One of the tenets of improvisation (as in “improvisational comedy“, Mom) is the “Yes and” rule. It works like this: you and I are starting a scene (with no script – improv), and I say, “It looks like it’s going to storm soon.” And instead of saying, “No, I don’t think it will hit us” you say, “Yes and we’d better secure the chickens” or some other thing that agrees with the storm idea I have established, but also keeps it going.
I love improv. Committing to a session of improv commits you to being open minded to wherever the group goes. You learn what works and what doesn’t because you allowed yourself to commit to that effort. It’s not always gold, but it’s always a good experience. I wish I would have had more exposure to it in my theatre days. One day I hope to find a group around here, but alas my current life doesn’t allow for that type of commitment.
But I really love the “Yes and” rule. It’s so fun! But you know what else? It’s a great perspective to have in life. That’s right, I said it: Use this rule created to perpetuate hilariousness in your real life. Not necessarily to create hilariousness but to create opportunity for growth and to participate in the human experience.
Partner #1: “Hey, we should plant a tree in the backyard.”
Partner #2: “Yes, and we could plant some vines on the back fence.”
And BOOM – you have a beautiful backyard thanks to “yes and”. You’re welcome.
But where I find this little rule the most fun is with my children. And it goes a little something like this:
Darling Daughter #1: “Hey, I want to built a fort with pillows in the living room.”
Marvelous Mom (that’s me): “Yes, and you can use your big blocks for the walls.”
And BOOM – you have a morning of fun thanks to “yes and”. You’re welcome.
It can also work like this:
Darling Daughter #1 (speaking as if I am three houses away, though I am only a few feet from her): “Hey Mom – look what I made!!!”
Marvelous Mom: “Yes and you don’t have to yell!”
So, you know. It’s not perfect. It helps if you’ve already had your coffee.
But I think my real point here is that is a great tool to keep yourself open to possibilities and encourage those around you. OR to create hilariousness. It just kind of depends on your day.