Sunday, December 13, 2009

Show Time


Today was somewhat in epic in scope.

Not sure I can recap it in full detail.

So I'll leave you guessing about everything that happened before 6pm (and it was a lot) and skip ahead to the part where I arrived at the theater.

It was pouring out, a gross winter rain. My classmates and I gathered in the theater space and...just kind of looked at each other.

"Well, here we all are," seemed to be the group mentality, "Are we really going to do this thing? Has it really come to this?"

Yes. Our teacher arrived and rallied us for warm-ups.

"Ok, here's what I want you to do," she instructed, "Run around, screaming."

And so we did. Backstage, over the stage, up and down the aisles, we ran. And we screamed. And we yelled and waved our arms like mad men (and women). I love, love that Improv can take a group of weary, shivering adults and turn us in to a group of people that play. People that really let loose. People that run and scream indoors. It was awesome.

With collective energy level raised, we played a few more warm-up games. Broke into two teams. Decided on team names. Did a little cheer. And then got into place, because the house was about to open.

Once everyone was seated, our teacher introduced the show. I hadn't been nervous all day (just excited), but standing backstage with my team-mates, my heart got a little fluttery. Here we go...!

We ran out on stage and the show was underway. Three people gave spontaneous monologues based on the audience-suggested topic (pancakes) and we launched into improvised scenes based on those monologues.

I loved standing on the backline, watching my classmates do their thing. They are hysterical, hilarious people. And their scenes made me laugh (a lot).

My scenes went ok, too (so I am told). I liked being on stage. It was definitely a rush.

But there was also a safety net in place, and that was the trust we had built with each other during the semester. In fact, that's why we chose "Trust Puppies" as our team name: because puppies are cute, and trust is important. I knew, whenever I stepped off the backline and into a scene, that my scene partner wasn't going to leave me standing there, slack-jawed and directionless. We were going to work together to build something, and build it until it worked.

And that is another thing I love about Improv - you learn a lot about yourself, it provides space for self-awareness and personal growth. But you can't do it alone - the team, the partnership is essential, and in (good) Improv the ego will be sacrificed for the good of the (group) scene.

I learned a lot this semester. And I'm very much looking forward to diving in again, next semester.

And you - dear readers - go see Improv shows, at a theater near you! Or better yet, do Improv shows at a theater near you! It's a kinda nifty sorta thing.

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