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June, 2012

Born to ROCK

Lindsey Reeves tell us all about her journey to being a cast member in ROCK: The Improvised Rock Opera, and why improv is like being Harry Potter.

As a child, I was always singing.


It got me in trouble at school. At home, with my dinner untouched before me, I would drift off in a song while staring into the distance, completely unaware of what I was doing until my parents called me back to reality.

There is something about using that part of your brain, becoming one with music, actually BEING music, that is better (in my admittedly limited experience) than any other high available, and it hooked me young.

But growing up being what it is, I learned to control it. In fact, through most of high school and college, I hardly sang at all except when I was alone in my car. Perfectionism had set in, and what came out of my mouth was no longer good enough to share with the wider world.

Not until my late twenties did I start it up again.

I was cast in a musical, and friends who had known me for a decade were shocked to tears upon hearing me sing for the first time. There was no stopping after that.

Discovering improv as a way of making theater on the fly was exciting. Finding out that there were people out there who improvise musicals – making the illusion of spontaneous song in the middle of a scene a reality – and could teach me how to do it too was a dream come true. I took classes and auditioned for ROCK as a shot in the dark. And was cast.

The rehearsal process was daunting.

In such a ridiculously talented group of people, I could have just disappeared into the background and never been missed. Fear often dug its claws into my middle and tried to make me do just that. But that wouldn’t have been fair to my castmates and would have denied me the biggest thrill on earth so I fought it, and my wonderful, generous fellow rockers backed me up like great improvisers do, and Fear didn’t stand a chance.

In my second show, I was designated the hero of the story and had to play a major role in most of the scenes and songs (with, of course, unflagging support from the rest of the cast). And yes, it was the biggest thrill on earth. Someone asked me if I was exhausted afterwards, but I felt ready to climb a mountain.

In the 43-Hour Improv Marathon, we did a show with a 15-person cast (8 of whom had been improvising for 27 hours straight at that point) and I really learned the meaning of support. The way every single thing that anyone did on stage was celebrated, elaborated upon and copied was more inspiring than any other improv I’ve ever seen. It was our best show yet, and the audience was just as amazed by what we did as we were.

That’s the thing about improv – it’s like magic. You walk out of a show feeling like Harry Potter the first time he waved his wand and made a feather float. “We did that? How did we do that? Let’s do it AGAIN!!”

As my final show approaches, I look forward to putting in action the lessons in support that I learned in the last two shows. The end of this run makes me sad, but I know the singing addict in me will never let me leave it behind for long. So…let’s get ready to ROCK!

Get your tickets and watch Lindsey ROCK.


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The Game Changer, Part Two

Like Ryan Hill, who we posted about yesterday, Cat Drago discovered The 42 Hour Improv Marathon last year almost by accident. It too changed her life, which is one of the reasons why we’re still doing this crazy event.

Roy: How did you find out about the Marathon last year?

Cat: I was eating lunch in the breakroom at work (all by myself because I was too shy to talk to anyone) and read about it in the newspaper. I couldn’t BELIEVE they were performing for that long.

Roy: What did you know about improv before the Marathon?

Cat: Well, I have done scripted theatre practically since birth, but I always HATED improv exercises because I didn’t think I was any good at it. It freaked me out and made me insecure. I needed the safety of that script.

I loved watching “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” and that’s all I knew about improv. Had never seen a live show, or knew anyone who did it. In fact, I had just moved to Austin recently when the Marathon came, and I had never even heard of the Hideout before then.

Roy: How long were you planning on staying?

Cat: Well, I wasn’t sure.

I was really shy, and I didn’t know anyone who would go with me, so I almost didn’t go at all. I never went ANYWHERE by myself, other than the grocery store… but something was just so intriguing about it, I just had to go.

Looked it up online, and in a brief moment of insanity, I decided to buy a 42 hour pass, and just see how it went. After all, I didn’t have anything else to do that weekend.

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