Lee Brock

Lee Brock: The Power of Spontaneity

Doug GoldringCommunity

I’m standing in a dark, loud bar in Edinburgh. The place smells of moldy carpet and cigarettes. My shoes stick to the alcohol-stained floor. I’m waiting to enter the Monkey Bar with seven of my fellow cast members from 17 Minutes to see Julia Masli’s show ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Amidst swirling conversations we enter a small, tight space with low ceilings and take our seats on squeaky folding chairs. The audience doesn’t know what’s about to happen.

Julia enters. Her alabaster skin and her saucer eyes penetrate the room. She wears a strange yellow jumpsuit with a dangling light on her right wrist that illuminates her face. She approaches a woman in the front row and says/sings “Haaaaaa”. She silently beckons the woman to repeat the phrase. The woman does… “Haaaaaa”. Julia seems to like this and rings a bell in approval. She goes to another man in the second row and once again says, “Haaaaaa.” This time, the man’s response is not to her liking, and she lets out a primal scream “Noooooooo!!!!”

The audience laughs hysterically and immediately understands that whatever is about to happen is weird, wild, and thoroughly unpredictable. We are engaged!

I begin to experience one of the most spontaneous evenings I’ve had in the theater. The audience and I sit on pins and needles, drawn into the experience. The air crackles with something I can’t put words to other than to say that we all know that whatever is about to occur will be utterly unplanned – a product of this evening and this evening alone. We’re going through something together – something unique; something that will never happen again. The next 60 minutes are hysterically funny, emotional, and ultimately healing.

I’m reminded that spontaneous expression generates a level of extraordinary involvement and intimacy. I once again understand why my life in the arts has led me down a path where I and my fellow company members have dedicated ourselves to infusing performance with as much spontaneity as possible in support of maximizing the power of our storytelling.

It’s all a testament to the adage “More surprise leads to more impact!” I further understand that audiences are more likely to get sucked into an experience when they sense that whatever is happening in front of them is indeed a product of the moment at hand – not a carbon copy of anything that has happened before.

As actors we have the opportunity to infuse our performances with unplanned behavior and spontaneous thoughts. It’s a worthy artistic goal that leads to audiences having unforgettable experiences.

What fun!

– Lee