Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Life at the Improv

Improv games can be quite intimidating to have to engage in. Tina is making the kids do a lot of improv as a means to workshop and devise scenes from completely unrehearsed scenarios.

It's both amusing and annoying when the kids try to "take control" of the "situations" they find themselves in. They will gather for a chat about who is supposed to do what to create the scene, sort of mentally rehearsing their scene before they play it out. What's amusing is their elevated stress levels as they plan and project; what's annoying is that instead of watching a scene, the audience only sees a gaggle of kids huddling in a circle trying to decide what "should" be.

While there is a time and place for meeting and planning, much of what happens in life is unexpected and unrehearsed and it's important for us to improv through many potentially ridiculous situations in which "should" goes out the window in favour of "is".

Improv works when the players simply respond to whatever probable or improbable proposition is made to them through their fellow players. If someone suggests there is a giant spider behind their backs, the other players will accept such and move the scene along by simply responding to the fact. But scenes grind to a halt when certain players start dictating how the other players "should" react, or when players dispute the offer -- basically going into denial.

We play the same game in life. Much of what we encounter are unrehearsed scenes where the only rule is to accept the offer (good or bad, happy or sad, etc.) and move the scene along. Where we mess up in life is when we try to control the uncontrollable, or when we deny the probablilty or even the justice of what is happening to us.

Remember, our job is to move the scene along. Failure is when we bring our scene to a grinding halt.

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