Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Update and world-crossing thoughts.

First, the update: I run my first 5K, with the ladies of Spite and our pal, Daryl, on Saturday. I'll be pretty surprised if I can run the whole thing, and totally OK with it if I walk part. Peggy has convinced me I'll recover enough to do an hour of strength training later that afternoon and a Spite show at the Fishtank and an Omega Directive show at the Imp that night. The next day? Usher at church, followed by a 1 hour swimming lesson.

And a long fucking nap.

Anyway, two improv-related thoughts for this week.
  1. Kickball is an awesome warmup. I'm feeling all athletic and fit and energetic lately, so the idea of wasting a few hours of glorious, sunny daylight Tuesday night was unthinkable. I am ready, at any moment, to play kickball—so I whipped out the ball and bases and forced the kids to play 30 minutes before rehearsal. I pitched, leaving them 5 people to cover the outfield. It was a muddy, goofy blast.
  2. Writing is not improv. As much as I'm tempted to apply improv rules to everything in my life (I'd look up the link from last year when I tried to actually do that, but I don't feel like it), every now and then it's nice to get a reminder that it just doesn't work. Especially when it comes to the two things I do more than anything else. This post (a memo from David Mamet to writers of The Unit) has been circulating in the last couple of days (funny, 'cause the memo's old). Some stuff works for improv (i.e. "ANY TIME TWO CHARACTERS ARE TALKING ABOUT A THIRD, THE SCENE IS A CROCK OF SHIT."). But the point he makes over and over doesn't: "*FIGURE IT OUT*." Improv rules (hints, guidelines, teachings, whatever we call them) have been developed over time to compensate for the things improvisers can't do in creating entertainment. As writers, we have endless do-overs—first drafts should never see the light of day. As improvisers, we're creating our first and final drafts at once. The standards are lowerbecause the work only exists in the moment. (Which is part of the reason improv doesn't always translate well to video. Not only do you lose the energy of creating on the spot, capturing it means holding it to the same standards as any other writing or performing.)
So. Yeah, well, that's it. Have to go to bed so I can wake up and work out. Which is what's taking over my life, kinda, in a good way. In a few weeks, I start incorporating strength, yoga, cycling, running and swimming into a weekly schedule. I have a feeling I'll miss what rehearsing feels like. A lot.


  1. Are you doing the WIN Tri on July 31? I've registered for it. How fun would that be to both be there. You could be my Jane - but you'd have to promise to have like 30 pairs of flip flops in your trunk.

  2. You must go to a cool church if Usher is going to be there.

  3. Wow, over a month of blog silence. Don't feel like summing up your thoughts on the antics and activities in Chicago?


New rule: I'm not approving anonymous comments. If you want to sit at the grownup table, you have to sign your name.

Now c'mon. Pick a fight.