Reader, I have started going to a weekly acting class.
Ok, so you'll probably read that and go 'so what?' but here's the thing: I haven't been back in training officially for almost 5 years. I'd been through a bit of a patch of feeling unexcited and frankly a bit crap about the whole acting thing-too many bad scripts, auditions with rude directors and less than fun experiences. I needed something that would make me feel the passion again, and having watched my guy do these weekly classes and come home brimming with enthusiasm and excitement, I decided to take the plunge, hoping to refresh my skills and re-awaken the joy a bit.
What I hadn't expected were the nerves.
Nor that the nerves would be about meeting my classmates.
Reader, I think I've mentioned in the past, I got quite badly bullied as a kid. I didn't know how to interact with other children, because I spoke like a 30 year old and had spent a while before school travelling the world with my parents. Groups of kids and the way in which you're supposed to behave around them baffled me. Making friends was hard, and bullies picked up on the fact that I was different to them, leading to years of just not wanting to go to school. I didn't speak the language, or understand the conventions. I thought perhaps I was past that nervousness around large groups of strangers now, what with the fact that I have lots of amazing friends and constantly have to meet new people as part of my career, but as it turns out, I am just as awkward as ever.
The first day I was so nervous I could barely speak. I sat in a cafe opposite the theatre beforehand, trying and failing to read the same page of my book for half an hour before (thank god) my wonderful teacher bumped into me and walked with me to class. She dropped me off in the hallway with a small group of my classmates, who were ridiculously welcoming. A friend who had done the earlier class walked by and I got into a chat with her about how she'd been doing-by the time I turned around the small group had turned into what seemed to me to be a teeming mass of humans. Oh god. And they all looked really young, confident and absurdly cool. And they all knew what to wear to a weekly acting class (lycra and funky tops, which, as I am swiftly approaching 30 I find harder and harder to pull off). The nerves returned. They all knew each other and were excitedly chatting away. Heading up to the class, I was roughly 3 minutes away from a panic attack. Thank god I sat next to two lovely people who confided in me that they were crapping themselves at their first session too, and that I had nothing to worry about. And quite suddenly we'd begun. The thing is, it's hard to feel anxious when you're really enjoying what you're doing, and what I had forgotten is that I actually LIKE acting. In fact, I LOVE it. Being handed a script I've never seen before and being asked to perform it is pretty much my idea of heaven. But somehow I'd forgotten that, because how often do you actually get to perform without risking your career as an actor? Practically never. And the longer I spent with the other actors, the more relieved I was. These people don't judge. They are genuinely lovely, talented, warm and open folk who want you to succeed. The relief, dear Reader, was fairly overwhelming. I came home from class and one of the first things I said to my expectant boyfriend was 'I want to be everyone's friend in that class. They're all so...brilliant'. I don't know if you get friend crushes Reader, that feeling when you meet someone and you internally cross everything that they'll like you because they are so ridiculously wonderful that you want to hang out with them lots, but my class is full of people like that.
I have my 4th lesson this week. I'm really looking forward to it, not just because I'm learning so much (which I am) but also because I get to see this amazing group of people and play with them.
And just like that, I love being an actor again.
P.S. If you're an actor who needs to refresh their skills, their passion or just wants to learn some awesome new stuff, you'd be hard pushed to find a better class than The Actor's Class. Here's the link if you fancy having a wee gander