Many years back I was leading a Blank Slate rehearsal and I used an exercise I had learned from Sparky Johnson to inspire some new ideas about storytelling. The exercise was going wonderfully when suddenly something completely unexpected happened! A new idea about storytelling was inspired!!!! Well, a concept for a new performance format was inspired. Since then I have given the early concept a lot of thought. Sometimes I worked the idea with Blank Slate, sometimes I wrote stream of consciousness about it to process it and see what developed, sometimes I talked about it with other improvisers, daydreamed about it...etc. But unfortunately I was never able to put all the pieces together in a way I thought really honored the idea, the players and the audience that would watch the performance unfold. So, for a long time I let it go. Until just a few weeks ago when the concept re-awoke and began to stir in me. And for whatever reason, this time it was perfectly clear! The whole thing! How it looked from beginning to end! Besides being beside myself with glee, I was also trepidatious. Often, as I am sure you know, concepts look awesome in the brain, but muddled, chaotic or cockamamie in practice. I knew I had to see it done. I had to do it! But with Blank Slate on Holiday vacation, and not a lot of playtime on the table, I was pessimistic about putting it to the test before it slipped out of my brain again.
Perhaps it was the holiday spirit that guided the improv angel to my door? Or maybe it was just by luck?
perfect opportunity presented itself mere hours after that moment of
creative clarity, and just before I succumbed to my own doubt. For
Sunday night was Diabolical Experiments at the Brody Theater! Oh yes it
was. The first DE I've been scheduled for in a long time. Diabolical
Experiments is a wonderful show at my home theater wherein professional
improvisers from all over town, and often out of town visitors, come
together and play. The DE cast never knows exactly what they will do
until warm up time, and often the chosen format is a new, untested
something... an experiment. And usually these shows are superbly fun
and entertaining. In the afternoon of this fateful day, Beau Brousseau,
the DE moderator, M.C., organizer, Guru, posted a request to the weeks
cast regarding possible formats to play and Back to the Table seemed the
PERFECT FIT!!!!!! I suggested it to the cast, they liked the idea, we
played the format with my new tweaks, twists and outlines and it was
wonderful!!!!After the show the cast cheered for the format, which
delighted me. And because we had played it, the hiccups and the
hallelujah's were perfectly clear. I cannot wait to workshop it and
play it again!!!! Thank you to those who played. It was a terrific
experience. Have I mentioned I love improv?