Sunday, December 2, 2007

Perspective

Pin It I Recently completed yet another show at ComedySportz. I'm sure that many of you know I have worked with this improv comedy troupe here in Provo for about 5 years and have done a lot of shows during that time. However, a few months after starting I decided that being up on stage was not really where I wanted to be. There was too much pressure with improv…sometimes it’s hard to come up with something when somebody looks at you and says, in essence, “Okay, be funny…now!”

I was determined to change up what I was doing and decided instead to start being “Mr. Voice.” Now, to tell you a bit about the job…Mr. Voice is the guy who is in charge of lights, sound effects, music, announcing, score keeping, and a variety of other things. I thought that this would be a good change for me. Of course, it is a lot less “glamorous” than being on stage. Usually after the show, everybody goes up to the players outside as they are leaving and tells them what a great job they did, and just how funny they were. Rarely does anyone come up to the booth and say, “Mr. Voice, you did great!” But, on another note, I get to watch the whole show…well, part of it as there are moments when I am panicking, trying to get a certain song or sound effect keyed up because I never know what the players are going to do next. It’s a trade-off.

Like I was saying though, I’ve been Mr. Voice for a long time and my job has become comfortable and I feel confident in doing it.

Set the way-back clock to two weeks ago. I had arrived at ComedySportz and started the show and was doing (if I don’t say so myself) a great job. The show was progressing along smoothly and the audience was into it. Now, there is this certain game where any player on either team can call the other team out of a particular scene they’re acting out by simply calling an “objection.” They state this objection to the referee, who then either will or will not sustain it. If sustained, the other team takes over the scene and it runs on until another objection is sustained. Make sense?

Well, there was this scene which required a transformer sound so, using the microphone I made the robotic shifting sounds of the imaginary car changing into a transformer. Unfortunately, the sound effect sounded a bit too much like stomach indigestion toward the end and Mike, one of the players, called an objection to the sound effect. “This transformer does not have indigestion!” Well, the ref. sustained it and Mike and I were required to switch places.

Now, I want you to remember that it has been about 4 years since I’ve been on stage at ComedySportz. As I jumped from my little crows nest of sorts in the back, I passed Mike at a run up the aisle. Suddenly, I found myself standing on the stage taking the part of Mike’s character. It was at this point that I realized that I hadn’t paid any attention to the last few lines that had been said. Now, I’d love to say that I came up with a snappy line and the whole audience roared with tumultuous laughter. However, this was not the case. I stood there and drew up a complete blank. As I looked at the booth where I usually sat on the other side of the club, I was suddenly taken in with the realization that it sure looked different from up here a lot scarier.

This brings me to my point. As I was standing there I was given a real-world example of looking at things from another vantage point, or perspective. I love the scene in “Dead Poet’s Society” where Robin Williams has each of his students stand on his desk to see how the room looks different from this new angle. Though it is the same room, it looks a lot different because of the way he has them look at the room.

How many times have I had difficulty with somebody because I refused to look at something from their point of view? To see a situation from their eyes and standpoint? It makes me wonder just how much easier this life would be if we would each do that.

To finish my story…it was only a few moments before another objection was called and I was returned to my fortress of security in the back of the club. But when I left that night I took with me a greater desire to always try to put myself in the other person’s shoes. When I encounter individuals in my life that may not see things eye to eye with me, I hope that I can, at least for a few moments, try to see it from a new and different vantage point, one to which they are accustomed.

4 comments:

annette said...

We would have liked to have seen you squirm on that stage! Heh heh! Yes, I know, it's a hair unnerving to be up there and try to think of something that will yield some laughter.

Perspective. It is a rare gift. Blessed are those who have it.

Gerb said...

I used to love doing improv. Somehow my kids have ruined my acting abilities - I feel like I'm lying, being someone else when they are around. If they're not around, well, I guess that's a different story.

Looking at things from a new perspective is usually a humbling experience for me. I should probably do it a little more often.

Miya said...

Thought some of these would interest you:

http://www.topeducationdegrees.com/online-apps-innovative-teachers

jacs said...

does that mean that you will try to see why your ring on my phone is so funny? hmmmm...i didn't think so. everyone should be as funny as they think they are......i personally think you're funny..

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