I was having coffee with David LaGraffe recently and we were talking about the core values in teaching and learning improv. I’ve taken classes with him over the years at Lights Up Improv and have learned so much and had lots of fun. David is a gifted teacher and is part of the reason I’m so convinced about the value of applying the principles of improv to us in healthcare. (Next class starts 7/16/2015 in South Portland, ME and I can’t wait!).
I teach improv as an opening to the possibilities of one’s own genius. –David LaGraffe
Anyways, he reminded me about a scene we did together a few years ago called “Death in One Minute”. Basically there are two participants that have 60 seconds to start and end a scene with one participant dying. We were supposed to be husband and wife on a boat. We started the scene and within the first 10 seconds he fell to the floor and was dead. (Not really but for the scene!). I raced to his rescue screaming and trying to revive him. And I continued to try frantically for the remaining 50 seconds.
In the debriefing that followed and again during our more recent coffee, he gently nudged me to think about other possibilities. I could have done a little reacting, and then take the scene some place that I created:
“Free at last, the poison worked!’ She takes out her cell phone ‘Jim, he’s gone. Meet me in 20 minutes at the dock. I’ll cover him with the tarp and you jump on. I’ll need help with the body….”
“Poor David, he should have remembered his medications, but you know I was tired of reminding him. All those years of cooking and cleaning for him….I’m sure I can make it to Greece and start the fine chocolate shoppe I’ve dreamed of…”
“Oh my, I’ve never tried driving this boat.” She takes the steering wheel and shifts sharply to the left and screams and falls while David rolls. She over corrects to the right….(for all I knew this may have revived him!)…this place of opportunity and hesitancy is a very rich growing edge where I learn what holds me back Click To Tweet
In that 50 seconds, anything was possible. But I had stayed in this mode of reaction rather than bring my own ideas forward. OMG! I so get it now. And this place of opportunity and hesitancy is a very rich growing edge where I have and continue to learn what holds me back, to safely take more risk, and appreciate how hard it can be. We laughed about the memory and this shared understanding about how deeply powerful this work can be. Assertiveness is not easy and I’m happy to celebrate “Stop the Silence in Healthcare” day with this story!