Improv for Justice 

March 1, 2016

What do social justice and improvisation have to do with each other? I don’t know. And yet, I signed up for Plymouth’s seven-week Sunday afternoon class, led by Justice Leadership Intern Hannah Long-Higgins, on this very topic. Why? It sounded like fun. And guess what? It is! After introductions and background, a small, intergenerational group – most of whom had never tried improvisation – tested the waters. It helps that we have great leadership and everyone is supportive; so it feels safe to experiment. Thank you, Plymouth community, for providing a place where I knew that would be true.

So, how did it work? Through a series of exercises, in pairs, we began to learn to respond to each other’s gestures and actions without words or explanations. This requires us to be really present in the moment, attuned much more to the other person’s actions and expressions than our own internal running commentary. No preplanning here – when you have to be present in the moment, you can’t plan ahead!  Wow. I realized that I don’t normally spend a lot of time in the present. I also found it’s a pretty great place to be.

So, what’s the link between all this and social justice? I have an inkling, but I’m still not sure… which seems to be part of the process. Do I hear a Lenten theme here somewhere? Living with Uncertainty? Stay tuned for more updates! –Jane Dunkel



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