Showing posts from September, 2021

Train Your Brain

 After I retired from full time parish work, I began working on an idea I had about combining my love of improv with my church work. That's the reason I titled this blog "Improv Spirituality." I find that the tenets of my faith and of improv go hand in hand.  The initial course I wrote for improv in the church is a two-day seminar entitled "Innovative Church." Over two days and three sessions, I lead church boards, clergy, and staff through the skills required for improv, which are the same skills required for innovative thinking, creativity, and adaptability. These are the skills needed for congregations to be vital and life giving in this age of stress and uncertainty.  Now that most of the pandemic restrictions have been lifted, I am also returning to coaching in-person improv workshops. The workshops are not performance groups, per se. The point isn't to book gigs at the local pub or comedy joint. The purpose of the individual workshop is similar to that

Me do Improv? Impossible!

  “Alice laughed. 'There's no use trying,' she said. 'One can't believe impossible things.' I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. 'When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. There goes the shawl again!” ―  Lewis Carroll When I ask people if they are interested in an improv workshop, I can't tell you how many reply with, "Oh, that's impossible. I could never stand up in front of somebody and do that!" They say they aren't funny, or they're an introvert, or they aren't creative. There's never a lack of excuses why they can't improvise. Pretty much almost all the excuses boil down to one basic root cause, fear. People are afraid of failure, of looking foolish, of what other's might think. We can always think of reasons not to do that which scares us. For a change, lets focus on the reasons on

Make Another Choice

Improv is all about the choices one makes. When presented with an offer from your scene partner, your job is to make a strong choice that moves the scene forward. It is the basic Yes, and of improv. One's choice should be made using all the information at hand by playing at the top of your intelligence. Playing to the top of your intelligence means  not making the obvious choice but rather make a choice that is honest, real, and not contrived. Improv isn't necessarily just saying the first thing that pops into your head, but the most thoughtful, real thing. There is an improv game called "Make another choice." In this game the moderator observes the scene and at any time may ask a player to "make another choice". The player then has a second chance to come up with a different response to an offer. I play the game with a small school bell. When the improviser hears the ding, they know they may not being playing at the top of their intelligence. It's usual