Friday, 22 June 2012

I Need Alps

I promised myself I wouldn't write about improvisation on this blog. This is the third consecutive Tingtinglongtingtingfala post to mention the "I" word. Never apologize. Commit to your decisions. If you're going to break your promises, use a sledge hammer.

But, following the "rule of three", it's time to move on. I need to take a break. I need a holiday. I need Alps. Am I tired? I don't feel tired. I ought to. That's the problem.

The other day I was watching an unusual improv show. Midway through, I spotted a fellow improviser in the audience – someone of unquestionable talent – exhibiting a face that was twisted into a clear sneer of disapproval.

I became distracted from the show, and found myself focussing on that ideological sneer. It depressed and outraged me. We need improvisers who are generous and humble, not superior and snobbish. Heaven knows my limited accomplishments give me reason enough to be humble.

But how wrong was I? It was I who was passing judgment, who wasn't giving the show my full attention. I'd crassly allowed the sneer to infect my face. Ego creeps up on me, even when I tell myself I'm defending a principle. It blinds and deafens me.

When the opinions of others matter too much, when it becomes too easy to categorize fellow performers, when improv theory outweighs playfulness, then it's time to escape to the Alps. I'm off in mid-July for a fortnight, to listen to windy forests and cowbells. Two weeks without improv will make me a better improviser.

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