One thing that I hope improv has brought to my life in the wider sense is the abilty to be open to anything so when John suggested that the Maydays spend the day with a spiritual Guru called Prasadam who he described as a cross between the Dalai Lama and Spike Milligan I knew I couldn't pass it up.
The day began with Prasadam informing us that we were going to create a play, with John playing the "beautiful princess." We then spent an hour and a half with Joe's music accompanying us creating a totally surreal adventure through forest and castles, with Zen masters and African dance healers. In short, it was mental.
I would be seriously surprised if we what we came up with was of any kind of performance standard, however it did make me notice something: In our normal Maydays rehearsals, (despite what we always say to our students about not being able to do it wrong!) we ourselves are constantly striving to get things right. While it's important to work on different skills within the practice of improvisation; when we're not on stage I wonder how much time as a troupe we actually spend just "playing" and not analysing what we are doing. Creating a free running structure with no emphasis on what we were creating had a totally different joyful quality and it doesn't seem like a coincidence that our show on the following night had the same feeling (see Joe's previous blog.)
I won't here go into what the rest of the Prasadam adventure entailed but I will say that for me personally it gave me the chance to remember the simplest rule of improv, to embrace it's mindfulness and bally well have fun!
Heather Urquhart and Joe Samuel have over 15 years experience performing, teaching and writing about Musical Improv. Based in the UK they have facilitated workshops and graced stages around the world.