Sunday afternoon a small group of my neighbours here on Bowen Island gathered to inaugurate an improv group. All I had was a bunch of exercises culled from the web, some eager players and a space. And that was all we needed.
After a few warm ups, we got into some evxercises and then played a few scenes. At least half of the group of eight were experienced actors, several of whom were comfortable with the openness of the structure and others who struggled a little. It was cool to see us hit some real high points (especially during on exercise called ABC where you play a scene with the dialogue rotating through each actor, and each line starting with a subsequent letter of the alphabet. What I noticed was how comfortable we were in general with a little bit of order and then space inside that to play.
For me, in addition to playing, this is really an exercise in discovering chaordic structure in practice. What is the happy balance between a little form and a little space? What constraints give us freedom and how does too much openness oppress? It’s interesting to be in this space, listening carefully, struggling to find a way to advance the line, make an offer, build on what has gone before. This is fun, but HARD, and that is the delightful challenge of it.
We’re going to keep going Monday nights at Collins Hall on Bowen Island. If you are on island, some and play! Bring a game to offer, and come prepared to learn.