Sunday, June 8, 2008

Hoping this is habit-forming

Headed out to the Roving Imp today so Jared and Ed could lay some scenic wisdom on us. 

Their class: "Becoming Comfortable with Longform." Ed hated the name, but it really did get the point across—to feel good in a longform piece, you need to set yourself up to succeed. 

They worked primarily on scene initiations—giving yourself something good right from the top so you've got something to keep you, your partner and the audience interested beyond the first three minutes. It was a mix of iO and Annoyance wisdom, which works just fine for me, since my philosophy is made up of the same basic ingredients. 

As I've rambled on about before, right now it feels like I'm building muscle. After doing this stuff for a while, you rarely find yourself confronted with a new exercise. But in revisiting things I've tried before, I am finding I get more out of them. 

The same thing is happening at the gym. When I first started going—after a lifetime of alarmingly sedentary behavior—getting myself through the workout meant a lot of willpower and a lot of flailing. I was throwing my body upwards into a sit-up, hurling myself across the floor to do lunges, dragging weights around. Now, after 9 months of about three sessions a week, I'm doing the same exercises, but using the right muscles. There's more control. I know to engage my core when I'm working with weights or think about the muscles in my back and shoulders when I'm doing pushups. 

It's not muscle memory yet—on stage or at the gym. A few things are instinctive—but in most cases, I still have a flash of "what's needed here?" before a move and an accompanying "way to go, me" when my brain hands it to me. 

What I'm working towards is turning more and more techniques and skills into habit...playing enough that I can stop burning mental calories on fundamentals and start putting them into the space between me and my scene partner. 


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Now c'mon. Pick a fight.