they’re all funny really (there’s 3 of them) but this one went on to perform comedy and now writes and develops scripts for some famous films (that’s me just feeling some sibling pride). So, anyway I just thought that all this stuff wasn’t for me, I’m a shy, therapist type, book loving girl whose brother had sucked up all the funny genes. That turned out to be…. apologies for the swearing….bollocks!!


The funny brother and me.

So, what happened? In a nut shell, about 3 and a half years ago right when I was really starting to feel a lot better from being very ill for years, I accidentally (inspired by wine and boredom) heckled a terrible compare at a stand up open mic comedy night my brother was performing at. To my shock, people laughed. The following week, I saw an improvised comedy class advertised locally-my intuition said ‘Thea, you must do this!’

I said, ‘mmmm intuition, I’m really not sure, that looks terrifying.’

My intuition left the page of the brochure open next to my bed for a week.

I said, ‘Intuition, I can’t afford it.’

My intuition made me phone up the centre that ran the class and ask if I could pay in 2 back dated cheques.

They said ‘Yes’, oh shit, now I have to go!

I walked there the following Thursday muttering to myself…this was all a good idea in theory but why am I going?!

So what happened?……I won’t lie, it was scary, I had to stand up in front of the rest of the class and play games, attempt to be funny and leave my comfort zone sitting in bed at home watching Friends.

All the funny brothers and me

But, I loved it in a terrified kind of a way. Then the fear would overwhelm the fun and I’d duck out for a week but then I’d come back and get right back on that scary metaphorical horse. And oh I’m by no means any kind of comedy genius and sometimes I’d like some more of those comedy genes my brother nicked….but I could do it and sometimes people laughed but mostly it was fun, challenging and a new side of me came out. Although I suspect it was there lurking all along; the quiet girl mouse under the tree with the book actually had a feather and would tickle passersby. She was just scared.

Performance, comedy and this kind of playing changed my life. Gad zooks, I never expected that. And it continues to do so.

I made great friends (I still perform with some of them), I went on to perform improvised comedy for 2 years (never totally losing the fear of making something up on the spot in front of the audience but loving it too).

Earlier this year I was a singing, smelly, detective dog (ah a part actors can only dream of!!) in a non-traditional pantomime, which I loved. See proof below, any sense of humiliation clearly left years ago:

And I’m currently rehearsing to be a bee (notice the creature theme), a hormonal woman, a ‘single lady’ dancing the full version of Beyonce’s Single Ladies video dance (ooh that involves a whole lot of complicated wiggling!) and a giggly fiancee in court for a sketch show with a community group.

But just as importantly at that original class I took, when it came to the second term, love was born. I was wooed (I like to think!) and am very happily still living and in love with my comedy classmate (who is currently behind the wonderful world of A.P Potting Jr). Again, creatures!!!! Seriously, my world is full of them. A.P Potting Jr

The short version of how we got together goes like this: As a great lover of cheese, he complained that not enough people give each other cheese as a romantic gift. He asked me to bring him some back from the trip to Sweden I was about to take. So of course I visited The Swedish Cheese Emporium (this really exists) and brought him back some (it had whiskey in it too). Love was born. Who knew that a cheese, creature based comedy romance would come out of that class? Dam my intuition….it was right!

So enough about me….what about you?

I think I’ve made my point but just in case I’ve distracted you with pictures of me dressed as various creatures and with stories of cheese and love….here’s what I’m trying to say…

If there’s something you might like to try (especially if it’s one of your neglected fun type activities) that you’ve put to the back of your mind because:

A) It’s too scary.
B) You can’t afford it.
C) You’re too busy.
D) Other people/things are more important.
E) You don’t think you’d be any good at it.
F) Any other excuse except that you’re stuck in the Antarctic with only a small flannel for warmth and a penguin for conversation….

Then, maybe it’s time to give it a go?!! Even if it’s not as nuts as performing comedy as long as you think you might like it, it might be ‘you’ and one of the above is true. I’m not saying that it may not take some courage, deep breaths and a small sip of gin! Sometimes, the fear is just the unknown…its walking into a room if strangers and taking a class.

A couple of weeks ago I did just that again (I should be used to it but I’m still always a tiny bit nervous)….in the name of fun (it’s tough to be me and have to walk my talk!!). I briefly joined a group rehearsing a singing flashmob for a good cause. That Saturday the public were surprised in 4 locations around town as a bunch of normal looking folk suddenly burst into harmonious song and then as soon as it was over, wandered off and got on with their day. Ooh I do love a good flashmob, here’s the video (spot me ever so cool in shades!): Adult Learner’s Week Singing Flashmob 2012

But anyway, aren’t the best things a little but scary? What risks have you already taken in your life that have paid off? I bet there’s been some!

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. Dali Lama

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