When Stranded on a Tiny Greek Island off Another Tiny Island, Improvise
One of the reasons I love improvisation over other forms of comedy is that you can’t do it alone. It’s impossible. Right now I play with two different teams and our success depends on supporting and trusting each other every time we step on stage.
Yet, after five years as an improviser I still suck at relying on other people off stage. This is one reason why I travel alone to foreign countries - to slap myself in the face.
Wake up, Lisa! You need other people and that's ok.
My most recent proverbial slap in the face happened last month on a tiny Greek island called Kimolos, off a slightly bigger but still tiny island called Milos. I hopped on a ferry for a day trip to Kimolos to explore and visit the best beach on the island called Prassa. I'm a beach whore and if this place looked anything like the photos I needed to sit, swim and sunbathe there immediately.
You can only reach Prassa was by car or motorcycle and I didn’t have either. After several failed attempts to call the one taxi driver on the island, I decided to walk. I’m a New Yorker, I walk everywhere, I laugh at 5 miles! Though 5 miles in the city is quite different than 5 miles in 100 degree heat with no food or water.
Despite my dehydrated tired body, my over-achieving beach-tunnel-vision mind pushed me to keep going forward instead of turning back. After 2 miles things got desperate. I realized that the only way to the beach was to hitchhike. To rely on a stranger. Something I do naturally on a stage, but awkwardly in life.
But fear of death drives us to new places (literally), so like on stage, I made eye contact with a nice truck driver to convey my needs, and he pulled over. He didn't speak English and I don't speak Greek but he knew I needed help and I let him help me. As we rode along in silence I felt like the luckiest person in the world.
PS - I hitchhiked back to town with a nice couple from Athens.