How Improv Saved My Creative Soul

It’s a funny story really. I went to a comedy show with my husband and some friends and heard the pitch for a summer improv class. One beer in and my friend and I decided we had to sign up. We were funny weren’t we?

That class was my first exposure to a learning environment in theater and comedy. It was filled with people from all walks of life. Some had acting experience, some were old, some were young, some were shy, some were loud, but everyone was up for a good time. With open minds and a newfound ability to really listen to those around us, we came to each class willing to “play.” For me, this concept of “play” as an adult blew my mind. Who knew adults needed creative play and could find it with a group of strangers?

Stop and think about the last time you were uninhibited (while sober) and willing to say yes to an idea.

Maybe you have kids and your toddler says:

“Be a dinosaur mom!”

And you respond with:

“Ok ok fine - ROAAAR I’m a T-Rex!”

Great! That’s play. With a kid.

But what if someone in your office came to you and said:

“I have an idea for this pitch where we walk in dressed as robots…”

And you responded with:

“Yes! And then we all speak in monotones and are synchronized as we hand out the sales charts!”

Usually when someone brings a creative, but wild idea to work it gets shut down. I’m not proposing people dress as robots to excel at sales pitches, but I am saying there is value in looking creatively at your environment and accepting what those around you are offering.

Improv came into my life during a creative dearth. It allowed me to adapt my love for public speaking into something creative and innovative. It changed the way I think about comedy and listening. While play as an adult is lost on most of our society I think we need to bring it back. Maybe a robot at your next meeting is just what you need.

- By Katie McLain