Saturday, March 27, 2004

Level 1, Ross White, Class #2

Again, I am making no promises as to the sequence of the games and exercises we did. I will have to try to remember to bring a pencil and paper. We did an amazing amount of work last night. This class really gets it, and it’s fun to be with them.

We warmed up a little with Bunny and Zip, Zap, Zop. We did some sound and movement. I remember the first time I did that I was really uncomfortable. These people didn’t seem uncomfortable at all, for the most part. We’ll have to play it a couple more times for them to really enjoy it, but they’ll get there, I can tell.

We talked about improv and what we saw last weekend. Only Ethan and I had seen any. We described what we had seen that was learned in the first class. That was awkward for me, I don’t know about Ethan, because we both described shows that we were in, not shows we had seen. Funny thing was, neither one of us actually revealed that we were in the shows. We described them as if we had watched them. We’re odd birds, we improvisers.

We played games with walking – doing different walks, adding some talk, giving each other our walk and talk, taking the walk and talk. It was really fun. I hadn’t played that before.

We did something else I had heard of but had never done before. We lifted each other to the ceiling chanting “I am” “Lisa” (or Ethan or whatever, you get the point). When Joanna had told me about it I thought it sounded crazy. I was glad I never had to do it because I am heavier than most people realize.

Ross wondered why I said I was scared to do it. As many of his classes as I have taken, I have never done that exercise. Dumb luck, I guess. Actually it was really cool. I was terrified and thrilled to see the ceiling tiles coming toward my face, and in fact I never did feel like my classmates would drop me. Which is, of course, the point of the exercise.

We drew a “web page” on the chalkboard and then on the wall. I still struggle with the and. :roll: ( I have to remind myself that I gave me permission to use the smilies in this journal.)

We played Story, Story Die. We told that great old story, “The Pigs Who Knew Too Much”. Loads of fun. Everybody had fun dying.

Ross asked me to pick a game and I picked Match Game, where one person says a word and the next person says the first word that comes to them, then we all repeat both words and say “Doot, doo. Doot.”

We did two person scenes. I love doing scenes, poor "and" skills notwithstanding. In the first one, one of us left the room and the other was given a want. One wanted his scene partner to kiss him; another wanted her partner’s shoes. They were surprisingly successful at conveying their wants.

I wanted my partner to build me a hobby horse. I managed to get him to know I wanted a pony. Almost had success, but in the process I ignored an amazing offer in order to play the game that had been imposed on the scene, thus sacrificing good scenework in favor of a gimmick. Yuk.

We did some scenes where we were doing a mundane activity and carrying on a conversation. Ethan and I were polishing our bikes at a bike rally. This was a fun scene, but I really feel like I could have gotten to the point a little quicker.

We went out after class to hang out and play some pool and have some beers and bond. New guys, Paul and Steve, hung with us. We had a lot of fun and I look forward to spending time with this class.

edit: Rereading this post this morning, I feel like it is more a list of what we did than any kind of documentation of my growth. I need to pay more attention to what I am trying to learn. Otherwise, I am wasting my time, Ross's time and my classmates' time.

That is especially true in this class. There is so much to learn in Level 1 and they are working hard to learn it. I owe it to them and to myself to work just as hard. I need to stop approaching the exercises as just games and scenes and really look hard at what I should be learning.

So, the one of the things we worked on in this class was the idea that we are only responsible for our share of the work in the scene. If there are five of us telling a story, we are only responsible for one fifth of the story. As individuals each doing one fifth of the scene, we can't control the other four fifths, and shouldn't be worrying about where the story is going. We need to trust our scenemates to get it there.

That being said, I personally have to remember that I am responsible for my share of the work. If there are five of us, I need to do one fifth of the scene. As an individual doing one fifth of the scene, I need to contribute my one fifth and trust that if I say the stupidest thing in the world, my scenemates will make it brilliant.

That's what we do - we support each other. That's why I love improv.

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