Embracing Fatherhood Onstage

So I did this thing that scared the hell/heck out of me last week.

I performed a semi-autobiographical/semi-fictional piece about being the father to a teenage son.

Now that round two of this complex year is underway (and attitudes and behaviors changed almost immediately on his birthday; it was uncanny) I wanted to try and address some of those complexities in a half-serious/half-comic piece about what it’s like from ages 13-17. I nearly called the thing off because it felt so nerve-wracking.

Why was it so nerve-wracking? Well…

  1. I worried whether people would take it too seriously (or too comically). It straddled the line, and I knew I might not get many laughs and it’d be hard for me to gauge how the audience was receiving it.
  2. I felt really vulnerable, honestly, talking about struggles with parenthood in a public setting; I worried what people would think.
  3. I had read part of it to my 14yo (including the fictionalized ending which is a bit dark) and he had later ended up in tears, affected by the sad future depicted in the piece (which was really halting and poignant to me; I didn’t expect that at all).
  4. I didn’t know if I could pull off the acting needed for the seriousness in the role.
  5. I questioned whether the writing was good enough, since I didn’t really have much of a sounding board for it.

That’s a lot of stuff.

But I kept at it and practiced it till I was comfortable confident, then I kinda forced myself out there.

It went well and I was proud of the piece. Afterwards, strangers came up to me telling me how much they enjoyed it, asking questions about my kids, how old they are, how much of what I’d said was true, etc. And I got a good sense that it had gone well. The reactions felt genuine and positive.

There’s a small chance I’ll get to perform it again in February. We’ll see. If not, I feel like the experiences stretched me, helped me understand a bit more about writing and performing, and now I get to move on to a straight-up comedy in a couple of weeks (a real, fully-formed production of Sunday Slugg’rz). Anyway, nice job (me, not you). 😊


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