In improv, where there’s no script or stage direction to lean on, commitment to who I am and who is with me on stage is far more important than what I say.
I’ll give you an example of what I mean. I was in a show once when a man selling roses came into the bar we were performing in. He went table to table asking patrons if they wanted to buy a rose. I was on stage with two other performers at the time. Audience members became annoyed that this was happening and it pulled focus away from the stage. We were losing energy as performers as we noticed what happened.
Clearly, the Rose Man had everyone’s attention. So, I stayed committed to my character, walked to the front of the stage, and said: “Rose Man! Bring me a rose!”
The Rose Man walked to the front of the stage. I pulled out my wallet – in character – and bought a rose from him. He bowed – in a character he instantly created for himself – and left the venue.
The rest of the scene pivoted around the rose.
We all stayed committed to our roles, committed to who we were and why we were there. With a little less commitment from any of us, this could have turned out to be a story I told about resilience from bouncing back after a disastrous scene – which is also a quality I learned from improv.
But for the purpose of this blog, I’ll commit to writing about commitment.
Farhad is Co-Founder and Mindfulness Facilitator at Beyond Binary Consulting.
He is the author of Orientation: For the Journey of a Lifetime