Something bigger

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“Look for something bigger than yourself and join it.” — Sébastien Chambres, 5th April 2017, Brest (FR)

This quote beautifully captures an essential part of improv for me. If we are always on the look to join something which is bigger than ourselves, we leave no room for the ego. Perfect!

Don’t go on stage to create something or to make something up. Go on stage to discover and join what is already there.

"Look for something bigger than yourself and join it." -- Sébastien Chambres, 5th April 2017, Brest… Click To Tweet

Hold on, let go

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“Hold on tightly, let go lightly.” — Heather Urquhart, 6th November 2015, Barcelona (ES)

Very Heather Urquharty of course to present the “kill your darlings” principle in a little rhyme. 🙂

This is a very important idea, especially in musical scenes and joint songs, but also in general improv.

Stick to your impulses, make your intentions very clear, be overly specific. But at the same time, let go easily if things aren’t getting picked up. Gladly accept when things take an unexpected turn. Be happy and generous even when you don’t feel your partner is following you.

Your impulses are only there to inspire your partner. Apart from that, it’s not about you. Leave your ego out.

Your brain is a liar

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“Your brain is a liar and wants to screw you over. It is where your ego lives.” — Dave Razowsky, 23rd October 2015, Würzburg (DE)

We all know  there is no room for the actor’s ego on the improv stage. We also learn so much about getting and staying out of our head.

Everything anybody has ever said about you lives in your head. It’s packed with religion, history, shame, pride, dreams and regrets. All things that do not matter.

This quote brings those two concepts together in true Razowsky-style. During the same viewpoints workshop Razowsky also came up with the following: “Imagine the worst picture ever taken of you; look at yourself in this picture and see how despicable you look; well, that is your ego. Ban it.”.

Great lessons to keep in mind for all improvisers!

On notes

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“Notes are just one person’s opinion. Take it or leave it. When notes are taken personally, too much ego is being invested in the work.” — Patti Stiles, 4th July 2015, Milan (IT)

The way a company deals with notes defines the character of the company. Note giving and receiving plays an important role in the development of any improv group. They help build a shared focus.

But remember: notes are just information. You should of course be curious where it comes from and be alert for returning notes show after show, but otherwise… don’t let them make or break you.

Every improviser can be brilliant and crap sometimes. Aim for growth, not applause.