By Wendy Salome
“My parents are disappointed in me.”
“My friends secretly hate me.”
“The cashier at H-E-B is judging my bulk gummy worms purchase.”
These are thoughts we’ve all had (…right?), and now you can watch the cast of My Own Worst Enemy bring them to life and dispel them in the span of an hour. This innovative improvised comedy, based on our shared social anxieties, explores the contrast between reality and how our brains perceive it. A cathartically funny exploration of relationships and what goes on inside our heads, a la “Inside Out”.
My Own Worst Enemy is the directorial debut of one of ColdTowne Theater’s most prolific producers and performers, Amy Knop. Her goal in this ambitious undertaking is to dismantle negative self-talk (our judgmental inner dialogues) by shedding light on this universal experience through comedy, with the support of an all-star cast and crew culled from Austin’s theater and comedy scene. (All while raising money for local mental health nonprofits!)
Amy reflects that “Just the process of workshopping this show has made one thing abundantly clear – self-doubt and negative self-talk are issues that everyone struggles with, including the outwardly confident. Yet at the same time, we often feel alone in it.”
Working on this show has had a powerful impact on the lives of the cast, many of whom are grateful for the opportunity to destigmatize mental health through the arts.
“I was thrilled and honored when Amy asked me to be in the cast,” says performer Lane Ingram. “I am a psychotherapist and additionally, I personally have struggled with anxiety and depression over the years, so the opportunity to be in this show was a perfect match for me and my values. I believe strongly in the importance of destigmatizing mental health issues. In my own podcast Yeah But Are You Happy I try to address various mental health topics with an emphasis on humor, creativity, and the comedy world. I think this wonderful show that Amy has created will resonate with everyone, especially those who have struggled with a mental health issue, or has a loved one who has (which pretty much includes all of us!)”
This sentiment is shared by cast member Cortnie Jones who says, “My Own Worst Enemy is important to me because I’d love to open up the conversation more about negative self-talk and how it impacts mental health. We all have negative self-talk and becoming aware of it is the first step towards changing it.”
Cast clockwise from top left: Stephanie Thoresen, Yamina Khouane, Kenah Benefield, Robyn Reynolds, Irielle Wesley, Lane Ingram, Cortnie Jones, Nathan Sowell. (Not pictured: Tauri Laws-Phillips).
Helping people feel less alone in this struggle was deeply meaningful to cast member, Yamina Khouane: “Self-doubt and a skewed sense of self is something everyone deals with at different moments in their lives. For some it can be an ongoing struggle, but for others it can be brief, scattered experiences. Either way, negative self-talk is an issue that unites us. Not being sure of yourself is human. I like using improv to explore the truth of being human. If this show can make one person get some relief from the loneliness of existence, even for an hour, we’ve done our job. I look forward to that possibility.”
“My Own Worst Enemy” runs at ColdTowne Theater (4803 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751) Saturdays at 8:30 p.m., January 4 through February 8. Tickets are $14 at the door and $12 online. BYOB and free parking. A portion of ticket sales will benefit Capital Area Counseling.
Tickets on sale now at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/my-own-worst-enemy-tickets-81544157771
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call (512) 814-8696, or visit www.coldtownetheater.com.