Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Change Chairs

"Change Chairs" is a warm-up we play in our improv group. It's a fun ice-breaker, it trains you to think quickly and creatively, and it gets the blood pumping. The rules are simple: Chairs are arranged in a circle, with one chair too few. One person is left standing in the middle, and has to spontaneously come up with a reason to change chairs. For example, "Change chairs if you skipped breakfast today..." and so on. If you're left standing in the middle, you need to immediately come up with another reason to change chairs.

I just got back from the funeral service of a theater colleague whom I greatly admired and respected. I'm so glad I often had the chance to tell him what a talented actor I thought he was. "Oh, you're very kind..." he would say in his gentle, humble manner, as he patted my hand.

As I sat with the other mourners that I knew, among them my husband, my friends, people I'd been on stage with, people I'd been directed by, all of us listening to the moving eulogy by yet another theater friend, listening to the beauty of a Shakespeare sonnet read out by the eldest son of the deceased, I couldn't help but feel the closeness and the bond that we all shared - not just with the deceased, but with the theater. We all share(d) a love of theater. But today we were brought together by grief.

And as I looked around the church I thought, the positions have changed again. There's one chair too few. There will always be one chair too few. It's up to the rest of us who still have a chair to keep the game in play. To keep coming up with new ideas. Until it changes again. 

So many of us are afraid of change, but we will always adapt. We'll just rearrange ourselves again. In another circle of chairs.

"Change chairs if you were born..."