I wanted to put together something a little different for you today. You probably don’t know (yet) that I spent some time learning the art of physical comedy – you might call it “clown school” – at the Celebration Barn, here in South Paris, Maine. Looking back on the 15 years since then, it’s remarkable how many things I learned, about being present, about being a “yes,” and about rolling with whatever happens – that actually apply in real life. I mean, it only makes sense, right – otherwise why would theater and comedy, good theater and comedy, be so compelling? In the words of Will Shakespeare: All the world’s a stage – and today’s guest is going to help you see how to use that to your advantage in life, and in your relationship!

First let me ask you – what do you do to keep things playful with your partner? Are you inadvertently sabotaging the flow of good feelings, good energy, and goodwill in the way that you interact with each other? Is it possible that your fear of making mistakes is getting in the way of being fully there, in the moment? Today’s guest is going to talk about how to get over whatever fear is there so that you and your partner can keep building and growing in your connection.

Our guest’s name is Patti Stiles, and she is one of the world’s foremost experts on the art of improvisational theater. She studied directly with Keith Johnstone, author of the book “Impro”, at the Loose Moose Theater, and has been working professionally acting, teaching, directing all over the world – since 1983. In today’s conversation, we’re going to talk about how to foster trust, acceptance, and playfulness in your relationship – so that once you see your life as a great work of improvisation – you’ll be able to do it…better!

Patti discusses the following topics:

  • What is good improvisation? Does bad improvisation exist?
  • Funny improv vs. reflective improv
  • Improvisation and real-life overlap in many areas
  • Realize it’s ok to make mistakes-this reduces fear and anxiety
  • It’s a challenge to help people overcome the fear of failure
  • Our partners are always making bids for our attention.
  • Being a “Yes,” being neutral, blocking—what do they look like?
  • What if you don’t want to be a YES?
  • Teaching improvisation is teaching to be present.
  • “Make your partner look good.”
  • The dilemma for a teacher/performer when students are glued to their cell phones
  • We don’t value the present moment in society today.
  • How you are isn’t equal to what you’re doing.
  • Sometimes doing something playful and joyous can bring the person back to the present.
  • Being creative can help overcome the boring routine.
  • Couples who are “stuck” usually think they themselves are boring.
  • When a relationship becomes “all about me,” then the focus is no longer on the story or the present.
  • There are exercises you can do to help your partner look good, like “Yes, let’s!” Learn to use the “Happy Nope.”
  • Contribute value to your partner’s world by inspiring their joy.
  • Is there a playful way to interrupt a partner’s assumption about me?
  • Improvisation seeks to bring people into places of trust, acceptance, and play.
  • How to use the negative/positive list

Resources:

http://www.pattistiles.com  

http://www.neilsattin.com/improv  Visit to download the show guide, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the show guide.

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Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of:

The Railsplitters – Check them Out!