Guiding the Train
Two weeks ago, I experienced an interesting and unexpected moment in an improv class: a game fell flat. And then the next game did as well. The group had shifted and a dynamic had changed; games I had coached with delightful success time and time again were...not really working this time.
Although I start nearly every improv workshop with Ball, I chose to wait until after the break with the next class meeting. I waited until they asked for it. Well played, Carrie. Well played.
What this group needed was a chance to be silly and loud...and then the encouragement to focus in. As their coach, I needed to pay attention to their natural strengths and interests. After riding the new set of tracks they showed me needed to be laid, I could then guide them onto the tracks I had intended.
I'm always talking about co-creating a narrative, about co-creating a scene with our fellow players. With this group, I needed to look at my coaching in the same way, too. Once I breathed--deeply--and allowed myself to see the co-creation of this class, it began to fall into place in an organic fashion once again.
The foundation of our ensemble is now based on four essential principles of improvisation: Woo Hoo!, Yes And, Do What Comes Next, and Make Your Partner Look Good. Tomorrow, we will jump into scenework. I can't wait to see which stations this train will explore.