When all the world’s a stage and the characters know their lines, the show usually runs smoothly.
But when it’s all improv, practiced by people untrained in improv, it can get…
Rarely do we have a script in our daily lives. We’re winging it; making it up as we go along. We may or may not know the improv rule: “Yes, And.”
The Golden Rule might be buried beneath a stack of old catalogs.
And so we react.
To “the thing” in front of us. That “thing” may make us laugh. Or swear. Punch a wall. Or write a poem.
That “thing” might be a driver in another car. Or our boss, partner, child, dog, goldfish. Or the curb we stubbed our toe on.
It doesn’t really matter who or what “the thing” is. The outside “cause” is simply the cue that calls forth one of our many inner characters. Which character shows up can startle even us.
And–surprise!–the same cue can call forth different characters depending on the day and what else has happened. Were we forced to eat liver earlier or had we just had ice cream? What are the expectations we have about the situation? About how we think it should be?
It can make a difference.
Don’t believe me?
Imagine a car cuts you off. You’re late for work, skipped breakfast, and expect they’re driving the way they are because they’re a selfish a-hole.
In an instant, you’re screaming righteous obscenities into the windshield.
What if you’d had a great roll in the hay that morning, eaten a wonderful meal, left early for work, and figured they were cutting you off to get a woman to the hospital to urgently deliver a baby?
Well now, you’re gracious and wave them on, happy to be such a good and generous citizen.
Which character showed up on that roadway at that moment…hmm?
Honestly, it can be a characterological mess in there.