Jim Palmer of Horley u3a has offered to set up a one day workshop on Improv to gauge the interest of members.
If you are interested please contact Jim via the envelope link and if there is sufficient interest we can get a workshop arranged, and set up a group for going forward.
I’ve been running improv (improvised Comedy) workshops in the Tesco Community
Room for a couple of years. It’s been great fun. Of course, when lockdown started, the
room was closed and we had to suspend the workshops. At that time I thought that
maybe in three months or so we could get back to normal, which didn’t seem too bad.
By the middle of the summer it was obvious that wasn’t going to happen, so going
online was the only option. But could you do improv with everyone in those little boxes
that you see on the screen when you’re using Zoom? Well, that was answered for me by
Ed, my own improv teacher, who restarted his classes doing just that. I started attending
(if that’s the word) and realised what was possible. Improv is, of course, about
performing, but our improv stage is really no more than an empty space, usually with a
couple of chairs in it in case the performers want to sit down. We have no scenery, no
props, no costumes; everything has to be created in the audience’s imagination by the
performers. It’s a bit more challenging to do that on screen when you’re not in the same
place, but it can be done.
I restarted the workshops a few weeks ago and decided to make them fortnightly rather
than monthly. Online working has its advantages – no travelling, no need to book a
venue. Despite the occasional vagaries of the technology, they’ve worked well and we’re
finding more ways of adapting the things we do to make them possible online. For
instance, I often play a warm up game where we stand in a circle and throw an imaginary
ball to one another. It occurred to me that as the ball is imaginary, it will pass through
the ether perfectly well. All we had to do to adapt was for the person throwing the ball
to call the name of the person they were throwing it to. Mind you, we still managed to
lose the ball a few times.
Improv is about performing little sketches that we make up on the spot. You don’t need
any experience because improvising is something you can learn. All you need is a
willingness to join in and have fun. My workshops are a mixture of games, exercises and
sketches designed to help everyone learn to be better improvisers. If you’re interested in
knowing more, please get in touch.