Dodging the Chasm

November 24, 2008 at 8:44 pm 2 comments

One of the most amazing things about a good improviser is that you never notice when they make a mistake. In fact, a great improviser can even cover other people’s mistakes. Whether it’s poetry or theatre or music, one of the most frustrating things is when the performance to comes to a grinding halt because someone drops a word or line or phrase that sends everyone onstage spinning into the chasm of panic. Yet my favorite magic moments on stage are when suddenly everything is “real” for a moment as the performers respond and dance gracefully around the chasm.

In real life, every day is improvisation reacting to and relating to the events that happen. No script can be read to determine what will happen next. Flying solo, it is easy to react to the whim of the world if you allow yourself to be flexible enough. (Pause here for a moment to catch a bit of Oscar Aleman of Argentina improvising a bit to please his listener.)

When I woke up Saturday morning I realized that I’d spent the whole week in a juggling act of personalities and musical talent that somehow landed me right side up alone in my home once again to catch my breath. I can’t say whether I’d do it all again, but there is one highlight worth mentioning.

For the first time in the six years since we met and made music together, I finally got to spend time on stage in front of audiences as a duo with my best friend. It involved running late of course, as well as crafting a “clarikazoo” on the way out the door with duct tape. We practiced one song in the car on the way to the first stop and then let go of worry and simply played whatever came into our heads. We even played one song that neither of us had ever performed, but we’d played the record many times. The audience laughed with our goofy antics and we laughed with each other and every song landed with gracious applause. It was exhilerating to finally cross the chasm of fear that had kept us from making the leap and learning that together we can fly.

Entry filed under: Jazz.

Taking 5 to catch my breath Slip Knot

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. carolinepond  |  November 24, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Wendi I love your posts. Hope you are doing well. I do dig the improv of life. Sounds so like what is going on in my life. Clarikazoo duo sounds fantastic. Take care and see you around.

  • 2. salinger  |  November 25, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    You know, sometimes the very best gigs are so just because you are having fun.

    Just like an attack dog – an audience can smell fear – but if you’re comfortable and connecting they can become very forgiving.


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