Improv 2: The improvening

Yesterday was my second improv class. Sadly, two students chose to drop out. A third was also absent but she was present for the first night only as a makeup class. The silver lining is the remaining 18 of us are truly motivated to be there and participate. The positive atmosphere, despite the dreary weather, definitely showed!

The first couple of exercises involved a more physical element. We had to use visual cues through pure body language to convey to others whose turn it was to participate. The most amusing one was an eyebrow raise because we’d often mistake who was the intended target! Another allowed us to be creative and remind everyone of each other’s names by assigning a physical action to each. The previous evening, I performed my yoga routine as part of my P90X training regimen.
I was inspired to add a [sloppy] half-moon pose to my own.

We then followed up with mirroring. We were paired up and tried to match each other’s movements. I was feeling particularly flexible after the yoga so I might have overdone it a little :). I’ll have to apologize to my partners next time if some of the movements were too strenuous. Having to express myself through physical actions rather than verbally was out of the norm. The hardest part was keeping a straight face the entire time because it was so much fun. Most everyone was smiling and there was an infectious energy which was pervasive throughout the class. Hearing the feedback from my partners, I couldn’t help but feel emboldened to push myself creatively.

The next series of exercises was a return to collaborative storytelling. A few twists were added. We would be prompted to switch storytellers which led to twists and turns. The instructor’s timing was particularly appropriate in a camping story I was contributing to. Later, we could add elements into the story at any point rather than at the end. The distraction of having to memorize the story as it unfolded allowed us to be be more natural in our additions. By the end, we told a story about a one legged rabbit racing a 5 legged turtle, on a dare, to the death and the return of one of its missing legs.

The class ended with platforming. Still emboldened, I volunteered twice to perform on stage in front of the group. The first was definitely the hardest as it was an exercise where as a pair we had to speak in unison. We were Michelle, interviewing for a job as a chiropractor. Our previous experience was working at the salon on Ste-Catherine. We were famous for our special move “the flexor” because we employed baby oil.

My last performance was set on a pirate ship. When my partner uttered an unconvincing “Arrr!”, I felt inspired to play it as a movie production taking place on the ship. I played the part of the director, trying to coach the actor. It was a bit unique because we did not have to devolve into the typical pirate speech.

The class over, two of my classmates invited everyone to join them for drinks at McCibbins on St-Laurent. Normally, I dislike the atmosphere at bars/clubs and would have declined. Furthermore, I did have to go work out. However, I atypically agreed. It was one of the rare times I actually enjoyed myself in that setting. Everyone was very welcoming and open which made my efforts to engage easier. I was reminded once more why I admire outgoing individuals as much as I do.

Our instructor joined us a bit later after he closed down the studio for the night. During the conversation, he asked about my reasons to enroll in more detail than during the first class. He was actually quite surprised I was an introvert since I was very active in the classes. I explained my introversion makes it difficult and mentally draining to be around or part of large groups (unless it’s a concert). I tend to struggle in large groups and prefer more intimate settings. So my initial reaction was to view the large group as a challenge to face head on and overcome. Thus, I was making an effort to get involved. I got home around 11:30 pm. The gym in my building was closed but I felt the night was incredibly productive and worthwhile. So far, so good.

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