250 Improv: The Terrible Beauty

I’ve been performing live on stage for 25 + years. Literally thousands of shows for thousands upon thousands of people. But, there are only a few videos of me performing. And those are rarely, if ever, watched. When I have watched them I’m always disappointed. There’s something basically wrong about capturing a temporary moment this way. Freezing it in time. Like a mosquito in amber.

We are obsessed with capturing moments. (Old man on front porch warning) Photos, videos, social media, etc. etc.  But, really how often do we look back at them?

Does it change that we had the experiences?

Here’s the thing. It all goes away eventually.

It makes me sad. I call it the terrible beauty of improv. We can perform the most amazing scene. Make a connection with another human in front of crowds of humans. Bring joy and laughter or tears and skin tingling emotion. But it’s just a moment in time and space. Then it’s gone. We film things, take pictures, attempting to capture something that cannot be captured. A moment. An emotion. A feeling. The best technology (as of yet) can’t capture that.

When I say that makes me “sad” it’s a sadness in more of a Buddhist way. (I know just enough about Buddhism to be a hazard to myself and others, however…) Recognizing that all things are temporary is liberating. Don’t fight it. Live in the temporary moment you are in. It is really freeing letting go of trying to hold on.


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