Hello, my name is Leah and I'm addicted to Off the Cuff. (Hello, Leah.) For reals though. Not for fakes. I'm sure you can tell by now that I love the way lessons from improv can be used in our day to day lives. If I haven't made it obvious, then let me kick you with it once again!
One of the most powerful lessons I've learned at OTC Comedy is that THERE ARE NO MISTAKES! In improv. It's all just opportunity!
In life, most of us are taught to be pretty hard on ourselves about failing. Misunderstanding each other is a huge roadblock for people. And, instead of communicating through the misunderstandings, a lot of us just shut down/close off/give up.
But, with improv, we yes, and each other and communicate through everything. Again, you aren't on stage alone. Hell, even in a solo scene, you could get a cameo performance from someone off stage at any moment. You just aren't alone. And that's perfect. Because someone is always there picking up what you are putting down, if you know what I mean. And if someone picks up what I didn't put down, it's not a mistake. It's an opportunity to build the scene in a different way.
Let's say I'm on stage flipping imaginary pancakes. I am super stoked about these pancakes. But, then I flip one too far and it falls on the floor. My scene partner walks on stage, picks up the imaginary pancake and says, "here's your hockey puck."
Is this a mistake? NO. The options are endless. Truth be told, I could say anything. I could made it a pancake again and be super offended that my partner called my fluffy brick cake a hockey puck.
There are no mistakes. I just need to realize that what my partner is adding to the scene is perfectly wonderful and valid. We are both right.
We run into problems in improv and in life when we get hung up on what we MEANT. But, my intentions are moot. My scene partner didn't interpret my pancake flipping as pancake flipping. Big deal. I don't have a doctorate in pantomime. My co worker's email reads like a passive aggressive attack against lunch time protocol. Big deal. I don't have a doctorate in lunch time.
In both cases, I just need to get and give more information. I'm not a failure or an idiot if my pancake flipping maneuver looks like a hockey move. Just like I'm not a failure or an idiot if I have questions about an email that I may have interpreted with a harsh tone.
Don't give up. There are no mistakes. It's all just a fork in an endless maze of roads.
Remember! Friday at 10pm at OTC Comedy. 913 S Main Street. Come say hi to me in the booth and settle in for the laughter!