Portsmouth Improv Learning Lab isn’t a PILL you swallow, it is a PILL class you take! And there are a few spots left in upcoming classes: Stronger Together (combines mindfulness and improv) and Take Another PILL. To encourage you to try PILL or come back, we are extending the Early Bird Rates!
This past Saturday, Liz Korabek-Emerson, MFA and I offered the first PILL open house with Korabek Training. We were so happy to share our philosophy and teach a few activities. Watching people play, hearing the laughter, and witnessing the support that people give each other is all affirming of our beliefs in the transformative power of this work. People ask us; “What makes PILL improv spiritual”? Part of the answer lies in this unfolding of humanity. WOW, right?
Oh and 2 people said their faces hurt from smiling and laughing so much.They are doing the Danish Clap! You’d never suspect they practically just met, would you?Please consider joining us for an upcoming class! And don’t miss Liz’s blog series about mindfulness and improv!
Listening to Under African Skies while driving under them with my son was an incredible privilege that moved me to tears. And he too, felt something profound in the words and music from Paul Simon’s Graceland Album as we drove along our 2+ week journey from Cape Town to Johannesburg.
This is the powerful pulsing of love in the vein
What were we remembering? Our connection? Joy in discovering together? Gratitude for our time? Something deeply profound about humanity?
These are the roots of rhythm
And the roots of rhythm remain
I have learned so much on this journey and am so grateful. I arrive home quite tired, yet with renewed commitment to teaching improv in a way that helps people tap into divine play with others. This too, is profound!
As we experience playing together in a safe and honoring environment we remember and celebrate our humanity!
Please consider signing up for a PILL class and dipping your toe into this safe, fun, joyful art! Visit us during our open house or check out upcoming classes! And shoot me an email if you have questions! Bbbboynton@gmail.com
And it is a different song on the same LP, but hey…
We all will be received in Graceland!
Colleague and friend, Jude Treder-Wolff, LCSW, RMT, CGP (also singer, storyteller, improvisor) has combined her talents to bring us this 2 Min video that speaks to the tax bill!
Warning: If you support the tax bill you might NOT like it!
If you do like it, please like and share!
Learn more about Jude:
Beth Boynton, RN, MS & Liz Korabek-Emerson, MFA
Beth and Liz love teaching PILL classes! Sometimes serious, oft times silly, and always kind; it is no surprise that they have fun putting up PILL posters promoting classes and events. Even on cold icy New England days! (We were very careful not to curtsey on icy areas! 🙂 )
This poster is going up at the RiverRun Bookstore! Thanks to all businesses in downtown Portsmouth, NH who have a community bulletin board! Click To Tweet If you see one without a PILL Poster please let us know! 🙂
One of the differences between applied improv and improv comedy is that we take the focus off of performing and put it on the process of play. One of the most fundamental and powerful parts of that process involves trust!
What does trust mean to you?
For me, it means feeling safe, respected, even loved, along with a sense of ease in my body, mind, and soul. Trusting someone means I can count on them to do what they say, give me a break for my imperfections, own their own part in a conflict, accept me, even celebrate me as I am…things like that. I’ve had some betrayals in life and don’t take these things for granted. Insecurities and sensitivities are part of who I am. Join the club, right?
Taking improv classes has been really helpful to me in exploring trust and having fun doing it. The very principles of play support trusting relationships. They do vary from teacher to teacher a little bit. At Portsmouth Improv Learning Lab, fondly referred to as PILL, we follow these principles and in parenthesis, (their relevance to trust).
PILL Principles of Improv
- “Yes and…” (This golden rule of improv ensures that players share responsibility for co-creating scenes and stories. I learn that I can count on i.e. trust my partner!)
- Support your partner (I help others devlop trust as I am trustworthy. I gain insight and experience into what trust looks and feels like.)
- You have everything you need (Here I learn to trust myself to offer something of value while trusting my partner will make it work.)
- Celebrate “mistakes” (It’s ok to be human! YAY! I’m OK, you’re OK, we’re OK!)
- Avoid questions (This one is a little harder to explain, but deep inside, there are times that I and others will ask questions to avoid fully participating in a relationship. Avoiding them, for some people, means trusting themselves and others.)
- Feel free to make things up (Actors already know this, but some people who are new to improv need permission to get out of their heads. The pressure of being right or knowing something can be set aside. I make something up trusting my partner will run with it giving me feedback that trusting is safe).
- Observers play an important role (This gives people new to improv the freedom to not take a risk if they don’t feel safe. I learn to trust the teacher here and have control where I may need it. AND I can be helpful by watching and sharing insights.)
Despite difficulties broken trust situations have caused for me, these experiences have taught me to place a high value on trust and helped me to be sensitive to what others are experiencing. It is part of how I continue to grow as a person. And as a teacher to be more effective in creating a safe environment for students to take risks, play, and grow together.
You don’t have to have trust issues to enjoy or learn from PILL. I don’t always feel trusting, but when I do it is indeed a glorious feeling. Do you have experiences with trust in taking or teaching applied improv? What would you add?
I remember my father’s playful side. Not often, but once in a while it came out! One example that comes to mind is when I was 12 or so and there was a hail storm going on outside. He called to me exclaiming there were huge hailstones I should see! So, I ran to the front door he was holding open and peeked onto the front lawn. I immediately knew what he was talking about. There were two big clumps of ice sitting there….easily 10 times bigger than what I could see falling from the sky.
“WOW”, I said, excited to share this wondrous event with him.A second later I noticed their shape and an instant after that I knew he had fooled me! Click To Tweet
There sat two ice cubes in the grass and behind me my father was trying not to laugh. I love this memory of him. Even thinking of it, I smile. In that moment of playfulness we were connected in a special way. It felt safe, loving, and trusting,…even though I was being tricked.
And while sitting here working on this post at Profile Coffee Shop in Portsmouth, NH where they have all sorts of albums on display, another funny memory is triggered. When my son was 10 or so, we often had music going on and we both enjoyed a wide variety; from Broadway hits, to Folk music, to Disco. BUT, I had a Patsy Cline CD that he could not stand. He would groan, beg for me to turn it off, or even do so himself. Then there was a spell of not listening to it. I couldn’t find it and forgot about it until reaching into the bookcase where he had carefully hidden it! It was funny then and it is now thinking of it. (So I just emailed him a photo of the album. I bet he’ll smile too).
Play is integral in PILL classes and the more I teach and get feedback, the more obvious it is that people are grateful for opportunities to laugh and play together. My friend and colleague, Liz Korabek-Emerson and I were talking about our class that combines mindfulness and improv. We have come to realize that our success in this venture, (in addition to being commited and caring teachers), is that we are playful together.
What Sparks Your Playful Spirit?
Play is an important human experience and contributes to our health and wellbeing. Even neuroscience tells us that it is important for our brain!
Don’t miss the beautiful pics of dog and fawn in Neuroscientist, Jaak Panksepp’s TED Tx about the science of emotions and play!
So what can we do to nurture our playful spirit? Why not take a minute and reflect on our own human experience. Do you enjoy playing with your children? What about watching horses frolicking, a silly dog, a funny movie? Take a moment to think of something that makes you smile. How does it feel in this space of divine play when you experience, watch it, remember it happening? Connection? Presence? Safety? Joy? Love?
For me, it is all of these in these moments with my dad and son and at PILL. And the memories are powerful too! Seeking out experiences that make us laugh and smile is like eating healthy, exercising, and meditating. Good for the body, mind, and soul, don’t you think?
It’s called the Danish Clap!
Can you sense ‘Divine Play’ with these people? Isn’t it beautiful to see?
It is part of what happens in PILL classes!
Maybe you’ll join us one day.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I’ve been taking Zumba dance classes at Jubilation (where your first class is always FREE!) for years and love it. The music, moves, and community fill me up in so many ways.
The owner, Honore LaFlamme has a big heart and when I asked about using the studio for a Back on My Feet fundraiser, she didn’t hesitate to say “Sure!”!
I believe in supporting nonprofit organizations when I can b/c they do so much for our community. Besides, the idea of helping homeless people get back on their feet with a jogging program sounds empowering! —Honore LaFlamme
She’s also hosting a food drive that one of the other instructors,, Michelle Poulin organizes every Thanksgiving.
It is a great village!
There are all ages and abilities at Jubilation and all the instructors are fun and supportive! Personally, I love being part of the older culture gravitating towards that back row! There are quite a few of us boomers doing what we can, supporting each other, screaming on occasion, and welcoming new people. Did I mention that the first class is always FREE? And the schedule has options for everyone!
What’s the fundraiser about?
Lori Austin, a local social worker and student at PILL-Portsmouth Improv Learning Lab, (among other things) is leading the fundraiser with her non-imposing, yet very inspiring alias Lightening Larry!
The local event will take place on 2/24/18 and is part of Lori’s bigger fundraising plan. We’ll share more about that soon, for now I just wanted to publicly thank Honore for helping and casually mention Larry’s, I mean Lori’s Back on My Feet crowdsource project!
Building trust, developing empathy, and practicing communication skills are going on all the time in the divine play of applied improvisation activities! Improv techniques have the potential to help us in all interactions! One pioneer in applying improvisation is well-known and loved actor, Alan Alda! This is a great interview with him and Dan Rather that includes a couple of fun clips of students improvising, even some gibberish! And pretty nice to hear them talk so lovingly and respectfully of their wives. I’d say, grab a cup of tea and enjoy this interview!
Stay tuned to PILL-Portsmouth Improv Learning Lab for classes open to everyone!