I’m going to be honest with you guys – I’m scared out of my mind to do this Fringe show, 50 Ways to Date Your Aubrey.
Aside from feeling like some self-important, Kardashian-level narcissist because I have the audacity to commission and perform a one woman show based on my own life (presented by my own theatre company, nonetheless!), I also have all the actorly fears of having to carry a show for over an hour! What if I forget what the next line is? There’s no one up there to help me recover, I just have to figure it out myself!
I’m also scared because this stuff is real – mostly. Danny took a little artistic license, added some poetry and a few of his own stories and ideas, but the vast majority of the show is My Real Life. I’ve been in therapy for a year and half working through most of what’s about to be splashed on stage every night for other people to enjoy and consume.
Literally, just this week my therapist and I were discussing whether he’d come to see it so we could continue to process those experiences in session.
I’m terrified to lay my life bare for anyone to consume and judge. I have to stand there every performance and relive, process, and let go of the very real joys, losses, love, and abuse that created the woman I am today. That is a daunting task, and I am scared to not only allow myself to go back to those places, I’m also afraid I won’t actually get there and will instead create a half acted mess of inauthentic experience. Expose myself? Allow my true self to be observed and judged? All while acting? What if they don’t like it? What if I fail? WHAT AM I THINKING?
But I digress.
Most of all I’m scared of NOT doing this show. I’m scared that I’ll continue to keep these stories to myself, letting them root and grow in me, control me through my thought patterns, my actions, my behaviors. I’m scared that people won’t know about the wonderful people I’ve known, who helped create a strong, fearless, empathic person. I’m scared that people won’t know that they ARE NOT alone in the hurt, loss, and abuse they’ve lived through. I’m scared to stay silent in a world where we absolutely NEED to be speaking out, speaking up, and being heard. I don’t really think of this as a #MeToo play – honestly I think of it as a comedy: it is based on my love life after all – but I can’t deny the fact that those stories are there. I am afraid to hide in my own shame and pain any longer, and I’m afraid to not shine a light that will help other people rise up, too.
This play isn’t going to start a revolution or save lives. My greatest hope is that people will miss most of what I’m saying because they’re too busy laughing. I want it be a fun and engaging story, the kind that gets folks to share their stories. And in the sharing of those stories I hope we’ll all come out happier and healthier on the other side.
I guess we’ll find out!
Love, The Scared Speechless, Aubri O’Connor
Aubri O’Connor is an actor, producer, and Artistic Director of Nu Sass Productions. She is also, apparently, a little nervous about the upcoming show.