Earlier this year I got fed up of improv. I’d had few months off work, and gone to just about every class I had time for (which was a lot). I meant to learn so much! It was going to be amazing! And I did, and it was – but something went off kilter. My limbs started to feel like they were attached to me in a particularly odd way when I was on stage. I was trying to be so ‘authentic’ that I didn’t feel happy. And the joy – the joy either wasn’t there or it only turned up because THIS IS IMPROV so it MUST BE JOYFUL.
Oh well, I thought, maybe 2015 will be the year when the addiction finally starts to wear off. That’s ok. It’s taught me a lot. I’ve loved it and can move on with a grateful heart.
But I kept doing a bit of it. And somehow at a recent Maydays drop-in, run by Heather, found myself laughing so hard that actual joy made an unscheduled reappearance. In the middle of the game of repeated three line scenes it was suddenly one of those occasions when you’re surfing and falling and laughing and surfing and it doesn’t matter anymore. I have no idea what I said but I think I was training to be a cowgirl at one point.
The rest of the evening was joy. “I’ll have you know I have sold a painting of a shrew to Boris Johnson” said someone at one point. And there was a scene about a rugby ball stuck where no rugby ball should be. Who knows. It was fun. “The voice in the back of the mind” – a description I recently heard of poetry – got released, ran round the room unconstrained, and did a few dodgy cartwheels.
Here’s another reason why it was a brilliant evening: Jess and Ric were there. I met Jess and Ric more than three years ago when we did our first improv classes together. And last week, as well as at drop-in class, I’d seen both of them in other, different contexts, involving hanging out and going to the cinema and talking and being at each other’s’ houses and all that normal friends stuff. Improv gave me that, too, and I think it’s a pretty cool gift.
So maybe 2015 isn’t the year the addiction wears off, after all.