In December I received the great gift of a 7-week beginner improv acting class, which I've just completed this past week. I'd apparently remarked casually several times in front of Kelly that it might be fun to take an acting class some day, and knowing me as she does around experiences that might be outside my comfort zone, she took matters into her own hands to see that it might actually happen instead of just being talked about.
And outside my comfort zone it was, but also incredibly enjoyable.
The instructor Kevin (a professional actor and playwright in his own regard) has a background that includes the Second City improv comedy theater in Chicago, and so he made heavy use of Viola Spolin's techniques for teaching improv. There were lots of exercises and games designed to train us how to create an environment with only our bodies and maybe the occasional folding chair, how to show a character's age, social status, mood, origin, destination and other qualities by showing instead of telling, and how to build simple objects or circumstances into a full-fledged scene. We didn't really start using dialog until the last few classes; building the foundation of movement and environment had to come first.
- Read More -