If I can do improv, I can most certainly negotiate an everyday situation.

Reflections from an Improv Newbie, Week 5

During last week’s class, everyone did a great job and had a lot of fun. Throughout this week’s class, Justin helped us to reel in that fun by providing constructive criticism, which was at times a bit hard to hear. Our class is at the point where we can all get on stage and think of something to say, and now we need to take our scenes up to the next level. We are more comfortable with each other than we were at the beginning, and it makes the scenes more fun. It also makes critiques and comments easier to hear. At the beginning of Level 1, hearing criticism might have destroyed my confidence, but at this point I welcome it because I want to improve.

In one scene about tattoos, I had an idea for where I wanted it to go, but my partner made a funny comment that changed the direction of the scene and was better than what I was thinking of. However, I was so concerned with filling space by talking that I missed what she said. Justin paused the scene and asked if I knew what she said, and when she repeated it and we continued the scene, it was much funnier when I committed to her idea. It is still extremely challenging to slow down and listen at times, but hopefully after that critique I will remember to take it slow in future weeks.

I started a new job last week, and as I was walking into the office I found myself panicking about how things would go when I walked in. Would I talk to my boss first? Would someone tell me what to do or would I be expected to know what to do on my own? Would I meet all of my coworkers before doing anything else? Then my thoughts wandered to improv and I contemplated my situation before I walk onto the stage for a scene. I never know where I will be, who I will be, or who I will be with, and I have to figure out all of these things on the spot with my partner. While I have a momentary experience of panic before walking onstage, I get over it pretty quickly. Walking through the halls before entering the office, I was comforted by the fact that I do something much more challenging than walking into a new office every week, and if I can do improv, I can most certainly negotiate an everyday situation in real life.

Jillian McCarthy

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