Embrace The Moment, Repeat As Necessary


PeekabooI recently got cast in the play 52 Pick Up. In fact, I was offered the role without an audition (my favorite kind of gig, and something I teach my clients how to make happen for themselves. I love it when life and life lessons become one!).

I moved to LA somewhat recently from NYC. And as an entrepreneur, my acting sometimes takes a back seat to my business. (Ok, it’s been sitting patiently for a few years now.)

I was really thrilled to book my first job on the West Coast. Although, as an NYU (and Oxford) trained, east coast theatre buff, it never occurred to me that I would make my debut in LA theatre.

So back to 52 Pick Up. We put this play up at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off.

The play features 2 actors, one love story, 52 scenes. Some scenes are as brief as one line in total. But here’s the kicker. The title of each scene is written on a playing card. At the beginning of each show, the deck is shuffled by the audience.

The scenes of the play take place in random order (according to the shuffle of the cards). No one knows what the next scene is going to be (not the actors, the director, audience or even lighting person) until the next card is flipped over.

Not only that – but we had a rotating cast, so each show not only happened in completely random order, but you were performing with your scene partner for the very first time (in front of a live audience).

Talk about being in the moment!

There’s no backstage, no scene breaks, no time to gather yourself and regroup. Once you’re on, you’re on, and the ride is unpredictable and unexpected each and every performance.

You’ll never see the same show twice!

I’ll be honest. It was only after I got past the initial glow of being OFFERED a role, that I slowly began to realize what I had said yes to.

To make matters worse – two things happened.   I went on a road trip (already on the books before the show came up – it’s true! If you want to book work, book a vacation!) and then I got assigned the first preview show.

Not only was I out of town when rehearsals first began, but I had the least amount of lead time to learn the show before performing it.


Why did I say yes to this project?

How can I get out of it?

What was I thinking?

Who’s stupid idea was this?!?!?

When something triggers your stuff, there are two options. Run away from it, or face it.

Since I was already on the hook for the play, there wasn’t an alternative to me. When left to my own devices, I can procrastinate with the best of them. But when I commit to someone else with a firm date attached, I’m there!

So here’s what I’ve learned (and re-learned) from my 52 Pick Up experience:

Ask for help

Have you ever tried to learn 52 scenes entirely on your own? I’m pretty sure it is impossible. I tried for a few days to nail down my lines until I realized I was fighting a losing battle. Lucky for me, as the actress stuck with (ahem….gifted with) the first preview show, my cast mates were more than happy to help me learn my lines.

Whether it was their relief to be off the hook, a genuine desire to do what was best for the show, or both, I was grateful!

As a person who is good at a lot of things, asking for help can be tough. And receiving it can also be uncomfortable.

But when you push past those barriers, help and support feel really good.

You’re more ready than you think

When that first preview show rolled around, neither I nor my scene partner had ever performed the show in full. Not only with each other, but ever. Sure a scene here, a monologue there, but trying to identify the scene title to the scene, who had the first line, when the scene ended, then seamlessly jump into another scene at random for 52 scenes without a break (in front of a living, breathing, shifting, laughing, key jangling, audience?)

I wasn’t sure I was “ready” to pull it off.

That’s the beauty of the entire 52 Pick Up show. You’ll never be ready! Which makes you more ready than you know.

You know when you’ve rehearsed a scene, a planned a scene the exact way you’ve decided it should go? Only to perform it and it falls flat?

Being in the moment in life and in acting requires you to embrace each individual moment as it comes. And 52 Pick Up is a show about the accumulation of 52 moments.

It’s also about love.

Have you ever been “ready” to fall in love? Or “ready” for a break up? Have you felt 100% “ready” to handle that person you’ve been crushing on suddenly appearing in your personal space in the flesh in all their hotty-hotness.

Of course not!

Love is scary! Break ups are excruciating. Crushes and attraction are exciting, precisely because they are unexpected and unpredictable.

Just like our show.

The more I perform this show the more I accept that, while the scenes themselves are scripted, the rest of the show will unfold as it will in the moment.

Kind of like life.

There is power in letting go of your idea of what is “supposed to happen”. It’s liberating to let go of control.

There’s one more thing I learned from our show (ok, a few more, but I know you’re a busy person with stuff to do)!

Hard work pays off

One of our director’s goals was to get our show extended. It’s the kind of show you can see multiple times and it never gets old.

I’m excited to say, thanks to the hard work of our director and all the cast, we were handpicked by the Fringe Festival for an encore performance!

Out of nearly 300 shows at the Hollywood Fringe, we were one of just a handful who get to continue on.

As an actor, I know how frustrating it can be when your actions don’t get immediate results. You work hard on your craft, on your marketing and relationship building, and it can be hard to know if that work is actually making any difference in your career.

But now and then a day comes along that is proof positive that your hard work does pay off. The announcement of our encore performance (and the fact that I got picked to appear in it!) was one of those days for me!

Whatever your current career goals are, keep taking action! It will pay off.

And here’s to the THEATAH!