Yes that is the greatest title for a blog post. You’re welcome!
Hiya! I just spilled coffee all over the left-side of myself by sitting in a broken chair. It was actually really funny, and the major plus-side to all of this is that I’m wearing a shirt which already has a huge coffee stain on it (I’m wearing it under a sweater, since I’m classy…and fancy-clothes poor), so it’s all good! Coffee shirt! I smell AMAZING. Not even kidding. Oh, and the coffee wasn’t super hot, so all in all, it was a much more pleasurable experience than, say, the McDonald’s Lady Incident*.
Je suis un gâchis mignon.
My first AP 5 class was a week ago today, and my brain is still overloaded. The whole thing, when I look back on it, is like one of those dreams that you have where there are two versions of you (the one who is interacting with people, and the one who is watching the whole thing going on). It was a very surreal experience for many reasons.
First off, Susan Messing is a wealth of knowledge. She is a-fucking-mazing. She’s whip-smart and has so much experience, which she expresses and describes in ways that make you feel like you are there, in that moment she’s explaining, even though whatever she’s talking about could have happened decades ago. Pretty appropriate, considering her approach to improv is to be in the moment 100%. I could listen to her speak the whole time we’re in class and not given many fucks if we didn’t actually get up and do any improv. I feel like a better improvisor simply because she is making me think about improv from a different point of view
We started with an exercise to get us all out of our heads and into the moment. Two of my classmates jumped up to start, playing that game where you hover your hands over the other person’s, and they randomly go to slap you (aka Chicken, aka, whatever you called it when you were little). Then, they were told to hug it out for a bit.
Next, five or so people were instructed to attack the back wall of the room and BE SPIDER-MAN. Just all over the wall. Spider-man it up (I definitely typed “Superman that ho” because I wasn’t paying attention just then. Wtf). So the two guys were slapping at each other, the Spider-mans were going nuts on the back wall. Then it was time for everyone (Slappers, Spider-mans) to hug it out. QUICK NOTE: You’re thinking “Spider-MEN!” and I don’t care. Also, I’ve typed Spider-man so many times that I started to convince myself there was a ‘y’ in it and had to Google the correct spelling. There isn’t a ‘y’.
This lady knows what I'm talking about.
The hugfest ends. Slappers go back to slapping to fuck out of each other. Spider-mans go ape shit on the back wall. The next three people are instructed to do the most realistic chicken impressions that they can. So they get all up in there and crouch on the floor, flapping their wings and making chicken noises. Then it was time for everyone to hug it out once more.
Final round: With the Slappers a-slappin’, the Spider-mans a-spi(y)derin’ and the Chickens a-chickenin’ (?), the final four of us were instructed to hold hands, form a circle, and skip around the Slappers while singing “It’s a Small World”. So we did. Let’s take a step back for a second.
Two guys slapping at each other in the center of the room. Five or six Spider-mans climbing the back wall. Three Chickens clucking around the free floor space. Four Skipping Singers circling the Slappers, careful not to hit the Chickens.
And then it was time for everyone to hug it out.
After the hug-out, Slapping, Spider-manning, Chickening, and SingySkipping started up again, but then everything gets all slow-motiony for me, because my friend and classmate Jen was suddenly out of our skipping circle and cringing in terrible pain. At first I though she may have twisted her ankle, but as it turns out, she tore her Achilles Tendon. It was super scary. We took care of her the best we could. Class continued, but I was worried and nervous about Jen’s future in the class and not focusing the best I should have been.
I’ve seen and been in shows where people have gotten hurt. I’ve hurt myself during shows as well. But It’s never anything like super serious. I’ve seen cuts, scrapes, bloody noses, ripped off finger nails, twisted ankles, bumps and welts, but I couldn’t wrap my mind around something so debilitating (she had to have surgery and will be off her feet for several months) occurring during improv. But it does happen.
After that, working on living in the moment in scenes was difficult for me because I’m a worrier by nature, so I’m really looking forward to focusing on it tonight since I know Jen’s safe and sound at home (heart symbol!), but still bummed that she’ll miss a lot of what we’ll be working on. But she will be back!
I’m looking forward to the approach of really living and feeling everything in the moment of a scene. I spend a lot of time worrying about where everything is going and what our end goal is instead of appreciating what my partner and I are doing in scenes (this is based on how I feel in scenes and see myself as an improvisor, which you know, it’s always great to dissect the fuck out of how you, yourself play, right?), and I just want to do whatever I can to make sure that their idea is the right one because surely, mine sucks**. I think this class with give me the edge of confidence that I’ve been looking for, and melt away all the crazy weird scary nerve wracking feelings I have after scenes where I analyze, piece by piece, everything (that I think) I just did wrong.
*I wrote that in the morning. I proceeded to spill so much coffee on myself throughout the course of the entire day that I am seriously considering buying a t-shirt prior to going to class because I look like a complete idiot. I also really like t-shirts.
** It doesn’t! It does NOT! I will nurture and love my ideas!