This past Saturday, August 15, my friends – Debbie, Pat, Janice – and I enjoyed an evening in Berkeley, which included attending Home by 10 with W. Kamau Bell (on Twitter, web) at The Marsh. Nice venue. The emcee was Phil Surkis (on Twitter, web), and the guest comedian was Nato Green (on Twitter, web). All three of them – What a treat!
And on Monday, August 17, one of my improv troupes, Calhoun (on Facebook), one of the Harold House Teams of Endgames Improv (on Twitter, web), had our weekly rehearsal with our Coach, Chris Blair (with Endgames Improv, on Facebook web series Tragedy Club).
This post is among other posts about my meandering, think-out-loud thoughts, as I continue to chip away at Colorized Improv.* There is no call-to-action, no “button” for this endeavor. I am just sharing. And I suppose it is also about sharing the fun photo with W. Kamau Bell. SQUEE!
Simple Pleasures Unrelated
Bell. The first June/July run of Home by 10 sold out very quickly. I learned of the extended show while I was in Chicago, so I jumped on the tickets for the weekend after my return to California. And on the day of the show, I tweeted my excitement about seeing the show. The simple pleasure of a “favorite” from Bell made my Saturday afternoon. SQUEE!
Calhoun. Improv rehearsal with Calhoun was an extra treat. Short version: We created scenes that “Yes, and … -ed” the shit out of our own character choice. (This is briefly explained below.) I very much enjoyed it. SQUEE!
Evolving Colorized Improv
As mentioned in the tweet, I have been evolving my idea of Colorized Improv, recently described over here. Here is how I described it a little over a month ago –
Colorized Improv is where improvisors can, should, and will be mindful that improv is a form of creative expression – among players and for an audience. As part of colorized improv, each of us intelligently creates characters, environments, and scenes that take care of one’s self and of each other. Each person starts from one’s own understanding of being one’s self and of expressing emotions and behaviors that are personally familiar.
Home by 10. I enjoyed Surkis, Green, and Bell at Home by 10. Green and Bell both shared their observations and perspectives of their children. In particular, there was an idea of children’s seemingly immediate and unconditional acceptance of new information, comparable to a “software update” of existing information. This was entertaining to hear, particularly given the simplicity of an unbiased acceptance of what one has been told. As adults, I would say new information does get filtered. While we may accept new information, whether we agree with it is shaped by our experiences. Younger children – it is fair to say they generally have less life experience.
“Yes” and “Yes, and …” This has made me revisit (just a little bit) the “Yes, and …” in improv. The software update reminds me of “Yes”. Some may say it is about acceptance, while others may say it is about agreement, and while even others may say it is an option if you do either of those. This also made me think about how Colorized Improv may influence others (both players and audience members) to think about their own personal experiences of acceptance, agreement, indifference, and even denial.
I know there is more to this thought process of how colorized improv may influence others, but I will rest it for now.
Character Choices: Stick to Your Shit
While there are many ways to create and express characters, there are often two approaches talked about when playing out one’s character at the top of scene – having a character who not only takes care of one’s self but also takes care of the scene partner or having a character who takes care of one’s self. This can thought of as “Yes, and … -ing” your partner, or this can be thought of as “Yes, and … -ing” yourself, respectively. In both cases, one’s character would have a specific point of view and set of behaviors. How one’s emotions and reactions to one’s scene partner would differ. And in the latter case, one takes care of one’s self, sticking to yo shit! This is the series of exercises we (in Calhoun) did on Monday.
This resonated with me, and I really appreciate our coach, Chris, for having us do reps on this exercise. Moreover, as I was driving home, I feel like this is part of the yet-to-be-discovered-reason that is part of creating characters for Colorized Improv. While this does not mean to deny a scene partner’s offer or endowment, it does mean (at least for me) to honor and commit to one’s bold choice character, digging deep into that character, and hitting it hard in the scene to discover what emerges.
What characters have I yet-to-discover that contributes to the context of colorized improv?
*By the way, Colorized Improv is not about having
a cast of non-white players. More on that.