Friday, November 5, 2010

90% Pump

The college team Bryan and I are coaching has their very first show tomorrow night. Last night they held rehearsal and we ran the whole show start to finish like the real thing.

Where these students lack understanding of the game of the scene or clever play, they make up in their love of improvisation and their ability to be silly. We've only been coaching them for a month and a half, so we've covered the basics: yes and, characters, commitment and guessing. And we've taught them the rules to these games. We try to drop some advanced thought in our notes (i.e. "Heighten those choices" or "Pick up some objects"), but they are still so brand spanking new that there's no way to make sure they are "ready" for a show.

I was thinking about my first show, and I remember thinking that it was going to be great. Did I have improv experience? No. Did I remember all the games I was in? No. But my coach and my teammates assured me one thing: that I would be great. And you know what? I was. I wasn't perfect, and I was stumbling, but I was committed and I was excited.

These students are excited, they made it into the school paper, and they visit me everyday in the library to say how excited they are about practice or about the show. They are having their minds blown by improv. Do you remember when you first learned improv? How much fun that was? I am reliving all of this now.

Zannie Gunn is a fabulous improviser, coach and instructor at DSI Comedy Theater, and she reminded me last night that improv is 90% pump. If you believe you'll be awesome, you will be. If you commit to yourself, to your games and to your partner, your show will be fantastic. This is what I'm banking on. Videos and update to come after our first show.

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