Tuesday, October 20, 2015

On friendship and improv

"The show goes on not because it's ready but because it's 11:30."

Please don't ask me exactly where that quote came from. I have a terrible history with recording quotes without stating the author (this from a former journalist!). I think it was Emily Freeman. Probably. Or Shauna. It's usually one of the two.

I found it in an old journal and liked it.

Speaking of shows going on, I met a new improv friend yesterday. As with most of my new friends in this new place, how is it that I often find myself sitting down with someone I have no connection with for coffee? It usually comes from a totally cryptic email conversation (typically on my part first) which in this case I can sum up by this:

'I am interested in doing improv in Phoenix.' -me

'Great!' -improv teacher who answers random email

'I also want to work with kids and teach them improv!' -me

'You should probably learn more improv first.' -teacher

'Right. Can I meet the kids instructor and take it from there?' -me

Fast forward to a few days later when I get to sit down with the total stranger who emails me that she has curly hair so I know who she is amidst all the dozens of people at the crowded coffee shop. It is such a fun time and I am reminded how much I get along with other people who like to make fools of themselves voluntarily. I invite myself to one of her classes that may not even exist yet. She invites me to help her with a possible support group/improv group that doesn't exist yet. Apparently, improvisers share the dreamers disease.

I met one of my closest friends in the beginners improv class I took in North Carolina. She's definitely another coffee. I am fortunate enough to get to have Skype coffee meetings with her often while she is living far away doing mission work. When I moved to Arizona, one of the reasons I knew it was going to be okay when it felt strange being in a new place was because this friend had gone before me, and she was real and true and had seen me when I made a fool of myself, on and off the stage. And there's something beautiful about that. That understanding that foolishness is a necessary ingredient in improv... and friendship.

I told my new friend yesterday that improv can still be scary to me because there are no scripts and it feels like a blank stage.

Then I told her how I moved here without too much pulling on my agenda -- you know how we people like to fill up our agendas with all sorts of things like meetings and clubs and jobs.

She laughed and said that if I could handle life in all its open ended blank state, I could handle a blank stage. Or something to the effect of, HOW IRONIC are you. You can do it.

Sometimes life empowers improv and improv empowers life and we muck through the fears and come out with lots of cool things, including friendship.

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