How to ride a rollercoaster




“I hate rollercoasters,” I said.


The director looked at me intently and asked, “How do you ride a rollercoaster?”


I crouched low in my seat, my arms stiff and my fists clenched around the imaginary restraints, my face scrunched with my eyes closed tightly.


“That’s terrorizing,” he observed.


“Yeah, it is,” I retorted.


“You have to let go. Scream. Open your eyes, and observe your surroundings.”


I couldn’t get past those tough, emotional scenes in rehearsal because I was approaching them the same way I approached riding a rollercoaster. I was holding on tight, afraid of what might happen if I let go.

The comedic, foolish characters I took on with ease and comfort; they fit like a glove. The characters who experienced loss, fear, torment—very vulnerable states—I was missing the connection with them.


As one monologue ended, the next crept up, with me dreading it like the car reaching the peak of the track and pausing briefly before flying down the steep hill. Me, tucked in my quiet ball of terror as everyone around me laughs, cries, screams.


“Can’t we just skip this one?”


Three particular monologues.


I need to find a rollercoaster…


2 thoughts on “How to ride a rollercoaster

  1. That’s so interesting, I had a similar conversation with my cousin when I was 11 or so. She was daring carefree and bold I was cautious careful and methodical. And she asked me to ride a rollercoaster. I told her I hated them and I rode the first one much like you described, balled up tightly, eyes closed and fist clenched tightly around the bar or her hand. The next one she said, we are riding up front and you are going to open your eyes and you’re gonna just scream when you get scared okay? So I did, and you know? I’ve been floating with the breeze ever since. To quote Beyonce, “If you’re scared, be scared. Allow it.”

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