Doing A Little Improv…

This weekend, my friend Erin invited me to an improv marathon at the Hideout Theater in Austin.  They did forty-two straight hours of improv to raise money for improv classes for kids.  Can you imagine doing forty-two straight hours of anything?  I can’t.

Erin has been taking improv classes at the Hideout.  She’s invited me to join her, but I’ve been a ninny about it. I do Toastmasters because I need to be comfortable talking in front of a roomful of people.  But it took me years of being invited to Toastmasters before I ever visited and months of visiting before I ever joined and months of being a member before I signed up to give my first speech.  Talking in front of people does not come naturally to me, but I can do it with lots of planning and preparation.  Improv though, is something altogether different.  Improv goes against every fiber of my methodical, controlled, and planned being.  Every last fiber. 

But Erin, who I respect and adore, has been talking about improv as rather life-changing.  So, curious, I went with her to the marathon.  I spent only one hour there on Saturday night and watched a Star Trek/Party of Five inspired hour, and it was awesome.  I would have stayed longer except that I had plans with a girlfriend who is hopping a plane to Spain today, so I left after only an hour.  But I left amazed at what I had seen.

I want to be that good on my feet.  I want to be able to laugh at myself and make mistakes.  I want to be creative and make up stories on the fly.  Thanks to Erin, doing improv is on my bucket list.  So this morning, still on a high from Saturday night, I popped on to the Hideout’s website and signed up for a free sample class on June 18. 

Yep, I’m gonna do a little improv. 

5 thoughts on “Doing A Little Improv…

  1. Hmmm … you may have inspired me to take the sample class, too! I'm leaving for Boston/Harvard on the 19th, but will try to sign up. By the way, I just read a couple of books on public speaking, and both make the point that being successful talking in front of people requires both planning and preparation. Of course, improv is a different and unique skill unto itself. But with respect to public speaking – and I've seen you speak at Toastmasters – thanks to your impeccable planning and preparation, you've got it down pat!

  2. In regards to what AA said, the point of improv is that you do all the planning and preparation offstage, so that when the time comes to actually get in front of people you're free to get out of your own way. This is not in regards to content, obviously, since you can't just make up e.g. sales figures on the spot, but rather regarding the poise and delivery and confidence. You're still trying and failing all the time, but it's a different toolset. It's preparing yourself to be prepared for anything, rather than preparing for one given thing.

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