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  • Beth Boynton, RN, MS

    I LOVE my improv class! It is a wonderful way to practice and develop social skills and emotional intelligence. It can be hilarious and forgiving and also helps me to BE in the present! With people!! I also find it helpful in developing my work as a speaker and facilitator. I use it in my direct care role as an RN, My Improve instructor, David LaGraffe at in Portland, ME has a wonderful way of integrating Improv activities with all of these learnings! The rich value of this stuff belongs in schools and businesses....maybe everywhere!!! Beth Boynton, RN, MS

  • Marshall Stern

    I almost agree with everything you say except for the comment that 90% of improv sucks. Please check out Zenprov. This is improv connected to the source of genius. It takes improv to the next level. You can find the podcasts of iTunes and the group on Facebook.

  • Analiz Cabrera

    Im joining to an impro class as soon as possible!! :)

  • Improvmandan

    Good article! Gotta agree! Have participated, performed, taught and directed hundreds of people from all stripes and ages.... Improv is a blessing. It's circular and does indeed take a willingness to listen, accept an offer of info or a pantomimed offer (like a glass of water or even the suggestion of an atmosphere 'Boy is it HOT today!')...ACCEPT that offer and add your piece to the emerging scene.... and best of all it creates a warm fellowship of rascality..and a place where we can laugh ...together. Dan Weisman

  • disFace

    I am in total agreement, not only do I love the show, I am around a theater and watch the exact things you are talking about. Great idea.

  • disFace

    I am in total agreement, not only do I love the show, I am around a theater and watch the exact things you are talking about. Great idea.

  • Justin Zell

    I love this article. It captures why I love improv (both teaching and doing it). Like Tina Fey, it got me my spouse and a career/business that I'm more passionate about then anything in my life. When we began our theater, we had a few slogans "failure is the only option" .. well atleast 90% of the time ;-). And "Listen, Commit, Play." But the one that stuck is "Good at Improv, Better at Life." And this article says just that. And because I improvise, I'm not ashamed to say this article along with the link to THE DETROIT CREATIVITY PROJECT made me cry. Thank you for posting this!

  • tbinkc

    I've been performing and teaching and directing improv for 20+ years—for performers and suits, adults and kids, professionals and dabblers—and I totally agree that it's life-changing.

    And I think I may agree with 90% being bad—if "good" means "performance-for-money worthy." But if you look at it holistically, I don't think it's a bad thing.

    When you factor in the amount of time people spend in classes and workshops and rehearsals and corporate workshops vs. on stage in front of an audience...and the number of people who improvise for fun or therapeutic reasons and not to be "good" at it...and the number of new improvisers and troupes or just plain bad performers and groups...and the number of good groups having bad nights...10% is probably about right. And it's nothing to be ashamed of. If we don't fail that often, we're probably not pushing hard enough.

    I'd bet the "success" rate of other art forms and artists is pretty comparable.

  • lssloan

    Thank you! Love this...and the same is true for dance improvisation! Especially contact improvisation. I have taken improv. classes at The Second City, but I work as an improvisational artist and teacher in the dance field.

  • nkeates

    Remove the fact that you seem to have only seen bad improv and a good article. Perhaps go out and see some more improv - as I cannot agree that 90% of improv is 'shit'. (It says to click the button 'It's good' above, but am struggling whether to do so and share this - as it is insulting moreso).

  • douglas.olson1111

    I love the way the story about Improv is shared. I'm not sure I would have said, "don't be a dick" or that 90% of Improvisation is "shit"; however, that reminds me, I believe shame is often connected with body parts and body functions that are typically covered by our swim suits.
    I do believe Improv is fun and has all the values the writer spoke of, it actually helped me feel better about doing Improv and reminded me of some of the value I have begun to take for granted as "normal" ... have integrated into my being. And perhaps I've forgotten the Improv roots of many of the wonderful ways of being that I experience as me and the way I experience the World.
    Yes, Good! Oh the troupe I'm proud and pleased to be part of is called: Presence Center for Theater Arts. We are based in Charlottesville VA.
    Thanks for sharing this GOOD with me Mecca!
    I've been in an Improv Troupe for a decade (?) or so with Mecca Burns as one of our two wonderful, fearless leaders with her partner, Brad Stoller.
    BTW we're having an open rehearsal this Wednesday.
    Happy day after the International Day of Peace (9/21) and Happy day of equal Light and Darkness the Fall Equinox.
    Peace ;-) D

  • Diego Hemken

    If everyone else is agreeing on something that's truly wrong and harmful -- should we go with the flow or go our own way? I think that, when necessary, we HAVE to go against the stream -- but we should seek to learn how to do this as harmoniously as possible. Without taking anything away from anyone.

  • Hannah Wasserman

    I put "take an improv class" on my goals for 2012 list and two weeks ago I started my level 1 class. I only have 6 hours of improv under my belt, but I am such a believer. Already I feel like it has made me better in pretty much every aspect of my life. Yesterday I was thinking about how improv could be used for social change and I'm SO glad to see people are 10 steps ahead of me. Is anyone doing this in LA? If not, let's get on it.

  • Alexandria Jarvis

    Sanford Meisner describes acting as the reality of doing. There is a truthfulness to any kind of acting which makes it risky, similar to "real-life" interactions.

    The scary part this article talks about seems to be the idea of "not knowing." Improv participants can experience both openness and resistance from teammates and within themselves. I think of resistance as beginning with confusion, wondering what is the "correct" thing to do, and then shutting down and not committing to having an exchange with a teammate (or the reality that they are creating).

    The idea of "not knowing" and yet still staying engaged and committed is a good foundation for the beginning of a problem-solving process. Role-playing has a lot of overlap with improv and is a group problem-solving method/approach that a lot of designers use to explore an idea or issue.

    Role Playing:
    Experience Prototype:
    Experiential Envisioning:

    The approaches use similar principles of improv in that participants create a reality and collectively try to understand, respond, and explore it. Similar to particular improv games these methods can use what an actor would call "given circumstances. ie: predetermined roles, settings, limitations, etc. Exercises also can use props or objects to facilitate discussion and role play (Liz Sanders of Make Tools is well-known for this).

    Anywho, as an actress-gone-designer I love that the article brings out improv as a way of thinking, doing, and seeing. I recommend both trying an improv session, but also looking for ways to use the principles of improv to engage the entire mind & body in exercises pertinent to ones own field!

  • Casey Caplowe

    It's funny. I think of myself as someone who is pretty open to failing, or at least messing things up anyway, and totally loves the making it up as we go approach... but improv totally terrifies me. Which i suppose is all the more reason why i should try it.