by Tabitha Vidaurri
Hi gang. I'm currently in the process of working on an updated version of my one-woman show. It was originally titled "Write if You Get Work" and was a stand-up comedy show delivered from a bed. But now has evolved into "Teething Emotionalities: Woof" and will incorporate videos I made when I was 12. Yeah, theater is super weird. Anyway here's a little appetizer of the play in progress.
It’s great being a comedian, because people feel like it’s totally acceptable to openly criticize you and your choices and ask you really rude questions point blank like “How much does that pay?” and demand things of you, like “say something funny.” And that’s on top of the hecklers, the constant rejection of your ideas and whatever raging substance abuse problem you’re currently nursing. I don’t know any other people who get this kind of shit. You don’t go up to a doctor and say “Perform surgery now! Now! You’re not a real doctor.”
All right, so, a little backstory here. I graduated from Art School in 2005 with a degree in Screenwriting. You know, a really practical degree that’s easy to fall back on. I imagine people in HR looking at my resume and going, “(snort) wow, a fuckin dumb thing to major in.” I did well in school, and as I graduated at the age of 21 I was obsessed with sketch comedy and Monty Python. I spent a lot of time writing out my weird ideas, smoking weed, and trying to look like 70’s Eric Idle. ...Bit of a dick in those days. I had three jobs prior to this, all which were in the service industry, 2 privately owned health food stores and Starbucks, which gave me a lot of experience in being yelled at by people who have OCD.
The first job I had after graduating from Art School was at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. Yeah, it’s a prison museum. I definitely recommend going there on a tour if you’re ever in Philly. I don’t recommend working there. First of all the building was an abandoned prison, while that’s pretty cool and creepy, there wasn’t any running water, and that meant everybody had to use a portapotty.
I also had trouble keeping a chipper attitude after seeing the interior of one of these port-a-johns that had been baking in the unforgiving August sun. Being a tour guide also meant hearing the same joke over and over again every single day which was someone saying to their child “I’m gonna leave you here!” Every time I heard it I felt like a little part of me died.
I also got asked, every single day, if I had seen ghosts, although I minded this question much less. At first I said, no I hadn’t and then I gradually started suggesting that certain areas of the prison were colder than the others. I heard strange noises from cell block 7.
I actually enjoyed giving tours to the little kids, my coworkers all hated it so I would always volunteer to take the class of 3rd graders. I got them to behave because I would say, “Hey guys if you listen to the boring history stuff, I’ll tell you a cool ghost story at the end.” And then they would shut up and listen. My supervisor found out I was doing this and I got a stern warning that this was not how docents were supposed to interpret the history of the site. And they denied my raise from 9 to 10 dollars.
Teething Emotionalities: Woof will premier at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival September 11 & 12th, 2015 at The Rotunda in West Philly.