Monday, March 15, 2010

Flashback: March 15, 2010. Chemo Comedy Scene 2

My second trip to the clinic infusion center for chemo.  YeeHaw!

Hey, did you hear the one about the bald, pregnant woman getting chemo for breast cancer?   Me either.  People don't seem to joke around about such things. 

This reminds me of a story:  My mom went to the University of Minnesota to get her Nursing Degree.  As one of her electives, she chose the class "Acting for Non-Theatre Majors."  Why did she choose that class I asked her? 

"Because it scared the shit out of me," she said. 

A major portion of her grade was based on her lip-synching performance to a song of her choice.  On that particular morning, she frantically searched through her class catalog to see if it was too late to drop the class without taking a failing grade- it was too late and she was stuck between an F and a hard place.  With courage and a positive attitude- she did it and she ended up getting an A in the class.  She still says this class should be a college requirement.  I don't think she means the acting part itself.  I think the experience that "scared the shit" out of her and terrified her so much she wanted to bail out, actually forced her to dig deep.  This was the real lesson- the buried treasure- of this class.  The courage and positive attitude it took to get to the other side was not created by the experience, but was always inside of her just waiting for her to find it. 

Today, I was thinking about one of her earlier assignments for that class.  She was randomly paired up with another Acting-For-Non-Theatre-Majors Student.  My mom, a thirty-something, married, mother of four was paired up with a guy who already had a college degree, but was taking the class hoping to potentially tap into a new dating pool.  Too bad for him.  Each pair in the class was given the exact same script.  The assignment was for each pair to use this script to create both a tragedy and a comedy. 

My mom's partner was into the tragedy.  He thought up scenerios that all had a similar theme: They were playing a couple.  He was breaking up with her.  She was devastated, desperate, begging him to stay.  My mom patiently listened to the variations- sometimes they were horny high school sweethearts, sometimes professionals dating exclusively for years, sometimes married with children,...  My mom told him this would be a huge test of her acting ability, because in real life she would just caution the guy not to let the door hit him in the ass on the way out.  She laughed.  He didn't get it.  They had to meet outside of class to work on this project.  He wanted to meet in restaurants or bars, but she put the kabosh on that.  He admitted he wasn't really concerned about his grade- he was taking the class pass/fail and it showed.  She ended up writing both scenes.

The pairs acted out their scenes for the entire class to see.  My mom shares this story, because she said it was amazing to see the same script played out in so many different, creative, surprising ways. 

I was thinking about that today.  I think about that a lot.

Cancer handed me a script with tragedy written all over it.  But then again...cancer handed the script to me- a bald, pregnant woman getting chemo for breast cancer- a woman who loves a comedy....

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