Come further up, come further in!

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If you’ve ever seen me perform, you’ve probably noticed that I am incapable of going an entire set without making at least one literary reference. Honestly, you’ve probably noticed the same thing if you’ve talked to me for like five minutes. My new year’s resolution was to watch more TV and stop saying the phrase “I haven’t seen that but I’ve read the book” and I am failing miserably. I’m insufferable and aware of it.

EITHER WAY, part of what makes us the performers we are is being true to ourselves. (Even if we’re insufferable.) So here I am, with a short little musing on C. S. Lewis. I’ve been rereading the Narnia series and there are two important things I want to say. The first is that the Beaver couple are the most perfect couple in literary history. And the second is a phrase from the final book that is pretty much perfect for artists.

Come further up, come further in!

Now I’m pretty confident ol’ Jack Lewis isn’t talking about improv. But guess what? It’s still perfect. It’s about delving. It’s about refusing to just skim the surface. So what if that’s our almost-spring-resolution? To come further up and further in?

What can that mean for you and what you’re doing? So many things, friends. When I moved to Chicago, I took improv classes for the first time in years. Was it sometimes frustrating? Oh, yes. But did I really have to look at myself as a performer and artist and, honestly, human? Oh, yes. Delving, baby. Figure out how to come further. Take a class. Read a book. (Everyone, just read a fucking book.) Or a play! Or just like one poem. It doesn’t even have to be about comedy! But it can be! (And if that’s the way you’re feeling, you know I’ve written so many freakin improv book reviews on here.) Watch shows and figure out what people are doing that you wish you were doing and then figure out how to hone those skills. Do a show with someone you’ve never been on stage with before. Audition for something scary. Try to move away from playing characters you play all the time and really find something new. MAKE GOOD WORK. Make things you’re goddamn proud of.

The world is big and the comedy world is big and small. People are making beautiful things. Let’s be those people.

Let’s delve, y’all.

And also read books. I’m gonna live how I live.

cassidy russell