If you’re me and you like to write, you’ll rewrite something over and over again. In improv we don’t have this option. We are writing in the moment with no editor and sometimes no forethought whatsoever.
When we start off as improvisers doing this crazy thing like writing in the moment with others on stage, we often dislike or forget to honour and explore the first few things we offer up. I mean, why would we? We are just dumping our mind garbage, to quote my friend Freddie Rivas, all over the stage and hoping that within that heap of waste there is something worth taking a deeper look at.
We often run past or own brilliance at the top of a scene with blinding speed and agility. We think it can’t be that easy. That look, that line of dialogue, your body language. No it can’t be that simple. Let’s find something else to explore! We are complicated begins and when we make stuff up we often bring our own complexities on stage and forget to listen to the precious, brilliant and simple things we offer each other.
Everything we say and do on stage is precious.
Every look, every line, every movement or gesture can be the key to unlocking the greatest scene you’ve ever played. Stop running past the top of your scene and start being precious with every moment.
In improv you’re right. It’s not like the outside world, where we are constantly told we aren’t right, and that we aren’t good enough and that we have to be better. In improv we are always right.
The choices you make and the choices I make are right and they were never wrong, we just have to stop and recognize how beautiful, how simplistic and how precious these moments really are.
Only you can give yourself an improv scene, start trusting that your offers are good enough, start being precious with the things you say and do on stage, but remember: they are precious only in the moment. When that scene is over it will never be done again and there is no going back. That is when we no longer need to be precious. We celebrate the moment and move on, hopefully taking a lesson learned with us to the next.
This is The Precious Nature of Things, and I’m David Suzuki.
Kidding. I’m Matt Folliott.
Matt Folliott is an actor/improviser/comedian, and member of Standards & Practices. He’s performed in festivals across North America, including DCM, CIF, VIIF, Out Of Bounds, Improvaganza, and Mprov.