It’s Embodied Learning! Five! (or, Improv-ing as the Church)

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[This is a fifth post in a series of seven answering ”What does Improv Give us?”]
[Preface – know that this is not ”improving” but ”improving”]

It’s a Monday night in June and ten adults and two middle-schoolers gather in the Adult Ed room at the north end of our church building. There are nervous chuckles, as many people gathered are stepping outside (for some WAY outside) of their comfort zone. We are coming together for the first of four improv classes that I’m facilitating on Monday evenings. I started taking improv classes at our local theater – The Upfront – five years ago and it’s transformed my life. As often happens, it’s hard for me to keep such things to myself. Continue reading “It’s Embodied Learning! Five! (or, Improv-ing as the Church)”

Uncoupling Anxiety from Uncertainty! FOUR!

Puzzle pieces You Me

[This is my fourth post in a list of ”What improv gives us?”]

For most of my life I’ve coupled together anxiety and uncertainty.  When there’s uncertainty of how something’s gonna pan out, anxiety gets pulled right along the tracks with it. I’m realizing recently that they can be uncoupled. Uncertainty doesn’t have to bring anxiety along for the ride.

If anxiety is wedded to uncertainty we often will try to (key words: try to) reduce uncertainty in our lives, because anxiety doesn’t feel so great.

When we enter into an improv game or an improv scene we don’t know how it’s going to turn out. We don’t know where the story will lead. Continue reading “Uncoupling Anxiety from Uncertainty! FOUR!”

Synchrony!….[Three!]

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{this is the third post in) a series of Seven Things that Improv Gives us}

Currently I’m reading ”The Boys in the Boat” at bedtime. And I’m loving it. I’m completely drawn in to the story of this nine young men – the University of Washington crew team – who persevere against all odds, and win the olympic gold in Berlin in 1936 (under Hitler). At the time all the great crew teams were Ivy League schools in the east – Harvard, Penn, Cornell, Yale, etc. University of Washington’s crew team didn’t come from a place of means. Many were sons of lumberjacks and farmers; many like Joe Rantz came through such adversity and abandonment from his own family (twice!). The author chronicles how Joe often felt like an outsider from even his own teammates. The varsity coach Al Ulbrickson kept trying new configurations of the boys in the boat. They’d do well, but then fall apart.  Then Continue reading “Synchrony!….[Three!]”

Embodying a Posture of YES! ….TWO!

 

YES

One of the Core ideas of improv is saying YES. It’s basically unlearning what we learned in our terrible twos – No! No! No! : )

In the Improv world…..You and I come on the stage together and you say, “Hey Doctor Miller I’m here for my 2 o’clock appointment.”

Me: I’m not a doctor. I’m standing here at this bus stop.

This is known as blocking and the scene goes nowhere. I’m basically saying ‘That was a stupid idea. I’m starting over.’ 

[Take 2] Continue reading “Embodying a Posture of YES! ….TWO!”

Laughter IS the Best Medicine … ONE!

Laughing Together

What if Laughter actually is the Best Medicine?

Doc: Well Sarah, seems like you’ve got a lot of maladies right now in your life – physical, psychological, emotional.

Sarah: [ thinking: ‘tell me something I don’t know’ ]

Doc: Well, I could put you on Xerozaphanictaphase* (there are a number of side effects including Extreme Anger at medical authorities….so I tend not to prescribe this.), and some other pill options, but you know what I’m gonna do?
[Doctor scribbling on her prescription note pad] Continue reading “Laughter IS the Best Medicine … ONE!”

SEVEN things Improv Gives Us! GO!

In your Fridge

Often in my enthusiasm I assume Everyone Else in the world is similarly enthused. This is true of Improv too.  Often people, understandably, are a bit fearful because considering improv brushes up against one of the biggest fears people have: public speaking. Only improv is worse, they think, because you don’t have ANY plan, AND you may look like a fool on top of it. I get it. And, trust me with this, but as you enter into the world of improv via taking a class, going to a show, participating in an improv workshop at your workplace, you’ll discover there is SO MUCH that it gives us that nourishes our lives!

There’s an improv game called ”Seven Things”. It goes like this: Continue reading “SEVEN things Improv Gives Us! GO!”

Using your body to take your place in life

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Imagine you are in an 8×12 cell in the county jail. The cell has bunk beds, so add another person. The jail is overcrowded so add a third person who sleeps on a cot on the floor. And add a toilet. You’re in this cell for 18 hours per day; if there’s an incident in the jail, then you may be in your cell for 23 hours per day. This is the situation at the Skagit County Jail where I serve on the jail chaplaincy team.  Continue reading “Using your body to take your place in life”