Overcoming My Biggest Fear

by Life Sucks. cast member Elyse Edelman (Sonia)

Confession: I HATE audience participation.

You might think, given my profession, that I wouldn't mind being singled out, engaged, or possibly pulled into the spotlight when the proverbial fourth wall is broken. But let me tell you something: you'd be wrong. As much as I love the process of rehearsal and performance on stage, off the stage I'm actually more of an introvert at heart. I enjoy interacting and connecting with smaller groups of people, but being the center of attention when I'm in my every day life takes the energy out of me. So whenever I'm handed a script that calls for any amount of audience interaction, I immediately feel bad for my fellow introverts, who will inevitably begin to sweat as soon as they realize how quickly the space between cast and audience can dissolve.

However, during Life Sucks., introverts have nothing to fear. There is no fourth wall to break, because the fourth wall doesn't exist. As characters on stage, we simply choose to acknowledge the fact that the audience can see us and we can see the audience. We embrace the concept that everyone, all of us--characters and audience members--are wandering through this life and figuring things out together. We may ask questions of each other and the audience, allowing anybody with a voice to answer, but not expecting it of any one person. If and when somebody chooses to answer, however, it allows the characters to see life differently and moves the play in a direction it's never been before. And THAT is pretty amazing. Because isn’t that one thing that life is about? Asking questions that matter and finding out where the answers may lead you?