Lessons Learned from Trying Improv
Something I talk a lot about is stepping out of your comfort zone. Recently, I tried improv for the first time. Improv is scary. In improv, there’s a pressure to be creative, to be clever, to be funny, and I think it’s the kind of thing that sets you up for embarrassment. So, we assembled a group of people willing to go for it and give it a try! It was a blast, we kept it really basic and everyone did extremely well, but the most interesting part was all the underlying messages built into the rules of improv.
First, is “yes and”. This is a concept of just growing on whatever the person before you said. If they make a suggestion and ask you to expound on it, you do so without question. This helps everyone feel like their contribution was good and made the story better.
Another big piece of improv is support. When someone was struggling or starting to run out of ideas, or getting uncomfortable, it was time to jump in and help. I initially thought improv was individual and singular, but it’s totally a team game where everyone is involved at all times.
To enumerate on improv, it is extremely important to be present. The beauty of it is that everyone has their own vision of how the scene is going to conclude or transpire, but the end result is an accumulation of everyone’s ideas. This means that you can’t just hijack the scene and make it your own. That would be like listening to respond in a conversation. By being present and active,you can react in the most appropriate way and create something that everyone will enjoy and understand.
All in all, improv was really fun, and definitely a step outside of my comfort zone. I hope to do it more often!