Class: Perverts and Fuck-ups
The job of drawing up the first draft of the Osho Leela class schedule is a daunting one. 76 classes over 4 days not including the evening shows and jams. Each year, I need to have a look at last year’s schedule, the student requests, the teacher requests, the balance of classes being offered each day and in each time slot, the suitability of rooms for each class, class number limits and…you get the picture.
Last year, we got a little bit silly with the titles of classes. Let’s face it, we did this year too (some of the class titles being silly sausages, Dali is my teapot and Discipline) but even though we do sometimes have the silliest titles for our improv workshops, every Mayday puts a lot of thought into what they want to teach, and this year especially, what they feel inspired to teach.
One thing that I had written done in my biggest capital lettered note to myself that I should read was ‘Don’t have classes with swearwords in the title‘. Unfortunately, the demand for Rhiannon and mine’s workshop ‘Perverts and F**k ups’ was just too high and so there we found ourselves on Sunday morning with 16 bright shiny faces about to get seriously twisted.
I reflected after the festival that two of my classes started with a safety talk, this class and also the Intimacy class that I run with Jules, which is a class focussing on naturalism and on stage relationships in improv.
While the classes themselves could not be more different the talk is much the same: Let’s enter into a space where we’ll all commit to pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones to make the types of scenes we don’t normally and let’s all give each other total trust and respect when we’re doing that.
Perverts and F**k-ups’ is essentially a character work class but one where there is a contract in the room between everyone in it that we will commit hard and not judge each other for following the kind of character choices that might in normal circumstances seem like ‘too much’.
We start this class with an exercise called ‘Pass the sick’ which is a taboo breaking purge. Just saying and shouting the things to people that in normal life that you are just not allowed to say. Within seconds we are all convulsing with laughter and there are tears streaming down everyone’s faces. Partly because of the tension release that comes with saying socially unacceptable things but in truth mostly because when you are given permission to say the worst thing you can think of, what comes out is often not really that awful at all. In one case ‘sit on me’ is the worst someone can muster. Not ‘sit on my face’, not I’ want to sit on you and squish you to death until your eyeballs come popping out’ no just ‘sit on me’ and we are all in hysterics at something that by itself really isn’t inherantly funny.
That’s what makes the festival so special. Everyone just goes for it. It only takes a bit of gentle side coaching from Rhiannon and I and we’re all unleashing our weird and crazy. We all have it, just below the surface, and that what’s makes it so compelling and hilarious to watch.
It’s not just running on stage and being whacky though. I’m passionate about these ‘behind closed doors’ type scenes but because when I believe they really could happen. So in a teaching context I’m interested in finding and always pushing for the truth and humanity in these characters. From the ceremonial period blood catcher to the woman turned on by imagining herself as a fly in a web waiting to be devoured by a spider right through to the lady who wants to take her boyfriends skin off and wear it as a onesie – I believed them all.
Now to plan next year’s class ‘Serial Killers family Dinners Deconstruction Bat with Sondheim style freeform music and aroma prov.’