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John-Paul Flintoff

Fight yourself out of the dragon | JPF Daily

Published about 1 month agoΒ β€’Β 1 min read

Hello Reader

Training in theatrical impro we were taught not to kill the story.

What do I mean? Let’s take an archetypal story with dragons, but you can change the specifics so it’s a story about espionage or family history or whatever.

The natural human instinct is to avoid being eaten by a dragon, and on stage that instinct is still there - so inexperienced performers come up with what they hope are funny or ingenious ways to escape the dragon while also entertaining the audience.

Never worked!

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The audience wants a good story. They want you to engage the dragon.

And if the dragon is a believable dragon it will eat you up.

Really good improvisers were the ones who allowed themselves to be eaten by the dragon but (say) heroically fought their way out of its stomach - or plopped out of its bum as dragon poo and started fighting again.

The story comes first!
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The drawing in this email is by me. I drew it in
psychiatric hospital to try to convey to therapists how frightened I was.

It shows my inner child, my inner teen and me as I was at the time.

Looking back, I can see that going into the hospital felt like being eaten up by a dragon.

But I fought my way out! I am dragon poo! Give me my sword!

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John-Paul Flintoff

Hello!, thanks for popping in. I'm a writer, illustrator and performer.

πŸ“– 7 Books in 16 languages πŸ“š including: How To Change The World A Modest Book About How To Make An Adequate Speech.

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