One of my first professional gigs after going to The American and Musical Dramatic Academy was in the Shakespearean improv troupe for The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. You heard me right: Shakespearean Improv.
It was seriously one of the best gigs for a young actor. Tons of Shakespeare, coupled with customs and manners of the 16th Century, and TONS of improv.
Best of all... getting paid for it! :)
When I left the desert of CA for the lush countryside of PA, I had no idea what I was getting into. I'd never seen any place so green! And I was quite overwhelmed. My entire family was back in CA, and I had just made quite a leap: a 5 month contract, rehearsing 6 days a week, and performing 8 hours a day.
I felt like a fish out of water until I got to the conservatory where the actors were being housed. It was an old church with bats in the bellfry. No lie! And the first person to greet me was Kacey Camp, who was going to play Queen Elizabeth herself!
Kacey was so gracious and instantly welcomed me with a hug. She was like the Rock of Gibraltar, and we formed a fast friendship. We're both Aries, we're diehards for Shakespeare, and we're both very passionate about the acting profession.
When my husband, Rob, and I moved to NY, Kacey was here too! Her home was a safe haven for us, a place to try audition pieces and watch classic films.
Over the years, we've all traveled about the country. Rob and I went back to the Faire in PA and got our Actors' Eligibility to be part of the stage actors union, and Kacey went to Atlanta to do some stagework there. Then Rob and I returned to Manhattan, and Kacey went to LA.
We've both made strides in both cities, and have always cheered each other on, in good times and bad.
Right now is a GREAT time, because Kacey just had a juicy role on Season 2 of the FX series: Justified. Her part comes right in the middle of episode 12, Reckoning - just like the meat of a sandwich. :)
I'm so proud of her! And inspired. Kacey has been plugging away, just like I have, for many years, and it's a great lesson of persistence, patience, and professionalism.
You never know when your moment is going to come, but if you give up, if you quit trying, you lose the opportunity to be there when it happens. So keep at it!