Improv class 1 – Just play

On my way to the opening class in a series of 8 in Improvisation, I came to the realisation that the current series is the 5th since the inception of these classes last year. I felt so honoured that every time I present a class between 6 and 12 people show up and unquestioningly open themselves to the power of vulnerability by letting down their guard and become fully alive in the present moment.

The theme of the first class was “play”. We started the class with an introductions game called story exchange. After everyone was introduced we played a couple of name games (Name circle, Bang bang and superheroes)to get better acquainted with everyone’s names. We then played Bodyguard. In this game each player picks 2 other players in his/her mind and assign them with the roles of bodyguard and enemy. When the game starts each player must make sure that his/her enemy is always between him/her and his/her enemy. This causes a lot of playful running around and laughter. I remember the first time I played this game I felt the freedom of being a child again. I think what makes this game so much fun and creates so much laughter is the fact that you have a very simple goal that you can never completely attain without moving. Another reason why I think the game is so much fun is because you can see how your movement impacts everyone else and that gives you an exhilarating sense of belonging. The next game we played is called “Bunny bunny”. This game is too wondrously absurd to explain on paper. It requires a constant focus and being present. Our fear for failure is often what prevents us from being present. That is why we say in improvisation there is no such thing as a failure or a mistake. In improv everything is an offer, even a so called “mistake”. An exercise that I use to illustrate this is very aptly called “I failed” or also known as Circus bow. In the game every participant is given a chance to make a large bow and say anything along the lines of, “I failed” or “I made a mistake”. The rest of the group then gives a big round of applause…as though this failure was a beautifully constructed success.

The last game for the evening was “Yes lets!” In this game any one can make a suggestion like, “Lets play soccer” or “Let’s howl at the moon”. The others then respond very excitedly with the words, “Yes lets!” and mime doing what was suggested with enthusiasm. It’s amazing how much fun this game is if you really commit to it. It is not very often that people accept our ideas with so much enthusiasm and not just say they support it but also do it right away. This is absolutely the spirit of improvisation – contributing and appreciating. What a great way to end our first class. Thank you for everyone’s participation.

2 Replies to “Improv class 1 – Just play”

  1. This class is for me a seat beside a fire where an ” oxtail potjie” is bubbling lazily, with caramel dumplings snugly nestled in another cast iron pot…ready to be cooked. You see the new faces across flames attempting to lick stars from the sky. The setting is unfamiliar, but the promise of what’s at the end of this warming & filling process…irresistable. Thanks B…for being fire that lights the spark.

  2. Thanks for writing the blog Burgert, it helps me remember all the fun games we played.
    I’m looking forward to the rest of the course!

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