Going Beserk

by Rebecca MacMillan

First: It’s Father’s Day this Sunday. You forgot? Don’t panic! Get your Dad a gift and help the Maydays by pledging on our Edinburgh Kickstarter project (we have 7 days to raise just less than a grand). Three ideas out of our many offers to pledgers:
1) Tickets to a Maydays show, drinks with the cast afterwards (£25 or more)
2) A bespoke song written and recorded for your Dad (£35 or more)
3) A confession about your Dad printed in a special edition of our Confessions book (£100 or more)
Thanks to all who have already pledged. Plug over.

Second: Sometimes improv can hurt. I have really horribly bruised knees right now. I keep catching my breath when I notice them in the mirror. They look like one of those shock photos that the police show on TV to encourage people to come forward with information when someone has been beaten up and the attacker remains at large. In this case it’s all Jules Munn’s fault because he fired an improv gun at my head and you know that you can get thrown quite far when you are hit by a gun –  think Django bidding farewell to Miss Laura (spoilers) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4Tk5Qyn6zk
The problem is that sometimes when I am improvising I get so into it that I forget I am actually me, not the character I am creating.The result this time is that I am struggling to walk comfortably, it’s been worse though, I have cracked at least one rib, and I once body dived from the wings onto the stage and did a series of commando rolls to the other side, only after the show remembering I was quite heavily pregnant. My now 16 month old seems fine though admittedly he does think dogs, pigs and ducks all make the same noise (like ‘ch’ in ‘Och aye!’).

Other people have noticed this. In one of those general discussions you have about how things would pan out if your improv troupe were under attack, Katy Schutte said in a battlefield situation she suspects I might be a beserker, I hope should that ever happen it would be like in Serenity when River Tam clicks into her training and kills a pack of Reavers (more spoilers) http://www.youtube.com/watch but I suspect I would be much much less cool than that.

The intense engulfing and vaguely euphoric depth of involvement which leads to this situation is a very interesting and usually incredibly positive mindstate to experience – it happens to me most often when I have taken on a physically based character (one that has come out of a facial expression or a body stance). I feel like I don’t need to actually think at all anymore because the dialogue is coming from somewhere else through me, as though I am channelling something. Apparently it is called ‘creative dissociation’ and athletes, surgeons, dancers and writers get it too. Jazz musicians call it being in the flow. It apparently makes changes to your brain, which are visible on scans. According to some it’s the ultimate state of creative expression – even regarded as the pinnacle of human experience. Fantastic….but it must be said, my knees are really, really sore.
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