Level One Improv Class Experience

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Class #1 Yes. And. Two simple words separated by nearly an entire dictionary. But when placed together, they open the door to endless improvisational opportunities. The level one class at SAK Comedy Lab is quickly learning the power of “Yes, and?” It’s an exercise that puts performers in front of the class, where they improvise through a scene suggested by classmates. As they do, they must add to their partner’s suggestion by starting the next sentence with “Yes, and … “ Example: Two performers are animal experts that have a specialty in a random animal, say a porcupine. The first performer starts with a random thought. Perhaps something like this: “A porcupine has four legs and large metal spikes that come out of its back.” As you can see, accuracy isn’t necessarily important. The other performer must now play off that. “Yes, and these metal spikes were first discovered by an explorer in the 17th century.” “Yes, and this explorer was known for the rest of his life as Jimmy Colander Hands, because he was holding the porcupine too tightly.” You get the idea … and, yes, I made these up as I typed. The result is, as you might expect, unexpected. Scenes quickly shift from setting to setting, topic to topic, wacky scenario to wacky scenario. For those of us just starting this journey, it’s an early taste of the hectic nature of improv. You cannot prepare for what you will say next because your partner may take the scene in a completely unpredictable direction (see: Jimmy Colander Hands). In fact, the more unpredictable, the better. The longer I have been in this class the more I can see that this uncertainty, this unpredictability, this inability to really prepare makes improv more enjoyable for the audience. Yes, and I’m also starting to realize it makes it more enjoyable for me. To be continued... Post by Marco Santana, local reporter and guest blogger.