Sunday, January 30, 2005

Always with the cheesy metaphors

I spent the morning in TLaG practice and the afternoon working on setting up my sewing room in Joanna's old room. As I worked in the sewing room, I thought about how I love to experiment with craft projects. Just trying things out to see how they work. More often than not, the experiments don't turn out all that well, but I learn things from them.

One thing that never happens with a needlework project is that I feel like a failure and want to give up because something didn't turn out the way I wanted it to. I have never said to myself "That sucked, I am stupid and I should stop sewing."

Thursday, January 27, 2005

"The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause."
Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)
Often we fear silence in improv. Often this is because the silence is a result of fear - that terrible feeling we get when we start thinking and stop being in the scene, making us not know what to say (by "we" and "us", I mean "I" and "me"). But silence can also heighten the scene. How do you tell when it's a fearful silence that needs to be filled or a heightening silence?

That's not a hypothetical question. I don't know the answer. I'll have to watch for the difference and learn.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Your friends are there for you. So are your scene partners.

Monday, January 24, 2005

It does not feel like I have been away at all, but I really have. Since Incubator III ended last fall, I really haven't done much improv at all. TLaG has had shows, but not many practices. Montage has had no opportunity to practice, and I have had no classes. It seems strange to realize that I have been away. I go to shows every week, and wind up in them often enough (even editing from the audience once), but I really have had an involuntary break for quite some time. I'm glad the dry spell is over. TLaG is committed to regular practices and I am in a class now. I will audition whenever possible. This is where I live right now.

A friend (not an improviser, bless his heart) asked if I planned to keep improvising forever. I could only tell him that I can't imagine stopping. I said "It's good for my head."

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Who needs to join a gym?

Started the Level 3 Harold class with Jennings tonight, and it kicked my ass. We did a lot of pretty physical mirroring and sound and motion. It didn't start out that way, of course. The initial mirroring was the usual facing each other and twitching our hands (except for show-offs Melanie and Paul with their ballet).

After the initial slow start we had more fun. Erik and I morphed into monkeys and then shaved and became human. Tons of brutish, apelike fun. As we worked, we waved our hands around and (some of us, but not me) jumped up and down. Shit wore me out.

I have been in classes that had a group mind almost from the first warm up, and at least one that never really found it at all. This one, like most, I think, falls in the middle. The group didn't get cohesive right away, but we were within a few pages of each other by the end. We had fun, and we will keep finding the fun, I think.

I noticed that, although everyone didn't always know what everyone was doing, we did find ways of communicating what was going on. A couple of times I met someone's eye and we both realized that we were the only ones who knew what we were all doing, and so we found ways to show everyone else. I believe others had the same experience tonight.

I hope I don't sound like a heretic saying that I think this is the most common manifestation of group mind. There is that mystical, magical thing that happens when everyone just knows. But I think more often than not, a few people know and everyone else trusts them until they figure it out. That's still pretty cool, and it's better than the non-improv community can manage. This makes us superior.

Bask in your superiority, Improvisor. You are great.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

It doesn't cost a dime to pay attention

If you're fucking around on the back line, you will miss important information you'll need later. When that happens, just make the best of it, trust your teammates and remember never to do it again. It will be alright.