I’ve been thinking a lot about the words should and shouldn’t. There is quite a bit of possible should-ing in my environment at the moment. I shouldn’t have had to move to Swindon. I should be earning an income by now. The health system should be doing more for my Granny. The UK government shouldn’t be thinking of repealing the Human Rights Act. All very valid should-ing or shouldn’t-ing (especially that last one, government, WTF).
The trouble with should – however correct we may be – is that it’s denying or blocking what is. It’s also not very loving (which is another thing I’ve been thinking about).
On the improvisation stage we can’t afford to be should-ing or shouldn’t-ing each other or ourselves. We try to accept what is and work with that. That’s part of the principle of yes, and. We see / listen to our partner’s offer and accept it so we can build on and respond to what’s really there rather than negate it to create the should version in our mind. After all, my should is not the same as your should (although you really should follow my should because I am right.)
Look, I’m not saying that we can’t sit round after and say what could have been done to make a better show or share a glass of wine over what might make a better family/ health system/ country/ planet. I’m just saying that dwelling in should-land is toxic. Frustrating. Powerless. Unloving.
Accepting what is can be really powerful and active. When you really see what is and allow it to be true regardless of what should be true, you can respond with commitment in the way that works best for you and your improv scene / life.
And I don’t mean rolling over and letting the world or our scene partner dictate to us. For example, if someone is playing a racist character on stage, I invite you not to block or ignore the racism as if it isn’t there because it shouldn’t be or succumb to thinking that accepting means your character has to like it. You can respond angrily or happily or manipulative or loving or whatever feels right to you truthfully and comedically in that scene or sketch.
So, in the spirit of accepting what is rather than continuing to sulk about should, I aim to help the awesome Gatecrash Theatre create an improv scene here in Swindon, look for / create a different kind of income while I see to my Granny’s needs, approach the health system myself instead of waiting for it to come to us, and join Liberty UK. Because WTF government. WTF.