Life is Improv
Okay, truth time.
Who was it that put *GLOBAL PANDEMIC* on their vision board for 2020???
<sound of crickets>
Lesson: Sh*t happens. Keep moving forward.
When You Can’t Change the Situation, Change Your Mindset
I can’t change my outer situation. This is a global pandemic. People are dying, especially here in New York. This is a real thing. I can either a) freak out and react to my fear or b) control my mindset and stay strong. There are no other choices for me.
Because I choose not to become a basket case hiding in a corner, I choose to control my mindset. I choose to stay strong. I choose to keep moving ahead on promises I made to myself when I did my own 2020 vision board – and I assure you a global pandemic was not on it.
“Nothing’s either good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.”
In Act 2 scene 2, Hamlet famously says to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, “Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is nothing either good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.”
I guess Shakespeare knew a thing or two about keeping a strong mindset. It’s all on how you frame your perspective on something. Denmark was indeed a prison to Hamlet because he thought it was; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, also residents of Denmark, did not feel the same way. To them, it wasn’t a prison at all.
You can choose to view this quarantine as a prison sentence, or you can view it as an opportunity to write, to clean, to meditate, to exercise, to complain, to become mad. Suddenly, your time is your own again. You do what you choose.
The first lesson of Improv 101: to everything thrown at you, say, “Yes, and…..”
The “yes” is your acceptance of what IS. The “and,” and everything you say and do after that, is your choice of action. Everything that follows depends on your acceptance of what is, and what you choose to do afterward.
YES. We are in lockdown during a global pandemic.
And … I choose to stay true to who I am. I choose to move forward with the plans I’ve made. I choose to create theater and to produce theater, because theater (and art) is good for our souls.
The “and…” is my response to how I view the situation. Although I acknowledge that bad things are happening around me, I control my environment. Externally, I stay safe and do all the things necessary to keep myself and my family healthy. Internally, I see this as a time for global healing (the planet is healing itself) and personal growth.
CreateTheater is my response. The Monday Night Reading Series is my response. Connecting with friends and family more is my response.
Acceptance – then, response. Life is Improv.
What’s your response?
What I Know About Theater People
I think Theater people are the best ones to understand that life can be unpredictable. I mean, theater is filled with ups and downs, right? Early on we learn to ride the waves by remembering the lessons used in our improv classes.
For every curveball life throws at us, there is our response to it. Our “yes, and…”
Vary your responses. Experiment just for the fun of it, to see what happens. Often in improv we’ll plan to fail just in order to see what happens.
Remember: life is a game. Life is improv.
Be creative. Be who you are. Life is neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so
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“Cate Cammarata is an excellent coach who has helped and encouraged me every
step of the way, since I first worked with her, when she was the dramaturg for the
developmental reading of my show, CRUDE-The Musical, at the 2016 New York
Musical Festival. This past year, CRUDE-The Climate Change Musical premiered at the Cape Cod
Theatre Company, Oct. 10 – Nov. 10, 2019. The show ran for five weeks, with 17
performances, and generated great publicity. I can’t thank Cate enough for her
expert coaching, over the past 3 years, as I worked to improve the arc of the script.
She’s taught me so much about the industry, about producing and about networking.
Cate has also helped me with specific networking opportunities.
I highly recommend Cate Cammarata as a fine coach for any writer looking to
succeed in the theater industry.
— Maureen Condon, Playwright & Composer
“I believe a Mastermind group is essential – for the support, ideas generated, the encouragement, the accountability, the important friendships formed and for a sense of belonging in the theater, whether or not we’ve been produced. Cate’s Mastermind, in particular, is extremely helpful. Cate knows her stuff and gently pushes us forward, stepping in to help when needed. She is passionate about getting work onto a stage. She makes you believe it’s not “if” but “when”.”
— Jarlath Barsanti Jacobs, Librettist
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