Today, I'm going to talk about Improv Club. See, in the first month or so of college, I made a good friend who was not only in the Music department, but also in Drama. A double major, like me. She's a character, definitely the perfect kind of person to keep me open and crazy in a good way.
Now, I haven't been a Drama person since elementary school, when I was given a non-speaking role in the school play. It ticked me off, and I realized then that I wasn't really that good of an actor. Not in front of people. As a writer, I have to be able to act, to step into someone else's shoes and take that perspective into the book. But you don't write with an audience right there staring at you. It's different. Plus, you can edit books, fix up the perspective if you mess up. You can't exactly go back and edit a performance.
But my Dramarama friend here, she was convinced that I should come to this thing called "Improv Club". It was at five on Mondays and Wednesdays, it had something to do with acting fast, and some of my other music friends were in it, that was all I knew. That was just enough to get me there one Wednesday evening, and pretty much, the rest was history.
I actually really liked it.
Now, I'm still not into going up and doing improv myself, although I have done so, but it is the best thing ever to watch. Such a great creative environment. To see these people just walk up and make up things off the top of their heads, funny things, interesting things--it's fantastic. Genius storytelling in seconds.
I only wish I could make up a story so fast.
How improv works is that there are a bunch of games (so many games) that we play to make up scenes to act out on the spot. My favorites to watch are any that involve complete leeway, like "Freeze" or just a plain improv session. That's where you see the real power of creativity and humor at work. I stink at doing those, though. Actually, I've never done one at all.
Other games are fun too, like, "Twisted Fairytale." In that, you do a scene from a fairytale with each character having a strong trait of some kind. Then there's "Late to Work," where two 'co-workers' act out the scene of the main character's reason for being late to work. The main character must guess the correct reason in order to be let off by the boss. Some others... "Forward Reverse" is a good one where you do a scene, and at any point someone can say "Reverse" and you have to do the scene backwards. Like a movie. I play these kind of games sometimes. There are shorter exercises too, like "Park Bench", where you do anything you can to get the other person off the "bench". Or there's "Spelling Bee", where the people must spell nonsense words, or "Madrigal", where you sing a phrase provided by the audience and then mix it up to your heart's delight. All inspiring creativity. Truly, the possibilities are endless.
My favorite I've seen so far that I actually like to participate in would have to be "Shakespeare", where you act out, completely inventing everything on the spot, a short (but three act) play pretending it was written by Shakespeare. Shakespearean language, poetry, plot devices, etc. I love it because I'm a book nerd, and also because it's really funny to watch people try and figure out how to talk ye old English. The other one I really like is "Pick-A-Play", where three people use actual play texts, have the audience point out a line to start on, and then enter a scene with each other and one other person, where they have to use only lines from that play to create a scene. I like it because it's fun and crazy, but it's something I could actually do because, hello, there's an actual text in front of your face. WORDY WORD WORDS. It's actually really difficult, though. Just imagine.
I have no idea how much you actually got out of that, but the point is, if you're in need of some laughs or a really good creative atmosphere, you might want to try an improv club or the like. It's a great thing to participate in, or at least to go watch shows of.
VIVA LA IMPROV! And I will see you Saturday for a post on my favorite book characters. Should be fun! :)
Image via explorekansascity.com.
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