The Need for Make Believe: #Disney #Magic #Wonder #Imagination

BabyPeterPanWendy

Buzzfeed just did an article, if you can call it that, on a mother from Florida who lives near Disney World and makes adorable costumes for her three-year-old daughter, Lane. It wasn’t too much of an article, but it did mention the fact that the costumes were insanely cute and accurate. They also mentioned that, the Huffington Post did actually write an article about the talented mother/daughter duo in a bit more detail. However, I want to expand upon a comment in the Huffington Post article because, as a writer and an actor, I believe it is important.

The Rouches originally decided to purchase Disney World annual passes to give their daughter, whom Jennifer describes as “quite shy,” something fun to do with her parents while surrounded by other kids. “We wanted her to not be crippled by shyness, so we took her to a place where a kid could feel happy and safe to dream and play and be themselves or anyone they want to be.”

I believe it is important for kids, and adults alike, to not lose their sense of play and wonder. I think imagination and creativity are two of the most important qualities that we possess as human beings along with compassion. Like the mother says, having a sense of play can help someone break out of their shell. She is giving her daughter the gift of being a little kid, of play and imagination. She doesn’t seem to be engrossed in playing on an iPad at three, she seems to be enjoying what is actually around her.

When I was a little girl, I too loved princesses and superheroes. Yes, my mother would make my Halloween costume (I was Wonder Woman when I was five,) and no, I am sad to report, I have never been to Disney World. Yet, my mother taught me this: Always have a sense of wonder; A sense of play. Be willing to try something new. Create. In recent months, I’ve learned that I have my greatest sense of play, wonder and imagination through improvisation. I have found my happy place.

Nowadays, our society seems fixated on something tangible with very little thought being paid to imagination. Movies have been reformulated for a money-making “reboot.” Musicals have been revived, recycled from movies, and predictable. Plays, well, that’s another story all together. And don’t get me started on TV shows, especially of the “reality” kind. But, I think there is still time. I’m not saying creativity is dead. Believe me, it still exists.  There is still a place for creativity and imagination, and a sense of play. We just need to tap into that as adults. Also, I want to eventually go Disney World, and I’m slightly jealous of Jennifer Rouch and her wicked good seamstress skills.

You can follow Lane and Jennifer Rouch’s costumed adventures on Instagram and Tumblr.

Halfway to Hilarity: Getting Back to #Acting Basics with #Improv

Around the beginning of September, I decided to get back to basics. There had been subtle hints in my life in recent months, for me to take an important step in my career: more training, specifically improvisation. Then, after researching various programs, including Upright Citizen’s Brigade (UCB), The Magnet Theater, and the People’s Improv Theater (PIT), I decided on the PIT. Both UCB and the PIT have very similar programs, and many people have crossed over between each program. The founder of the PIT was even a co-founding member of UCB. Needless to say, improv is a tightly-knit community.

I’m halfway through my class at the People’s Improv Theater for level 1. My ultimate plan is to do the whole program because, like I said to my fabulous teacher last week, I feel like it’s really helping me as an actor and with the writing of my show. It has forced me to be in the moment as actor. It has forced me to listen to what my scene partner is talking about, and as a result, react. With improv, there is no script, there is no anticipation of what will happen next. It’s the best decision I’ve made socially, in terms of my career, and for my overall happiness. I am happy, and I’m smiling. I don’t know what’s going to happen next in my career, but that’s the thrill of it I guess. So..can you say, “Yes, and?”

The Mockumentary That Should Have Won an Oscar:”For Your Consideration” (2006)

Improvisation has always been an essential tool for an actor whether you are in a comedy or a drama. Known for films that only have an outline instead of a set script, Christopher Guest has helped revolutionize the movie-going experience with the “mockumentary” film. Movies like Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, and Waiting for Guffman, all use a core group of actors known for their improvisational skills. Actors like Bob Balaban, Michael McKean,  Harry Shearer, Eugene Levy, Parker Posey, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Coolidge, Fred Willard,  and even Christopher Guest himself, all have  made regular appearances in these films. Their improvisations skills have been put to use in both comedic and dramatic films. One of the most interesting films of Christopher Guest’s is For Your Consideration. Ironically, there was Oscar buzz for Catherine O’Hara’s performance in which she plays an actress vying for an statue of her own. Honestly, I think this movie SHOULD have gotten an Oscar for O’Hara and the movie itself. Catherine O’Hara’s abilities as an actor of both dramatic and comedic caliber are so high that even the apparent face-lift that her character, Marilyn Hack, has, was not done with use of makeup or special effects. As an actor, she had the ability to use her physicality and enhance the performance in an honest way.  Take a look at the clip:

Put this DVD in your queue and watch the pure genius of the cast as they improvise their way through one of the funniest films to parody the film industry. There is more truth to this comedy about drama than in actual documentaries about the industry. I would love to be in a movie like the ones that Christopher Guest produces and directs. I think they are intelligent, funny and pure entertainment. I love seeing skilled actors at work.