IMPRO FOR DUMMIES

Introduction. Why to play improvisation?

According to the legend, theatre improvisation is the first Art of human history

When Adam came back from his first hunt, Eve asked him how it went… Surprised by the new situation, Adam had to improvise a ‘convincing’ answer for Eve, both in case of success (=something to eat) and failure (=starving, again…). We do not know if Adam was a good hunter or they were mainly relying on Eve (probably…), but for sure Eve liked his stories, she fell in love with him, and thanks to improvisation we are here now. Accordingly, many experts have argued that probably T-Rexes were not very good improvisers… but that’s another story.

My dear fellows who have joined this group have often asked me “why to play impro?”. They have explicitly asked me to write this page to convince new people to join us, to play improvisational theatre, to have fun together, and so on.

I thought about this page for weeks. It should be the most important one. I should write something ‘smart’ because now everything has to be smart. I could say that I have started playing improvisation because I have always enjoyed theatre since I was a shy teenager (and maybe I still am…), but I was terrible in memorizing scripts… and then improvisation was the only solution.

Yet, in reality, I do not have an answer. Just come and try! Improvisation is about life because we live without a script, we love without a script, we make friends without a script. Improvisation is about creativity, every human being is creative, but too often this creativity is repressed because “this is not serious”, “you are too emotional”, “you need to be prepared”…  I would like to convince everybody that s/he can be creative, can express her/himself through a collective game. Everybody can tell an amazing story. Yes, I am absolutely convinced that together is better, more interesting, more exciting… more everything!

I could tell you that improvisation develops your public speaking, listening, interaction, active listening (because, yes, listen is an active action!), for body language… I know that theatre improvisation has started also because, after the War, there were not enough psychologists to take care of veterans, and this was a kind of therapy, but I am going too far (the real story is longer and by far more complex, you can read more here).

Why play in another language? An interesting point. There is a strong difference between playing in your mother tongue and playing in English. In my view, this helps us a lot, really a lot, although we do not always understand it, we often misunderstand one another, and we mix terrible accents with excellent speakers. We often improvise across languages, we invent words, we are lost even in the alphabetical order. It doesn’t matter. It simply doesn’t matter. Only thing that matters is that we want to play, together.

I am not a professional improviser, this is not my job, but I do like it and I like to share it with others. And I am happy not to be alone. I know that there are other good things to do. I know I could speak about this for hours. I can say I am convinced that improvisation should be mandatory in all schools, all HRs should do it in any working environment, and it should be suggested also in retirement homes. I know also that, once you will have tried, you will agree with me.

Nicola

“All the world’s a stage, 
And all the men and women merely players: 
They have their exits and their entrances; 
And one man in his time plays many parts” 

(W. Shakespeare)

P.S.:
If you speak French, this is an interview I did with more info…
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