Improvisation is all about Yes And. Yes, I hear the offer And, I will accept and build. A “Yes And” response, in any situation really makes the improvisers hearts sore, if only silently. It makes us feel heard. When we get a yes but, a yes or, or any other variation it can cause us to get grumpy.
Shannon is such a delightful upbeat person. She’s effervescent, energetic and childlike, great qualities that help keep us young. I’ve learned many lessons from this woman child over the years, but one stands out among the many.
One day Shannon came to ComedySportz Improv Theatre ready to play. She was playing in both shows that night and very excited because she had something special that day to make her more exuberant then usual. For this day, she had new socks to wear with her red and white baseball style Richmond Legends Uniform and Referee uniform.
For those reading that do not know what a ComedySportz show is, it’s two teams of performers that compete against each other for points and laughs based on the suggestions from the audience. In Richmond VA the teams wear either red and white or blue and gray baseball style jerseys.
As she came into the theatre she first connected with the box office manager Darlene, and said “Darlene, Darlene look at my socks are they great!”
“Yes, Shannon they ARE great!” Darlene said matching Shannon’s enthusiasm.
“Why, Darlene, why are they great?!” Asked Shannon.
Darlene answered “Well Shannon, the red and white stripped socks are great to wear when you’re playing for the Richmond Legends team, and the black and white socks are great to wear when you are the referee.”
“Yes, exactly, EXACTLY! Aren’t they GREAT!” then she went bounding into the theatre repeating this interaction with each person she met, until she came to Steve. I observed from a far, biting my lip. Shannon came into the office ready to have this verbal exchange with Steve…
“Steve, Steve! Look at my new socks aren’t they great?! Aren’t they awesome?!
“Yeah.” Said Steve almost emotionless.
Then Shannon said “That’s right they are! That’s right they’re awesome, do you know why they’re awesome?! Do you? Do you Steve?”
To which Steve said almost smugly “uh, because they’re socks.” Not wanting to play with Shannon’s impish delightful folly.
At this Shannon crinkled up her nose, clenched her socks in fists, and stood as if she had just evoked the power of Lucy Van Pelt, and said defiantly “That’s NOT HOW IT’S DONE!”
At this point Phil entered the room. Phil is chock full of folly, and just the kind of happy go lucky kind of guy Shannon needed at the exact moment.
“THIS IS HOW IT’S DONE!” She said and she went over to Phil.
“Phil, Phil look at my socks! Aren’t they great! Aren’t they amazing socks?!” She said.
“Yes Shannon they great and amazing socks!”
“Why Phil? Why are they great?”
“Because you can wear the red and white stripped socks when you play for the Legends team and you can wear the black and white socks whey you referee!” Explained Phil.
“EXACTLY! That’s right Phil! That’s right!”
Then, Shannon went and stood over Steve, looking down at him, with her hands clutching her socks in fists, and said emphatically “That’s how it’s done!” Then marched out of the room.
Steve hadn’t “Yes And’ed” Shannon. He didn’t even given a”Yes But” or “Yes Or” or even a “Yes, NO”. He simply gave a “Yeah, so.” Shannon’s actions clearly indicated that his lack of commitment, connection, and acceptance was less then acceptable.
Shannon is leaving Richmond in a few weeks and moving to Texas. Be sure to come to one of her last shows before she packs her backs and goes to Oil County!
Find out more about ComedySportz Improv Theatre in the latest update.