This past week I’ve had the absolute privilege of performing with the neuro-diverse theater company I call home, Epic players. For those who don’t know, Epic consists of actors off and on the autism spectrum and what is so wonderful and unique about this company is, you can be yourself. Most of the actors don’t have a choice and it’s so refreshing.
Perfection has been thrown out the window and the focus is about having the opportunity to do what you love.
I have to say I’ve had some of the most fun and memorable moments of my theater career here.
Back story. I grew up performing from the age of 8. Calling my dad a backstage dad is an understatement. 😂 I started with tap and then went on to ballet, jazz, modern, hip hop, etc. if it’s dance, I’ve done it. Dance took me all the way to broadway, which was a horrific experience but that’s a story for another post.
During my time on the great white way, I took time off to study acting and singing, hoping to make the transition when I returned but that didn’t quit happen. With a broken heart, I started performing in singing competitions around the city to become the singer I’d always dreamed. During that time I met an awesome musical director Jonathan Ivie, who introduced me to epic players. I quickly fell in love and took on a mentorship/Assistnat creative director position. With Aubrie as our fearless director, Travis, Jivie,Katie, Talia and countless others, We have been on a journey to bring about a new kind of theater where the pre-requisite isn’t solely based on credits and the level of talent but a heart for theater and creating theatrical opportunities for those who otherwise couldn’t have them.
I identified with them. I found a place where I fit in and have had countless opportunities to express myself through my many gifts. I still don’t understand how creativity became about being singular or shoved into a box.
Anyway, back to those memorable moments. When working with actors on the spectrum, it’s expected for things to sometimes be different. I actually look forward to those moments. Their choices make theater so interesting; sometimes just because of the simplicity of them.
For instance, my show wife and I were entering the front door for one of her scenes. She is on the spectrum but might I even say a stronger actor than I because she hasn’t been tainted by the rules or ideas of “acting”. As we enter, her shoe falls off. Without even thinking she sits down pulls her sock back on. I’m bent over whispering, “it’s ok, stand up, stand up,” but she insisted on continuing so, unable to change her mind, I grab her shoe and assist. Once the shoe is on she stands up and goes into her line as if nothing ever happened. After we left the stage, I was floored because she did exactly what an actor should do, while I kinda panicked. My acting Coach, Anthony Abeson always quotes stanislavsky, “real life crumbles on the stage.”
But in this moment, it didn’t. She imitated life, because when your shoe comes off in real life you sit down and put it back on.
We have also been nominated for an innovative theater award. Here’s where you can make a difference. These guys have worked so hard and honestly, this would be such a gift for them. Please, cast a vote for us here.
Many thanks and Stay Epic!