I was teaching long form at Hoopla last night and was reminded of a tiny movement that I often see out of the corner of my eye. It means someone at the side of the stage has an idea. It happens in almost all long form classes (and a lot of shows). It’s not even a whole step. It’s often an intake of breath, a tensed calf or a list forward. Students are sometimes surprised when I say ‘you have an idea, go do it’, as if their bodies hadn’t betrayed their thoughts.
Months ago, I was in a tiny village near Shrewsbury where I had no phone signal or Wi-Fi. I spent a few hours looking at paper maps and walking up beautiful hills in the rain. But when the light was gone, there wasn’t much else to do but watch the Jurassic Park trilogy. I was struck by this quote:
"Dr. Grant: I have a theory that there are two kinds of boys. There are those that want to be astronomers, and those that want to be astronauts. The astronomer, or the paleontologist, gets to study these amazing things from a place of complete safety.
When those students are on the side of the stage, they are astronomers and paleontologists; they get to see the history of the universe in the scenes of the other players. It’s hypnotic and it’s beautiful. It’s a discovery. It can feel active because you’re making deductions; finding out how, who and why. But if you don’t follow your feet, then you never get to go into space. So when you do have that idea, or you just need to fill the space and support someone; go.
Become an astronaut.
"Dr. Grant: And that's... that's all that Billy wanted.
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Katy Schutte is a London-based improviser who teaches improv classes in London, Europe and the States. Katy performs with Project2, The Maydays and Destination. See her live show dates for upcoming shows.
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