Improv: Chevy Chase Comedy

Last Tuesday’s class we were only 6 out of 10 students; the lowest we’ve had for any class as the Summer vacations ramp up. Holding up tradition, the weather was quite balmy and looked like it was about to rain for most of the day. The majority of the class’ exercises appeared to be centered around physical actions:

In one exercise we were told to perform a specific action and our partner would come up to us and ask us what we were doing. We had to say we were doing something different and that person would then begin performing that task. The natural inclination was to always pick something related to the action we were currently involved in. It took a bit of creativity to pick outside the box.

My favourite activity was one where as a group, we had to hide a key in a child’s playroom. The first person would go into the room and hide a key somewhere in the room. The next person would then find the key, and hide it somewhere else. Each person would have to investigate all the items before finally finding the object of the search and hiding it in a new spot. It was interesting to see the interpretations each person had and how it evolved. It also made us more aware of the imaginary surroundings we would establish during a scene. Later, others would describe the setting or venue for us and we’d act out a scene using that imaginary¬†location.

The next one which was certainly difficult to wrap our head around was to each perform different activities. For example, I had to mimic pumping gas while my partner had to pretend to be picking up flowers. We were then asked to create a scene while then continuing our actions. Ours evolved into a rose heist from the botanical gardens. Another group had someone fishing and another folding clothes but they were not to speak or make reference to their actions.

Throughout the evening, I found I got the best reaction based on my mannerisms and the physical comedy. In retrospect, this has been a common theme. I tend to be very stone-faced in my personal life. So when I do try to convey tone or message using only facial expressions it can come as a surprise to some. After class, we went out to the Old Orchard and discussed the physical comedy. One of my fellow classmates mentioned she struggled through some of the exercises on what to do with her hands. Honestly, I didn’t feel I faced the same challenge. Perhaps my strength lies in physical comedy?

Imagine the above, except no dimple, more stubble and shorter hair on the sides.

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