For the first time in recent memory I’m scared of doing an improv show.
Tomorrow night (Thursday, 10 pm @ The Hideout) I’ll be doing “Bueller, Bueller?” The format couldn’t be more simple: I’ll do a 15-minute show with a stranger from the audience who’s never done improv before.
I pitched this idea in hopes of beefing up my “unconditional enthusiastic support” muscles. I figured that if I can make a reasonably entertaining, coherent improv show out of nothing but me, a couple of chairs, and an improv acolyte, I’ll be in good shape.
Still, I’m terrified. And here’s why:
1. What if nobody volunteers?
This is a big fear, especially because it’s 10 pm show that is sometimes poorly attended by the general public. And of course I can’t force anyone onstage. My backup plan right now is if absolutely no one joins me, I’ll drag Mia up onstage and we’ll do 15 minutes of Mandinka.
2. What if I make the person cry?
Not literally cry. Even I’m not likely to drive someone to tears. But what if I make them cry on the inside by not making them feel comfortable and well supported?
3. What if I break character a bunch?
I’m pretty good about not breaking character onstage—though I do have tendency to do a slight wink at the audience, i.e., “I get it. I’m making this shit up.” But to do this with a complete newbie would likely be confusing, or even worse, could be seen as undercutting them. That’s a big no-no.
To attempt to avoid any of these horrible outcomes my plan is as simple as the format itself:
1. Give him or her a ton of endowments and offers.
2.Whatever he or she says and does is the perfect thing to say and do.
Come see me give this wacko experiment a shot (along with two other fantastic shows; one about teachers and another featuring Jessica Arjet). It’s free! And as always, my performance calendar can be found in the menu above!