Getting to Know Each Other through Improv
Pranit Chand, September 23, 2019
When I first heard the word ‘improv’, I’ll be honest, I really did not know what it meant. However my first improv experience at Marlboro was something that I’ll cherish. On one of our first evenings the first-year students piled into a bus to the New England Youth Theater in Brattleboro. Being a small class we were all already acquainted with one another, but we were about to get to know each other much better.
The only thing that I was told about improv was to follow the “Yes, And” rule. Meaning that everything has to be followed by something. First we had to introduce ourselves. Sounds pretty simple. Right? But there’s always a catch. We had to follow it by producing an action with our name. It was all up to us, we just had to use our creativity and imagination. Some made a wavy sound, some gave a thunderous beat to their name. Some just flicked their hair. I, on the other hand, with my overly dramatic ideas, just went to the floor with my knees and waved my hands while shouting my name. I’m glad that I did not injure my leg with all the action.
Next we played a very fun game called ‘What are you doing?’ We were all in a circle, and the person to your left does something that their predecessor told them. And then you ask them, “What are you doing?” They can say anything but the thing that they are doing—it has to be completely different. For instance, there was one person who acted as if they were suffering from a case of poisoning, and when asked what they were doing, they replied “I’m a fish swimming in a pond.” When one of my friends told me, “I’m attacking Russia in the winter,” I acted out that, in freezing cold, I marched towards Russia.
Then we played something called ‘the sculpture game,’. In the sculpture game some of us recreated the iconic ‘Titanic Pose’. We followed it by ‘hitchhiker,’ and finally ‘boss vs. employee.’ Sorry to say that, despite my awesome excuses, I was fired from the job even though I was just trying to save my friend who was late to work. I must say we have some pretty talented actors in our bunch, and I really enjoyed the entire experience.