5 Orgasmic Things I've Learned in Improv
by Ruwan Meepagala Jun 19, 2014
The college experience that impacted my life the most wasn't any class. It wasn't even an official organization. I knew them as the underclassmen who would meet a few times per week in a desolate dorm lounge to laugh a lot. It was the informal Improv Comedy club.
In many OneTaste course they mention improv principles. Improv is a game of the imagination. Players come up on stage with nothing planned and see what they create. Like in orgasm, improv is an involuntary flow practice that can only occur under certain principles. Here are 5 orgasmic principles translated into life via improv:
Yes And...One of the most basic principles of improv is "Yes & ..." meaning to whatever your scene partner suggests, you agree and then add something. She says "These woods are freezing" and I say "Yes, and I wish grandma didn't make us pick mushrooms at midnight." I agree with the suggestion she offers then add a little more information to the scene. From there the scene can develop to higher and higher sensation.
Oftentimes, especially in life, we have a habit to saying no to what people offer us. Usually we don't even have a reason to say no except as a means of control. Saying YES brings us into the greater unknown, which is scary. Just as bad, many people have the habit of just saying YES but adding nothing. Saying yes but not taking also taking initiative to where the lifescene goes make the other person do all the work, also known as them carrying you. It's another way to prevent yourself from being vulnerable at the expense of sensation. In improv it leads to a boring scene, in life it leads to mutual irritation and fatigue.
Creation Occurs in the SpecificOne of my improv coaches recently was describing how in a scene, you must believe you are an expert in your field or else your ideas won't be believable. He talked about how anytime you see an athlete in a post-game interview, he speaks very assuredly; he knows exactly what he did on the field so he can explain it. Anytime you see an academic explain his work however, there are always a lot of pauses and "ums" and "ers." This is because an academic's theories are based on abstract reasoning and not grounded in real specifics.
Anytime you're vague in words or action you cause "fogginess"--a lack of mental clarity which translates into wishy-washy action. You can see in intellectual debates how either side of the debate can be rationalized and argued--that's because the topics are based on theory, not reality. When you are specific with how you speak about what you want and what you experience, you bring the idea into reality that can be felt. That's one reason why OMers share frames.
Everyone has an Critical RoleSome schools of improv categorize improv players into three types: Pirates, Robots, and Ninjas. If you're familiar with the Orgasmic Tumescent Types they correspond to of Hyper-volatile, Fixed, and Dissipated, respectively. A player's type is how he or she handles the sensation of the scene.
Pirates are more of the stereotypical slapstick comic. They are flamboyant onstage, make a lot of noise, and generally provide the energy of the scene. Robots are the ones who establish the critical facts: the setting of the scene, the relationships of the characters, and the activity. Ninjas are relatively silent in the scene, then sneak in the big punchline. An improv team needs a combination of personality types. All pirates is obnoxious. All robots is boring. All ninjas is awkward. In order for there to be ignition in interactions, people must hold different poles.
You see in teams of any sort how important diversity is. Highly competent teams can easily plateau or get deluded if they don't bring in alternate perspectives.
Connection Spontaneously CreatesI'm not particularly funny by myself. As in, if you gave me ten minutes to make up some jokes, I'd probably draw a blank. But something funny, actually funny, happens when I'm in a scene. Once I put my attention on my partner, something between us is created. That thing, what alchemy calls "the third," let's the all the jokes flow out.
When my partner and I are really tuned into each other, an implicit understanding forms of where to take the scene. It can even appear like the scene was scripted because the set ups and punchlines are so seamless. Really all it is is that we built a connection, then chose to follow it.
SurrenderA friend was recently telling me how improv shifted his perspective on life from being focused on results to focused on the process. I call that Production vs Creation. The former puts your attention on the imaginary future so you can enjoy nor be creative in the present. The second you try to make a preconceived result happen, you lose the scene. The latter opens you up to connection and the spontaneous creation that results.
Improv is a practice of surrender. You get your controlling ego out of the way to let Creation involuntarily flow through you. As if life, the only thing you need for spontaneous creation is to put all your attention on the present. From there, every interaction, every situation, and every scene of your life takes care of itself.
The principle above can be applied to an OM, sex, a relationship, meeting a stranger, and especially in work situations. Improv is basically orgasmic theater. Orgasm is improvisation of sensation. It's the same thing.