Sunday, February 27, 2005

A couple things

There was just too much DSIF to process right now, so I'm not even going to try, but I wanted to put some things down before they slip away.

From Dan Izzo:
"Who, what, where is there to serve you. You are not there to serve Who, what, where".
"Make a big choice, accept that choice, then play with it."

I got to be a pirate having a water balloon fight. How awesome is that? I am so lucky.

More to come, whenever I stop procrastinating and write it down. Right now, I'm headed for bed. It was an amazing week. Thank you DSI. I love you all.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Thinking about not thinking

They say you haven't really learned a language until you stop translating it and just start thinking in it. Improv is kind of like that. I know, we're not supposed to think. I don't mean we should think about the improv. That would be like translating.

I guess what I mean is, we need to learn to start thinking as our characters instead of trying to say what our character would say. I had a really interesting moment the other day. Not so much that the scene (a group game, actually) was awesome (it was way fun), but thinking about it later, I noticed something about how it played in my head.

I hate trying to describe scenes because they're just never fun if you weren't there, but it's the only way I can think of to explain what went on in my mind.

We started out sort of vaguely as a jug band tuning up, pouring water out of our bottles or jugs to get the right sound. Then someone heightened by making us a military force who could explode people's hearts by hitting the right note. We decided we'd just practice the bowel loosening note instead.

Now, I wasn't thinking "How would I react if this were true?" or "What would I say in this situation?" But I was thinking.

I was thinking "Wait, if we play that note, all our hearts will explode/bowels will loosen! Oh, ok, they must have ear plugs to prevent that. Shit! I don't have ear plugs! I'm screwed!"

I wasn't thinking "If that, then what?" I wasn't translating the reality of the scene. I was part of the reality of the scene, as silly as it was. I didn't stop to think "Ok, so if there were a military jug band strike force who could make people shit themselves with just the right note..." For just a few moments, I was worried that they would blow that note and I didn't have my earplugs.

Monday, February 14, 2005

If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there.
Lewis Carroll, "Alice in Wonderland"

I like finding quotations that are unintentionally about improv. The reason there are so many is that improv is about life. Sometimes life is disguised as space monkeys on the moon, but it's life all the same.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

It is bad to be late for an audition. It is disrespectful to the people who are audtioning you and to those who are auditioning with you. That being said, sometimes it can't be avoided. Make sure you let the auditioners know as soon as possible that you will be late. Sometimes it may even be better just to stay away and not distrupt the process that has already begun. But sometimes it is about not letting the bastard stand in your way. (the bastard is nobody you know).

So I arrive at the audition (my what, fifth?) in tears and determined to go through with it. I weep on Zach for a few minutes and am let loose on an ongoing audition. I have no hope of being cast, but this is about not letting someone bully me.

I go up for my first scene, and as I turn around I notice a huge stain on my shirt. Then I look farther down and see the dog shit on my shoe. And I say to myself "Fuck it. I'm here to have fun." and I did.

I don't even want to try to describe what had already gone horribly wrong with that morning. It was just a seriously fucked up day. And now there's dog shit on my shoe.

The last thing on my mind was that audition. I wasn't even thinking about it.

Oh, ok. That makes sense, doesn't it? *Awesome.

*This was once a link to the announcement of the team that would become Take the Box!. As things tend to do, it has mysteriously disappeared, as if it never existed. Odd, that.

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Scattered thoughts and somewhat muddled metaphors

If a singer’s instrument is her voice, an improviser’s instruments are her mind and body. Both must be kept fit and ready to move quickly. I am increasingly aware that my physical condition has a big impact on what I can do in improv, affecting what I am able to do with my body and my mind. Right now, for example, if I am edited while on the floor, I can’t clear the stage quickly, making my teammates wait – not long, but long enough to interrupt the flow of the piece. And my chronic sleep deprivation definitely has a big impact on my mental fitness. I need to take better care of my instruments if I intend to move forward in my play.

I have noticed a very positive trend in the way I think about scenes I’ve done. I no longer agonize over scenes I am unhappy about (and there are sooo many of those). Instead, I think about other choices I might have made to make the scene more fun or move it forward. And when I am happy with a scene, I don’t just say to myself “That was fun. You did that right” and move on. I still think about other choices I might have made to make the scene fun or move it forward. The choices are infinite, and exercising the mental muscles to learn to recognize them is an important step toward mental fitness.