Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Funny world of Improv

Completed my first ever improv class yesterday at Westside Comedy and wanted to share my experience. First off, I had general idea about improv, but had no clue about the dynamics and other details. Improv is more than just telling jokes on the fly. Wikipedia defines Improvisation as “the practice of acting, singing, talking and reacting, of making and creating, in the moment and in response to the stimulus of one's immediate environment and inner feelings. This can result in the invention of new thought patterns, new practices, new structures or symbols, and/or new ways to act.” My primary motivation in joining this class was to practice improv speaking on any topic and do it in a manner that is funny and engaging. The skills learned can be applied in any field ranging from public speaking to general every day conversation in formal or informal setting.
It was fun and enriching experience. Through the course of 6 weeks, we went though many activities and games to learn the tools and structure of improv. It is not just about cracking jokes; to be successful in this, you need to be constantly aware of what is going on - be active listener, and work as team and support each other. It was fascinating to see how playing a mundane act with varied emotions can bring so much laughs. What you learn here can be so contrary to how we normally think, such as - if you feel weird, do it more - if you are stuck, say the truth. You learn to avoid arguments and go with the flow. It’s all about relationships filled with emotions. Sounds like valuable life lessons!!
All in all, while this class might not have made me any funnier, it definitely taught me bits and pieces about how to keep a conversation engaging and entertaining. Also, confidence to face audience and not be conscious whether I might be sounding puerile or preposterous - as it might not be a bad thing after all. Finally, confidence to crack jokes, even if no one is laughing!

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