Improv or improvisations a form of live theater that focuses on off-the-cuff acting. The characters, settings, lines, and/or stories are made up on the spot and evolve as the story develops. Improv is not just for the stage but can be applied and utilized in our everyday life as well.
The art of improv starts off with an idea, prompt, or moment. The roll is then cast, and it’s the job of the actors to roll with the punches. Every choice that’s made results in a reaction and then another option based upon the response, and thus the wheel continues to turn. The same applies to life, as well. On an average day, we make over 35,000 choices. From something as small as which shoes to wear to big decisions like how to respond to stressors in our everyday life. Just like in improv, every next choice is decided in the moment.
Improv is genuinely successful when those involved can live in the moment. When you’re doing an improv scene, it’s important to focus entirely on what’s happening in the moment. If your thoughts drift during an improv show, you can ruin the show, miss essential elements of the show, or lose the momentum you and the other characters have during your set. The same can apply in life. When we are too tied up in the past or worried about the future, we can miss out on amazing and unique life moments.
Improv pulls you out of your comfort zone in incredibly unique ways. In traditional theater, you have a script, practice, and notes from a director. In a conventional comedy set, you have jokes planned out, and a flow organized in advance. Improv often pulls traditional actors or comedians into new terrain. Every scene could be completely different, with new characters or unique aspects. The same applies to life. In life, new and unexpected situations can arrive at any moment! Although being in new situations can be uncomfortable, they often lead to beautiful and rewarding conditions.
Improv isn’t merely for the stage. Being involved in an improv troop or taking an improv class can not only enrich your stage presence, but it can improve your life as well.