gwyneth paltrow's (improv) sliding doors

May 20, 2020

 

Happy Wednesday! You’ve made it to hump day - halfway through the week! How’s everything been going?  If you didn’t get a chance to read yesterday’s post - “the world’s most magical toilet” - you can catch up now by clicking here! I also just want to take a moment to acknowledge you and to say thank you. This is my 21st consecutive post on my adventures living abroad in Europe, and it's the responses I've been getting via email, social media, and the contact page from subscribers that has truly added to my motivation to keep going. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much. I hope you've been enjoying the past 3 weeks of this virtual tour of sorts (and if you're just tuning in, there's a cheat sheet at the bottom of this post so you can catch up)! Let’s take today to delve into a little bit of the comedy side of my first trip to Edinburgh! Ready? Let's do it!

 

After I spent some time wandering through Edinburgh and enjoying myself at The Elephant House café, I headed to the Assembly Roxy, the theatre where the opening night gala had been held. Our teacher running the workshop for the day was Chad Carter, a well-known, super talented improviser and writer. There were only 7 of us in the workshop that day, but Chad felt like there was no better way to learn an entirely new form in the 6 hours we had (with a break for lunch). It was so fun to meet even more new people in addition to my teammates, and two of my fellow workshop friends (Ali and Brenton) were from New Zealand and actually knew my friend Joel (in the orange shirt with black sleeves), who I had performed with at iO Chicago the summer prior! So not only did Liam and Emily from my team know my friend Jack from my time at iO a couple summers ago, I also had new connections to Joel in Brenton and Ali! 

 

Chad ended up teaching us what he liked to refer to as the “Sliding Doors” show form. Do you remember the movie starting Gwyneth Paltrow? The improv form basically takes on the idea that the same people can experience two different realities but end up receiving the same fate in the end. One of the highlights of doing the form was playing a scene out as a spy where my fellow spy partner and I ended up having to try to escape from being caught but, ultimately, met our demise at the hands of a ricocheting bullet. When we redid the same suggestion and form as parallel characters, we ended up as quarreling lovers at a restaurant who still ended up dying at the hands of a ricocheting bullet.

 

It was a fun, challenging form to learn as it was a lot of headwork, but it was also fun because it got my philosophy brain going, too. Even though, as improvisers, we had choices all along regardless of the scenes we were doing, by changing the setting of our scenes but keeping the form in mind, our characters still ended up with the same fate. Do you sometimes wonder if life draws any parallels to “Sliding Doors?” In the movie, Gwyneth Paltrow’s fate is determined by whether or not she stays on or exits the train (hence, sliding doors). And even though she gets to see an alternate reality to her true, present state, things still don’t play out all that differently for her. Hey, I admit this is a lot of overthinking for an improv form, but it really did get my wheels spinning in my head. Regardless of the philosophical debates we could have, it was a super challenging workshop and an incredible form to learn. Chad Carter is a great teacher, and if you ever have the chance to take a class or workshop with him, whether in LA, NY, Chicago, or Europe, I’d highly recommend it.

 

What do you think, though? Do you think everything that happens is simply choice? Or do you think that there’s so much out of our hands that life can be a real “Sliding Doors” sometimes? I’d love to know.. it’s been something I’ve debated on more than one occasion. Let me know! Subscribe in the e-mail submission box below and reach out, follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter, and reach out to me on the “contact” page.  I’m so happy you're here and that I’ve been getting a lot of really great, fun-to-read stories, questions, and feedback from a community all over the globe from all different chapters of my life (and from people I don’t know *yet*)! The other stories of people’s travels that I’ve gotten to read recently bring me such smiles, and I am so grateful for all of it! I hope I get to hear all about the crazy hobbies or magical bathrooms or philosophical theories you’ve been thinking about! Especially during this time of uncertainty and pandemic, it's important to surround yourself with things and people (via video chats) that bring you joy; we're all in this together.  I couldn’t do this without you! So THANK YOU!  From the bottom of my heart, truly,  thank you.

 

Sincerely,

Johny

 

P.S. - If you want to catch up from the beginning on this series of adventures, here's a cheat sheet to the posts (in order in which they were published):

1. Won't you join me?

2. grateful for starbucks and sandymount strand

3. Once Upon a December in the National Gallery

4. plant a smooch for that gift of gab

5. may the 4th be with you: Dingle style

6. cinco de mayo: the best Mexican food in Dublin

7. pizza in roma

8. mussolini’s window and the philosophers’ metro stop

9. father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife

10. it's the vatican, not the vatican't

11. spoiler alert: i did not lose my hand

12. more pizza and gelato and Neptune, oh my

13. craft beer, romper season, and volcano magic

14. bus singalongs and the okey dokey karaoke origin story

15. the beginning of the journey to the land of outlander

16. the boy who lived and the musical rapper

17. oh i just can't wait to be kingggg

18. fudge and haggis, quite the dynamic duo

19. the banshee labyrinth... or, my first time trying buckfast

20. the world's most magical toilet

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Johny Walsh  |  Los Angeles, CA  |  Johny@JohnyTheGirl.com

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