Improvisation – that thing we call life

What will you do before the curtain closes?

I just came from Babel theater where I watched an improvised theater play performed by a group called Laban (I hope I have the name right).

What is improvised theater?

Well, from what I know/understood, it’s a play that was not already prepared nor rehearsed, it is improvised on the spot as the name calls it. In fact, the topic of the play is a consensus from what the audience decides to watch. Yes, the audience comes to the theater, not knowing what the topic of the play is, sit together, start brainstorming words/topics/ideas, then come up with a title for their play.

During that play, the audience came up with a title “mish kil el Crystal belame3” (in English: not all crystals shine). This was the title we all agreed we want to watch. That’s was it “point a la ligne” as we say in French, we decided the title, then 1,2,3… Music starts, lighting changes, and the actors start their play.

The play turned out to be a social story dealing with marriage and disappointments. If someone had missed the small brainstorming where the actors and the audience decided on the topic; they would have actually believed that this was a well rehearsed and structured play that took time and effort from the actors for weeks.

While I was watching the play, I was stunned by the performance of the actors; there was a huge synergy between them. When I get to think of the story now, I really think of it as a movie I watched, or a book I read. Everything seemed well rehearsed, the dialogue, the scenes, the lighting, the music… The music and lighting were two different actors, silently making important implications on the progress of the scenes and the play at large.

At the end of the play, there were ten minutes for questions and answers. I was curious to learn more about the synergy between the actors and the way they decided every scene instantly. One of the actors answered my question, and instead, placed a huge question mark in my head.

He told me that the improvised theater is similar to our lives. We do not write down the things we want to do, nor do we tell the people around us what to do. “Now do this; do that, or say this or that”. Personally, his answer was like BANG to my ears. It really hit me. It was the first time I look at life like this- like a play.

Imagine that we wake up every day and decide that today’s scene (which is part of our life’s bigger play) will include the slow taxi driver on the way to work, the nagging client, and a nice glass of wine after a long day of stress. That would be interesting, wouldn’t it? Then the next day, we would decide on another scene, and then day after day we start evolving our skills, and learning new techniques. That’s a nice way to look at it!

Or wait a second, isn’t that the way we live our lives; but now we have a cover for it, a new title to call it?!

(Or wait a second, isn’t that the way I live my life; but now I have a cover for it, a new title to call it?! Improvisation)

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10 thoughts on “Improvisation – that thing we call life

  1. Great perception Chanty! I watched several plays of LABAN, and willing to write an article about them. Because of Shant, Farah and Rima and especially Raffi, the innovator of LABAN, we now know what Improvisation theatre is about! and yes we can compare it to our own life! No matter what we planify, organize, and prepare for the future, we live, act and think constantly in a improvised way!

    Nice reflection! Ill put it on their wall if u dont mind.
    Congrats to ur Blog!
    (K)

    V.B.

    1. Vanessa ya Vanessa! First of all, thanks for reading my blog and liking it! Second, thanks for sharing it with the LABAN group!
      I really enjoyed the play in all its aspects…and it really left some question marks in my head! Thanks again! Hope to c u soon!

  2. A new dimension to view life…. Simply uniques as always Chantal… raising new questions in our minds 🙂 I don’t think it could be expressed any better!

  3. Wow! As always, I’m extremely touched and speechless when I read things like these about Live Lactic Culture – Laban! All I can say is thank you as my heart, body and soul are filled with pride to what everyone at Laban is doing!

    Now on a more practical level and disregarding the goosebumps that won’t go away (probably the longest goosebumps in my life), I’d like to share my blog with you and everyone interested in this post. It deals with the lessons I learn from improvising life. Here’s the link:
    http://lifeimprov.wordpress.com

    1. Raffi – thank you for the nice words! If I honestly were to write abt LABAN’s work, I truely would be complementing your work tones more! You all are an inspiration for me, and I m sure for other people as well.

      Thanks for sharing your blog with me, it would be wonderful to read abt your perspective as an insider!

      Keep the good work, and keep on inspiring people!

  4. Dear,

    You just made my night 🙂 I am so happy to read your post. Thank you so much 🙂
    Sadly, I can’t remember your face, so please let’s meet 🙂
    Thanks again, I am speechless, happy and honored 🙂

    Stay fakhami 🙂

    Rima Jreich

  5. Hey Chantal
    I’m super happy that the play sparked such reflections in you.
    Being part of this performance group has left me with many reflections as well but also
    endowed with a lot of insights and skills of which deep listening, empathy, being flexible and receptive to other people’s reactions and emotions, cooperation, giving support, helping others reach their fullest capacities, multitasking, etc. Most if not all of these skills have helped me in my professional and social life as well.
    Keep living, experiencing, observing, reflecting, and being inspired Chantal… oh… and not to forget, inspiring other people around you..
    Cheers,
    tonton j-paul

    1. Jay pee!!!
      I am super happy that u r super happy that I was inspired by the play.
      Now u will again be super happy because I am super happy that u r super happy….

      Just trying to make a joke and be funny as u… But I guess it’s not my talent.

      Anyway, back to serious!
      I was really inspired by the play esp that I was able to relate it to my every day life. I think being able to improvise like that is a great thing, and as u said, to be able to do it, one must reflect, observe, live, experience… And all those make us better people at the end of the day!

      Enjoy Cleveland! Cheers!

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