Feeling Funny – May 2015
Some weeks ago, May 19th in fact, I began a Stand Up Comedy course with The Comedy Trust. The project is entitled ‘Feeling Funny,’ and it brings together men who have or are experiencing depression and anxiety. The course is facilitated by professional local comedian, Sam Avery along with Helen and Ann; and the venue for the course takes place at the Radio City tower over six weeks with two hour sessions each week.
As some of us belong to PSS Creatives we were excited to be part of the project and signed up after Sam and Helen visited the PSS Umbrella Centre. We didn’t know what we were in store for and it was with some trepidation that we ascended the Radio City tower in a cramped lift on that May evening. The views across the city from atop the tower are amazing and I was just thankful that we were enclosed, tea and coffee were provided in the small kitchen and we set about our first session with ice breakers and a gentle introduction into developing material for performance.
One of the ice breaker games that we were really keen on because it was so funny was ‘Boy, Girl, Fruit & Veg,’ this game was hilarious and we came up with a key word which became the trademark of our course, the word was Kumquat. The following week we came along to the session with the ideas and themes which would shape our material for performance. Each week Sam would encourage us to stand up with the microphone and perform our material to the rest of the group, this helped us enormously to gain confidence with performing and more importantly test our material and give a supportive critique.
Slowly we all began to expand on our ideas and develop our comedy writing, Sam, Helen and Ann were always on hand to help us in any area where we may have needed just that little nudge of encouragement or support. You were never left out of the group or ignored because you were still working your material, every session was inclusive and it was a pleasure to attend.
Finally, on the 30th of June we ‘graduated’ with a gig at Comedy Central – Baby Blue in the Albert Dock. Family and friends gathered in a show of support as we bounded onto the stage and performed to the audience of around 80 people. I really can’t describe the feeling what those special moments were like, it was just an incredible experience. Prior to my turn to get up my mind had completely turned to mush and I couldn’t remember a thing, nothing would stick, so I took some notes up onto the stage with me and placed them on a nearby stool but I think I looked at them once and everything came back and I was grew in confidence and my mind was clearer. Perhaps some minor miracle had taken place but it was like being bathed in a warm bath and everything was just nice, either that or someone spiked my drink.
Two weeks later and I’m still buzzing from that performance and I seem to be sparked by a sense of anything is achievable if we just take a risk now and again, there is always tremendous support and encouragement and I would recommend the Feeling Funny course to anyone who experiences difficulties anxiety and depression.
The camaraderie of the group and the laughs we had at every session will stay with me forever and I feel very privileged to have been part of this unique experience.
Sam and Helen popped into the Umbrella Centre this week to get some feedback and we had a good reminisce about our course and performance. We at PSS Creatives or PSS Ninjas as we have been nick named, couldn’t heap enough praise on the Feeling Funny project and we think it will go far to provide a creative space for anyone interested in finding new ways to help their recovery from depression and anxiety.
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