We won’t bore you with a history lesson on improv, improvising, improv comedy, etc. but we are pretty sure that acting and performance in a non-scripted theatrical, in-the-moment way has been around since the Shakespearean days (obviously before that but remember this isn’t a history lesson, people). All humans need an outlet to the drudgery of life (you may know it as those dang bills, mean people and traffic woes). Before smart phones and tablets dominated our attention spans, people made up plays and performed in town squares. It was for entertainment purposes and to break the monotony of boring life – to make the audience think, laugh, wonder. And I’m sure the actors just couldn’t handle not being up there on stage.
While not all writers and actors became famous…who do we know today that has been famous and really nailed the improv thing? What made them find their way from dodgy comedy clubs to Hollywood?
Seems like a perfect line up for Saturday Night Live…oh wait. While you personally may not want to be on SNL (or maybe you do), it’s interesting to watch these actors now and think about how their foundation of improv has made them in to leading roles in major motion pictures or other entertainment avenues that they have pursued. Why is that? We think it includes some of these reasons (but not limited to):
1. Improv makes you think and react on your feet. It isn’t an art form that your lines (script) have been rehearsed for weeks and you have dress rehearsals.
2. Improv makes you get out of your head and react to what is happening in that exact moment. Literally, that moment.
3. Improv requires you to really listen to your fellow actors and directors.
4. Improv allows you to be fun but not forced to be “funny”. You can pick a character and really make that character come alive in their voice, mannerisms, emotional reactions to others and physicality. Your character choices can be inspired by people you know, a side of you or completely made up (stereotypical, yep!)
5. Improv is constantly putting yourself in an uncomfortable place hoping to push yourself to grow and be better.
6. Improv is not only for those that like to perform but for those that want to live a much more positive and encouraging life. Yes And is the slogan and it really will help you and improve all aspects of your life.
Merlin Works will support you in whatever you want to do – become a celebrity on SNL or just enjoy making new friends and getting out of your comfort zone. Regardless of what you come to take classes here for, we think you will find it to be far more than your wildest expectations.
— Erin Wike