I have been rehearing weekly for my role in the New Jersey Renaissance Faire! Because of this, I have been reviewing the miraculous power of Yes, And! Not only is it imperative to really embrace and utilize the power of Yes, And in the Ren Faire community, but it’s also important in my LARP life, as well as my everyday life. The very basic jist of Yes, And is that rather than saying “no” or otherwise not being receptive to an interaction, instead, you accept it (the “yes”) and then add your personal flair to it (the “and”). Doing your best to embrace the “Yes, And” not only makes your improv acting easier, but it will also make your regular life interactions easier as well.
Yes, And every day!
Every day, we are forced to converse with people we may not want to converse with, we are forced to endure situations we may not feel comfortable with, and we are thrown into circumstances that feel totally weird and unnatural. Because of these every day occurences, many people (myself included) tend to be more negative about their approach to these interaction. There’s a cliche inspirational phrase that resurfaces in various incarnations across the internet (I’m sure you know it. “grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change” …etc). Although this phrase is severely over used, and irritating to hear, there is some merit into not resisting everything life throws at you. There are so many things in this day and age to revolt over, sometimes, it’s necessary to pick your battles, and roll with some of the punches, instead of blocking them. One thing I’ve seriously struggled with over the years is the concept that being controversial doesn’t necessarily make you seem smarter, or cooler. It just makes you disagreeable. And there are times when standing your ground is SUPER important, but there are other times when it’s more necessary to go “this is happening whether I want it to or not…AND I’m going to make this as easy as possible to get through for myself.”
YES, And in LARP
I happen to be a LARPer, and I have been for the past 11 years. I have played cast (NPC) characters, Player characters, as well as been on management and written plots for my LARP. I have found, in 11 years, nothing is more powerful, or less stressful than Yes, And. Let me begin by saying conflict is the basis of any good plot, whether it’s a book, a play, or a LARP campaign, so there is definitely a necessity for a few well-timed “No’s”, however, I’ve found that the best stories I have ever played in or written have a healthy amount of Yes, And in them. NPCs and Plot Writers can keep “Yes, And” in their back pockets for trivial details, or special plot twists. Nothing feels greater for a PC than engaging in a conversation with a plot character, and hearing “You’re right, yes, absolutely,” or some other acceptance of your roleplay. Now, sometimes a full blown “yes” isn’t necessarily feasible. (“Well, let’s go save that character right now!”…oops, they’re not supposed to go out until later) but a little bit of positivity in any situation goes a long way (“I love your enthusiasm! I’ll send some scouts out to see what we’re dealing with and check back in with you later!”) and in that same situation, when a player relents their story to Yes, And, it becomes more dynamic, and whole (“Wonderful! Send your scouts, and remember to tell them to mind the wolves! Come back to me with your findings so we may discuss our strategy!) LARPs, at their base are Improvisational Theater, and the more we utilize the basics of improv, the easier it will become. Then, dynamic roleplay becomes easier as well. Once your roleplay is dynamic (and not flat), then everyone enjoys their time more. Sometimes, it’s hard…I’m not perfect, and I don’t do it all the time, but when I do, I definitely have a better time than when I’m attempting to control the out of game situation my roleplay puts me in. Yes, And is the easiest way to control the In-game happenings while letting the plot unfold the way it needs to!