Here are a few of my own personal reflections after running our first new improv class for both Improv for Everybody and Improv for Actors (we split up from next week) in no particular order. (There is also a picture of my puppies because I forgot to take pictures last night; a mistake I won’t make again.)
1. Improv is magical. Everybody left with a bit of a light shining somewhere. Some people’s lights were strong, radiating off their faces like reborn creatives. Others had lights shining from strange, underused parts of their bodies and minds. They had that look of “not sure what just happened there, but I think it was good.” Some had the warm, familiar glow of “I know this improv place and it is good.” I had a light shining out of the top of my head. Probably the cough and cough mixture, but I suspect it was the altered state of watching fresh improvisers start getting it.
2. Everyone’s improv clock works differently but the success of learning from others is the most obvious thing. It is ‘watch and learn’ in practice.
3. Actors are complicated beings and improv is so very good for them.
4. People are self saboteurs. So many people ended up not making it to the first session. I know how scary it is to commit, and then actually come to an improv workshop, but getting over the first hurdle is the biggest, and the one from which all things flow. Trust me. Trust you
5. The silly games still make me laugh.
6. Learning improv is like a dance through life’s lessons and the power ones are when you realise that it’s not all about you. Then, after that, it’s about realising that it is a bit about you. The good bit. The one that doesn’t try too hard. The bit that others love, and find easy to reach.
7. Improv is easy, and then it gets hard, and then easy, and then hard and then easy and so on and so on. If you are a newbie this is good to know.
8. Improv classes help you get to know people really fast, especially when there is hugging.
9. If you are going to do the Heimlich Manouvre on someone, tell them first.
10. Every single person can tell when something is amazing.
11. Part of learning improv is saying why something was good.
12. The easiest way to disarm someone is to come to them unarmed.
13. Side coaching is such a lovely, gentle term, and it doesn’t really describe my shouting, crazy style very well.
14. If I could do improv every day, and not much else I would live a charmed life.
15. The biggest pat on the pat that you give yourself is that you committed and then came. Then, whenever you can, tap into the inspiration of it all, whether you want to be on stage in front of an audience or not.
16. There is no wrong way to do it.
17. You are learning me as much as you are learning it as much as you are learning you.
18. For me, teaching improv is like an instant love affair with everyone in the group. That’s day one. Day two is a different story. See what happens on day 2.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, feedback, ideas and confessions as we go along. feel free to comment here, or on my blog www.meganshead.co.za or on twitter or Facebook.