Being new to the theater community and diving into a position as Marketing Director for Fearless Comedy Productions has been one of the more, well… fearless things I have done. I’ve been interested in marketing since I was in college, but kind of in the way that the offices always looked fun and I pretended it would be Facebooking all day as my job. And like, drinking at work somehow? (I’ve since learned that those misconceptions are not really the case, but that’s another story.)
Since joining Fearless as Marketing Director in November, I’ve tried to put myself into positions where I can learn how to better serve our company members. I brought my sleeping bag and camp pillow to Die Laughing and attempted a nap, which absolutely taught me about how strenuous our fifty hour comedy marathon actually is. I got onstage and took a kendo stick smack to my bum. I told a terrible joke that I had written and some people laughed at it. I dressed up as Drake and did a lip sync that was vaguely about blobfish. All of these endeavors have given me new perspective on what our company members do, but one thousand times over. I am 100% learning the amount of work that goes into every single show that I’m trying to promote, which has made me so much more invested in what we’re doing here.
So, when auditions for Anxiety! The Musical came onto my radar, I was like, “Heather, let’s be fearless! Audition for this!” and then I didn’t. And the cast list came out and I was like, “Ugh why did I not try and get involved in this?” I love singing, but badly and at karaoke. I love exactly one musical, and it probably doesn’t even count. But I felt like I missed the chance to be more involved in this community that has been so fun and hilarious and wildly accepting. And then, circumstances arose where there was a second chance to join the show, and I sometimes imagine that I am the center of the universe and that things happen specifically for me, and this was it. I went and auditioned for Suze (the director) and Becci (the producer), with Joseph Yé on piano. I sang my song and did kinda okay at it, and then came time to answer the question Becci posed to everyone. “What gives you anxiety? How does your anxiety physically feel?”
Looking inward for the answer, I found it hard to put the feeling to words. I described the feeling when I have a phone call from an unknown number, or asking my fiance to listen to voicemails for me to make sure they’re okay, or the hurty kind of tickle in my chest before I sing a karaoke song I don’t know, or the feeling when my dog barks at someone outside, or when I find a mouse turd in my apartment, or when my milk is a day past the expiry. It actually wasn’t hard to put the feeling into words I guess.
My perception about the show before going into it was that I would sing a little bit, and with a group which would mostly cover for me, and maybe dance a little bit, and that it would be fun first and also possibly a bit of work. What I found is a group of people who have collectively put in hundreds of hours of work on the show, planning and thinking and writing, scoring music and putting the smart lyrics of the show to those notes, choreographing a major dance break with the entire cast, learning how to harmonize (okay, maybe I was the only one who had to learn this), rehearsing, rehearsing, rehearsing, stepping on each other’s feet (on accident), bumping into each other backstage (on accident), crying a little (always on accident), directing, correcting, photographic.
This experience has given me a completely new perspective in my role as marketing director for the company. Holy shit do these things take work. This show has inspired me to work harder to fill those seats, because after all this work that I’ve seen the cast and crew put in, it would be a crime to have a single empty seat. It gave me a bit of an epiphany, really. These people that I’ve gotten the pleasure to work with deserve to have their stories told.
-Heather Jeanne Rand