Not sure how clear it looks but it was our first performance in the festival. I was with Caitlin from Winnipeg and Lisa from Seattle. Super fun scene to be in. Caitlin was gold.
Monday, 27 June 2011
So after coming back from the Seattle International Festival of Improv, I must admit to having a little bit of an awakening when it comes to why I do improv. Not to discount the first answer, because it was, and still is a part of why I do improv (see below or click here for previous answer http://find-the-sore-thumb.blogspot.com/2011/05/why-i-do-improvise.html ). I just have a new perspective since coming back from the Festival. I met wonderful people from ALL over the world. They taught me so much in the week we were together. So why do I do improv Randy Dixon asked again. Well I do improv for the audience. Plain and simple (well until he asks me again)
We explored the idea of improvisers being the Fools of today’s society. For those who don’t know much about the Fool you aren’t alone. When I walked in I had no idea what everyone was talking about. I got a bit lost in some of the seemingly over complicated discussion, but what I took from it was that we are able to say things and not be persecuted for it much like a fool telling the king he is an idiot and not having his head chopped off. This is an incredible power to have. We have this for many reasons I assume. In some peoples heads improvising isn’t real acting or a real profession. The traditional fool is looked down upon for physical or status reasons. I won’t get to into it but if you look at the fool in Shakespeare’s plays http://www.foolsforhire.com/info/history.html as well as look at the definition of the fool in Tarot http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fool_(Tarot_card) and compare it to improv you’ll be like “Whoa”
Something that I believe is important for a fool is to be trusted by who they give advice to. They need to be seen as loyal to their master. So if the audience is our master then we must find new ways to show that we can be trusted and that we are loyal to them. When we do an intro to a show or are a host we really need to connect with the audience to get them to come along with us and trust us in all that we are doing. The improvisers need to do the same. One idea for this was to never put up the fourth wall. We are gonna break it down anyway, so why ever put it up. Have the actors connect to the audience before and after the show. No more hiding back stage. We need to erase the idea that if you come to an improv show that you will be made fun of or brought up on stage and mocked. This will take time but can be done. So once we have them with us and trusting us what do we do?
We use our power to give them advice? Perhaps, but I think what I will try and do is leave them with something to take away, a gift maybe. How do I do that? Well not positive but by commenting on and saying things that are true right now in our lives that others can relate to is a start. If we play for truth and what we know and understand this will happen. If I do a scene about being single in 2011 and play it honest using what I know about being single today others will relate to it because they are single right now. Then hopefully they leave with it in there minds enough that next time they go on Plenty O Fish they remember the scene I did. If we strive for honesty and use what we know (we should be doing this anyway as our characters are only as smart as we are) I think this will happen. The idea of the fool to me is a tool to learn, discuss and then forget. Being aware or trying to be the fool of course is the opposite of just being the fool.
So back to the question: Why do I do improv? I do improv for the audience. I hope to give them something to leave with and not just entertain and move on. Whether I leave them with a thought or a new understanding of themselves I did my job if this happens. I literally hope to give them a part of me that they can relate to and take with them. My other answer was so selfish and perhaps part of the reason I was feeling stagnant before I went to the Festival. I do it for them. That’s it. I want to show them all of me honestly so they can relate and connect to me more easily. The more honest and present I am the more they can come along with me. So that about sums it up. Something was asked to me by a director and close friend. Why do I want to do this? Why do I want and need to give parts of me away? Well damn if I know but I’m sure you’ll hear about it.
FYI- All the above ideas came from open discussions with all the wonderful people while I was in
. So I will never take credit but love to put it all down on to share. Seattle