Why Improv?

Summer session is just around the corner and many of you might be wondering why.  Why do improv?  Why spend your time pretending to be someone else when it’s already difficult being yourself.  Life is a beautiful mess with roller coaster ups and downs and doubt whispering sweet “your-gonna-fails” in your ear.   Improv teaches you to accept the good with the bad, the ups with the downs and everything in-between then add something to it.  It’s the ever familiar improv phrase “yes and.”  This idea is not only brilliant in improv but in life in general.  If you take the very basic idea that you accept what you’ve been given and then add to it you’ll constantly be in your own present. And present is where life happens.  Not in the past, not in the future, but here and now.  As Shana says (I’m paraphrasing) “We improvise our lives.  Why not be better at it.”

The best improv tenant I learned was failure isn’t bad.  It’s actually good.  It’s what propels us to learn and grow.  Failure is a concept I was never really comfortable with.  Being a vocalist my entire life perfection was strive worthy.  But that attempt at perfection is what kept me from moving forward.  Every time on stage was the possibility of failure. Because this thought raged in my head I failed almost every time.  I would forget the lyrics or I’d be off key.  And it’s not because I wasn’t good.  I was.  It’s because if you continually believe that you have to be perfect, that one moment of being “off” is unacceptable, then failure is inevitable.  Improv teaches us that there is no failure but an opportunity for something new, to be propelled into a different scene, moment, song… It’s an idea that I’m still struggling with today and will always struggle with.  But it’s improv that has allowed me to move forward by treating failure as an opportunity.

So, yes, I spend my time pretending to be someone else.  I spend my time trying to find the game in every scene.  I spend my time thrusting myself out on stage even when I have nothing.  But I also spend my time more free, more happy then I’d ever been in the past.  Improv works.


About Chelley Pyatt

Chelley has been doing improv since November of 2008. She has learned a lot and is planning to learn a lot more. Chelley is a current Merlin Works Improv Singing 301 student and blogger

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