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The Paradox of Passion

Sparks, Flames and Fuel

Next year will be me and my husband Jon's 15th year together: 6 dating and 9 married. We have experienced and accomplished so many amazing things. Adventures like honeymooning in Costa Rica and trekking through Europe.  Personal triumphs like health kicks and lifestyle changes. Helping each other create and grow businesses that didn't even exist when we met. Overseeing a major home remodel and making room for the 4, sometimes 5 people that live here. And, of course, making two awesome tiny people that manage to fill us up and drain us completely, often simultaneously. 

Yay, us!

So I've decided to put down the parenting books for a minute, and pick up the relationship books for a while. And I have to tell you, the first one I'm reading is kinda blowing my mind. I had a vague memory of an excellent TED talk about marriage, looked it up, and found Esther Perel, a kind of Dr. Ruth for the new millenium. I got her book Mating in Captivity and I find myself nodding and grunting aloud in agreement every two pages or so, and I'm just a few chapters in. Her essential question is: "Can we desire what we already have?"

And of course it has everything to do with improv, this thing that I'm supposed to be so good at. One of the quotes that stood out to me (and I'm not a huge Tony Robbins fan or anything) is this one:

One of the benefits of improv training is the ability to not only tolerate but enjoy uncertainty. Improv should shift you from a fear of the unknown to a curiosity and perhaps even excitement about what might be to come. I've often used this Keith Johnstone quote, which is build in to our slide deck:

I've always thought about this literally, in terms of actions: the places you go, things you do and people you meet. But now I see that it is equally true in relationships. That when you don't give over 100% into the need for stability and certainty, you can allow for more passion in your relationships. That the need for security is often a need to control, squeezing the vitality out of something that once was vibrant. 

"We all share a fundamental need for security, which propels us toward committed relationships in the first place; but we have an equally strong need for adventure and excitement. Modern romance promises that it's possible to meet these two distinct sets of needs in one place. Still I'm not convinced. Today we turn to one person to provide what an entire village once did: a sense of grounding, meaning and continuity. At the same time we expect our committed relationships to be romantic as well as emotionally and sexually fulfilling. Is it any wonder that so many relationships crumble under the weight of it all? It's hard to generate excitement, anticipation, and lust with the same person you look to for comfort and stability, but it's not impossible. I invite you to think about ways you might invite risk to safety, mystery to the familiar, and novelty to the enduring."

Why is this news to me as a life-long improviser? Why does it sound so scary and hard when I'm supposed to be good at it? Dang it, y'all--I gotta keep working on this stuff! Apparently what I've been saying--it's not about finding a great offer, it's about how you develop it--is actually true. It's not about coming up with good ideas, it's about exploring the ones you have in front of you. It's the commitment that makes the performance great. On with the show!

Happy 14th-and-a-half anniversary, Sweetie. 

Shana Merlin 
Founder, Merlin Works

Beginner Improv Classes

Improv 101: The Spirit of Play
Mondays 7:30pm – 10pm | September 28th – November 16th | with Shana Merlin

Improv 201: Scenework Toolbelt
Tuesdays 7:30pm – 10pm | September 29th – November 17th | with Michael Joplin

Improv 301: Improv Comedy for Performance
Tuesdays 7:30pm – 10pm | September 29th – November 17th | Graduation Show November 22nd | with Kevin Miller



Singing Improv Classes

Improvised Singing 101: Improvised Songs
Wednesdays 7:30pm – 10pm | September 30th – November 18th | with Shana Merlin & Michael Joplin

Improvised Singing 201: Improvised Musical Numbers
Wednesdays 7:30pm – 10pm | September 30th – November 18th | with Jillian Summar & Susan Pickover

Improvised Singing 301: Full Length Improvised Musicals
Coming in 2016!



Advanced Improv Classes

Improv 401: Scenework for Narrative Longform
Sundays 3:30 – 6pm | September 27th – November 15th | with Ted Rutherford

Improv 501: Stitching Scenes Into Stories
Coming in 2016!

Improv 601: Perform a Narrative Longform Show
Coming in 2016!



Free Improv Classes

Free Open Warm Up Jam
Second Sundays at 5:30pm ZACH's Kleberg Stage
Sunday October 11th: Improv 301 Graduation show & Free Improv Jam Night with special guest MC Harold!
Sunday November 8th: Free Improv Jam Night!
Sunday November 22nd: Graduation show & Free Improv Jam Night!

Free Improv Mixers
Fourth Sundays 3pm - 5pm
at ZACH's Kleberg Stage 
Sunday September 27th
Sunday October  25th 
Sunday November 15th  



Improv at ZACH
Second Sunday Comedy Showcase Featuring MC Harold

Get your tickets for Sunday's Improv at ZACH October 11th, 2015:

--Full Bar open at 6:30pm
--Show at 7pm
--Free Parking
--Reserved Seating
--Professional Tickets, Ushers, and Bar staff
--Clean Comedy and Even Cleaner Bathrooms

This month's show features Merlin Works student showcase, guest troupe MC Harold, and The Known Wizards -- all on ZACH’s Kleberg's Stage. 

Buy tickets now. RSVP on Facebook and spread the word

Join The Facebook Student
and Alumni Page

Be a part of the conversation: Hear about auditions, upcoming events, and other opportunities when you are a member of the Merlin Works Student and Alumni Facebook Group. Find a troupe, get a buddy to go see a show with, or discuss your improv goals. Join now and start posting! 
Fall is the time to start new things. Don't miss out on all our class options.
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