Saturday, August 18, 2007

I Wanna Be A Rock Star?

Last night I went to the first night of the improv workshop, at the Edison Johnson Recreation Center, which I mentioned a few weeks ago. Friday night was intended to be a demo of sorts, but it was more like a teaser workshop, involving very active participation. The whole workshop is learning improvisation through Theatre Games, devised by Viola Spolin, which are, as I understand it, games for learning how to overcome some of the challenges inherent in improvisation. Listening to the other players appears to be extremely important. For example, one game involved two players' ranting about two separate topics to someone between them, resulting in their learning how to alternate their speech and interrupt each other without talking over one another. A side benefit to these games is potentially learning to be more spontaneous and perhaps learning to be more confident and outgoing in the process.

A lot of the games were fun. We talked in gibberish and two people transformed that into a hilarious scene. We played word association games did various other exercises. One game involved everyone's pretending that a coat hanger was some other kind of object. Marcia Kimmell, the instructor, also demonstrated more serious and non-comedic improvisation. Finally, we did some musical improvisation.

While participating in the musical improvisation, something really clicked. I realized how much I enjoyed that and how comfortable it felt compared to the rest of our activities. I've gotten extremely comfortable playing music with other people since I started playing guitar a year and a half ago. Now, I'm not saying, by any means, that I am actually good at playing music. My need for self-deprecation shoots through the roof when I talk about my playing abilities or when I play for a new audience. The point is that it's something that I truly enjoy and it feels natural. Performing in some theatrical way, however, doesn't feel right to me, even if it's just acting out a simple phrase. I can honestly say that I have never wanted to be an actress, even on the smallest of stages. So, I ended up deciding not to participate in the rest of the workshop, because I can't do everything and I need to focus on the artistic endeavors that feel right to me.

One thing I did reaffirm last night was that I definitely enjoy watching improv. Fortunately, we all have an opportunity to see a performance in the near future. My boss will be performing with Fatmouth Improv again, in Durham, at the Common Ground Theatre, Saturday, August 25th, at 8pm.

Meanwhile, I'll actually go practice my guitar.

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