When this week’s edition of The Economist arrived I looked at the cover story headline and thought, “This is the perfect title for a new blog post!” Although it is true that the media and certain public figures are “playing” with our fears in a negative way, when I saw the word playing the improviser in me started playing in a positive way!
You see, it turns out that I had saved the illustration below to help inspire a new blog post; after all, ’tis the season for joy and it’s a moment when many Americans are fearful:
I love the insertion of IMPROV between JOY and FEAR. Why? Because performance is the human ability to simultaneously be who we are and who we are not/who we are becoming. In the midst of the media assault and events that create our collective (and individual) fear, it can be difficult to embrace the things and people in our lives that create joy. As a member of an improvisational ensemble, we often find ourselves on stage jumping into our fears and in the relational activity of creating scenes with others we find joy.
And so it is in life as lived. Playing with fear means taking Shakespeare’s famous quote “All the world’s a stage” seriously. When we create with others, using everything we’ve got to create with, including our fears, we transform; we can be who we are (fearful) and who we are not (joyous). When we create our lives we embrace all of who we were, who we are, and who we are becoming.
‘Tis the season to be improvising!