Improvisation initially sounds terrifying. You don’t know what you’re gonna say! Or do! What if you can’t think of anything? What if you’re not funny? It’s easy to dismiss out of fear: I could never do that. But that’s the funny thing about improv- anyone can do improv. Not only that, anyone can have fun performing improv. Okay, maybe not anyone. If you have extreme agoraphobia, I wouldn’t recommend it. But everyone else? YES, you can, AND I bet you’d even like it.
Improv changed my life. Yes that’s dramatic, but it’s simple truth. I took a class in 2010 and shortly after began acting in improv-based performances professionally. So it changed your life, now you can say you’re a professional improviser- ladeeda- that’s never going to be me. Performing improv changed me as a person. I’m not kidding!
Seven Side Effects Experienced After Improvisation, You:
- Get the hell out of your head! So often we second guess, over analyze, teeter-toter back and forth on what the best option is. When performing improv, you don’t have time for that nonsense. You gotta trust yourself. It’s amazing what a struggle that can be! But performing improvs a great way to realize how incredible your instincts are.
- Trust yourself, trust others. In improv you have to embrace the people you’re performing with. You can’t control a scene you’re performing with another person. You and your scene partner have to discover where it’s going together. It’s a wonderful exercise in trust and team building. You both support each other, and you realize pretty quick that if your making your partner look good, it makes you look good. It’s win-win for everyone and an interesting concept to carry over into real life. It’s nice to remember people are on your side.
- Live in the moment. You can’t plan ahead for improv performance. And once you’ve performed an improvised scene, it’s gone forever. You can’t live in the future, you can’t live in the past. With improv there is only the present. Exist in the moment. It’s an incredible, freeing feeling.
- Exercise your imagination. No one wants to watch a scene about paying bills or running an errand. When performing improv, you’ll discover your imagination is what makes things special. Anything can happen, you’re only limited by second-guessing yourself and your imagination. Improv is really like a workout for the imagination. If you exercise it frequently, it’s amazing to see where it can go.
- Embrace positivity. “YES, AND” is so much the foundation of improv that you may have heard of it before. What it means is accepting, saying YES, to whatever your scene partner puts into the scene AND building off of it. It’s vital for building interesting scenes, but it also has a real world application. We’re so inclined to say “no” these days, it’s usually the easier option. Open yourself to possibility. Saying “yes” opens doors, saying “no” shuts them. My mother always used to say, “Don’t say heck no, the answer might be heck yes!” I always hated when she said it, until I started performing improv.
- Feel like a kid again. Improv, once you let go of fear and judging yourself, is super fun. It’s a big game! It’s bring you back to your days on the playground when you used to make up weird shit all the time, and never gave it a second thought. Improv will let you unleash the silly, it will free you from worrying about what other people think.
- Have fun! Improv is never about trying to be funny. It’s about having fun. Who doesn’t love having fun?
Have I convinced you? I’m naturally introverted and improv has helped me SO MUCH with finding a balance with that and the extroversion my life demands. I’m so much more comfortable, less awkward, and outgoing because of improv. YES, AND it’s awesome!
Normally if you want to take an improv class, you have to commit to several weeks and shell out several hundred dollars. But Gotham City Improv is offering a great opportunity for anyone who wants to dip their toes in the improvisation waters. for $15 you get a one hour class followed by a one hour show. Try out improv, then relax and watch some!
From their website: Gotham City Improv is a theater, school, and community of comedic actors in New York City. It was founded in 1987, as the sister company of the Los Angeles based improv company, The Groundlings.
Gotham City Improv performs both short and long form improv as well as sketch. The Main Company is made up of 22 professional actor/improviser/writers who take turns performing and writing for each show. Each show features 6-8 members of our talented company. Come watch some of the most innovative improv the city has to offer!
Visit gothamcityimprov.com for more!
disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post. I am, however, taking a 10 week class at Gotham City and having a blast!