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Yes BUT: ouchy ouchy impro

4 Jul

Performing impro(v) can take you to such a level of joy that you literally have no sense of time or place other than the one of the world you are co-creating. It’s a comedic form mostly, but the trance is the juice of why I do it.  Yeah sure, there is ego and vanity and the need for validation in the form of laughter (Even though it’s the sighs we really desire), but lets just accept anyone who gets on stage is socially bulimic and move on shall we.Impro, at its heart, conjures the same absorptive play that children are so adept at. That is the addiction – being taken back to that  elegant, simple place.

Then there are the shows that make you want to put a barrel in your mouth. Where connection is missed, laughs come hard and hollow and you realise how fat and determined the censor you carry is, because suddenly his weight is not absent. And he’s whispering….

Run man! Run! Hide! For your very soul, run and hide!!

It’s a little over two hours from one such show.  People actually left during it. Now I’ve seen some godless improv. Misogynistic, base boom-tish, elbow nudging brick smashing a puppy’s head type stuff. But I ain’t ever left. Well, once in Chicago I discretely leapt out of the Improv Olympic second floor window during their Shakespeare long form, but that’s it. It’s a funny  feeling to know you have been part of the cause of people doing one of those glances before they dash to the exit. To be the cause of the gnashing I usually do when brooding my way home from crap-o-matic theatre.

Often, with impro, such grim retrospect is discouraged. The form is, by its nature, here and gone. Get over it. It’s just for laughs. But I don’t buy it.  As much as self punishment can be destructive to the work,  there is truth in the hurt. It matters. It does.

Cos there ain’t nothing disposable about the high of the joy that is possible. There ain’t nothing feeble about being reminded of simplicity.

What that is, is magical.


Impro, fries and Romanian lies.

7 Jun

So, little light bulbs are flashing in my murky monkey brain as I pull in for the traditonal 10pm post Impro Cave performance  McComfort food. It’s been a fun night on stage with people I trust.

But, the usual loop of “Coulda said/done/danced/sung” is playing out, though this time it’s on missing a big ass connection between a character who refused to fall in love and a man who had just fallen from God’s waiting room. First mouthful of delicious, delicious salty fat and that big juicy offer of metaphor, fall, pops up and pokes its tongue.  I suppose it’s progress that the self punishment is lamenting lost allegory and not being a dirtyfuckingblocker.

Secondly, the McRitual was something that I used to share with my Lea. A lovely indulgence late on a winter Sunday. Sundaes and cups of tea and making her laugh.  The body remembers I guess.

Third flash bulb is being forced to play a gypsy. A gloriously joyous gypsy. (The show is Gypsyprov) Blanket archetypes aside, the brute reality that sank in by the last slop of syrup on Glenferrie Rd,  is that the absurd positiveness of Ulrich, this alter ego, is so far removed from how I move through life that it actually hurts me to let it go. Him. Up and at em’. Me. Not so much. Him. Loves the ladies and doesn’t mind showing it. Me. Not so much.

God help me if I ever start sprouting method nonsense to justify anything, but  impro in general is becoming more and more a kind of spiritual mind the gap announcement, or warning. I can’t distill why there is such giddy freedom within it ( and even that is a little shaky of late) that somehow squeezes to a grapefruit core of tight lipped tension in almost all other avenues, be they writing, composing or just looking someone in the eye and being available.

I’m sure there are logical connections. Impro taps into that absorptive play that children are so natural with. We are, on stage, ostensibly, playing adult dress ups with the addition of a cheering audience. We are reminded of that simplicity. One thing. Another one thing….a story unfolds. Our stories. Delicate, courageous things.

I’m sure the logic links are there. The whys. The hows. I can understand it. I can.

Just lately though, what I know and what I feel, they line up..not so much. At times, I feel like I need a Kneivel Sky-Cycle to breech the chasm.

prepare a face to meet the faces you meet; wrote T.S.Eliot.

He was on to something there.

His next line, there will be time to murder and create.

I think, perhaps, even a gypsy couldn’t have said it better.


Back in the wall of boy

24 May

Theatresports. All boys intra-school. Round 3.

Player A enters scene and points at fellow player.

A: You’re a fag!

Pause scene. Host  side-coach– ‘Start positive’

Player A nods, re-enters scene and  re-points at fellow player

A: I like fags.







Singing my sister down

Bullet in the brain

Summer of the beautiful white horse