Wednesday, 8 August 2012

I like a little structure....

I headed out without an umbrella at the weekend, despite the previous showers, because both my iphone weather apps stated there would be sunshine and clouds for the rest of the day, but no rain. When caught in a rather heavy shower on our return from coffee, my boyfriend remarked it was unusual that I wasn’t more prepared. I replied that the rain was unscheduled. Like the weather can be arranged... Like the app can be held to account....

I also have a tube app, a train app, and a bus app. They provide me with information, en route, that hitherto I just didn’t have. But they are sometimes wrong, and I find myself highly irritated when they f*** up. Life carried on just fine before I had them, yet now, I place a faith in them that is realistically, unwarranted. If my battery is low or my 3G not working, I feel that lack of information. Or, to be more self-analytical about it, I feel less in control.

I like timetables. Structures. Rules. Filing. Order.  It’s a sort of bizarre mix that on the one hand I have a skill for organisation, my own and others, and on the other, a deep need to express myself creatively, away from bureaucracy, to avoid everything that is 9-5. But in both spheres, the desire for some sort of framework, for boundaries, is palpable.
For me, I think that freedom and creativity is enhanced, grown, encouraged even by rules. Without a structure to work off, how do you go forward? I have been doing more Improv in the last year or so. Primarily because it used to terrify me, but also because I thought it would help with the Stand- up. The joy of Improv, which is also the bit that used to terrified me, is that ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. I know. Scary. You’re on a stage in front of people, who are there to be entertained, and you have absolutely no idea what is going to occur. There is zero preparation. If you plan, it will be shit, because the whole point is to come on stage and be in the moment – to respond rather than lead, to work together and discover together as you go, rather than forcing your own agenda.

It all sounds rather Utopian, right? And it sort of is. But, believe it or not, there are actually loads of rules you need to follow to be a good Improviser. You have to say “Yes, and...” rather than “Yes, but...”. Ideally you need to get out who you are, where you are, and what you are doing, within 3 lines – no mean feat. Those are just the first two. There are loads. If you want to know more, check out Hoopla, The Maydays, Spontaneity Shop, or the awe inspiring Mr David Shore – currently up in Edinburgh with Monkey ToastUK.
So then, if Improv isn’t getting away from rules and structure, what is? In what walks of life are there none? My boyfriend and I discussed this over lunch. When you’re sleeping, said he. Rioting. Though as he pointed out, rioting is really only seen against a backdrop of rules and structure, a breakdown of those things. Maybe when you’re inebriated or out of it? But even then, there are probably social structures in play. So, sleeping. That’s essentially it. Though the very act of sleeping means that physically we are structured, if not mentally and emotionally.

Which makes me think that I’m not all that strange, to need the frameworks that I do?

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