Last week I signed up for Improv 101 at the Impatient Theatre Company. It cost CAD $150 for 8 lessons, once a week. Last night I ventured out to the first lesson. Here are my impressions.
The studio is located on Queen St W. at Roncesvalles. After some searching I found a plain door wedged between two storefronts with barely a sign. Good thing I was on time. 6:30pm. A flight of stairs led me to the studio lobby. I walked into a small room where a few people had assembled together. Someone that resembled an instructor greeted me. I forgot the name almost instantly, later to be reminded that it's Erin. Erin Lovely.
As quickly as I forgot her name, we were directed to another room. The Green room I think it was called, had chairs around the walls so everyone quickly sat down. Across from me were two men talking and smirking. I couldn't quite identify their nationality but soon found out they were Iranian: Jubin and Amir. In all there were only about 6 people so far. I was underwhelmed. Gradually more people showed up. Just as I was getting comfortable in my chair Erin decides to move us to another room. And so we follow to the Blue room.
The Blue room has, no surprise, blue walls. It's now about 6:45 and we are Jubin, Amir, Steven, Adiam, Giovanni, Dahlia, Neelam, Heather, Jenny. Erin hands out two pieces of paper. A course overview and a disclaimer. She reads the disclaimer aloud for the next 15 minutes. Each of us also gets a pass card for free show admissions, which we are encouraged to attend.
The rest of the class is a series of games, a 15 minute lunch break, more games. Finally, 3 hours later we share what we liked best about the class and what we took away.
Game 1: Zip, Zap, Zup
We all stand in a circle. Someone starts with yelling Zip and at the same time clapping hands in the direction of someone across. That someone across has to repeat with Zap. And then Zup and again Zip and so on.
Game 2: Zip, Zap, Zup with increasing loudness
By the end we're all yelling at the top of our lungs. And the window is open.
Game 3. Zip, Zap, Zup with throwing objects
Same as before but throwing or kicking imaginary objects instead of clapping.
Game 4: Slow-mo Samurai
Lights off. Pretend we're all samurai with big swords. Slowly retrieve the sword from the back with two hands and kill everyone around you. You can block with your elbows. If you're hit, slowly die. You can attack as you're dying.
Game 5: Chinese Throwing Stars
Stand in a circle and throw imaginary chinese stars at each other. Catch the stars with a clap and throw back at someone else. Add sound effects. If you fail you go in the middle of the circle and everyone throws stars at you and you die very slowly.
Game 6: Mnemonic Devices
We sit in a circle and go clockwise thinking up nicknames for each other. Giovanni is Don Giovanni of the Arts. Dahlia is Dahlicious. Neelam is decided on Vaneelam. Jenny is Je ne sais quoi. I am Gorillia. Amir is A-Miracle. Jubin is Ju-Ju-Bean. Steven is Steve-o-Meiser. Adiam becomes Adiamo.
Each of us then has to recite everyone's aliases.
Game 7: I love ___
One by one we stand up in the middle of the room and say what we love for 2 minutes. I got carried away here and mentioned some non PG-rated stuff.
I enjoyed this game because there was so much support and positive energy in the room. Audience had to clap and yell "yay" if they also shared your love.
Game 8: Panels
3 teams of 4 go on virtual stage and pretend to be a panel of experts on a topic chosen by the audience. Erin, our instructor is the panel moderator.
The topics were: Snake Caesarean, Nosepickers, Animal Paws. I was Dr. Strange, an expert on cataloguing animal paws around the world. I need lots of improvement here.