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For those of you know me, hello and I probably love you. To those who do not, let me introduce myself. I am a somewhat tall, loud, enthusiastic, goofy, optimistic female. To both parties (strangers and pals alike), here are some things you probably don’t know about me: I am quite an anxious person, and I struggle from ongoing chronic health problems such as arthritis, currently in the business of trying to diagnose whether I have an autoimmune disease or not, the world’s dodgiest knees/back, and as previously mentioned, some not fun anxiety times.
Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to be a part of my first ever Improv Conspiracy Harold Team, Crown Boy. Alongside my fellow Crownies, I believe I have thrived in the TIC community, having learned so much about improv and about myself. But the main thing I have learned is about the importance of support. Yes, you’ve read articles about support and how “it is key in group work” and how “teamwork makes the dream work” and so on. This is all very true! But there seems to be an element I believe in much stronger, much deeper than just “team work”; friendship.Continue Reading
TRUST, and what we can learn from the 1990s Chicago Bulls
From a lover of improv and a Chicago Bulls fan serving his confirmation bias
As I was listening to the Jon Favreau episode of Improv Nerd today, he brought up something that engaged me for obvious reasons. Today of all days, on the day my beloved Chicago Bulls were eliminated from the playoffs, he brought up Michael Jordan.
During the late '80s in Chicago the best basketball player of all time entered the league and suddenly the whole western world started paying attention to the sport. Jordan was electric, entertaining and just so damn talented. As Favreau notes - in the '80s, Jordan’s numbers were huge. He nearly averaged a triple double in his first five years around 30 points, 8 assists, and 8 rebounds. For basketball nerds, this is pretty great. But the Bulls still weren't winning. It wasn't until the early '90s when they did some recruitment and brought on a coach who changed the culture and put the focus on the team rather than the individual.
With this shift, Jordan's personal numbers went down, but the team’s went up. As you may or may not know, they went on to dominate the '90s winning SIX championships.
There are many individuals from that era whose names we may know: Charles "Round Mound of Rebound" Barkley, Karl "The Mailman" Malone, Gary "The Glove" Payton, Reggie Miller, Patrick Ewing, etc. These are still considered some of the greatest players of all time but none of them won championships because they were up against a team they couldn't beat.Continue Reading
The split-second moment before you step out on stage is a heady one. It’s terrifying. Nerve-wracking. Uncertain. It’s also thrilling. Exciting. Addictive. Occasionally there’s a confidence that goes with it – the notion that this is single-handedly going to be the best thing you can contribute, and the reaction will be insane. Other times though, there’s nothingness – no solid initiation, no clue as to what will happen, no idea. You just hope for the best.
But each time is the same. Each time you’re jumping into the void. There are no guarantees. No certainty. And once you’re out there, there’s no going back.
This leap into the unknown has a parallel that’s scarily similar to my own personal life right now. To make the rest of this post make any sort of sense, I should probably just spit it out: I’m gay.Continue Reading
I have been studying at the Improv Conspiracy since April 2015. In that time I've watched innumerable shows: Harolds, Remixes, Jams, Cage Matches, etc. Each one a delight in its own right, each one making my heart healthier for the privilege. I sat and watched in awe of these performers and a deep desire to join their echelons, to become part of a team and tread the boards of the Improv Conspiracy Theatre as a performer.
I auditioned and had my wish granted when I was assigned to the Fresh Blood program, with the infallible Simon McCulloch as our coach, and training began. Different from studying, no longer a set curriculum to follow, but adding our own influence to how we trained, and with Simon’s wise guidance, a chance to make the team our own.
As we trained, getting ready for our first show, I realised that as an improviser what I needed in my career, in my improv journey, is to perform. It’s important to log some serious stage time. There is only so much, watching, reading and studying you can get under your belt before you have to get up and do it.Continue Reading
Your end-of-term performance is done. You think you rocked it, though there were some problems, but ah well... the other student performances going on in front of you seem to meander to the background, as in your head, you're busily replaying and analysing every move you made. It's an unyielding internal debate, and standing at the opposing podiums are Uncertainty and Satisfaction, while the person getting drunk in the stands provides a welcome distraction. Over the next day or two, you're coming down off the high. Then, the email arrives. The heart sinks. Imagined future scenarios get much darker. You've been repeated. At that very point, the reasoning and attempts to comfort seem irrelevant.
I once murmured to someone when I first started improv at the Conspiracy that it'd be good to do every level twice, since you could (back then) start Level 1, and top out of Level 4 in 36 weeks. That is a very short period of time to learn a lot. It seems that, for me, this idea is becoming reality, and not of my own choice. I have been repeated once each for Level 1, 2, and the new Level 3. There's a small subset of people who know what it's like to experience a slower growth than their peers. These are the people who have stuck with it, who see more in it than the sting of the results, who didn't crack it and give up, and who come back time after time. It'd be naive to assume the experience is the same for everyone, it seems that no two improv journeys are ever alike. Though, I will share with you how it has been for me.Continue Reading
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