Move to Chicago...check. Take classes at IO...check. Audition for the incubator program at The Playground...check. Perform long-form improv in Chicago...check. Complete IO training and have a run of student shows...check. Get cast on a team at IO...check. Start performing on the IO mainstage...check.
There are more goals yet to achieve, however last night marked the chance to check one of my main ones off the list. My IO team, Mr. Nice Guy, had it's debut. Before I go into any details, let me just say that it was a blast! The show went remarkably well. For a first ever show for a group that has never performed together before it was great. Take away all the caveats, and it was still pretty good. I'd grade it at least a B.
The night was pretty surreal. There we were all congregating in the bar before the show, 9 people with enough nervous energy to power a city. I was nervous, but mostly anxious to hit the stage. I was in a pretty good frame of mind, and for that I have to thank my lovely fiancee. There were errands to run and things to do earlier in the evening, but Mo made me say to hell with all that, tonight we relax before the show and I could get whatever I wanted for us for dinner. Of course I chose Chicago style deep dish pizza. Monique still hasn't totally gotten on board for this delicacy, but I think she's coming around. Regardless, pizza in my belly and relaxing on the couch was way better than running around town.
Pre-show warmups were commenced with and we got fired up as a team, expecting to take the stage first. We find out during, however that we're actually up second. Dammit! Now we have to wait 25 minutes or so before going on. OK, no problem. Get some water, enjoy the first show. I can't say that I remember anything that they did.
As we line up to go on, the excitement is in everyone's eyes and body language. The host announces our team and we hit the stage. One of the guys on the team has a bunch of family there, so we've got a great crowd. They're excited, on our side, and larger than a normal Tuesday night crowd. Great energy in the room. A suggestion is obtained and we hit our opening with complete energy and focus. It was the best opening I've ever been a part of, too. If you don't know, I normally cannot stand long-form improv openings. I think that they're typically the most pointless, gayballs, dumbassed things ever. This one worked, though. We were all on board, supporting the shit out of each other. The mood of the opening would crescendo, then decendo, then climb back up again, ending on a high note with great excitement and performers literally hanging from the rafters. The crowd erupts in applause as we scatter to the sides of the stage. Applause? OK, this is going to be fun.
The first few scenes are good. Nothing phenomenal, but solid nonetheless. In my first scene, to mask my nervousness I go to my fallback: object work. I get my first big laugh of the night, now I'm feeling it. The show goes along, scenes progress, games played, everyones supporting and setting each other up. I don't really want to get into specifics because I don't think it translates too well here. Just suffice to say, the pace was great, the support was tremendous, and the scenes solid.
The only kind of downer of the night came during the last beat of the show. I'm leaving a scene when I step awkwardly on the edge of the stage where there's a short little step down and roll my ankle. It's not bad, in fact today the swelling is almost completely gone, it just caused me to hang to the side after our show, and not really participate in the Dream. That's a scene that's played between the teams sets, utilizing all the players of all the teams playing, based on an audience member's info. I was really looking forward to that, but the ankle was killing me, so I didn't get in this time. No big deal, I'll be in there next show I promise.
So that's about it. Our coach had some great notes for things to work on in future shows, but generally gave us positive comments about the show. We went down the street for some post-show beers and to reminisce about the show that had just taken place. Overall, it was a lot of fun, left me feeling like I can't wait to do our next show, and made me proud of myself. And that's a feat I can't say I've felt much, in some other shows and auditions lately.