I’ve been practicing improvisational theater for more than three years now. It’s a hobby for me, and of course I don’t have the tenth of the knowledge and talent of my original teachers from Et Compagnie. But I will try to describe in this post what improv means to me.
As you may guess, it’s pleasant to have fun on stage entertaining the public, it’s pleasant to invent spontaneous stories while acting unpredictable characters. All this is true.
But improv is so much more and it has faces I think many people don’t even think about. For me improv means to
- listen to the others,
- think fast,
- trust the team and be able to rely on them,
- be inspired, have imagination and get ideas,
- remember and take into account what has been said and settled before,
- build uppon this and never destroy it,
- listen and accept new things brought by others,
- express clearly, be understood and transmit ideas efficiently,
- assume failure and suckiness,
- not be affraid by an uncertain and unpredictable future.
All this are things improvisers work on when they train. When correctly applied, they facilitate and make everything run well.
I encourage you to consider it next time you assist an improvisational theater show. And of course, I encourage you to give it a try. Finally, you may guess that all these principles can easily be extrapolated in real life.