Holly Mandel has been a teacher with The Groundlings in the US and has founded her own improv school, Improvolution, bringing the character-based approach to many students in NYC. In the second of this three-part blog series, she talks about how to break out of the limitations unfairly placed upon women in Improv.
I have been holding workshops in LA which I have been calling BUSTING THE GOOD GIRL. They are continued inspiration and fuel for me to keep exploring exactly what the GOOD GIRL is and also how do we strengthen what isn't her…the free, fearless part of each of us, the "FUCK IT"!
We are picking up steam as we focus our attention on what do we, as leaders in various fields — especially so in the performing arts — WANT to create? What additions do we WANT to see added to the existing landscape? Sure, we can spend time trying to change what already exists…but we are starting to see the benefit and excitement in building our own new platforms, outlets, content, and collaborations. Based on our voices, our interests, and our points of view. The name of the game right now appears to be DIVERSITY! Add to the mix what has been more or less the same thing for such a long time.
And what will it take for us to work on those voices, those interests, and those points of view? That's what so many of us are starting to get inspired by and investing more and more energy into. Maybe we're not so clear what they are just yet. We all know VERY WELL how to take part in what's already been, to help support those already "in", fit in and play by the rules that someone else has made. So how do we go another step forward? Not just fit in BUT CREATE! That's a whole other ball of wax! And sky's the limit there.
As I like to say, at one point in our recent past, getting access to play in the dude's sandboxes was the order of the day. And our foremothers and sisters fought very hard for that access. But now it seems very clear that it's now time to build our own sandboxes. As many as we can!
Gaining clarity and confidence in our own ideas, impulses, and inspirations is very important and relatively new. Especially when you throw that pesky GOOD GIRL in the mix who'd rather get affirmation for playing by the rules, being nice, and doing it "right". Now more than ever we need to shed her and lead with the fearless, bold, and authentic part of ourselves and see what we can create from THERE. IF we don't know what it is we want, that's not a problem as long as we start investing in getting clarity. Just focusing on what we do NOT want isn't the same as knowing what it is we WANT and working to build THAT. Saying "I want to know more about what I am inspired by and inspired to do" is still clarity on what you WANT. So if you have to start there, start THERE! And then you can begin to move forward with more and more specifics. If you don't SEE what it is you want, it just might be your task to build it or co-create it with others who also share the same vision and passion but don't yet see it.
The GOOD GIRL is not programmed to take the bull by the horns and create. She is designed to politely thank YOU for whatever you have handed to her and be grateful for it and and smile and say thank you and not complain. If you don't like what you see OR don't like the fact you don't see it, use that as an indicator of something. It's not random and it's not arbitrary you feel that way. And you may be surprised to learn how many others are feeling the same lack or desire to create. The more clear you are, the faster things will start happening in that direction! It's the different between saying "No I'm fine. Don't worry about me. Thank you." and saying "FUCK IT!"
Holly Mandel will be teaching an Introduction to Character Workshop on Saturday 15th June 11am – 2pm – Tickets are £30 and can be purchased here
She will also be teaching Advanced Improv (Scenework, Character Development and Longform)Sunday 16th June 11am – 2pm. Tickets are £30 and can be purchased here
Holly will be giving her original talk Good Girls Aren't Funny on Sunday 16th June at 8pm. Tickets are £8 and can be purchased here.