Improv Class: Week One

So Tuesday night was the first week of an eight week course in improvisational comedy I’m taking at Dad’s Garage.

The class is being taught to TBS (and TNT) employees as an extension of a partnership between the networks and the theatre. It basically boils down to me and 15 of my coworkers making asses of ourselves for the next 2 months. ;-)

The instructor, Chris, is one of the founding members of Dad’s Garage and is a very thorough, straight-forward teacher. I’m looking forward to learning more from him.

Oh yeah, the catch. We have the aforementioned 8 weeks to blow through the content, instruction and planning that would normally comprise 4 classes in order to put on a show for the rest of our networks. Tenative performance date: August 8.

Now I have no idea who will attend. I also have no idea how 7 more classes will prepare our motley crew for an actual improv show in front of an audience, but I’m willing to find out.

What impressed me most was the willingness of this diverse group (age, gender, race, job title) to have fun. Just enjoy being in the moment and doing something fun and funny. Great sign.

I’m also struck by the wide range of talents we all have. Not just our level of comfort or expertise, but how genuinely talented some folks are. Singers, dancers, joke-tellers and some of the most rubbery faces and physical prat-fallers to hit the stage.

I’m completely energized by the whole thing and I’ll keep you posted on our progress, including an invitation to the performance, if that’s kosher.

So my brief recap of class, before I really get into Tolstoy territory:

  • Brief introductions (with interesting fact)
  • Handouts (homework?)
  • Group togetherness exercises (Basic permission, teambuilding, Go!)
  • Yes, and
  • No, but
  • Gift-giving
  • Nature show host/Exotic, elusive prey

It’s late so I won’t bore you with the specifics, but the class laid the groundwork for future improvisational techniques by going over the basic structure and rules for successful interaction within a group.

All basic, but not rote. Simple and still envigorating.

Overall, I rate the class an A, my group a B (hey, we’re learning) and myself a C. I really found out quickly where my skill lies and what I’ll need to improve to help the group succeed.

Improv!

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