A Formal Introduction
I was toying with the idea of beginning this post with a line from The Princess Bride— you know, the one where the character played by Wallace Shawn (who has one of the longest lists of IMDB credits to his name) says, “We are but a troupe of humble, traveling theatre artists...” Or something like that. I probably should have Googled the exact line before I tried to reference it. But my point is that I decided not to open with the reference. Because, for one thing—and I don’t know about the rest of you—I feel like The Princess Bride is one of those movies that is overly-referenced. So many talks, marriage ceremonies, commencement speeches, sermons...somehow, they find a way to bring up The Princess Bride. Well, the last two examples might be reaching, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. I’m plagued by quotes from that movie. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun movie—it’s not that I don't enjoy watching it every now and then. (And, yes, I know that it’s based on a well-loved book; I have not read it, so I’m just going to leave it out of my spiel from here on out.) It’s just that I feel that it’s quoted too much. There has to be some other film out there that has dialogue as quotable as this one.
But now I’ve gone and botched it all. I’ve split hairs that need not be split over a quote I was trying to avoid. I suppose it’s easier to introduce yourself when you have some frame of reference to draw from, something that makes the rest of the conversation easier. A person knows where you’re coming from when you toss out a pop cultural quip they have a 86% chance of recognizing. She feels more at ease, more firmly rooted on that level playing ground now that you’ve tugged her partway. And since said person would be less likely to note that this post shares a namesake with a ballad sung by indie-pop band The Scene Aesthetic, I opted for the more commonly lauded schmaltz of The Princess Bride.
Truth be told, the shoe fits. We are, indeed, a group of humble players—The Impostors —theatre artists trying to blaze a trail alongside the rest of the multitudes. And while
many connotations come attached to such a package, we hold no delusions of grandeur (nor any desire to be con-artists, like the character who delivered that line I didn’t dodge.) All that we seek is space to create and room to share our stories with you.
We call ourselves Impostors for a number of reasons. The title isn't meant to be solely catchy—although, hey hey, I don’t think we did too bad for ourselves in that regard. We are Impostors because, in many circumstances, we try so hard not to be. Throughout our discussions, the common thread we kept picking at was the one about how difficult it is to simply declare yourself: I am a writer. I am an actor. I am a dancer. I am a designer. Heavy is the weight that society has pressed upon those pursuits, amplifying the abstractions their titles suggest. And how exceedingly more difficult it is to set aside those pursuits or try your hand at something new, and wind up having absolutely no clue what you’re doing or how you’re getting away with it—but you go through the motions, day after day, glancing nervously at the heavens, waiting for some god to part the clouds and demand an answer for your deceptive ways. And in turn, you’re ready to flip your palms up in a gesture of both bewilderment and surrender, saying, “I don’t know, either. I’m just pretending, I guess.”
Always pretending, always improvising. Certainly not a revelation, the notion that we’re all just making this up as we go, despite our best efforts. Nevertheless, it seems fresh to each person as they experience it (and if you’ve never experienced this sensation before, wow, how does it feel? Or...not feel?) It’s not unlike being a child, really, the compulsion to pretend your way through something. Only the exchange of motives and gains is altered. As children, we loved playing pretend because we loved the idea of being someone or something else; every time we scaled a mountain on a stairwell or hunted the waters of our neighbors’ pools like crocodiles, we were hit with a giddy, heady dose of possibility and discovery. As adults, we generally fear the unknown; we shy away from possibilities that may have an undesirable outcome. We worry that no one will fully know us. We pretend we don’t.
We are Impostors because we want to take ownership of this fear. We want to understand the human experience by viewing it through a lens of childlike discovery. We want to experience the world through fresh, greedy eyes, and we want you to be our accomplice. Now is a time when art is needed. Stories cannot be left untold, gathering dust until there are no voices left to tell them. One of the things we can all
relate to is a need to be heard—so let us usher you onto the field so story time can begin.
I’ll leave you with this point of reference. Don’t worry, it’s not from The Princess Bride. But it is from another tale that I think you’ll recognize.
“Can anything harm us, mother, after the night-lights are lit?"
“Nothing, precious," she said; "they are the eyes a mother leaves behind her to guard her children.” -J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan.
We sleep without night-lights today. Leave them behind, not without fear, but without longing for it. We ask you to face the unknown and embrace the Art of Pretend with us.