Letting it all out

It’s been too long since I blogged. Hello and sorry for the long absence.

It’s been such a bleak few weeks and South Africa’s third Covid wave has been so, so brutal. Been trying to take care and do what we can to connect with family and friends affected.

We’ve all lost so much on a personal level and it’s heartbreaking seeing some of the updates about peers and fellow artists.

On writing and struggles

So much has happened since the start of the pandemic; things I’m grateful for and a lot that I’m totally stumped about. Away from this platform, I’ve thankfully found a bit of a rhythm in my personal journaling and writing habits, which is encouraging.

While doing some basic website admin earlier today, I found an unfinished, unpublished blog post from 2019 that (in many ways) still applies:

Urgh this craft, though!

So, for the longest while, I’ve been grappling with the notion of actually taking some of the recent themes I’ve explored on stage (stand-up) a step further. But it’s hard.

The thought of prodding into the core of some of my most intense insecurities is so unsettling. And as much as I think it would make for compelling stuff in its vulnerability there’s also the HUGE snag: how the heck to I make it funny?

I’ve had first-hand experience of how powerful it can be to connect with people by writing and sharing from an honest and vulnerable place. But, in this instance, it’s a case of wanting to open up about the things that hurt and gnaw at my insecurities. Basically, I’ve yet to feel confident in just where the root of the funniness is.

In struggling with where exactly to take my stand-up comedy writing and performance, it all boils down to the words above. I’m so, so finicky about people’s attention: I take it very seriously and don’t ever want to waste it with something half baked and unconsidered. At the same time, I’ve learned to give myself space to let work grow over time instead of clinging to unrealistic ‘perfectionist’ habits.

After working on and performing The Dark Ages a few years ago, it quickly became clear that the show was a first level of a deeper conversation about self-image and, frankly, self-loathing.

In a lot of the (stand-up) comedy writing and performance, I’m still a bit obsessed with honesty rather than fishing for laughs at any and everything. Sure, there have been many insights and lessons on the digital side (quirky, silly social media videos), but there’s an even stronger sense that I’d like to take my stage work on a completely different, more vulnerable trajectory.

And YHO! It’s not easy.

I’ve also recently been thinking about whether or not stand-up is even the right performance form to be exploring some of the conversations I’ve been thinking about. I wonder if some of the things I’m struggling with may better be aired out via a screenplay or some other narrative form.

Whatever happens, I won’t stop thinking about it and trying things out.

On a lighter note, there are some cool and challenging writing assignments to focus on in the coming period. There are also ideas I’ve been sitting on for some time that will come out either as skits or through other forms.

Trying to stay careful and cling on to whatever semblance of positivity nje.

I really hope you are OK and that you and your family are taking care.

– Tyson


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