I think all adventurers want to discover new lands. Whether that is literal ones, or the ones of the mind etc.
I have written about improvisation and how it has shaped my life in the past. If you want to have some tips on how to use this brilliant method for yourself, check out my blog post ‘Improvisation inspires new ideas’
But for now, I want to talk about the actual feeling of walking with nothing on stage and improvise on the spot. How you have a thousand and one ideas, while you’re sitting in the audience.
‘Oh, yes I could be talking about my internet dating disasters, play them out. Or I do something with the sea, since it’s crushing against the walls of the Art’s Club right now. What about…’
When you learn a new approach, you need to practice and that’s exactly what I did with performing on stage devoid of any preconceived ideas. It wasn’t the improvisation technique as such, that was new to me.
Hell no! I have done it for years.
This practice has been at the core for creating every show I ever played. But what I’ve never done until I participated in Andrew Morrishe’s workshop on solo improvisation, is to go with literally nothing on stage; all on my own. No general subject to work on, nothing.
Since I developed a taste for solo improvisation, I played around with it as often as possible. I practiced by myself in the garden every morning, I performed in front of my housemate and invited guests once a week and later I moved on to the weekly open stage in the Art’s Club for over a year.
It was great to get some feedback. People especially enjoyed the unexpected element of my performances, never knowing what I’d do next. Being challenged out of their comfort zone as well. Although I never involved anyone, who didn’t want to be part of my show. Sometimes I’d talk to the audience, but whoever wanted to answer me, did. I hate forcing people to participate, I’d never drag someone on stage, because I wouldn’t like that done to myself. Thank you very much!
It wasn’t just my audiences, who didn’t know what I’d do next, I didn’t have a clue either. The discovery was unfolding within each moment of the performance.
Sometimes it would be silly, at other times surreal or purely weird. Funny and dramatic happened too.
The great thing about this art form is, that just about anything can happen! That’s the whole point of it.
I’d often discover things in the room, no one usually would pay attention to. Like for example, how the stage floor was redone in one part and not in the other. Have they run out of black colour or what! I remember I talked with my audience about, whether there were red traffic lights all over the world or whether maybe in some parts red meant green? And why they chose red for stop and green for go? Who came up with the idea in the first place? And why has the red to be on top and not the other way around? Are there traffic lights where the red is at the bottom?
I got you thinking now, haven’t I! In case you know an answer to any of these questions, please get back to me. It’s still bothering me. 🙂
My mind loves to go on these bizarre journeys and take everyone along the quest to discover something new.
There were times, when Adrian, a brilliant classical guitarist accompanied me. I danced and sometimes spoke over his music too. It was great fun!
Once in a while I came up with something hauntingly, brilliant. I could feel it, because it was as if I was gliding like an eagle through the skies.
Like that one performance I did on the Square during a Festival and I was talking about how the English still run around in shorts in winter and how annoying potholes are. The audience was having a blast, while I was surfing the waves.
To be honest, I think I’ve become pretty good at solo improvisation. Surprising others, as well as myself what I’ll come up with this time.
Improvising on the spot culminated in joining No Ordinary Theatre, making up stories in front of an audience on the very evening. The thing I loved the most about our company was the fact, that we worked with live musicians. Performing with a musician live on stage is a dream come true for any performer I would say. You can influence each other. Sometimes the music leads and at other times the sounds follow the performance. This way you’re bound to discover new things for sure. It’s brilliant!
I really, really want to work with live musicians on a stage again. Bring it on, please!