Monday, April 23, 2007

The truth of it

So...I went to the Pit the other night. We saw this wonderful improvised therapy/storytelling long form. It was dangerous because of how truthful it was. And I believe that is what makes good theatre. Truth. Say what you know. Declare it to the best of your ability and in the most specific way you can. My students have been working so hard on the PLAYSHOP coming up tomorrow night. And there are so many new elements thrown at them, but through it all, SPEAKING YOUR TRUTH will always get you through it all. Say what you know to who you know. And don't talk to strangers!

If you're in the NYC area...come see what I'm talking about.
Tuesday night@7pm@Stand Up NY Comedy Club

Monday, April 16, 2007


I'm planning the line up for the performance playshop, my grads are going to do next week at Stand Up NY. It's so funny because there is so much work behind the play. The students have worked so hard to get where they are. I work to organize the show. We are working all weekend to be ready to perform, to be ready to play. And all it play! I think it's the most important thing to remember-- that all it's play! We get so stressed out over things, over auditions, over lines, over, rules, over bosses, over fights, but if we lighten up and play more and work less, things seem to get easier....except taxes! That always seems to be work...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Tea talk

Having attention to this moment keeps us in this moment. But that's hard. We generally do(or at least I do) a hundred things at once. And then wonder why nothing gets done or feels like it got done or made us at all happy. Breathe. Notice. Patricia Madsen in her "Improv Wisdom" writes:

"Some art forms build in the idea of paying attention to what is right in front of us. Those who study the Japenese tea ceremony learn the concept of 'tea talk'. Guests know that inside the teahouse one must speak only of what is inside the house. Even polite discussion of the news, social or political events or personal issues is forbidden, including complaining about the heat or mentioning any discomfort. Instead, the guest is invited to pay attention to the detail of what is present at the moment--the scroll in the alcove, the flower in the vase, the kind of sweet that was chosen to be served along with the bitter, frothy green tea. What is spoken is meant to be a reminder of the unique character of the event. The tea saying, Ichi go, ichi ei means "One time, one meeting". This particular gathering will never happen again. Live it now. Savor the detail."

Or as my friend Amanda Whisner said, "What happens in Vegas , stays in Vegas!" Same thing.

Ichi go, Ichi ei. See? Now you know some Japenese! What??? You have an itchy eye??

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Trusting instinct

I recently had an incident with a business associate that reminds me of how true and important what improv teaches is.

This person sent up my "Spidey-senses" from the get. Everything in me told me not to trust him. My instinct said "no". And being an improv teacher, I'm a big "yes" person, so you can imagine my dilemma. I wanted to say yes to what he offered. I should say yes. So, I said yes.

But it just goes to prove that in improv, as in life, there are no rules. Everytime you think you can make one (saying 'yes' for example) something comes along and disproves the theory. So, I said yes to this person in my life, but I stayed present to my feelings and instincts and tried to pay close attention to the "Scene" of my interactions with him. Well, turns out, your instinct is never wrong when listened to without self-imposed filters. He turned out to be a big fat liar. I knew it from the start and got out before more damage was done.

What's cool about improv and life is that there are no rules to follow, with which to turn off your instinct and present moment awareness and just say 'hey, I'm following the rules". We have to listen, trust ourselves, and follow through with what our instincts and impulses tell us, not follow a rule book. We make up our own book as we go along. It's easier than it sounds. It's just doing less and imposing less. It's feeling more and listening more. And oh, yes, it's also about remembering that improv, like life, is supposed to be "play" not "work".

wax on, wax off.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

New Day, New Blog...

New font...too...See? I keep my word.

I was teaching my level 1 improv class last night and had some revelations. We were talking about heightening your point of view in scenework, being committed to it, being 100% true to who you were at that moment in the scene. And it dawned on me, how great life would be if people did this in the world. How great if our leaders were authentic in in their dealings and committed to that-- no matter what the odds. What if our friends were 100% committed to being their own authentic selves. There would be no discrepency between what should and what is. We would all be committed to what is present and authentic NOW---having nothing to do with regret for the past or worry for the future. It's easy-- because truth is easy. I really need some more coffee.

I have a performance playshop with 8 fabulous, former students that will be performing later in April. I'll keep you posted on details. Talk about seeing authenticity and commitment in action!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

First time blogging! I so scare-wed!

So, now I can add blogging to my list of special skills on my resume thanks to my friend and student Kali Karagias.

Woo-hoo! Is it working? Am I blogging? I am sooooo 2007!

I teach improv, in fact run my own school o' improv! I also do corporate improv, educational improv and have just been named Director of Improv at STAND UP NY at this major comedy club in NYC.

Soon there will be pictures and special fonts, games and puzzles!---but for now this will have to do!

Say YES to what life offers you! More sage advice to follow...