Johnnie Moore

Juggling with shame

What if we don't panic when experiencing shame?
Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

A moment from an improv show casts light on responding to mistakes

Transcript of this video:

I went to see a brilliant improv show the other day in Cambridge.

It was The Showstoppers, who are brilliant at improvising musicals.

They literally make up songs that would fit into a West End musical based on random suggestions from the audience.

And one of the things they’re really brilliant at doing is singing songs with multiple verses where they change who sings each verse.

And their timing on that is often immaculate. But in one of the songs, it wasn’t.

One of the actors came on to take his turn in the song and unexpectedly the person singing the previous verse continued into another verse.

And the actor who was about to sing was, you could see he was a little bit surprised by that.

And the really gorgeous thing that he did was he just held that look of surprise and stayed with it… which the audience then sort of picked up on and you could feel them quite liking it.

He stayed with it a little bit longer, and then he kind of embodied the discomfort of the moment.

And then because he’d been given this characteristic in the show of being a juggler, he then did a rather brilliantly slightly awkward, series of juggling moves as if that was what he was really meant to be doing.

As the other actor kept on singing. It was, it was a highlight of the show. The audience absolutely loved it.

I also thought that what he did, in a way was he caught that moment of being embarrassed. And we’ve all been there, haven’t we, at times when we’ve been exposed in some part of our life and that feeling, I think you would have to call it shame.

And instead of running away from it, he held it, he stayed with it.

And it’s been on my mind because the next supposedly negative emotion that Jordan Soliday and I are planning to explore in a little online conversation is shame, and how we work with shame because it’s so often the case with these emotions that we we try desperately to run away from them.

But what if it’s possible to use them in a way as he did in that show, to actually create more authentic connection?

Photo by Zak Neilson on Unsplash

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