The Most Interesting Person in the World

Improv

If you are not yet familiar with it, improv is the art of being yourself, spontaneously, and being truly awesome at it. Don’t I do that all the time?, you may think. Perhaps yes. But perhaps not. Perhaps you are not yourself at your cubicle, or shopping with your mom, or while riding the TTC. Improv gives you a chance to be not only your most awesome self, but someone else as well. And the lack of self-consciousness makes that so freeing.

I recommend improv to everyone, for many reasons: for education; as therapy; to build social or professional skills; as entertainment; to meet people; to create art; to solve conflict; to develop a bond; to see your family members do something wacky…

The benefits of improv are limitless.

There are a few “big schools” of improv in Toronto: Impatient Theatre Company, Bad Dog Theatre, Second City, and Vanguard Comedy Theatre. And when it comes to therapeutic improv, it would do you good to attend a Playback Learning Lab.

If you’re not ready to make an 8-week commitment just yet, you can sample some improv at one of Lauren’s drop-in classes (see sidebar for next date.)

Try some improv now

At your next party – Play this simple game the next time you host a group of people. Each person has a chance to shine. Get up in front of everyone and speak for two minutes, where every sentence must start with “I love…” Audience members are encouraged to clap or cheer every time they hear something that they also love. You will soon find that everyone in your group has something interesting to say. And if you were feeling shy before your turn, you won’t believe how supported and open you will feel by the end!

Philosophy of Life – If you can take one tip from improv and apply it to your life right now, let it be the “Yes, and…” philosophy. This is great not only for conflict resolution and entertainment, but also for an improved outlook on life. Try having a conversation with someone where the first two words of each of your sentences are “Yes, and…” If you see the other person’s point of view and add to it, you will get a lot further in life than if you too often “block” or reject another person’s ideas, or if you accept without asking the question, “If this is true, then what else is true?”

In the words of one improv student

“Improv is one BIG way to love oneself (and you have to love yourself before you can love anybody or anything else). It is a practice of accepting and going with your intended actions — no hesitation or over-thinking! In the safe space created by the improv group, I can come out with myself!”

Lauren can bring these and other games to your next party. Host her at your birthday party or house-warming party or who-need-an-excuse-to-have-a-party, ask each guest to pitch in $10 (less than the price of a movie or restaurant), and at no cost to you, you and your friends will do something much more fun than staring at a screen or watching other people do something creative. For more information e-mail LNAProductions@gmail.com

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