Monday, October 09, 2006

Friendly Reminder

Okay, just thought you might appreciate a little helpful criticism, seeing as how you're very quick to hand it out to people, despite not being the person actually in charge of the event (being married to her doesn't really to count). See, the thing with improv is, you want everyone to connect, stay together, support each other ("yes, AND", as you kept reminding us), basically work together. I have to tell you though, that expecting people to follow you around like baby ducks, doing exactly what you tell them (or what you told them to do before the improv began), always let you take the lead, never do anything that isn't completely in your control... that's not really improv. I'm not sure what that is. Playwrighting on your feet? Directing from inside the show? Puppeteering with humans? I think the only term for it is really bad improv. Really really bad.

You're a very funny guy, there is no denying. You're charismatic, expressive, and your brain is going all the time. But the fact that you have a gazillion ideas doesn't mean that we are squelching you if we, in the moment, end up going some other direction. Following someone else's lead, say. Telling a DIFFERENT performer "yes, AND" perhaps. Hell maybe even, god forbid, trusting our own instincts and connection with the crowd.

While I'm handing out random unsolicited advice, I want to mention that sometimes you seem to forget how big you are, and how many tiny tiny children there were around us yesterday. Improv, particularly the kind we were doing, is often barely contained chaos. That's part of the fun and excitement for us and the audience. Nonetheless I felt your awareness oftentimes was a bit too much on on "how do I make sure people are looking at me" and not enough on "how do I make sure not to crush great crowds of little children." Maskwork complicates things even more by limiting our peripheral vision. All the more reason to calm the fuck down just a bit, dontcha think? It's not really limiting your impulses if you check around you once in a while.

I might also point out that telling the director (your wife) repeatedly how you think things ought to be done is not really improv either. It's being a control freak. Prefacing each iteration of your objection with "well, it's your company, you're in charge" doesn't really mean anything if you make it clear that you won't stop bugging the shit out of all of us until you get your way. I've seen you and she have the same argument all three times I've worked with you both. I'm curious if after yesterday, when you finally wore her down and she gave in, you will now relax a little, but somehow I doubt it. I suspect you're just going to get worse.

I'm not terribly concerned however. I won't ever find out because I'm never working with you again.




Anonymous said...


Commedia's going well, then?

Patrick said...

Actually, it wasn't so bad. The man in question wasn't there on Saturday, and I still had a good time, even with him, on Sunday. But yeah, he was a pain. And improvising for five hours to entertain crowds of kids at the Zoo... exhausting. I'm all achy. Of course there were times when we were just blowing bubbles (which kids of a surprisingly wide age range loved chasing and popping) or swinging a jump-rope (also an all-ages event) where I would think to myself "yup, crowd loves this shit. Why the hell am I dressed like Arlecchino though? It's not like I'm doing any acting."