What if the hokey pokey is what it’s really all about?

Sometimes, life throws a curve ball at you. And sometimes, you just have to be patient and wait on the sidelines. I think I’ll be fine; the news just took me by surprise, leaving me a tad unsettled that’s all. I’ll leave it at that for now.

And it must say something when, two days in a row, the two buses you take home (albeit on different routes) break down. Sigh, Chicago, it’s really about time you took a good, hard look at the transportation system. If we can’t rely on the trains and the buses, basic modes of transportation, why are you even setting sights to something as grand as the Olympics?

Tonight was the last Improv Level B class, and the theme, we learnt belatedly, was “hokey pokey”, where you “throw your whole self in,” no reservations.

After the usual warm up games, we formed a line against the wall: one person would jump out onto the “stage” with a chosen emotion, and commit to it for a while, until someone else would join in and play along with that emotion. And then, the two would try to carry on a conversation to justify the emotion. E.g. I walked onto the stage laughing (it feels foolish actually, to be laughing at seemingly nothing in particular for a good thirty seconds), and then someone else joined me on stage. Together, we chuckled and then giggled uproariously as we talked about how “that girl” had walked out of the bathroom – for the 5th time – with a roll of toilet paper stuck to her pants.

Then a fun guessing game. We’d go onto the stage in threes, one would exit the room, and the audience would suggest an occupation/character for that person. Thereupon, the person would re-enter, and the two people on stage would start to set up a scene for that occupation/character. The third person would then have to jump in partway, hopefully having guessed what he/she was. I went on with Bridget and Lauren. Bridget chose the go out of the room, and the class suggested she play a bikini waxer. Heh. So Lauren and I pretended that it was my first time getting a wax and I wanted to hold Lauren’s hand but didn’t want her to look. Poor Bridget was so confused at first. For a while, she thought she was a gynecologist and thus started giving me a lecture on the benefits of protection… Other fun characters: drug pusher, Martha Stewart, White Sox Coach (though I’d have never guessed, since I don’t follow the game), Snow White.

Next, we played the 60,30,15, 5 game. Essentially, the audience would give three people a scene, and they’d go onto stage to act it out for a minute. Then they’d shorten that same scene to 30 seconds, then to 15, and finally to 5. We really learnt how to pare it down to the bare catch phrases. Some scenes: foreman and his carpenters; Southern sorority sisters, Hillary Clinton’s aides (who spent the scene trying to come up with campaign slogans that matched Obama’s catchy title “Between Barack and a Hard Place.” Kathy had “One Tree Hillary,” Maddy suggested “Climb Every Hillary”); Brad, Lauren and I pretended to be at a landlord convention.

We also played a longer scene work game. This time – again in threes – we had to pretend that we were trapped in a small space. Lauren, Alex and Oliver went first, and pretended that they were trapped in a cave. This game went on for a longer period than the previous ones, and Judy had us focus more on the relationships and details, and lesser on trying to find jokes. Nonetheless, it was interesting to see the dynamics, and how funny scenes could be derived from not-so-funny situations. Erin, Bridget and I had this scene where we were trapped on a sinking boat – I started the scene frantically trying to scoop water out, while Erin calmly knitted and Bridget just looked on. Eventually, I gave up, seeing the others were so defeated, and ready to face their doom. So we started talking about how we’d actually envisioned ourselves dying. Another group’s game was “trapped in a subway,” and they had fun transforming the scene into talking about their everyday lives, and how being stuck on the subway affected them.


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