asker

Anonymous asked: Kinda stupid question. I'm a beginning improviser at university, and my uni has an improv team that has some problems. The guy who runs it resists any suggestions from anyone, isn't good about encouraging improvement on any level, has been doing this for years, etc. The team also has a lot of cheap, gimmicky habits (imo, I guess). But the team performs. A lot. Is it better to play with them and get performance experience or stay away because I just wish it was a better environment? Thanks.

I feel I’m handling anonymous questions of hypothetical situations badly here, so I’m not sure exact what to say without having seen the examples of this group or what’s being done or what’s a cheap, gimmicky habit.

But I’m going to answer anyway.

This is not a final answer, and it may not be right for your situation, but your description reminds me of what a lot of people go through when they want to do improv, but they don’t yet have a show or group which feels exactly right. Unless you’re being personally disrespected, there’s probably a lot to learn in terms of saying yes to the vibe and strengths of the situation, rather than find reasons to stay back. I’d say do it, enjoy it, embrace the things that feel like gimmicks and find a way to have fun and down the road there will be opportunities that are more what you envision. An inner judge and censor can grow so strong that it could become hard to defeat later. 

If it really just feels demoralizing and distasteful to do, then no, it isn’t worth it. But if it COULD be fun, and you don’t have an immediate better path — it feels like something you should try in order to practice doing stuff.

I’m really not learning my lesson because without knowing the specifics of your situation, I’ll bring up a situation from my life it makes me think of. It may not really be similar. But my freshman year of college I met a group of friends who loved, without reservation, top 40 pop music. In high school I had been a discerning music snob of the highest order. But now that I had friends who seemed to truly love whatever the radio was playing all the time —- I kinda learned to love pop music. And I learned to dance (Or at least to enjoy dancing) and to let go of the idea that the music I was playing was my identity. When I graduated from college, I worked as a journalist with a bunch of music snobs and found that my snobby taste had not left me and I went right back to digging for old Replacements CDs and whatever. And I don’t regret learning to love something I had been put off from.

I really liked my friends, and felt happy around them. So that might be the difference.

DM me for a zipped file of Bobby Brown’s “Don’t Be Cruel” album.

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