I bet you thought I’d been buried alive under boxes in my basement, didn’t you? I bet artists on the Fringe waitlist were hoping they could have my spot, weren’t they? Well, I’m alive and mostly well and I have, in fact, tamed the basement. What? You don’t believe me? I anticipated this, and I have photographic evidence. Behold! Before and after!
I will assume you are duly impressed. Thank you. Thank you so much.
So, that’s the good news. The bad news is, the bins are still there. Well, it’s not bad news, per se, just news, I guess. See, the thing is, I thought that once I had cleaned up the basement and could access the bins, I could access those feelings and emotions and memories and write a show about it. I figured that was what was holding me back. But once the clutter was cleared away, I realized that wasn’t it. I realized I’m just not ready. That story is not the one I need to tell right now. I will one day. But I realized today is not the day. And then I had a little meltdown. I mean, here I am with this Fringe spot and these plans to write this show and these expectations from the world…
And then I realized, there are no expectations. People will go about their lives whether I write this show or not, whether I write any show or not, and so will I. We’re all going to be okay, you guys. Seriously. So, I set about Plan B. I know, I know, I barely had a Plan A! But that’s how life works sometimes, isn’t it? You set out to do one thing and you end up somewhere else. Maybe that’s a failure to achieve that original thing or maybe it’s a success because you ended up achieving another thing. Who can say? The important thing here is, there IS another thing! (sorry waitlisters)
In an attempt to calm myself down, I decided just to do a straight up sketch show, filled with all the new characters I’ve created over the last while, back to back monologues, no overarching theme, no message, just a bunch of goofball people I have dreamed up, thrown on a stage that will hopefully make people laugh. But when I started looking at the characters, I realized that, actually, there was a theme. These are all characters who, in one way or another, have dealt with or are dealing with their lack of success. Or at least, with their lives not turning out how they’d planned. They all set out with big intentions, sure they were going to “make it”. But something changed or they changed or nothing changed and now they’re trying to figure out if this is even what they wanted. Yup, there was a definite theme. And I have no idea where it came from.
Okay, that’s not true. Obviously, all these characters express some facet of the struggle I’m facing in my own life and have been for a few years. I’ve been acting professionally for 27 years, been doing comedy for 20. I’ve achieved a lot, I’ve been on my way to “making it” several times, but I really haven’t achieved success. Or have I? Is this it? And if so, is this what I want? And if I’ve failed (which is a strong possibility), why the hell am I still doing this? I have lots of questions I’m pondering and so many stories to tell about the experiences that led me here. Which leads to my new show.
I considered calling it Plan B but didn’t want to be picketed by a bunch of pro-life / anti-choice idiots so instead I settled on Give It Up. It’s a nod to that voice in my head that keeps telling me it’s time to pack it in. It’s a nod to the old comedy intro, “Give it up, for Morgan Brayton!” And there’s something in the act of surrendering too, of giving up on what I’d set out to do and following the path to this show instead, wherever it may lead. Maybe giving up won’t be so bad after all?
So, Give It Up mixes stories from my career and my life with these characters I guess my brain created in an attempt to try and sort this stuff out. I’m crafting them all together into some kind of shape that I hope works. I hope it will make you laugh a lot. I hope it will reflect some of the questions in your life and let you know that you’re not the only one. I hope it will be a huge success and become a smash hit on Broadway and then I’ll write a follow up show called I Didn’t Give It Up, I Made It! We’ll see. But for now, I’m just working away on it and getting ready to entertain you come September.
It wasn’t where I set out to go. But I think it’s going to be a great place to end up. I hope you’ll come see it.
Photo: Michele Brayton
Give It Up
Written and performed by Morgan Brayton
Directed by Shawn Macdonald
Stage Managed by Heather Johnston
Morgan Brayton has it all! Okay, well, she has questions about it all. Where is her husband Scott Baio? When is SNL going to call? What happened to her big break? Did she miss it? Is this it? Will there be snacks? Outlandish characters and true stories combine for big laughs from the award-winning comedian and Fringe Fest “Critic’s Choice”.
Part of the Vancouver Fringe Festival
Venue: The Cultch
Thursday, September 8
Saturday, September 10
Wednesday, September 14
Thursday, September 15
Friday, September 16
Sunday, September 18