Welcome to Brazen BFF

by | Apr 27, 2016 | Community, Mindset | 0 comments

As far as I was concerned there were only two places for someone like me (shy, with a preference for living in my imagination) to excel – as a student and as an actor. As far as I could tell, those two areas had nothing to do with friendship. Friendship was for having fun. I would make or break my life on my individual accomplishments. Maybe as a student. But I hoped (fervently – every night) as an actor. Either way – I was getting evaluated as an individual, not part of some popular group (I was not popular). My report card, my part, my Oscar (hah!). My accomplishments, my effort.
Also. My failures.

I was introduced to the idea of ensemble theatre as an undergraduate. Ensemble theatre is made by groups of artists working together from a project’s conception to its completion in a much less hierarchical manner than commercial or non-profit theatre. I studied these groups of artists with the fervor of a new convert. They worked together for an extended period, unlike the 3-6 weeks in commercial theatre, and they paid as much attention to the process of creation as to its product. Individual members of the best ensembles held themselves responsible for the development of the group as much as for their own progress. Finally, ensemble leaders paid attention to the environment they created. They paid attention to creating the best environments for creativity and artistic growth.
My attraction to ensembles had three results. First, I became much more interested in creating with groups of other artists rather than pursuing a traditional acting career. Second, I began to understand creativity as a series of actions, a process rather than something that magically emanated from certain people but not others. Third, I began to understand that “my” successes were never “mine.” They were the result of ensembles paying attention to processes: the processes of growing up, of making a show, of academic study.
I decided to change, to make paying attention to ensembles my main tool for making art.
Since then, I have been supported by ensembles of women – the women of my university’s women’s caucus without whom I would have been defeated by academia, the women of my program who helped me get around rules, the women who were my students who have looked to me as an example of being strong, secure and a mother. All these women have helped me pretend to be just a little better than I actually am until I woke one day and found myself actually better… no longer pretending.

Now, fifteen years on, I am ready to change again. The vehicle for that change is the Brazen BFF Podcast and website.
The Brazen BFF project started with two women, dissatisfied with their career paths, creating an environment where we could try new stuff. Our small ensemble allowed me to take action on some things I am really afraid of: Money, changing careers, putting myself out there, and asking others to believe in me. It’s really awkward. The path is crooked and my shoes are uncomfortable. But, I’ve got a bestie beside me, and we’re pushing each other to do the work and get what we want. Plus, as it turns out friendship is still about having fun. Let’s get a margarita, shall we?
Brazen BFF is about growing our ensemble and creating a community of women where we can share the stuff we are good at in an environment where we can (awkwardly) get better at the stuff we are not so good at (hello, accounting). Welcome. Join our ensemble. Let’s teach each other how to get what we want even if it is a yoga pant day.

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P.O. Box 6184 Norfolk, VA 23508

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