Improv is crisis. That’s its power. That’s its allure. That’s its addictive drug and its steroid.
Once you’ve signed up to do an improv show, you now know, for a fact, that on a specific Tuesday night, three weeks from now, at 7:05pm, you are going to deliberately step right into an absolute crisis. You’re going to be on stage. In front of a crowd of people. With absolutely nothing prepared.
I’m the type who has trouble with a blank piece of paper and an unlimited time to write something on it. For years I was terrible at handing in school reports on time.
Give me that same piece of paper and ten minutes to fill it, and I will. Make it five minutes and I’ll do even better. Throughout those same years, I was superb at taking tests.
Crisis eliminates the option of thinking about your next move forever until you give up, never to finish. In crisis, failure to act is itself an action.
If you don’t dodge left or right as a boulder rolls towards you, you have indeed made a decision.
The beauty of the crisis that is improv is that all decisions can lead to awesome. Including the decision to stand still and let the boulder flatten you.
In fact, that’s often the best one.
I’m best in crisis. Better than in non-crisis. In improv, that’s an asset. I bet most EMTs would make excellent improvisers.