Tag Archives: Entertainment

Why?

Zach Arnold

Why?

Over the past six years that I have been performing in the Richmond area, I’ve had several people ask me how it is that I got into this absurd (and I use that term in an appreciative way) art.

I’ve been improvising for 15 years, give or take. Didn’t really get deeply into it until the winter of 2007, where I went to an 8-week workshop at ComedySportz Richmond, and joined the main roster of performers shortly thereafter.

That’s pretty much it. That’s my how. Cut and dry.

I think the bigger, more soul-fulfilling question, would be why I got into it.

Everyone’s motivation for going to an improv class, or joining a troupe, or whatever, are as varied as the color spectrum. Some improv to improve their public speaking. Some, because they’re funny, and like being around funny people. Some, they just think it’d be a fun way to spend a night a week.

For me, though, what has become a great passion of mine started out as a strategy to gain confidence.

Not more confidence. Confidence, period.

Starting at the age of 10, give or take, I became stricken with extremely low self-esteem. In my mind, everything I attempted was doomed to fail. The successes I had, I attributed to outside factors. I never felt like I deserved credit for anything good, but everything bad was a result of some decision I made, some action I acted upon.

I hated myself.

Theater became my shining beacon when I reached high school. Not so much the idea of obtaining glory and fame, as much as the idea that I could disappear on the stage, be someone else, someone who wasn’t me. A role wasn’t a role, it was an alias, a disguise I could place over myself so the audience wouldn’t see just how terrible I was as a person.

I convinced myself that this was building confidence. That my self-esteem was rising every time I stepped onto the stage.

Really, it was hiding. Attempting to sweep the loathing I had for myself under the rug, to be worried about at some other time.

This tactic worked, to an extent. It worked for around 8 years.

But then the opportunities to be on stage stopped in college, due to grades slipping. With that lack of outlet, that lack of asylum, the crushing blows came back, tenfold. They never disappeared, they just waited, gaining power.

That power overwhelmed, and I found myself out of college in December of 2005.

There was time spent working in a job I came to despise. There was more stage time, thanks to a theater group I auditioned for in the winter of 2006. And as grateful as I was for finding these new and brilliant people, the self-hatred continued.

I convinced myself I was never good enough. Not good-looking. Not a good actor. Not not not not not….

The time came for a change of atmosphere. And that’s how I found myself in Richmond. And how I found myself finally enrolled in an improv class.

One of the first lessons, one of the biggest lessons, took me by surprise: Don’t be afraid to fail.

Don’t be afraid? I had spent the last decade pretty much scared to death of failing. So scared that I barely attempted anything that could prove to be a failure. Classes, work, girls, etc… It was all off the table.

But there was that lesson. Don’t be afraid. There’s no need to be afraid because those around you in the scene will help you, support you, keep you afloat in the tsunami of judgment going on inside my head.

This idea was foreign. Here I was, a guy who had convinced himself that I was a failure as a human being, and I was being told that it’s alright to fail? That instead of judging me, there would be people who had my back, who wanted to make me look good?

What the hell is that?

I resisted initially. Tried to prove that I belonged. That I was funny and people should like me because I was funny and oh hey look at me I’m funny and not at all telling myself that I’m a fraud and don’t deserve the attention I’m getting.

But then I failed. And nothing happened.

The scene went astray, went off the rails. But there was no yelling. No judgment of my capabilities. Just an, “Alright, let’s try it again,” and back to business.

I could fail. And instead of cursing at the failure, the opportunity for learning was brought forth.

And that’s when I began to grow. To slowly, so slowly, realize that by hiding myself on the stage, I was preventing growth. Stagnating the potential for the self-esteem to rise.

The improv continued. I got better at it. I got better with myself.

Now, here, in 2013, I find myself still playing, still performing. But no longer do I feel like I’m hiding from myself. Instead of feeling anxiety before stepping onto the stage, I feel a sense of joy and calm all rolled together.

I’m going to perform. And if I fail, it’s okay. I have people there to support me, or fail with me in a grand spectacle.

There are times when I still feel the self-esteem come to a crashing low. But I know those times are temporary, and that I will eventually find myself being once more at ease, and confident in my actions. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Zach is the Assistant Artistic Director of ComedySportz Richmond, and has been playing with us since 2006. Follow his blog at insertfunnyhere.

Circle Of Life at CSzRVA

This weekend was a banner weekend for ComedySportz Richmond shows.

Over the course of the weekend, we had a scene that ended with the song Circle of Life from the Lion King. Our own Aaron Grant and his new baby Jackson, were in the audience watching. Compelled by the music Aaron walked up onto the field with Jackson above his head as if he were indeed Simba. All the players, instantly and instinctively acted as animals and bowed at the young kings feet.

Then we celebrated a 50th anniversary for a private party, cus we do that sort of thing. The party was all afternoon, and the fabulous food was catered. We sampled! It was yummy! Word has it that everyone had a good time. Well, that’s what the little Mrs.’ told her husband to say, and he did so right on cue.

The weekend was completed with a Loyal Fan proposing to his girl friend during a show. We got them both on the stage as volunteers for a game, which ended with him getting down on one knee and popping the question. She said yes, and everyone applauded! It was quite the amazing moment and our first engagement in our new theatre.

Yup! It truly was a weekend celebrating A Circle of Life!

ComedySportz Improv Theatre To Open on April Fools!

And that ain’t no joke! Or is it…

ComedySportz Improv Theatre of Richmond is set to open our doors again! We’ve been in spring training 
brushing up on those improv skills. We have a bunch of new players and the return of many of the regulars you’ve grown to love over the years.

We thank you for giving us the feed back we needed in compiling the research for our new location. Reading your comments and input was very informative, and some of you are very humorous! What tickled us the most was that many of you requested that we set our new home in Short Pump, but then we had equal responses to “Hell no don’t go to Short Pump!” We actually settled for a location in the West End about 5 miles away from Short Pump at the Gold’s Gym Plaza. You may know this plaza as the old Loehmann’s Plaza or the West Tower Plaza or where the West Tower Movie theatres are, or the place to get Gelati Celesti ice cream, or the place with the Starbucks!

You might be asking “What’s going to be different about this ComedySportz theatre?”

Well, we’re going to focus on the shows and not the food! We know our strengths and it ain’t running a restaurant. If you want food tho, there a number of different restaurants in our shopping center such as Peking, Pho City, Quiznos, and Starbucks. And if you’re an ice cream lover you’ll want to make sure to save some room form Gelati Celesti’s! We’ll have some concessions available, but if you want dinner and a show, come and eat and drink at one of our neighbors restaurants, and then come laugh at us!

And perhaps you noticed on the home page of our site that we have a fundraiser and are asking for the support of loyal fans in raising enough to get our theatre started. The fundraiser goes to equipment we’ll be needing for the new CSzRVA theatre such as lights, seats, etc.

That’s it for this bit o newz! Although we would love to hear your comments. What are you looking forward to seeing at the shows? What have you missed? What did you enjoy at our theatre? We love comments!

Upcoming Shows and The RiF

Ah yes, we’ll be back in action again in no time at all!

In just two short weeks we’ll be performing again at the Cultural Arts Center of Glen Allen.  It will be the night before Halloween, October 30 at 7:00 and we’re looking forward to playing all of our spooky games. The players are getting ready and excited for this trick or treat occasion; mainly because the games in this show are more dangerous then most games we perform.  Food and beverage is provided by Catering by Jill, so come hungry.

Besides our ComedySportz shows at Cultural Arts Center of Glen Allen you can still catch a bunch of the players performing at Art6. If you’re on Facebook you can find out more information by joining the Richmond Comedy Coalition, or Art6. And the Random Acts Boys have landed at HaTTheatre so if you get a chance check them out.

What else is on the horizon you might ask? Well, glad you did! The RiF, The Richmond Improv Festival is just a few short weeks away! This year the RiF will be held at CenterStage and Capital Alehouse and runs from November 5 – 7.  We are very excited as we have 22 troupe from all across the east coast performing in the festival.  Check out the schedule!

This year we have some great sponsors for the RiF such as CenterStage, Capital Alehouse, Hilton Garden Inn, and The Richmond Jaycees.  If your company is interested in becoming a sponsor contact us at dave@shavefx.com for information and details.

We look forward to seeing you all and having you laugh with us again!

The Latest Newz!

Loyal Fans we have entered the blogging world! We know what you’re thinking, WHAT!

Well, we want to use this forum to inform our fans of what is and will be happening in our future as it unfolds. We hope you’ll stay tuned for the next chapter of our story.

As of March 28 2009, we have closed the theatre. We want to thank all of you that come out to see our shows during the last few months. The last weekend, according to many of the performers and fans was EPIC. The performers and the staff, have made the ComedySportz Improv Theatre an amazing performance venue for the Richmond Community. Personally, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for their ability, dedication and professionalism, and wish to thank them all for their outstanding performance and service. And to you, our loyal fans, thank you from the bottom of our funny bone for all the support you have given us over the years. To you we offer a standing ovation!

At this point we are collecting our restaurant and theatre belongings to ready ourselves for our online auction that will be provided by At Your Bidding.  If you’re in the market for restaurant items, or are interested in collecting memorabilia you might want to visit the auction and place your bids.

What’s next…well…we’re lining up our Kids Camp Programs and will be launching all the dates and information in the next newsletter. If you are not receiving our newsletter please add your information to our contact us page.

Also, we want to remind our fans that though we do not have a theatre we are still available for hire. We can come to you and perform our show.  Over the past 13 years we’ve performed for  100′s of different clients from Acushnet to VA Lottery, Churches to Hotels, and from the Mountains to the Beaches. If you have an upcoming event and are looking for entertainment that you know is a sure hit, please contact us.

Remember, we provide teambuilding seminars! Not only is improv a great way to refresh your team and communication skills, it is also a great way to reduce stress, and increase presentations skills.

Please check back with us to find out what happening. If you would like follow me on Twitter for the latest braking news in real time. We may not be sure of what’s coming next, but much like our performances we will be ready for the next offer with a Yes And attitude!

In the meantime Loyal Fans, help support Richmond Theatre and Arts. Explore some of the great entertainment this city has to offer! This city is rich and diverse in the arts. Support your local Theatre…go see a show this weekend.

Till next blog entree…remember don’t run with scissors!


Peace and Laughter,

Christine Walters