On Saturday, December 14th, my Second City Conservatory class completed our year-long training program at the Second City Training Centre teaching us how to improvise and develop premises for scenes used to create a Second City-style production. We performed it on the Main Stage at 3pm. I arrived home in Streetsville at 3am. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my comedy career to date.
Because I feel this blog post won’t truly be able to describe the sheer joy, thrill, pride (the good kind), love and fun that resulted from that day’s performance, I thought maybe instead, I’d offer up a few things I’ve written down over the course of the last year that I thought were worth remembering, and if anyone else happens to stumble upon this page, maybe you’ll find it helpful in your own pursuit of improvisational nirvana:
- When you get lost, Stop & Explore;
- Really Listen – like, the way you have to when someone with a heavy accent is speaking to you and you want to make sure you don’t give them the wrong advice, or send them in the wrong direction, unless you do it on purpose for hilarious consequences, but seriously, listen up!
- Stuck asking questions in a scene all the time? How about using a little thing called your emotions. Be affected by the offers you’re receiving. If someone says something mean, be angry, DAMNIT! Don’t just try to think up some clever comeback. Stop trying to be so damn clever, will you?
- Learn the Dinosaur Game, because it’s fun.
- Be present in your scene.
- Like a fine wine, let those special moments breathe in your scene;
- Shut the fuck up backstage!
- If and when possible, use pyrotechnics.
- Play real life characters, give people something with which they can identify.
- Read Lord of the Flies;
- Don’t be afraid to kill your babies, (even if they are great songs you worked your ass off re-writing)
- Forgive yourself; the 2nd time you run a scene will probably be the worst. Know that, and run it until it works;
- Push your limits, and don’t rein it in until you’ve gotten as far as you can go – and then some.
It also helps to work with an amazing group of people who are all hilarious and wonderful; all from different stages in the game; all dealing with their own crap outside the classroom, but all of whom have had a remarkable impact on my comedic education thus far. I was really lucky to get to work with such a great group of individuals and at the risk of sounding corny, I’m ridiculously sad that we only get to play together once more.
Oh that’s right, I didn’t mention the REMOUNT? Well, for those of you who didn’t make it out on the 14th on account of the absolutely awful weather conditions, book off Friday morning from work because we’re boarding The Bipolar Express one last time on Thursday, January 23rd at 11pm at the Second City Main Stage and trust, you do not want to miss this party.
What a year, CCC readers. I can’t wait to see what’s next!