Yesterday I started Improv 101 with April at Merlin Works. Hands-down, it’s the best class I’ve taken, and considering it involved me + strangers playing together, this is saying a great deal. Usually me + strangers is akin to cats + water or maybe even polar bears + desert (which makes for great Sci-Fi, but since no one calls me Cassiopeia and I don’t hang out with a group renegade space pirates called the Starjammers, it’s still a bad mix). I didn’t notice the time until we had about 15 minutes left. (Usually, when I’m in the throes of truly loathing something, I can feel each painful minute, purposely and with great directed malice, ticking by.
What I learned (aside from how to pick a thumb buddy): How to fail. This class made failing fun, because all of us celebrated our failure by throwing our arms over our head, smiling broadly and receiving a heavy round of applause from the rest of the class. In fact, sometimes it was actually worth failing for that applause. When you’d fail, you’d acknowledge it and immediately move on – no time to dwell. And everyone failed, which helped me realize I’m actually not alone when it comes to screwing things up. I may need to start doing this in other settings.
My favorite line from the class during “Slow Motion Samurai”: “Beth, the game isn’t over just because you died. You still have a death scene.”
Next favorite line directed at me from another student: “She has SCARY eyes!” This is how I won invisible tug-of-war. I just channeled my brother-in-law’s face from a Kendo class we took long ago where I’d been called-out for being intimidated by him. Hey, he can make a super SCARY face!!!
To give you a better idea of what happens there, if you’re on Facebook, look up “Merlin Works” in the search window and find the latest video posted from their Improv Mixer. There you’ll see “Rock, Paper, Scissors” – a game everyone knows that we played on our first day of class and hands-down the most fun I’ve had playing that game. The set-up: Everyone breaks into pairs and plays until there is a winner. The loser then becomes part of the winner’s entourage of super fans and follows them as they challenge other competitors (and that competitor’s crazy group of fans) until finally you have half the class cheering one guy and the other half cheering-on the other in a final match-up.
I’m already looking forward to the next class. Why does Saturday have to be six long days away?