“TEN-NINE-EIGHT-SEVEN-SIX-FIVE-FOUR-THREE-TWO-ONE-ZEROOOOOO” Holding hands, forming a large circle, we all jump into the German skies. We enjoy floating together weightless before the rude contact with the ground. “BOUM!” “Anybody speaks German?” Nope. It does not seem to matter, we did it. Marty is beaming.
It all started when I walked inside the circle of a dozen nursing home residents. I came close to their seats, showing them the small read box I was holding, asking:
“What is it?
–A jewelry box, said D., pointing to her many bracelets.
–A magic box, said B.
–How does it work?
–When you open the box, a genie comes out.
–We have a genie. Jeannie, would you like to come out of the box.
I placed the box at the feet of Jeannie. She wiggled out of it.
“Genie, what will you do for us?
–I will grant three wishes for everyone.”
After a little silence, the wishes start popping out of the elders mouths:
”Peace on earth”,
”Better health for my husband.” (We all look at D. with tight throat and sympathy.)
“Money” (“For that you have to play Bingo” recommends Marty.)
“That we always stay friends”
Each time, Jeannie waves an imaginary wand. Quickly, I realize that we need to add panache to our ritual. Into my “Improv Theater Crate” I reach out for the bell, a heavy Romanian cow bell with a yellow ribbon. I give it to the next applicant. Yes, the bell ringing before each wish increases the magic and the joy.
Marty speaks last: “I used to jump in parachute. I would like to do one last parachute jump.” This is the first time he comes to my group but I know he is a WWII veteran and enjoys reminiscing about his service. The only rule of Improv is to never say no. I have always wanted to jump in parachute and even made plans to do it with my neighbor who is an instructor. But I have chickened out. This time I say: “Let’s do it together.”