Taking no prisoners. Including herself.

Today I did a little Sunday-improv action with Upright Citizens Brigade over at Pan Theater.

It’s funny how I enrolled in the Level I improv class back at the new year just to “keep myself from getting rusty” while I had to take a little performing hiatus while I started my new job in January — and have ended up taking six, now, improv classes and workshops, from traditional improv games to long form to Action Theater.

*     *     *

Every time I am asked how I got started with improv I say “oh, well, um… you know… I just kinda…”  I  realize I’m trying to undermine just how much I love this shit. Don’t tell my mother, boss, friends, or potential future spouse/children, but — this is more important to me than just about anything. Really — I don’t care if it’s improv or my solo show or just making senseless banter over coffee. I love to wax theatrical. Whatever gets me there. Kind of like a very non-discriminating junkie.

*     *     *

And with each new workshop I meet another round of new people. And each time it is always the same: whether eccentric, insightful, goofy, witty, playful, zany, talkative, insecure, confident or nice (and, miraculously, usually, all of the above) — I look at these people with a crooked head and think “you are my people, aren’t you?”

I find them fascinating. They are little micro-reflections of myself. This is without narcissistic intentions; there is something endlessly satisfying for me to watch other people thrilled by the same stuff that thrills me. It confirms something.

If you define it, the tribe will come.

*     *     *

At one point in the workshop, we were asked to step forward and tell a quick, true, story. My prompt was “first date”. I gave a brief synopsis of my 20 first dates, when I did that now infamous (and, perhaps to some of you long-time readers/friends out there, rather tedious) 20 Dates in 20 Days Project.

I forget what fascinating looks I get when I tell that story. I feel almost embarrassed telling it, as if I’m re-telling the same worn-out joke, or milking an old high school football glory story (“Do a new project, already!”) But there’s still a relevant little nugget in there — about what happens when we say Yes to everything — in this instance, other human beings — when we would normally discriminate.

*     *     *

Improv folks can appreciate this gesture, of course. The first rule of improv is to Say Yes. And this rule translates elegantly into life. Say Yes to where you are, Say Yes to what you are given, Say Yes to who you are.

No matter what.

It’s a recent lesson the Universe has been drilling me on — Yes No Matter What.  Which means: Accept it All No Matter What.

Accept it when there is traffic, accept it that you can not party like a rock star anymore, accept it that you can not conquer the world in one day. And just accept it, most especially, when you find that scary-painful-good soul-quaking thing that makes you want to let your hair down and run naked  across the globe (That’s quite a Yes) — whether that be another person, an activity, or your very own self.

Studying improv and producing my one-woman-show have given me this deep feeling of Yes. I think that’s why I’ve been afraid of it all these years. (For many years, I gave up the notion of even taking a class. I’d walk through the halls of the creative writing and theater departments in college, running my finger longingly over the summer reading list, or upcoming audition announcements).

I was afraid to know what I actually wanted.

*     *    *

Did you know that the very first vertebrae of the spine (located at about mid-ear, where the neck and skull first connect) is the pivot point from which the head nods yes?

Our very first articulation out of the womb is to be able to nod in agreement to life.

§1129 · July 25, 2010 · Daily1, Narrative, Over in Oakland, Performance · · [Print]

1 Comment to “Saying Yes”

  1. kate gotsis says:

    mmmmmm…YES, please! I want more and more and more and more…..!!!!!

    HELL YES! !!!!!

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