Improv

Sep 21, 2009 by     No Comments    Posted under: Thousands of Stories

Every Sunday from 12-3pm I can be found at iO Theatre taking improvisation lessons from some of Chicago’s finest comedians. It’s a practice I began back in January, and it’s changed the way I approach theatre and performing for the better.

I don’t want to get too far into the details of long-form improvisation, as doing so would take up most of this post. If you’re curious to find out more about improvisation, Del Close, or Harold, there are a ton of resources online, as well as several great books on the topic.

So on Sundays I go to class. Yesterday, we had a ton of fun expanding our character range to include animals, inanimate objects, and even concepts! It was the most fun I’ve had in class in a while, and definitely helped me look at my physical work in an entirely new light (when portraying a gang of banana peels, one be very physically expressive!).

I’m a proud founding member of Hugs and Pullups, a long-form improvisational comedy troupe. We’ve been actively playing in Chicago since April, and have been starting to gain a good reputation around the improv world. But lately I’ve felt as though I’ve been letting my teammates down. I’ve been so busy wrapped up in theatre and plays, I haven’t had much time at all to hang out with them or rehearse. These are some of my best friends in Chicago, and I want desperately to recommit myself to our endeavors. We’re a talented bunch, for sure, and we’re about to begin rehearsing with a fantastic coach, Lindsay Williams. I can’t wait to see where this takes us. I love you guys! :-)

Sunday nights are dedicated to rehearsing with another improv team: Vagabonds. We’re an Incubator Team at the Playground Theater, and we’ve been playing together since late June. Because we’re a team that was assembled by a theater (as opposed to an independently formed team), we’re slightly more restricted in terms of who we have as a coach and when we perform. But it sounds like we’ve got a few extra performing opportunities coming our way next month, so I look forward to getting some fabulous stage time with a fabulous bunch of improvisers!

In other Sunday-related news, my Fantasy Baseball team upset Ben Koucherik’s #1-seeded team yesterday and will play in the championship match this week against Jamie Hollowell’s “Purple Reign!” Wish me luck! I’ll definitely need it.

~JVB