March 3, 2014

last show

The other day JD pointed something out that I found very intriguing. We were talking about improv and the difficulties I was having in class getting boxed out by all of the "big personalities" the "actors" tote along with them. 

I'm a big fan of following the rules. I like to practice good etiquette and pride myself on being appropriate. I was taught that if someone wipes a scene they have dibs on the next one. If they don't have an idea they'll rejoin the back line and it's anyone's game. Whoever steps out first gets to initiate. And so on... 

He pointed out that following the rules only works if everyone else is following them too. And no one in my class liked to follow the rules.

At my final show on Saturday I was boxed out, literally stepped on twice, and denied speaking privileges in the second group game, which should probably be in quotations since the opposite of the game was attempted. Frustrated doesn't even begin to cover it. 

At one point I took two full steps out to initiate a scene and the two from the prior decided to hug directly in front of me, blocking my entrance  Another stood in front of me to bow at the end of the show. According to JD, I made exasperated hand gestures after each incident, hands low and outstretched, palms facing up as if to say "wtf?".

The show was horrible. I'm not going to sugar coat it. It was. Games were not played, explored, or remotely clear. Walk ons only muddled and added to the confusion. And everyone said "NO" to any idea presented. My one thing, my group game, no one wanted to play it, which was very disappointing, mostly because I have been waiting for the excuse to behave like Grace Kelly's Tracy Lord from High Society since I first stepped onto the premises last March. 

Please do watch the following scene if you have the time, it's hilarious and brilliant and I can recite the whole thing word for word. 

Basically, my polite rule following in the grand scheme of this class ended up causing me more harm than good. I am by no means saying that ignoring rules is a good thing, but instead that it's not a fair fight if only one person is fighting fair and the others aren't. It's like bringing a hand grenade to a water balloon fight. I needed to be much more aggressive, but it wasn't an easy task by any measure with so many human bulldozers present. 

In improv and in life you can't wait around for things to happen, it doesn't work like that. Things rarely just "fall into place" if you sit back and do nothing. You have to go out and make things happen for yourself. 

I really hate to say such negative things. This may be one of those posts that comes down. And I don't know what comes next. We'll see in a couple of weeks. Right now, I'm just very disappointed. 


  1. Actually, I can understand how you feel (feel free to delete this comment if you want). People are generally different and your liking for following rules may be seen as you being in your comfort zone and sometimes it's actually vice versa - why should you be judged?
    Don't be disappointed, please! It's one of the worst emotions ever!

  2. Great post!!!



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