"Go bananas." It's one of my favourite directions to receive when I'm improvising. Take whatever you're doing, and run with it. Turn it up to eleven. Or eleven thousand. Take flights of fancy and leaps of logic and fling your arms around and scream.
It feels like being given permission to run wild. Which is weird, because you don't technically need that permission. In impro, you always have permission to go bananas. It's always an option. It's often what a scene calls for: turn up the emotional heat on the stove of story and eventually the character kettle should boil over.
Back when we were rehearsing for Wild Card I found myself turning back the heat, making safer choices. I would play the same character or viewpoint as someone else. I would resolve a pattern of action quickly before we'd had time to enjoy it. Neither of these moves are wrong in and of themselves, but when they become habits, rather than conscious choices, something is up.
One possible explanation is that in my past impro life in Sydney I'd regularly play with beginner improvisors, and I was used to trying to create stability and safety, to look after them. Another is that because I'm new to Impro Melbourne and I'm still getting to know the rhythm of the ensemble, the styles of the other performers, I don't want to break the scenes for them. You can waste a lot of time in Double Dutch watching the skipping rope before jumping in. Perhaps most fundamentally I was scared of being selfish, of grabbing the focus from other players. But if someone's offering you the focus, it's equally rude to refuse it.
And now we're in the midst of the season, and I'm having so much fun! The show's designed to bring out the unexpected, and to encourage us to run wild. I can't wait for my next chance to grab a scene by the teeth with the rest of the cast, and run wild. It's more fun that walking.
Only Friday and Saturday night left to see this hilarious show!
Book your tickets now for the final 2 shows of WILD CARD