|The Tao of Improv - Page 4|
The rules of improv paradoxically showed me how to be freer and more creative. They provide a unique way of approaching relationships that's generous rather than closed, supportive rather than competitive, organic rather than scripted. While the theory and skills of therapy form the foundation of clinical practice, we have little foundation for the improvisation, the creativity that good therapy demands. Doing improv made me wonder whether applying these rules might make me more creative in my work and personal life.
Rule No. 1: Yes . . . and. This is it, the Holy Grail, the mantra of improv. Yes . . . and means that you accept whatever your fellow actor offers, rather than blocking, denying, ignoring, or changing what your partner just said. If Brad calls me Mike, I don't say, "Hey wait, my name is Alex!" When he asks me to help lift the heavy block, I don't say "I'm busy right now," or "Come on, it isn't that heavy." We follow each other's lead, rather than competing for the lead, and, in the process, discover and create our relationship and reality. We find out in a few moments that, in the skit, we're brothers who help each other; that Brad tends to be protective and tries to shelter me from the bold print that he knows upsets me; that I may have a bad back.
You fully commit yourself to the reality you both create. You don't forget about the imaginary block is in the middle of stage and absentmindedly walk through it; you stay within your character and don't suddenly stand upright after you just said that your back hurts.