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2013 was the year I did two things I’d always wanted to do but had always found too daunting: I started taking improv classes and I got knocked up. For me, the two experiences have been inextricably linked—I first knew I was pregnant when I tasted the bitter regurgitation of a morsel of laksa during a level 3 improv class, and while it’s fair to say I had been experiencing nausea since my first level 1 class—who wouldn’t feel sick at the prospect of being given a one-word suggestion and then told they now had to make up an entire scene from it on the spot—this was different.
Anyway, although I’m a total novice at both improv and having babies (I’m only about six months into my improv education and still three months away from actually giving birth), I don’t see why that should stop me from self-importantly sharing my observations in all the ways learning improv is just like preparing to have a baby.Continue Reading
So, you're thinking about taking improv classes because you:
a) want a fun challenge
b) love performing
c) want to make new friends and drink many a beer after classes and shows
d) Tina Fey and Amy Poehler subliminally told you to
e) Just 'cause, dammit
Even with all these awesome reasons swimming around your head, there's still something holding you back.
Are you not much of an extrovert? Do you get stage fright? You think you can't make people laugh because you don't get comments on your Facebook statuses saying “U shud be a comedian LoL!”?
Well, here's the good news: by day, most improvisers are lawyers, writers, IT technicians, teachers, students, scientists, couch people, regular people who aren't defined by their careers, and performers. We're not a convoy of show-ponies. The best improv team will have a mix of thinkers and doers who are willing to take on every role.Continue Reading
Contrary to popular belief, the stage is not the scariest place in the world; it’s actually the safest place you can be if you want a chance to delve into some feelings.
This year has been a roller coaster for me, and I’ve learnt so much both in my normal life and in improv. I’ve been struggling with that age old dilemma of “finding oneself”, and I don’t think that my introduction to the Improv Conspiracy could have come at a better time in my life.
During one of my introductory classes I experienced a moment of clarity where it dawned on me; learning how to improvise is simply learning how to deal with life in the present moment. There were so many little lessons and sayings that I'd heard in my classes that were designed to help us do good scenes, but slowly I realized that they were actually teaching me something about myself and how to enjoy my life. Lessons such as “agree and advance”, “open up your emotions”, “make your partner look good” and “don’t plan ahead” are things that have held their place in my life ever since.Continue Reading
One year ago I enrolled in a summer intensive course with the Improv Conspiracy. I didn’t know much about longform improv, and I was initially drawn to the course due to the fact that my family had gone to Europe without me and I was very bored. The prospect of spending my birthday alone was super, super depressing, so I thought it better to spend it with new improv pals!
The fact that I was able to do two 3-day courses over two weeks to complete the (then) entire course program also appealed to me, and most of all; the chance to perform in a class show at the conclusion of the workshops was a unique opportunity.Continue Reading
Improvisers say "yes", obviously.
Not just on stage. But everywhere. All of our training has led us to subconsciously become more agreeable people. Certainly, I find that's the case for myself.
My music has often kept me at home or made me rush back home from whichever event at whatever place. Whether related to the business side or the creative side of things, I've always got a pretty good excuse to get back home and back to work.
I remember one time I was getting picked up by friends at 7pm. Stupidly, as if I didn't even know myself, I picked up a guitar at 6:50 and in that ten minutes came up with a melody I really liked. The result of this? I spent the entire night humming it to myself so that I wouldn't forget it. This was before I had a simple voice memo function on my phone. Fair to say, I was probably horrible company that night.
Since sinking my teeth into improv, I actually feel more free to chase whimsies and live in the present, like improv is the best life coach on the planet. I'm not talking about anything crazy or out of the ordinary, but instead about very simple things. For example, yesterday I had an improv session with some of the guys I do "The Movie" format with and we finished at 2pm. "Old me" thought he was going to grab lunch and rush home to get some work (or, let's face it, procrastination) done. We said goodbye to each other before Tim asked "What are you doing, Broni?" I replied that I was getting lunch and a coffee and going home. He asked "anyone else want to do that?", and "YES! YES! YES!" we all said. We continued to laugh all afternoon. If you're thinking "So what, I'm already a social butterfly and this happens all the time!" then shoosh your mouth because I usually forget to be in the moment, unless that moment is after a four-count from a drummer.Continue Reading
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