A rolling boil is important when things cook. Usually, when you hit high boil, our instinct is to slam off the burner, or yank the pot off something hot. I think in order for things to cook, the boil must continue to roll, and even though we are tired and angry and (for me, after 16 years of Chicago) fed up, we have to remember the way things perfectly progress is when we have a consistent, high heat, a lovely and steady roll.
Because it is in my nature to look for the helpers and the good and the light, I do want to share this experience: Yesterday, after speaking with 6 theatres about action, I had a class to teach. With no script, I walked into a level 5 at iO. I felt it would be idiotic not to address anything happening all over town, all over the US, and all over the world in improv comedy. I began informing my class on what was boiling, what to expect from theatres in the next few weeks, and most importantly, how we could be the change, right now, in this world.
If you’ve had me as a teacher, you might know a thing I liken improv to right now is punk rock; We are the Ramones, we are Bowie, we are Sleater-Kinney. We’ve seen things like chamber music, we’ve seen saccharin pop, and they both served their purpose and gave us music – BUT, NOW, we are the people that get to change the art and make more beautiful shit happen. We get to do things that aren’t expected. We get to say things, and get weird, and push for more beauty.
Though I’m often meaning what we are capable of onstage, now I mean what we can do off; Treat people with the highest regard, make the playing field level, support the hell out of each other and find joy and truth and beauty in human relationships. We have the ability to be a highly evolved species, together. We can make tools (isn’t this case, changes to all antiquated systems), work in community (group work that is completely discovered via support), and celebrate one another.
I love that.
Last night, after I downloaded my class on what updates I knew, 18 thoughtful people got up and did SOME OF THE MOST FUN SCENEWORK I HAVE SEEN IN MONTHS. To be honest, I didn’t expect it. The scenes were playful and smart and grounded and funny, and thoughtful discussions were had after each, and the best part? The room was FILLED with laughter. Maybe we are all a little strung out, maybe there was tension. It didn’t hit me until I got home, but I realized – I feel like everyone was laughing harder at one another because we were protecting each other more, not tuning out when your castmates were onstage, and yes – men in the class actually thinking “Hey, that human woman is my sister and she’s actually funny. I should watch.”
Evolution is happening, revolution is happening.
Maybe we are all just remembering why we wanted to do comedy in the first place; We want to bring JOY to other people. We need to. And a big part of that is fostering safe spaces for everyone to do so. As a longtime performer and teacher, I am absolutely delighted go see this wave happen and just continue doing more of what I have already BEEN doing with more support to do so.
Keep that rolling boil. Don’t lose YOUR joy. We can do both, and I think we must.
Here if you need me.