Have you ever agreed to do something before realizing maybe you bit off more than you could chew? That was my predicament tonight. I’d agreed to go on-stage with the world famous Second City troupe at New Haven’s equally famous Long Wharf Theater.
The Second City cast are pros. They improvise every night. I am just a medium market weatherboy.
Helaine and I showed up early. An intern took me up, over and down through the bowels of Long Wharf to briefly meet the cast and get my instructions. I’d join them on-stage at the very end for their “Freeze” routine.
“Freeze” is 100% improv. Actors just riff until another member of the company taps one on the shoulder and says, “freeze.” The action stops until the tapper restarts the scene–usually in a totally new direction.
It was nerve wracking.
I have no idea how good or bad I did, but I do know at one point I was on my hands and knees sticking my head between one of the women’s legs. Later I played a Don Knottsesque detective wannabe.
You can’t stop and say “I’ve got nothing here,” though I did feel that would have been appropriate more than once.
When I rejoined Helaine and our friends Dennis and Sue they asked how much prep there had been. None! They were surprised.
My job has certain perks. This is one. I got to join Second City for a few minutes. I think I had fun though I’m still not sure!