Often in my enthusiasm I assume Everyone Else in the world is similarly enthused. This is true of Improv too. Often people, understandably, are a bit fearful because considering improv brushes up against one of the biggest fears people have: public speaking. Only improv is worse, they think, because you don’t have ANY plan, AND you may look like a fool on top of it. I get it. And, trust me with this, but as you enter into the world of improv via taking a class, going to a show, participating in an improv workshop at your workplace, you’ll discover there is SO MUCH that it gives us that nourishes our lives!
There’s an improv game called ”Seven Things”. It goes like this: you’re in a circle of let’s say 12 people, and you start by turning to the person next to you and giving them a category. For example:
“Seven things you find in your fridge!”
Or “Seven things you tell a cop when he pulls you over!”
Or “Seven places you’d love to visit!”
And then that person list seven things in that category. In between each response, the rest of the circle yells the count. (It’s the equivalent of YESSING their offering). For example:
”Pickles!… TWO!” etc
Then the person who just answered, turns to the next person and gives them a new category.
The key is to Underthink. Anything is great. If you repeat something or say that Blue is in your fridge, we are still going to Count Affirmatively. This helps us train our inner (and outer) critic to take a back seat (Really, go ahead inner critic just run along and amuse yourself. I don’t need you right now. ; )
And what we discover in the group is we begin to loosen the muscles of what it’s like to give and receive affirmation. Often these muscles have atrophied in the work/home/community settings we are a part of.
So… starting July 1 I’m going to give you Seven Things that Improv Gives us in Seven Days. And you get to Yell the Count at your Screen (wherever you are) after you read it! Fun eh! : )
In the meantime, practice putting your inner critic in Airplane Mode. It’s summer after all, and he needs a vacation.