[First] Night at the Improv!

As I previously wrote, I signed up for an improv. class. While I have played tabletop RPGs and twice went LARPing, Tuesday was my first official foray into the activity. “Pen and Paper” and video game rpgs remain a hobby of mine but I didn’t like my first experiences LARPing and only went to hang out with friends. It’s easy to correlate the activities because you have to think on your feet as you’re thrust into new situations every few minutes.

Reasons

Not unexpectedly, when I informed my close friends (who all happen to be RPG players too) of my intention and followed up by asking if they were interested, I was greeted with stunned silence.

Although to be fair, one friend was very supportive of my decision. Another responded (translating): “I’m not the type of guy to be into that.” While he’s perfectly allowed to express that opinion and to do whatever he wants, I just find it disappointing no one else even expressed mild interest in joining me. The supportive friend asked me for my reasoning behind the sudden interest. We were bowling at the time, so I kept my answer brief but this medium allows me to list them in bullet form!

  • While I am an introvert, I do admire those more outgoing than I. I hope to become more expressive in social interactions through this endeavour.
  • As part of my attempts to become a better writer, I feel improv would help my imagination and work on dialogue
  • I wish to push my limits. I find I am uncomfortable in large crowds. Do not mistake this for timidity or shyness but rather I tend to get annoyed or impatient when around large groups of people.
  • Many appreciate my wit and sense of humour, but the perfectionist in me is never quite satisfied. I hope to expand my repertoire.
  • I do enjoy helping others and comedy is certainly a great way to bring a smile or laughter to someone. I thought it would be a good activity to allow me to do so.
  • While it is difficult for me to write this, I feel my group of friends are more or less content with where they are and seem unmotivated to continue to evolve as individuals. I wish to push my boundaries and see where it leads me but also perhaps meet new people who can illicit new experiences or ideas I might not have been exposed to.
  • Stop having those moments of lethologica.
  • Bring more to the table when playing RPGs.
  • Make new friends. Perhaps with some luck, meet someone who shares a similar sense of humour and perhaps a budding romance.

The Introduction

I was one of the first to arrive as is my custom. I have a horrible sense of direction so I always leave early to give me a buffer should I get lost. I got there a good twenty minutes early and had a chance to speak briefly with the instructor along with some of the other early arrivals beforehand. As the class began, we sat in a large circle. We were a class of 20! The turnout was definitely much larger than I expected when I signed up. To break the ice, We were asked us to introduce ourselves to the group and why we decided to sign up. I was asked to go first and each person went in turn. Two common themes came up. The first was the refrain to “get out of their comfort zone”. We were kindred souls in our motivations for being there. One individual appeared very shy but you have to give him a thumbs up for having the courage to try. The other trend was an interest in acting or theater and saw improv as a venue to expand their acting skills.

Exercises

Following the introductions, the teacher stressed the importance of agreement. He explained in the “real world”, we often say “no”. In improv, it’s about saying “yes” to others and moving forward.

This is wrong!

Many of the first exercises focused on establishing eye contact, smiling, and fostering exchange between each other whether it was a pretend gift, a story, or trying to form a dragon using our bodies…

I won’t go into too much detail to allow anyone interested to experience it for themselves. I found myself trying a bit too hard at making people laugh at first. I sensed some people were trying too hard as well but by the end of the evening, it felt more natural and we all went with the flow. I enjoyed the positive atmosphere, the moments we laughed (or I made others laugh), and had a pleasant conversation with one of my classmates on the way to the metro. I’m already looking forward to next Tuesday.

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5 thoughts on “[First] Night at the Improv!”

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