What my theatre class teaches me

Today in my “Oral Expression” class for French, we did a really interesting improvisation exercise. Basically, you were given three places to go on the stage and your fellow actor was given three without either of you knowing who was going where. You just started and boom.

But here’s the catch: You had to make it real. You couldn’t just walk across the stage or do a ping-pong blip-blip-blip and done. No. You had to make it REAL. And THAT was sweet because you end up creating a character, a story and a life for it. I had tons of fun with that little challenge. And didn’t do too badly, if I do say so myself.

But here’s where it gets deep and cool. Our professor, at the end of class, said that the exercise wasn’t just about learning how to act. He said, the things in the exercise that are true remain true for life. He said, here. You have three goals you want to accomplish. If you hop up and down, yell and scream, scramble and tussle, you’re not going to cross that stage convincingly. It’s just not going to happen. You have to be ready to move, yes, but you also have to let the moment come. Because it will. You just have to be ready for it. And stop wasting all this energy doing…nothing really.

What you need will come. You have to be ready for the opportunity to come so you can seize it and cross the stage. But no matter how you struggle, you’ll never be able to cross that stage convincingly until the right moment comes. And then it will be natural, beautiful and quite possibly steal the show.


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