Saturday, 18 March 2017

Six lessons Improv is teaching me


This week I finished an 8 week Beginner's Longform Improvised Comedy course with the Maydays.

Shortform improvisation revolves mainly around games - as you'd see in "Whose line is it anyways?" whereas longform has less structure, allowing a scene to unfold in any direction...

I can't even remember where the idea of trying out Improvisation came from - perhaps a recommendation that I see some on my trip to NYC (although I failed to actually get to a show!) planted some seeds. Then I ended up googling it when I got to Brighton, saw a free taster with the Maydays advertised, went along (back in November), and, well here I am now!

I wanted to do something that would develop my performance skills in preparation for my Fringe show, something creative and fun, but also wanted to learn how to cope better with unplanned situations: not just on stage but also in life. If I have a script, a poem, a plan, then I'm generally fairly confident. But if I have to come up with something on the spot - be that a speech or simply an answer to an unexpected question or a response to any kind of criticism or conflict - then I panic, shrink, seize up. As much as I'd like to be an easy-going person, I guess I'm not always very good at going with the flow.

So improv felt like it could be just the right thing. Of course, life itself is improvised - and for me the lessons learned on a Tuesday evening extend way beyond getting a laugh or playing a character.

Here are six 'lessons' that impacted me and that I hope I can build more into the way I 'do improv' AND the way I am in the world:

Wednesday, 8 March 2017