September 18, 2016, by Guest Blogger
Introduction to the Improv Society
I joined Improv last year, in my 3rd year here. I wanted something I could just turn up to and have a fun time with some fun people, and Improv delivered that. We meet every Sunday at the Portland building, and there I met the wonderful group of humans that have become my best friends.
I’ve asked around, and the Rules of Doing Improv seem to be:
- There are no rules
- Always Accept and Build
In an improv scene, if someone offers an idea, you accept it and add to it. That’s how improv troupes build up characters and stories, collaboratively.
In my first session the Creative Director put us into pairs and had us play this game:
Person A makes a statement, something simple…
A: My garden is lovely and green today.
Person B agrees, repeats the statement and adds to it.
B: Yes, your garden is lovely and green today, and it’s attracted all the local cats.
A then repeats what B added, and adds a final piece of information.
A: Yes, it’s attracted all the local cats, and they’re tearing up my flowers!
It’s that easy, really.
Sessions begin like this, practicing a new bit of improv theory, then we take to the couches and volunteers play Whose Line Is It Anyway type games. These were honestly a little scary to get involved with on my first week, and we do have members who prefer to sit back and watch what is essentially a free improv cabaret.
The first time I got up to be in a scene it was scary too, and the scenes I do now are funnier, I like to think. But what was constant the entire way was the encouragement and warmth of these people who turn up every week. The trust that is built between people in this society is insane; I can go on stage in front of people and say something stupid, knowing for sure that the people there with me will accept it as fact.
This year I’ve literally performed improv for cash, imagine that! The dream! And our society sends a troupe to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival every year to do a show. Last year almost everyone who performed was new that year.
Written by Joe Hadley, Improving Improviser