Wednesday, December 28, 2011

No Script? No Problem. Part I

Montreal Improv: l-r Bryan Walsh, Kirsten Rasmussen, François Vincent, Marc Rowland (photo credit: Jeremy Bobrow)

What is improv?
(Part I of a series)
by Francois Vincent
(A version of this article was previously published at The Charlebois Post - Montreal)

Montreal Improv has been invited by CharPo to write a series of articles about improvised theatre. Never one to turn down a soapbox, here we are. I wanted to start by talking about what improvised theatre is to me.

Improvised theatre, improv or impro as it is called in French (and in European English) is best described as "unscripted theatre". It is generally understood to be comedic in nature and comedy is what we teach in our classes and perform on our stage. But not necessarily so. It can be moving, disturbing, arousing, enlightening and all the other things we can find in scripted theatre.
Most people know improv from that TV show 'Whose Line is it Anyway?' where those guys get a suggestion and make up a funny scene? Yeah, it's kind of like that. Except it's not like that at all.

Improv is what you do every single day. People talk to you and you invent a response. An event happens in your life and you choose how to react. The problem is that if you ask someone to do that in front of other people, then suddenly they forget how to make things up and they start to worry about people judging them.

Improv teaches you to ignore that worry and to ignore the worst judge of them all, yourself. It's about learning how to create spontaneously without fear and without censoring yourself. It's about learning how to work cooperatively and sharing your inspiration with someone else. It's about learning how to listen, how to be playful, how to explore, how to laugh at yourself, how to be positive, how to be silly, how to stay calm in a storm.

Improvisation is like making up stories to make people laugh (or cry or shout or think or...). Except it's not like that at all. 

For more info go to Montreal Improv

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