Preaching Improv

Preaching Improv

giorgio_armani_madison.gifI watched an interview of Gordon Downey of The Tragically Hip. I forget where it was. Probably MuchMusic. Anyway, I was impressed with his attempts to sing songs totally improv. He might start with a prepared line, but take it extemporaneously after that. And I love the Hip! See them last night on the Junos? As LAME as the show was, the live acts were great.The reason Downey's improv approach impressed me was because I've been trying the same thing when I teach on Sunday mornings. My approach is that instead of trying to prepare a speech to hand to the observers Sunday morning like a glass of water, I continually replenish my own well and then speak out of the abundance or sparsity of my own reserves. It can be so scary to stand up, read a verse or so, then lay myself open to the people and speak what comes to my mind. It requires a calm confidence, a kind of relaxed repose, to pull it off.

Some Sundays it seems to be fine. Some Sundays it sucks. The difference is not the quantity of water in my own well (because I do try to keep it full), but my insecurity, desire to please, fear of rejection, or even physical health. Anything can affect it. Like yesterday, I could feel that I wasn't in touch with myself. It didn't work as well. But, instead of standing up with a prepared speech that the passive audience sits under, I talked and allowed people to interject, question, comment, and even disagree. It is quite interactive and dynamic. Even if I am "off" and the talk sucks, it is still real, human, and involves the whole community. I prefer improv.

The fine art photograph is the creation of my friend Mark Hemmings, and is from his "Mannequin" series.


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