Mel's Blog
In the improv classes I teach there is a game where two people mime an ordinary, everyday activity together – washing up, unpacking the shopping – whilst talking about anything other than what they’re doing. This – because they’re having to make stuff up in the moment and mime – often proves quite a challenge: the equivalent, perhaps, of patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time.

In our non-improv lives, many of us manage this type of dual activity with ease – and, in doing so, are the very opposite of mindful. Instead of focussing our attention on the feel of the soapy washing up water, the circular movements of the sponge against the plate, we are often thinking (or talking) about who’s taking the dog out or whether it’s the green or the black bin this week.

Michael Rosen’s new
Book of Play includes an invitation to approach such familiar domestic tasks actively, rather than passively. He encourages us to interact with whatever we’re doing in a playful way - reframing our relationship with domestic appliances to turn some of the – let’s face it – more life-sapping aspects of adult life into a game.

So I’m planning to ‘upcycle’ some of my least favourite chores – or Rosens as they will henceforth be known - kicking off with
my personal bête noire: hanging out the washing. And how, you may ask, will I transform my relationship with a basket of damp, unresponsive clothing? By singing a made-up song to it – almost certainly a silly one. And, no, I will not be uploading it to YouTube. Make up your own song. Or tell a story. Or do whatever you find playful – nobody’s giving marks out of 10.

Nobody need ever know. Except, of course, the washing, and it won’t tell…
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Saturday 26 October
10am to 12.30pm  £14

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14 December 
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Sunday 3 November
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North Bar Social, 8-10 Bondgate St, Otley LS21 3AB.
7 to 8.30pm
£2 on the door
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Ilkley Arts Studio, The Manor House, Ilkley LS29 8DT
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