A few weeks ago I caught the local improvisational comedy troupe. Their performance was tight and hilarious. There was a good crowd at the theater. I went to see them because I’ve always loved improv and had heard great things about their shows. I took an improvisation class in college and ever since then I’ve jumped at any chance I can to speak spur-of-the-moment in front of groups of people. I love to make people laugh and I’m usually willing to go to great lengths to do so.
As my husband and I walked up the theater steps that night, we were surrounded by people. I thought, “I want these people to come see me.”
The following night I went to an improv workshop. Improv workshops basically work like this: you pay someone money so you can make a complete ass out of yourself and have that person critique (i.e., tell the hardcore truth) your performance in front of a group of strangers.
We played various improv games in pairs and in groups. At one point I was a prisoner squatting in the corner of my cell and peeing on the ground. I was also a school teacher. And the mother of a small child.
Though they are called “games,” the improv exercises can be very intense. There is no time to think; just act and react. I was exhausted and embarrassed by the end of the evening. We had worked for over two hours.
I’m totally doing it again this month.