I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Actually feeling a lot lately. And I seem to be writing a lot more lately. At this moment, I’m in the space to dissect even further into my intuition that tells me (often passionately) that comedy improv is one tool that can save the world. Many of my students and I have discussed this topic at length but as I continue to grow and teach I learn so much from my students so I am (along with my syllabus) always expanding my passion and love of sharing improv. The truth is that the laughs, the play and the fun are just a bonus that will inevitably appear to those that commit to the craft. During my experiences as a performer and teacher, I see that this form of play provides a powerfully safe tool when we listen to that voice in us that says it’s time to leap into the void.
The most important words when doing comedy improv are “YES AND…” Applying these 2 words allows for compassionate conversation. The performers and the audience will feel the conversation lift. There are many ways to manage our angst and improv gives us space to do that. “Yes and” gently assists us from detaching from our uncomfortable struggles. For example, “Yes that was tragic. And maybe a greater dance of life is unfolding from this struggle. “We can even apply this on ourselves. “Yes that happened. And now I have the space to….”
There’s no resistance with “Yes and.” The other person has nothing to push against. Everything seamlessly calms down and a conversation can flow. I see so many people willing, ready and hungry to grow and change. I feel it comes down to utter faith when we’re ready to take that leap into the unknown. The ride will happen. Yes, we have no idea how it will play out. And Improv is a tool that will make it go smoother.
I’m very much in a place where I feel we are being called to heal ourselves. Then our community. Improv is an astonishing helpful way to allow that to happen. I’ve worked with engineers, at risk youth and VERY Republican women. Communities evolved. Fast. Improv is a safe context to get a vibrant connected community together. With laughter. Anyone who says that laughter is not healing is exercising superiority and control. I bless them and walk away.
I use the word “safe” quite a bit. Let’s face it, you can’t change the world by freaking people out. Improv allows us to let go of certainty. And in a way that allows others to support us along this challenging journey. And we’re helping them. We come out of it. We land where we need to be knowing that we’re fundamentally changed. Then life starts working for us rather than against us