The first rule of improvisational theater is to say yes to whatever comes your way. When your fellow actor hands you a toothbrush, don’t bring the show to a stop and demand a corkscrew. Say yes. When you accidentally trip over your shoelaces, don’t get flustered. Say yes as though you intended to be clumsy. When the audience begins throwing tomatoes, don’t depart in shame. Say yes; keep going.
Actually, the complete rule is to say, “Yes, and…” So wise! Accept what is, and respond, asserting your own values and dreams and creation. Isn’t this the dance of every moment? The contractor pours the footing in the wrong place: Yes, and we can throw a fit or move it. Gwyn gets a bad cold: Yes, and I can resent the missed work or relax into a day of books and movies. A fire destroys all my belongings: Yes, and I have a chance to reflect on my relationship to material goods; I can choose to be embittered by this loss, or opened wide. (more…)