Talking to Myself

Several years ago, while preparing to perform at a women’s prison, I waited at the side of the auditorium running my lines. For those of you who don’t know what “running lines” means, the term refers to how an actor goes through all of her/his lines until they are sure they really know them. What it looks like to the rest of the world, is that we are muttering and talking to ourselves. Once I got onstage and started to perform funny characters, the inmates burst into hysterics immediately. I was thrilled at their response. Later, after the show they told me, “You were funny, but we were laughing because the way you were talking to yourself before the show, we actually thought you were a new girl from the psych ward!”

I am delighted by moments like this one. So much of the time I put the emphasis on preparing for the performance, and I think things are going to go as I’ve planned them in my mind. The reality is that things sometimes turn out even better than what I intended. Once we put ourselves out there, we never know what will happen.

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