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played out a western as former Marshall, Sheriff Marshall Coltson, last night [yes, Colt Son as in son of a gun – with my memory it helps to have some kind of word association going so i can remember my own name, although Megan did call me Cranston at one stage which was particularly [Breaking] bad, but that happens…] at the Kalk Bay theatre as part of the ongoing Improguise Festival…

it was my last show personally as i am about to jump on a plane to head back to Americaland, but the festival continues through Saturday and you should really give it a watch if you can – some magical stuff happening on that stage…

in March, we [they] are going to be running the next TheatreSports course [which i am convinced in my headbrain that everyone should do at least once] which is an excellent way to set free your creative juices, to experience amazing teamwork and to conquer [or at least push back to the fringes] any inhibitions you may have. i highly recommend the experience. only a few people are invited afterwards to join our crazy crew, but each person walks away having learnt and experienced some incredible lessons which they can apply to all areas of life…

Yes, Lets.

one of the first lessons you learn when doing improvisation is the concept of ‘Yes, lets,’ something we could all use more of.

if i start a story with the line, ‘Hey do you want to go to the beach’ and your response is ‘No, thanks,’ then the story has died. One of us has to come up with a new offer of a story and we have wasted a lot of time. So it is important to say “Yes, lets” and then work together on how we can make a great story.

this is such a beautiful lesson and it would really be amazing if we could all embrace that generally in life.

Yes, and…

the second one is like it. even if i am not such a big fan of your offer of us going to the beach because we’ve done so many scenes on the beach and it feels like a bit of a boring story to me, i can invite the philosophy of ‘Yes, and…’ which means giving your idea a big “Yes” and then adding something that will add to your idea… So, “Yes, let’s go to the beach. I heard that Professor Klugelman just dug up the bones of a mammoth there last night.” suddenly the beach story is not the typical one we are used to – the “And…” has given it new life and direction and together we have a more exciting story.

taking someone’s suggestion or idea and adding something to it is another way we could live bigger lives – i get super amped when i see how creative people are on Facebook and You Tube with photography and music and art and so much more and it is often done with an eye on a laugh or a good feeling or creating for the sake of creating. i get triply superstoked when people start using that same kind of creativity towards things like poverty and AIDS and homelessness and come up with creative “Yes, and…” ideas for seeing new endings to boring and sad old stories that we have grown used to and often just accepted as the norm.

This is not for my laugh

one of the hardest lessons i learnt playing TheatreSports [or to be honest am still very much in the process of learning] was that of realising that it is a team game and my job is to make the team look good, to give someone else the best laugh – we are selfish creatures [especially when comedy is concerned] and grabbing the biggest laugh for ourselves is always a huge temptation [for me anyways].

i feel like i really did well at this in the three shows i performed with the festival this year. but suddenly i started noticing when others were not doing the same thing. and it made me both irritated and frustrated. but the worst part was recognising myself in there – knowing that it used to always be me going for the cheap or easy [or at times clever] laugh often at the expense of story or the team. and so i have come to see the value of playing for the team – if i look particularly good, then the rest of the team starts to look bad by comparison and that is not fun [i have done that and i have received that].

again, such a powerful less0n that would be well applied to life – working for the team, the group and then extending that to the family, the neighborhood and the community.

so, go and watch an Improguise festival show before it ends on Saturday, sign up to do the March TheatreSports course, and let’s all try and live life with a little more “Yes, lets,” “Yes, and” and “Playing for the whole team” in our stories…

for more information on any of the improv stuff and how to get watching or even be involved, go and visit our website

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