We begin most of our classes by asking a simple question: “What is improv?” Of course, improv is different things to different people, so we always get wildly different answers. As a theatrical artform, the roots of improvisational acting can be traced all the way back to the Commedia del Arte and their improvised structures. To some, it is therapy. To yet others, it’s party games and punchlines. And, to others, it’s a creative medium very well suited to creating incredible and exciting narratives and drama. Improv is all of these things.
As a director, teacher, and artist, I believe, artistically, that improv at its core is naked abandon and trust. It’s a microcosm of real life. It is real people acting and reacting in the moment. Improv is stimulus and reaction! Improv is cause and effect. There are moments of drama and comedy in everyone’s world and improv showcases those moments for the audience to see.
Improv is life. Life is improv. When the improvisor realizes this and stops worrying about the “rules”, life and improv are beautiful.