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Who Let That Guy On Stage?

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

About the only artistic thing I’ve done this week, besides a really colorful spreadsheet for work, was a class improv show at the Magnet Theater training center on Friday night. I’m just now getting a look at some iPhone video of it. It’s probably the first time I’ve seen myself onstage since my 6th grade play. It’s…not as weird as I thought it would be.

Of course, this will come as no surprise to my family, who know me as the kid who put on puppet shows for his cousins and entertained his sister by making up entire “lost” episodes of the Brady Bunch on the spot. It’s using the exact same muscle, but once you run out of kids to entertain and grow into a self-conscious adult, it gets increasingly harder to find the right opportunity to exercise it.

So what’s the point? Well, I think as adults we all have trouble living in the moment. We worry about the future, we obsess about the past, and even our most mundane interactions can be tinged with low-level anxiety about how other people are going to respond. So to take a few hours out of a Sunday and have real interactions inside a made-up, consequence-free world is an awesome recipe for living in the now. And it’s rewarding when you realize that this state of mind has enabled you to come up with a crazy character or a pitch-perfect zinger that would probably never emerge in a real-world situation.

I just need to extend that to my other endeavors. My improv brain could do great things, I tell ya. I mean, not feeding starving children great, but at least a web comic with a cult following (of probably my sister and cousins) great.