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Monday, July 30, 2007

"I have been a brain surgeon for the past 5,000 years."*

Part III of my tour de force of class-taking this year just kicked off the other night. It is perhaps the most-anticipated portion of this renaissance I’m currently undergoing, because it was the first night of my Improv class. The official title is “Improvised Comedy – For Beginners,” and the class is being taught by a chap named Simon. I’ve seen him before, as he is one of the big mucky-mucks involved with the Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT) and I saw him as he emceed their 25-hour Improv-a-thon earlier this year.

I also saw him perform with the Troupe in one of their many shows around Wellington, as a couple months ago I got Simon (not the same Simon, natch) and Sarah to join me for this. It was one of those nights where they had the audience help sort out three storylines. By the end of the night you, the audience, determine by applause which storyline ‘wins’ and so the actors on stage must carry on with it and create a storyline that has a beginning, middle, and an end. Along the way on this night they did a Western, a Musical, and an Action-Adventure story – which was the ultimate winner. It had everything: star-crossed lovers, pyramids, an evil genius, Mexicans, a magical spade, and a chain-smoking genie with a Russian accent.

Got to love improv!

Anyways. So Simon is our very capable teacher and I can tell this class is going to be lots of fun. It’s so enjoyable that at the end of the first class I felt a real let-down as I realized it would be another WHOLE WEEK before we could meet again. That’s how much fun we were all having. There are eighteen of us in this class, so it’s just about double the enrollment I had with my Mixed Abilities Drama Classes. As an added plus, my Dutch friend (and co-scriptwriter!) Dana is back as she’s taking this class too. She really seems to have been bitten by the acting bug as badly as I have so it’ll be fun to enjoy this class with her.

There are a whole range of people in this class, in terms of ages and occupations. We’ve got a tennis instructor, a woman who works on the City Council, an Outward Bound instructor (here for ‘shits and giggles’ as she put it), a wise-cracking British guy who bills himself as an Internet Evangelist, a Yank who once upon a time acted in plays (me), a lawyer with an interest in the film industry, and many more (obviously, since I haven’t listed eighteen different people there).

It seems lots of people come to something like improv in order to learn how to let go in front of a crowd a bit better, as many of my classmates hail from the business or government sectors and consequently could get a leg up if only they lost a little inhibition and gained a little confidence in the arena of public speaking.

I think it’s going to be a hell of a fun ride and I can’t wait to get back in there next Monday night. As I do, I have become a bit nervous about making it to class on time every night, for the following reasons (paranoias):

A) Class starts only an hour after I’m due to get out of work. I have a 45- minute drive through rush hour traffic to get into Wellington to get to the high school where it’s held. Parking is at a real premium around the high school as there’s lots of people taking these kinds of classes (of which there are dozens) and WHS has a pretty tiny parking lot, all things considered.

Secondly) Being a vet, there are sometimes things that come in that just have to be seen, even though I’m supposed to ‘punch the clock’ at 5 on Mondays. So duty might require me to skip out on class or at least arrive late, which would certainly be better than having to wait – gasp! – TWO weeks in between classes.

I need an Improv fix, and I need it now!


*A line from one of our improv games. You, uh, definitely had to be there...


Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

It sounds as though your improv class is not only unique, but a lot of fun! Enjoy!

5:57 AM  
Blogger Julie Rogue said...

So, how did the rest of the class go?!?

5:20 AM  

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