Improv! (321st new thing).

July 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

When I was 17 I had an internship at an improv club. They were filming their live performances for a TV show on the now defunct Turner South. I enjoyed watching the productions every week, but never took a class myself. Until Day Three Hundred Twenty-One when I attended my first one with Automatic Improv at Relapse Theatre with my friends Andre and Robert.

Andre missed the first class and Robert was late; I was quite nervous walking in on my own. I sat down in one of the chairs set in a circle in the middle of a huge room. I glanced around at my new classmates as we all made small talk. It felt like the first day of school, and in fact, it sort of was.

Once we’d all gathered and money and role-call had been dealt with, we went around and introduced ourselves, describing why we were taking the class. Some people had heard about it via word of mouth and others were there to combat anxiety and public speaking nerves. I, of course, talked about my adventure in new activities.

Next we  all stood up and played a name game warm up. One by one we added an alliterative adjective to our first name, paired with a bombastic gesture. Super Sarah with a step forward and fist thrust into the air. Jet Pack Jeff with arms at his side and on tip toes. Loquacious Laura with a finger twirl and bow. The game worked well and soon we were mimicking each others’ words and motions.

Next we learned a few warm up games like “Go.” While still in a circle you ask another group member’s permission to go. When they say the word (“go”) you move to their place in the group. We also pranced around the stage as various animals which reminded me of my “Intro to Theatre” class in college. And we practiced dying dramatically, which is always a good time.

By the end of our two hour introductory class I found myself having a lot of fun. The difference in the interaction of the group at the beginning and the end was astounding.

From our Level Two Graduation Show. Doesn’t this look like fun?

Now I’m in the Level Three class with six others who attended that first course. Despite Patrick’s mocking I really do enjoy learning and performing improvisational comedy. Sometimes I’m funny or witty and other times I fall flat on my face. Both experiences are worth it, especially when they happen while I am surrounded by the new and old friends I’ve taken classes with for the past several months. If you’re in Atlanta, don’t miss our next (and final) grad show in August.

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