Second week of improv class

Day two of improv went well. It was much less scary to get up on stage, and I felt like I got a chance to talk to people a little more, since we took a couple breaks this time. Also, we added three new people. We’ll call them Man 5 and Woman 4 and 5. One of the women who started is in a wheelchair, which really changed a few things. A ramp wasn’t available, so scenes with her weren’t performed on stage. I’m not sure how old she is, but she said she is preparing to get in to law school soon. She said her parents always encouraged her to do what she wanted despite her disability, and she was grateful to them for that. I don’t really consider my hearing loss a disability and I think that’s because my parents didn’t see it that way, either. It made all the difference.

We started out talking about movement on stage. Bill gave us a handout on Laban Movement, which is kind of a way to show emotion through body language. For example, if someone skips up to you in a light, friendly way, that’s a lot different from someone making an angry, storming bee line in your direction. We practiced this on stage, two at a time. We each performed an action in two different ways. My partner, Man 2, washed his car while I iced a cake. I don’t really know the two different ways he washed his car because I was too busy with my own movement (gotta work on that whole awareness thing). The first time, I looked really giddy, icing a cake for Man 2 and presenting it (with no dialogue) to him, pestering him until he tried it. The second time, I angrily yanked the cake from the oven, stabbed it with a knife covered in icing and stalked over to him and dumped the cake on his head.

We did a couple more two person scenes. In the first, Man 1 and I were grade school kids waiting for the bus, and in the second, I was a dame and Man 5 was a detective and we were in a film noir.

“I need your help,” I said breathily.

“And I need you to sit down,” he said. I complied in a bubbleheaded kind of way.

Our scene went on as he interrogated me comically about a man I was allegedly having an affair with, whom I claimed to have never met. Mid-questioning, he interrupted one of my answers to offer me a drink.

“On the rocks?” he asked.

“Yes, please,” I said.

“Under the rocks, or ON TOP?” he asked pointedly.

“Always on top” I winked, playing along.

“Is that how _______ liked his drink?” he asked.

“I keep telling you, I’ve never met the man,” I replied.

“So you’re not the one who killed him last night?” he demanded.

“He’s DEAD?” I gasped.

End scene. Bill seemed impressed with that one. Man 5 is an actual actor, so that probably helped make us look good. The school bus stop one was fun too, and I thought more about my movement and tried to act more kid-like as a result. Man 1 did too, and he was pretty funny in it.

One of the last exercises we did was where we paired up and we were given two conflicting emotions to act out. This was a demonstration of Playback Theatre, which performs dramatic improv and is supposed to be therapeutic. Improv in general can be therapeutic, but it is not therapy, Bill said.