Hello Doctor. I submit for you today Exhibit A, B and C.
Exhibit A

Most of us have had anxiety dreams. Ever had dream where you walk into class to take an exam and you realize you did not study? Or better yet, show up to perform the lead role in a play and realize you do not know your lines?

Exhibit B
If you improvise, you probably have had a conversation that goes something like this:

    OTHER PERSON: So where are you going?
    YOU: Improv rehearsal.
    OP: Improv rehearsal?
    Y: Yes
    OP: If it's improv, then why do you need to rehearse?


    Where am I going with this? One side of the table, we have a tremendous fear of doing things without a safety net. On the other side, we have improv, which is opposed to safety nets. We have no scripts and, when done well, we tend to throw ourselves outside our comfort zones. As evidenced by the corny joke from OTHER PERSON, it's logical to wonder... is rehearsal in some way anti-improv?

Exhibit C
In my last post, I mentioned the Parkway High School Quad performance. Four school teams get together and hash out a show format in an hour then they perform it. What makes it interesting as a coach is watching the teams agree on the games to play, especially because of Parkway South.

Improv is big at South. Since about 1999, their average improv audition has 80+ students. They retire jerseys. Many performers from South go on to iO, Second City, and start college improv teams. It would be normal to expect a lot of ego from a team like that, right? Not so. South understands that the show is more important than the team and a single performer's discomfort can affect the show. 

When asked to coordinate on games, I saw South - who is very well versed with games - differ to the other teams. South wants to make the other teams comfortable.


And that's what this post is about. Selfless Comfort. Somewhere in the back of our minds has to be the desire to make our compatriots comfortable with performing. Because - according the the sci-fi novel "Dune" - fear is the mind killer. So in the battle between Exhibits A and B is a C - a place where we are both preparing ourselves to be the best we can be, but also being conscious that others are not as prepared.

If you ever get the sense that someone on your team is not comfortable with a game, suggest a different one. If you are not comfortable with it yourself, but want to take a risk... that's not really fear, is it? Go for it.

But let's not make the mistake in thinking that rehearsal is anti-improv. Rehearsal limbers the mind of the improviser in the same way Katas limber the tools of the martial artist. And so with rehearsal, we enable ourselves to make our comrades more comfortable performing with us. And that is the Selfless Comfort you are looking for.