You can’t take it with you

By Jason Blackwater

I already miss The Maydays

I shan’t be leaving until January but I can already feel the absence of them that will hit me far too soon after my final show, or rehearsal, or social gathering, whenever that may be.

Last nights (4/9/15) Confessions show symbolised pretty much every element of The Maydays that I’m going to feel utterly bereft of when I skip this tiny island in pursuit of love, happiness, truth, justice and The American Way©. Before the show, as usual, we mercilessly bullied each other; this often takes the form of Heather and John hurling abuse at each other without a hint of any genuine malice. The first half had its panicky moments where we would look to each other to have our backs and sure enough we always did, producing moments of glorious joy. But, most of all, in the second half we just flew. A 30-minute ghost story of a little match girl, a dull golfer and mafia hit men felt like improv should feel.

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This is fire in case you didn’t know

Playing shows, or even part of shows, where you feel like nothing is missed, everything is used and it feels like you could slowly peel away the layers of what’s happening for hours and never be bored or boring, is the thing about being a Mayday that will be hardest to replicate elsewhere. The ethics that we’ve taken on from training with the best improvisers the world has to offer; of taking our time, saying how we feel, not being afraid to jump and justify, if it’s bad make it worse, trust ourselves, each other and the audience,they  live in the group and I just can’t take 7 years of group dynamic with me. There’s something about me as an improviser that is solely tied up with the glorious people with whom I’ve had the pleasure and, although I’m unlikely to tell them, honour to share a stage. I will literally be a worse improviser because I won’t be improvising with them.

I realise this gig report has become a little slushy but there is a point:

“How do you rehearse improv?”

I’m sure that if you’re reading this, you’ve either asked or been asked that question. And you don’t rehearse improv. You rehearse being an improviser. If you’re really lucky, you get to rehearse being with improvisers. And if you’re the luckiest, you get to rehearse being with with improvisers that make you better just by being there. If you’re in a troupe, rehearse frequently and freely, bring your crap with you and talk about it. We all know improv is therapy so let your company mates be your therapists. Trust is built on a foundation of emotional risk so risk feeling the feels in front of your company and they will catch you when you fall in life and have your back on stage.

You want your company to feel like I family and I do.

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