What’s the drill – April 9: What it means to be flexible

Improvisers know how to “go with the flow”. We are trained to be as flexible, malleable, adaptable, and as open-minded as we can.

Because we are making things up as we go along (and really, who isn’t!), we learn to follow guidelines that allow us to navigate the unknown. One of these guidelines is:

Accept whatever is given to you. 

On stage, this is our obligation. We must accept whatever our partner says, whatever reality is created, and wherever the scene goes. Accept whatever is given to you.

The opposite of acceptance is denial. If we deny on stage, we are choosing to block the ideas and contributions of our fellow players, stop the flow of the story and the action, and are in essence letting our partner know we don’t like that direction. Accept whatever is given to you.

As improvisers, we allow the information we are given to change us. When we accept whatever is given to us, we know our characters must often change in the process.

Applying these guidelines off of the improv stage can allow individuals to increase their capacity for acceptance, flexibility, open-mindedness, and collaboration.

When we know we must accept whatever is given to us, it releases some of the fear of where to go next. This doesn’t mean we have to like what we accept, it simply means we must adapt to it and honor the suggestion.

We accept, accept, and accept some more, deny a lot less, and see the path take shape one step at a time.



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