Let the Past Die
THOUGHTS, IDEAS, QUESTIONS, PROCESS, LESSONS,
LET THE PAST DIE
PAUL ROBINSON – Week 1
We were trying to fix a computer yesterday because the bluetooth wouldn’t connect to anything. We tried turning it on and off again, reinstalling the drivers, and all the other regular stuff. The only thing that worked, though, was a hard reset: totally cutting the power off.
I remember a dark, autumn evening last year, the kind where you want to wear a t-shirt to feel the crisp air, but if you do you’ll get goosebumps. I was running a combine, everything seemed to be going well getting the crops in, when suddenly I could smell the faintest smoke. I couldn’t see any smoke, and everything was working fine, but I instinctively turned everything off. It seemed like I was being too cautious until my brother spotted a slipping belt. We had narrowly avoided a fire.
Computers, combines, and improvisers all have something in common. They need to be turned off sometimes. At workshops and walk-ins with the fantastic people at the Impro School, Loose Moose, and the Kinkonauts this week I could smell my own smoke and feel my own bluetooth failing to connect: I had the thought, I already know this. That is a big red flag for anybody who wants to learn anything. I’ve become too comfortable, too complacent. I needed a hard reset, to shut everything off.
So how does an improviser shut everything off? Shawn told us we need to take a hint from Budo, and ‘be willing to die,’ that is, let go of our prior experience. At the Moose, they used hat games get us to stop improvising and just be there. They had us intentionally do terrible improv at the Kinkonauts so we could let go of our egos. We don’t actually learn to improvise from theatre games; theatre games are tools to make it easier for us to learn from each other. Teachers can say whatever they want, but at the end of the day it is the experiences they co-create that actually teach us.
IT’S TIME TO LET OLD THINGS DIE!