Remember how I went to improv class last week? I did it again this week! And I learned some new stuff, and had some earlier lessons reinforced.

Here’s what I learned:

Listen better. When you’re up on a stage with somebody, and you don’t have a script, you better listen carefully to what they have to say. Because if you don’t, what you say next might not make any sense or flow logically. And while that’s fun sometimes, it makes a story or scene hard to follow. I would argue that this is valuable even when you do have a script. As an actor, it can be hard to remember that the character you’re playing is saying your lines and hearing other people’s lines for the first time, ever. When actors bring the active listening technique from improv (and therapy) into their performances, I think the performances are much more effective and organic.

Be ready to let your ideas go. You might have a plan for where the scene is going, but you’re going to relinquish control of the scene regularly. So you need to know that your plan might never be executed, and be ready to work with somebody else’s plan. Again, this is valuable in daily life, too. I call myself a Type A- personality, which means I’m slightly less neurotic than somebody who’s Type A. I’m still a extensive planner. But I’m not actually in control of the universe, and my plans don’t always come to fruition, and I need to be okay with that.

Everybody hears Darth Vader differently. I’m not going to explain that one. Take from it what you will.

What did you learn this week?