Something about Improv

I was reading How to be more interesting to other people by Penelope Trunk. At first I thought the post was about something networking, connections and making friends. I found something I can relate to in my improv class.

The interesting part of writing is not the part of the piece where you know exactly where it’s going. The interesting part is when you get to an unplanned moment in a paragraph and you surprise yourself by what you write next. It’s the moment of uncertainty, when you have to look inside yourself to keep going, and pull out something you didn’t know you had before.

During my class on Saturday, we were doing a group exercise called, "What are you doing?"

Basically we formed a circle (about 12 people), then one person goes to the center of the circle and starts acting out an action (e.g. petting a dog or shaving). After a few seconds, anyone can ask the person in the center, "What are you doing?" The person in the center has to say an action that is totally different from what he/she is doing.

For example, "I am climbing a mountain." So the person who asked the question walks to the center of the circle and do the action.

And this repeats until everyone has tried it for a few times.

The instructor, Mike, told us not to pre-think what we were about to say before. I thought he was speaking of me- usually before I get into the center of the circle, I've already one or two ideas in my mind.

Mike said the whole point of this exercise was to develop our ability to think on the spot. He said, "it doesn't matter what you said actually. What matters is you said what your decision (the action) was and stick with it (say it). A big part of improv is to let your idea flow."

One thing I like improv is like what Penelope wrote, "it is the moment of uncertainty...when you pull out something you didn't know you have before."