Reflections from an Improv Newbie, Week 4
I felt a lot more comfortable in class this week than I have in previous weeks. However, before coming to class, I had a strange feeling of dread. Often when I do something that seems challenging or difficult that I end up enjoying, right after the activity I think to myself, “That wasn’t so bad, I could do that a lot more often!” But when the time comes to do that challenging activity again, it seems like an insurmountable task and I wonder how I got through it the first time. I felt like that going to improv class this week. I didn’t want to leave my house when I got ready to go, and I worried that I would merely be surviving class rather than enjoying it. However, that was not the case. As soon as warm ups began, I remembered how much I enjoy class and started to have fun.
This week something clicked in my thinking, and my brain was able to slow down, which enabled me to do better scenes. I felt more comfortable onstage and better able to communicate to my partner and to the audience what was going on in my head.
After class, my classmates and I went out to get a drink. I had a great time with everyone, and a number of people stayed to see the Lupones show at 8:00. While watching the Lupones perform, I kept putting myself in their shoes and imagining how I would feel if I were in their place onstage. When a new scene began, I could picture myself feeling anxious and wondering where the scene would go, and whether or not I would think of something interesting to say, or if I would think of anything at all. These reflections made me reconsider how I think about my life in general. Often, when I’m planning my day or even my week, there are certain things that I expect will be unpleasant, and I look at them as burdens that I must get through. There are other things that I expect to be a lot of fun, and if they’re not as fun as I expect them to be, I feel let down. Improv is a challenge to this kind of thinking because it requires that you think and act in the moment at all times, so there’s no time to put a value judgment on anything that you do. You only have time to react and create something new, and that seems like a pretty good way to live. Rather than constantly judging everything I have to do as good or bad and then worrying accordingly, I might as well react to things as they happen. Improv is just a shorter and sometimes crazier version of everyday life.
– Jillian McCarthy