How Strangers in Sweden Taught Me Patience

After a full week in Stockholm, Sweden filled with intense meetings and booze-filled fun I needed a mini-break. For one day and night I escaped to the small city of Uppsala to catch the Sweden International Improv Festival #SWIMP16.

I signed up for a workshop to practice my improv form nemesis — the monoscene. The workshop, taught by a British guy who studied improvisation in NYC and has played on the same dark, dank stages as me, included 20 improvisers from all over the world. Since our time together was short we didn’t waste it on introducing ourselves individually. We jumped right in.

That’s the beautiful thing about improvisers, because we’ve all been trained in the same principles — yes, and; listen & respond; support each other — we can create made up worlds on-the-fly and commit with our full hearts and minds, no questions asked.

The monoscene is a challenging form for me. The entire show takes place in one non-geographic location only (think barber shop or restaurant) and the players must choose a character to play the entire time. The story builds slowly and is grounded in reality.

I’m a person who, when things aren’t working I want to end them fast, move on, and try something new. I like to solve problems quickly focusing on the future and forgetting about the past. I’m a doer not a talker. Yes, yes, I’ve been called impatient.

After three hours of the monoscene workshop I was reminded that patience is not about anxiously waiting for people get in sync with me so we can move forward, it’s about appreciating the present for all its glory and uncomfortableness, and letting people shine at their own pace.

Originally published at