Directing Play and Players from 5-95 years young

Hello! Welcome to my blog for PLAYers. Below, first, a pic of two teen students, enjoying one of two improv play classes I was hired for, courtesy of a grant from Petaluma Rotary and Cinnabar Theater --a grant to work with COTS kids, whose parents were without homes at the time... A challenging and wonderful welcome to back to the Bay Area where I began my love affair with Improv in 1978. Second, here's a shot of me in front with my wonderful senior troupe/class mateys from L.A. Pierce College. "Second Childhood Players" reveled in two years together --and several classmates are still at it.


Improv Play Show for parents Fall 08


Second Childhood Players in L.A.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Just For Play: Marcia’s Corner

Thoughts on Insecurity

To feel insecure is really so human. It’s a reaction to “unknowns.” To experience self doubt in an improv playshop is, well, to be expected ! But how we handle it really matters to the fun and joy of it. And to whether we bond, or not. In “improv” as in life at large, either we develop skills to be alert and open to unknowns, and to trust what we might co-create for our mutual delightening-upment --or suffer the consequences.

Facing unknowns, we either move downstream with a feeling of adventure and anticipation, or upstream, with apprehension and self doubt. During our process of recapturing the spirit of play together, if we be mindful, catch our doubting moments, we’ll have power to choose what’s next. We’re better able to create social interaction that brings the pleasure of connection and belonging, instead of the discomfort of feeling ‘different’ and left out.

Thought: If we could peep underneath all our self-expressive insecurities, we might find a common need for Recognition --to be Known (and appreciated) for who we really are. And yet ‘society’ often teaches us habits that are counter productive to that lovely intimacy --that you-and-me as we --we all crave.

Can we tie this into our basic improv tenet: “Yes, and” -?

A “yes, and” orientation towards art and life is more trusting. If I give a genuine “yes” towards my own exploration of self, I’m apt to support yours with heart, too. And vice versa… So, secure or insecure, I’ll tend to project onto you the picture I have of me, deeply within, making you friend or potential foe, partner in a fun comedy or a tense drama.

How does insecurity play out during a theater game? As retreat, compete or defeat. RETREAT: try to save face or buy time by not risking connection, by staying in one’s comfort zone --acting repressive. COMPETE: by driving a scene, competing for attention, “denying” the “realities” offered by fellow players, trying to control them and our outcomes --acting aggressive, even obsessive. DEFEAT: by not participating, side-lining, not making choices, not stepping up and out, even giving up --oy !

Everybody sometimes feels uncertain during improv. It’s only troublesome when it goes unchecked and grows into a habitual way of reacting to challenges. SUGGESTION: Use the “audience” role mindfully, to advantage: Players appreciate an active audience, and it gives you a chance to learn, without pushing your comfort zone too far at first!!

I want to thank all the Saturday players for your willingness to enter into the Grand Arena, create Presence together, and the many rewards that brings !!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS -- In the spirit of Play,

Making it up as we go along,

And the Gift of our moments together,