If they liked it, it’s good

I know I’ve been focusing on my less-than-glamorous moments in improv. Many times failure is a better teacher than success. This is not so much a fail as an example of reluctantly accepting praise. Even when you don’t think you deserve it and would like to put the whole incident behind you.

There is an old tradition in theater that if there are more people on stage than in the audience, you cancel the show. This seems to be in direct contrast to the adage of the show must go on! The second embodies the show part while the first is more on the business end of things.

One night I stood on stage with four or five other improvisers for an audience of three. One of whom was another improviser, and the second an improv student. The third I didn’t know but I strongly suspected had just taken an improv class.

Did we apologize and head for the bar? If we had, I might not be writing about this, unless we had more adventures at the bar. This was a “the show must go on” evening. I must confess, I couldn’t tell you one thing that was done on stage. I cannot accurately speak to the quality of the show, but we were not booed so there you go.

Once the show was over, I quickly said my good byes and all but ran for the door. All I wanted to do is hop on the subway, listen to a podcast or read a book and put this all behind me. Unfortunately, once I reached the train platform, the audience of three was there.

Do not think that these were unpleasant people; they were nothing but complementary, sweet and kind. We rode downtown and chatted amiably about the show and improv in general. I might not have been pleased with the show, but they were.

This goes to another maxim of performance, any show the audience liked, was a good one. Even if you feel that you stunk up the joint like raw pork left to rot in the August sun. If they loved it, you cannot tell them they are wrong. They enjoyed it, ergo it’s a good show, maybe even a great one.

I might have wanted to see that show recede in the back window of the No. 1 train, but it wasn’t done with me. More lessons from a universe that knows more than I, which given the size of the universe is basically infinite. Thanks again. I know that sounds sarcastic, but I really mean it.

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