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by Darren Held

Perhaps the most important tenet of improv is “be in the moment.”

Yes, I know I yammer on about listening and agreement and all, but underlying everything is being present. After all, you can’t truly listen to someone if you’re busy planning a scene in your head. The only way to do improv well is to let go of the past – your day, what’s happened previously in class or a show, whatever – and don’t even consider the future.

It’s hard and kinda scary, sure. But it just occurred to me that if you look at it as Being Madonna, it’s less scary and kinda fun.

Oh, for crying out loud, I know that doesn’t make sense at face value. Gimme 2 seconds and I’ll explain it. Sheesh, we’re impatient for a Friday, people.

And please put away your pointy bras. That’s not what I meant.

See, among other things, Madge is famous for reinventing herself on a semi-regular basis. Which is like starting over with a clean slate. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve wanted to start over with a clean slate about four hundred bazillion times in my life.

Guess what? Every time you go into a scene with NOTHING in your head, no agenda, no baggage from the past, no plan for the future, you have a clean slate. It truly doesn’t matter what you did in a scene 5 minutes ago, because every improv is a whole new beginning, middle and end.

And I don’t want to get too heavy just before the weekend, but it really is the same with life. What matters is what you do in THIS moment. So you fucked up royally yesterday. It happens. Or maybe yesterday you were totally on fire and could do no wrong. Yay you. But that was yesterday. Living there, whether it was totally fabulous or total crap, means you aren’t living in the now. Same thing with spending all your time focused on what you’re going to do tomorrow or next week or next year – you’re living in the future, not in the now. And ultimately, now is all there really is.

Held2gether improv classes teach you all about how to be in the moment. And when you learn how to be in the moment in improv, you can transfer all that being-present-ness into your real life and be in the moment there too. And then you get to decide exactly who you’re going to be and what you’re going to do in that moment because you aren’t tied to who you were before or who you might become later.

If that means wearing a pointy bra, then so be it. It’s your moment. I’m not here to judge.

By Sonnjea Blackwell

Darren Held
About Darren Held
Darren is the CEO and Creative Director of Held2gether, Improv for LIfe. He has been teaching and performing improv for 15 years, and has performed with H2g, the Groundlings, UCB and Second City. He loves Moto, red wine, and Madonna.

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