We choose a theme and each person tries to activate. There is an impulse or inertia. From where in me does that arise? If we try sincerely each time we improvise, nothing can be repeated; something changes. There can be no rehearsal of an improvisation.
"The idea of 'Life as Theatre' is very rich for me. Without a script, we face our life journey as a kind of improvisation. From my own personal experience I feel that improvisation is about trying something 'in the moment'. I want to approach it from an inner activation, with a clear attention feeling my emotion and sensation in my body."
Two strangers approach each other on a busy street, making contact first with the eyes then, without looking, raising one palm to face each other with a couple of inches between them. Then movement, keeping the contact between the eyes and the space between the palms, finding a different awareness of the other without pretence.
"I felt an unspoken communication, a sense of being alive to the mystery and a freedom to trust that the direction could be shared."
Bamboo canes were used to make random patterns and spontaneous movements. We tried to keep a contact both physically between the canes and to sense each other, searching for 'living action'.
"Something in me is active and responding. In a light way - not heavy; serious not solemn. That question from my mind 'What shall I do next' does not take precedence at this moment."
The Four Elements
Each of us chose one element to work with and took a posture to try to illustrate fire, air, water or earth.
We expanded that posture into individual movement then, working in pairs, brought some interaction between the elements.
Finally we tried to convey the same interaction using only our forearms. We found that the restriction to small movements only brought a more refined sensation in the body, and less possibility of being taken away into associations.
"So often in improvisation, some part of me spoils it by trying to step into an external, ill-perceived impression of what a particular role or state might be like, rather than beginning from an inner impulse, here - in this moment."
Could we find a 'conversation' in the sound of stones tapped together, using various combinations of size and shape, at different speeds and force?
"Sometimes the whole trying for me is to reach, only reach for something beyond play-acting. Then for a moment, some part of me understands what another is offering in the improvisation, and then it's lost again."
We tried to be aware of the moment to start humming, each found a note. There was a subtle retuning between the notes in the first seconds, and then a deeper awareness of vibration both within ourselves and in the conjoined sound.
"I felt a resistance to begin. Something has to start. I make a sound and become aware of a vibration in my body, I hear the sound of the others. There is outside sound and inside sound."