Thursday, October 17, 2013

Why we just can't shut up about Improv

Improvisers can't shut up about improv. We love talking about it  scenes you did, scenes I did, scenes we were both in together. Scenes that were good (and why), scenes that were bad (and why), scenes that we thought were going to be about this and ended up about that. Scenes that we thought about doing and didn't do, scenes that we did and wish we hadn't, scenes that we thought about afterwards we wish we'd done!

Theories of structure and technique, creativity and inspiration, our personal strengths and challenges, other players' strengths and challenges, other formats, other groups, and improv blah blah this and improv blah blah that.

This was very conspicuous when I invited a non-improviser friend to watch a show and to join us for dinner afterwards. I was really conscious that we were talking almost exclusively about the craft of improv. I tried hard to talk about normal stuff, to include the friend, but the desire to talk about improv was so overwhelming.

And this is why:

Improv is a temporary, ethereal beast. It exists for one fleeting moment and then it's gone. Forever. (It must be gone forever; it's the grossest feeling to ever try and and recreate something that was created naturally once, with the intention of it existing only once.)

An improv performance is completely momentary and yet requires hours and weeks and years of training and thought, to achieve that fragile moment. The desire to be part of great improv  that perfect chaos of unpredictable creativity in harmony  is so strong that we need to talk about it all the time.

It's because as soon as the "improv moment" (whether in training or in front of an actual audience) happens, it's already gone. We need to talk about it more to savour it, to learn from it and squeeze the last drops of pleasure from it.

P.S. I pity the staff of Noodle Kingdom or China Bar after a show when a critical mass of improvisers descend upon their tasty delights.

"Improv blah blah this! Hahaha, no YOU'RE funny! Excuse me I ordered the dumplings! Improv blah blah more water please, we can't afford beer because improv blah blah!"

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