It’s been a blog’s age since I wrote for this site…but with the holidays approaching and movies like “It’s a Wonderful Life” hitting the screen and NY’s resolutions becoming fodder for thought, it seemed like an apt time to fill up a page with…
ADVICE FROM ME, MY OLDER SELF
TO ME, THE YOUNGER IMPROVISER
First off, stop acting like you don’t deserve to be there. When I was hired to tour with The Second City, I thought it was some sort of joke. I did not believe I deserved to share a stage with my cast mates. All this did was lead to me doing things I thought I was supposed to do instead of really sharing my voice.
Improv is not about power…it is truly an art that completely relies on collaboration and giving up power. I used to think that I needed to have power…that having that power would make me untouchable. It turns out power actually gets in the way of passion. It’s a pain in the ass.
If you truly love improv, no one can ever keep you from doing it. I’ve had ex-boyfriends, ex-bosses, ex-coaches and more tell me I wasn’t good enough at one point or another. I never got a stage at SC nor did Charna ever put me in one of her coveted “showcases” or whatnot. Trust me, it created doubt –but the love always brought me back and also brought success with it
If you think/talk/sleep/eat improvisation, you will have nothing left to improvise.
Brown-nosing is a waste of your time. True passion and a hunger to understand are the only things that will truly set you apart.
Make it happen yourself. I used to get bummed that I wasn’t asked to be in certain projects…so I just started making my own.
Don’t have dat sex. Improvisation already puts you in your head—if you’re having sex/almost-sex with another improviser, this “in your head” will double, merely by the proximity of your genitals.
You are enough. Save the interesting characters for the stage. Trust me, I can be a drama queen and delight in anything that grabs attention. I’ve publicly cried, kissed, complained, commiserated to an exaggerated extent. If I could go back and just relax, I would.
Root for your friends. Have their back on stage and off. I’m so jealous that my favorite color is green. And, yes, jealousy is inevitable in this arena…but don’t let it overwhelm you. Sure…take a few minutes and be jealous but then remember that it’s your friends and that they deserve it. And if you think they don’t deserve it, (1) they might not be your friend and (2) only time will tell.
Student Me, stop trying to pull your teachers aside and asking them for individual notes…I promise that they’re giving them to you more than you even realize. Listen to everything they say in class/notes—it all applies. I also have a rule: I will not give students a new note until they’ve applied the last one.