Today was a bad day.
Today I was told that I was the reason a show in which I performed was no longer fun because of my participation. I was then asked to take a break from that show because “they” thought the shows were better without me. “They” were never named and “they” did not call me– but rather I was emailed by the owner of the theatre.
I would like to also mention that I had been doing said show for about nine years. I had been receiving positive feedback on the whole and was pursued by people who watched this show about other opportunities: festivals, workshops–all that stuff one would think was the result of people admiring your performance in a show.
Now you might be saying “Dina, you shouldn’t tell us this. You’re our teacher. We might think you suck and more importantly, wow can we learn from this?”
That is exactly why I’m telling you. I am your teacher. And improv is something of which you can never be sure. We, as improvisers, change and grow and go into slumps and make wrong calls.
Now I don’t know if that was the case with me. It could have been–because no one is immune to it. We all hit slumps, we all have bad habits, we all fall into patterns. We’re human beings—or at least we play ones on stage.
But another reason I am writing this is because I was never given feedback that this was the perception around me during the past few months. This was the first I heard about it. Sure, I’d make wrong calls once in a while–but for the most part, I thought I was doing my best—being supportive and listening and putting the show first.
When I confronted the “they” they told me that they knew nothing about this.
When I said this to the owner, she said that “they” were lying to me. That “they” had come to her.
Am I in high school?
Do I feel like it?
Do I deserve more from my peers?
I abso-fucking-lutely do.
Can I blame them for not telling me?
I have no fucking idea. I don’t even know if the owner is telling the truth(and by “telling” I mean “emailing” and I’m also unaware of what her definition of truth might be).
But what I’m saying is this: Peer relationships can take a toll on professional ones. Friends do not want to hurt your feelings and the truth gets avoided. In the end, people step on eggshells and they still break them.
So this is what I am going to take away—
a) this was not an ensemble for me personally while it might be for others. And as much as I adore some of those that do this show, it is time for me to move on.
b) And by moving on and bitching in a blog, I have to make a promise to myself and all those with whom I proceed: I have to be honest with them in my feedback and never blindside them.
So that is my pledge from now on: I pledge to be direct and straightforward and completely accountable to my ensemble members, as well as any of those who trust me enough to take part in this new venture. I promise to stop the “they”s from talking and I will encourage them to start doing. They can start doing by starting an adult conversation where honesty takes priority.
At the end of the day, I vow to be an ensemble member– at whatever the cost.