Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Live from Fremont!

Confession time:  For the past 5-6 months, I've been secretly enrolled in Comedy Improv classes!

For those of you that know me well...this little announcement is probably a total shock as it is so unlike me and so completely outside my comfort zone.

I will let you in on another secret...earlier in the year, I discovered Made Up Theatre, this fabulously talented comedy improv troupe in Fremont, CA.  Their weekend performances are absolutely hilarious, as each show is fueled by audience suggestions (very similar to Whose Line Is it Anyway?).  Their shows are so much fun that I go almost every weekend!!  I highly, highly, highly recommend that you check out one of their shows.

In addition to their weekly shows, they also offer private shows, team-building/corporate training workshops and even teach comedy improv classes!  As I was gearing up to start my presenting my quilting workshops and lecture/trunks shows to quilt guilds and shops, I was looking for ways to improve my public presentation skills and confidence in speaking with larger audiences.  So I figured this would be a fun professional development opportunity and went on to sign up for Level A:  Elements of Improv.

I was a little nervous heading into my first class, as I had no idea what to expect.  Those two hours flew by so fast as we had so much fun playing game after game, while unlocking the fundamentals of good comedy improv along the way.  We learned the importance of "Yes, and..." in acknowledging and contributing to what others present along the way; that not only is it ok to make a mistake up on stage, but that these mistakes are often wonderful gifts to our fellow performers and add another layer of humor to the experience; and how important it is to support your fellow performers and have their back.  My classmates and I really bonded over this shared experience and many of us have gone onto continue the fun in Level B and Level C.    

This past weekend, as part of our Level C graduation, we had our first public performance open to family & friends.  We were ecstatic to see so many of our family & friends in attendance (the owners had to bring in more chairs to accommodate!!).  The great thing about comedy improv is that it requires you to be 100% in the moment and attentive to what your fellow cast members are doing, so you totally forget that there is a live audience watching (until of course, they applaud, laugh and cheer!!)  Similar to all our classes, the hour-long show flew by and the next thing we knew it was over!!

Many thanks to all my fellow classmates (from Level A through C) who were 100% supportive and brought wonderful energy to each and every skit.  I learned something from each of them.  Special thanks to our fearless teachers (Sean, Dustin and Robert), who shared their passion for comedy improv and really pushed us outside of our individual comfort zones, while providing a supportive learning environment.  Many thanks to my family & friends who cheered me on and even threw out one of the first scene suggestions:  "Quilt Show!" that was certainly in my comfort zone for the first half!!  For those that were unable to attend this past weekend, mark your calendars for February 19th, as I move onto Level D which will conclude with another graduation show.

4 comments:

  1. What fun, Mel! So many ways this will work into your life.

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    1. Oh absolutely Ann! I really love the whole philosophy/approach and see so many applications to life, work, relationships, etc. I read a really great book applying comedy improv to corporate/management training...fascinating!!

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    1. Oh believe me...there were certainly a lot of fears on my part...but I put my trust in my fellow cast members, my instructors and certainly myself...and just had fun!

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