There is nothing more fantastic than a great TheatreSports show. It’s the best feel-good fix for any player. But when the show is tough and complicated it offers up the most learning. Last night’s show was like that, and because I am a bit rusty at the moment I felt the moments of struggle a lot more acutely.
Improvising is complex and simple all at once. You have to follow the basic rules, but you also have to allow for all possibilities. You have to be confident yet completely generous. You have to give ideas and give up ideas. You have to work with and for the other players. And you have to remember every step of the way that nobody knows what you are thinking unless you say it out loud!
Improvising in front of an audience shows up every relationship; both on-stage relationships between characters and off-stage relationships between players. Of course there is also the interface with the audience by the emcee and the silent player in the lighting box too. Then there is the musical improviser who is also busy giving and taking. All this relating! And it’s fluid and dynamic, constantly shifting and changing, with status, energy, and emotion.
After every ‘difficult’ performance I walk away trying to find the key. I think last night’s one was ‘set-up’. It felt like we were in a rush to get to the middle and end of each game, before we had clearly established the set-up in the beginning. One thing about improvising is that you never stop learning. And because each show is completely different, you can keep practicing, and while you might make the same mistakes, it will always be in a completely different way, with different players, and in front of a different audience.
I am so delighted to be back on stage in this way; even when it is tough. Thank you TheatreSports.