March 5, 2013

We began today by discussing how well things went last time and how we can continue to have positive experiences like that. After our warm up, we played another new improv game that involved giving clues, much like in Party Quirks. Everyone had a lot of fun and got steadily better and better at the game the more we played it. They are gaining a lot of confidence with this sort of thing. Especially exciting was the participation of two new participants. Everyone gets very excited when new members jump in like that.

One of the women then said that she felt like it was time for everyone to challenge themselves a bit more. She had the idea to put every character’s name on a scrap of paper, then pull papers at random to determine scenes that would need to be memorized within a week. Some of the women liked this idea, but others were hesitant. One said that she didn’t object to giving everyone a push, but it might be better to take on a little less at first – she, for one, has a slight learning disability that makes memorization a slow process for her. It’s something she knows she can do, but the pressure to memorize an entire scene in a week would probably make her stress out to the point where she couldn’t memorize anything.

We decided to change the initial plan a bit to make it less stressful for everyone while still providing a challenge. The decision was that everyone needs to memorize something by next Friday. As a group, they then decided how to team up on portions of the script so that, for the most part, they are not working alone. The only person working on a monologue is the participant playing Ariel – the rest are working on portions of scenes. One of our new participants who is not sure she can memorize anything, period, is working on a very small part in one of the scenes as an experiment. I’m really glad she’s willing to go out on a limb – she might surprise herself. Our other new participant is also giving a try to a part that she thinks might end up being too big of a commitment for her, but, again, I’m just glad she’s diving in with a positive attitude.

It will be interesting to see how this experiment works out. I’m very enthusiastic about giving it a try, especially since the idea came from one of the participants and not from me – the more ownership they take of the process, and not just the performance, the better the experience will be for them. And pushing themselves to memorize even a little bit this far ahead of the deadline they set will give them a good idea of how much time it will take them to memorize all of their lines.