I am doing an improv show in a week. I am going to stand up on a stage with a bunch of incredible people, an MC is going to set out a set of rules and take some suggestions from the audience. There will always – ALWAYS – be a pre-teen jumping up and down in the first or second row, desperate to get the attention of our host so he can make a vulgar suggestion and get a laugh from his companions at our expense. He will be indulged at least once over the course of the show.
Since this is short-form, we will, for ninety minutes, go through a dozen different exercises of varying degrees of difficulty, finding ways to carry threads through from one part to another and build a realistic yet entertaining narrative. If it had been a long-form performance, we would instead go through a single narrative, but use different devices to hop around it in multiple ways. In the end, we hope there will be applause.
The group I am doing this with, I Am 50 Million, uses improv as part of its social outreach and personal development programs. It’s an interesting concept, one the founder, Paul Ortigoni had championed for a half-decade. I was invited to join in when I returned to the Orlando area last fall. I had so much fun I’m back. Yes, the retired performer is out of the chair and back onstage once more.
Improvmania 30 will be next Saturday, March 10, at Winter Springs Performing Arts on Tuskawilla Road in Winter Springs. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10, but there is a BOGO sale available online through Wednesday, March 7. Check the website for details.
The thing about improv is, we all do it. Every day, all the time, you and I are improvising our way through life. But that’s okay. It just makes what’s happening natural.
I hope you are there, and maybe you see a little bit of yourself in our performances. Until then, be well.