Tuesday, September 15, 2009


In the movie, The Matrix, there is a famous line when Neo asks how a young child was able to mentally bend a spoon.

The answer: "There is no spoon."

It's an illusion. To those who really know the true nature of something, the answer is in the paradox. And improv itself is all about paradoxes. (Listen carefully while talking over someone. Being impolite is kindness to your scene partner. Being obvious make you look brilliant. Etc.)

I was once explaining to someone about how--in improv--you have to lead and follow at the exact same time. That person asked, "how do you do that?" I thought about giving a long explanation about the intricacies of doing both with numerous examples from nature and technology.

Instead, I answered, "You just do."

I realize that my answer is a paradox. That there is no real answer because the question assumes that you can't do both. Even though directions be paradoxical, be comfortable with the conflict. Assume that the audience doesn't care what you do, but that you attempt it with the best of your training, fearlessly. You create the illusion by understanding the true nature of improv: it's all about being comfortable with paradoxes.

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