During the first lockdown, my home welcomed Yoda the cat. He is now 11 months old and we get on incredibly well but there is a small question about him that is bugging me; would Yoda hate my improv shows? We all want validation from those we love and when it comes to improv, one thing us improvisers love to do is invite friends and family to shows. With Yoda now part of my household, I’m curious to know what he would make of a night out watching improv. Based on his behaviours, this is what I’ve worked out…
Let’s start with openings to shows because if he is going to hang around, he is going to need to be engaged immediately. There is a certain type of improv that relies on soundscape-style openings with lots of movement and swooshing. I think this would be his favourite and, actually, he would probably try to join in. If it’s that sort of vibe to the night, great! Happy Yoda.
Cats love patterns and Yoda is a creature that loves a familiar pattern. He knows playtime comes before food time and as soon as I say “ Yoda, do you want to play?”, he will meow and get ready to chase a toy around my apartment. This makes me think he would enjoy an improv show where we are all paying attention to the patterns in the set. I also think we would get bonus Yoda points for a ‘pattern game’ opening to a Harold.
In order to find the game of the scene in improv, we often look for a break from routine or unusual behaviour. Yoda is bad with surprises so I think this would be hard for him to watch. I think he likes predictable a lot more than unusual. This week I tried a different brand of food with him and he was having none of it. I am several pounds out of pocket as a result. While he might enjoy the repetition of the game once it has been established, he might not hang around for it if he doesn’t like the ‘un-usual thing’.
Yoda came to me as a kitten during the first UK lockdown and I live alone, so he isn’t used to other people. He really isn’t great with humans who aren’t me and it takes him a long time to build trust. I think any groups games or large cast ensembles are going to be a no-no.
Yoda loves his treats so I think he is going to be just fine with the interval. Technically that’s not ‘part of the show’ but if people have a good interval they are in a good mood for the next section of your show. If Yoda has his treats he will be in a better mood for more improv.
Yoda loves patiently waiting to catch his favourite toy. He will spend ages stalking it before pouncing. He will work out the exact angle of attack and has no problem in waiting, adjusting and then making his move. I have a feeling that a slow-burn improv set would suit him perfectly and would probably be his favourite improv style. I suspect he would appreciate slowly emerging patterns, considered moves and, given he startles easily, nothing too frenetic.
Yoda (much like any human) will have some specific things he likes to see in improv. To get a Yoda to any of my shows, I will need to skillfully market the experience to him so that he knows it’s going to be his sort of vibe. It’s also worth remembering, if Yoda’s favourite improv isn’t mine, that’s ok. Yoda might know what he likes, but it doesn’t make his preferences anything more than that – they are just preferences, so if he doesn’t come to my next show, I will try not to take it personally.
Would your pet like your improv? Let us know in the comments section!
Lloydie regularly teaches our online improv drop-ins and courses, check out what we’ve got coming up and join him when you can 🙂