The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

"Don't Think" by Jordan Bunger

No thought. Just express yourself in the way that comes natural. Whatever pops in your mind, do it. Do not think. Thought breeds thought and more thought and then that more thought breeds more thought. Roll off the instinctive nature God gave you. Trust it. Trust what you cannot expect to happen. Trust the unknown. Improvise.
These performers trust their ability to act purely on instinct. The moment you worry is the moment you blank, where all eyes are on you and you’ve got nothing. A fellow performer rushes in to tap you out, the witty tag-team grudge match ensues.
The show lasts for an hour or so. One team comes on.

Performer: “Pick a text from your phone and read it out loud. We’ll do a sketch about it, whatever it is.”
Audience member: “Dude! In a hotel room in Vegas right now. Don’t know how I got here. What are you guys doing?”

That’s all it takes. Just a few lines, sometimes a word. It triggers ideas and stories, memories and thoughts that coincide with whatever has been said by the audience member. The performers run with what they’re given and juice it. They don’t pause for the thoughts or memories to come to them and don’t wait to be hit by ideas and stories. It all unfolds during the performance. It all comes out in action and speech, through body language and gestures. The people of this world, they are gods to the audience. They develop comedy without sketch. There are no writers who’ve been working out screenplays for a week. They are the few who seek to make the world a better place through their own form of charity work. I respect them for their quick witted humor, the genius that lies in creating a setting, place, situation, and dialogue within seconds of an audience member yelling out the word, “Blueberries!” And so it begins. There was no rehearsal to act out the next ten minutes of free forming scenes on the highs and lows of making blueberry pie with a best friend.
And the thought you are always left with at the end is, “Could I do this?” To which the answer always is, “How did they come up with that? Where did that train of thought come from? The audience only gave the word chicken. Where did the Vietnam references come from? How does someone’s mind go to these places? Why does it go to these places?”
So could I do it? I think so. It takes practice like anything else. The rest of us are untrained in this art. We are required to be thoughtful individuals, to work out our ideas before implementing them in a classroom or around the table at a board meeting. Our minds don’t function on the same plane as those who put themselves out there on stage.
So forget the word “think”. Just don’t do it. It will serve you very well not to.
“Don’t think.”


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