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The Two Cycles of a Weedwacker

detail of small engine

You may be wondering how improvisers come up with a seemingly scripted piece of art right before your eyes. You may even have a vivid imagination and see everything in the scene clear as day only to have it shattered the next moment. Is it because you’re not able to let your scene partners know in time or is it just that you’re not being as clear as you thought?

As you’re reading this, whether you’re sitting there or standing, you can begin to notice things you may have let pass you in the spur of the moment. Imagine a puppy, growing up day after day alongside you. And like most people, as you age, your eyesight gets worse - yet it is so gradual that you may not be aware of it until one day you can’t read something someone else can...and they see that your dog is no longer a puppy…

When you imagine something in your reality, you have been pre-exposed to your thoughts and you need to express the details to bring others into the same light. A great improviser would often say “Can you pass me the Heinz Ketchup” as opposed to just ketchup. Or even more specific as a “Craftsman 2-cycle Weedwacker” because anyone who knows what that is will become immersed in that reality. Anyone who doesn’t know what that is will respect that you’re putting in an effort to make a reality and lean in because they want to know what that is.

After all, when you were playing as a kid, you had no rules and limitations on what your scene was. You could be a doctor and royalty and a valiant champion all within seconds of each other as completely different people. You did it to play, to engage in an activity for enjoyment. The next time you find yourself setting up a reality, what would it sound like if more enjoyment people would have if they were engaged in it? How would it feel to have several people playing with you, fully engaged and having fun for the sake of having fun instead of figuring out what was going on?

That’s the thing about being united on a reality. You have to trust that no matter what goes, you and your teammates can recover from it. That feeling of blood rushing up to your face, cheeks flushed red and warm, rushed beating of your heart for the panic of what to do or say when your reality has been changed…know that you are in your first cycle. Allow yourself to take a deep breath in and play because, at the end of the day, nobody else knows what was really in your mind unless you clue them in on it.

Hop back in there and switch on the second cycle of your weedwacker. Let them in on the details. And as you go forth and notice these things in your next few scenes, as months go by and you’re throwing in details naturally, and as years go by and you’re passing this ability of play, trust, and sharing on to others, you’ll know that this was the moment you switched up to your second cycle.

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