Jan 18, 2013

Improv with an E

It's the end of my second week of my last semester. On Wednesday, practically on a whim, I attended UVU's Improv group. 

Some of you may know or at least have guessed that I love Improv. I think it's more fun than theater as well as more useful to the performers. However, I'm not sure I want to continue doing it, and I'm hoping in writing about the experience will lead me closer to a decision.

PRO: I had a blast. I thought I'd be rustier at it, but had tons of fun pretty much the whole time, with one brutal exception that will be discussed later.

CON: Most practically and therefore most boringly, it's Wednesday night from about 7-9. With driving time and walking slow due to metal leg in the snow, it's about 2 1/2-3 hours of a commitment. I enjoy it, but I enjoy time with my family too.

PRO: I liked a lot of the people there. It seemed really diverse and the group was really cool for the most part.

CON: The brutal exception to the fun: after every game, they critiqued. I feel like a total Improv Snob (it almost rhymes!) but I think critiquing and Improv should not go together. If one wants to argue "but how do you get better without a critique?" my answer is: do more improv. But critiquing an improvisation is to me to take a lot of the fun, importance and essence out of what makes improv so great. I could argue the case further if you're interested, but it is sufficient to me to say critiquing improv is a big con, especially when to me it's a bigger critique on the critiquer than the performer.

PRO: I think practicing improv can lead to a lot of better skills like teamwork, fast-thinking, problem solving, commitment, etc etc.

CON: While it was UVU and not BYU, I got in trouble for being to "adult," (we were acting as characters in the dating game, and I guess my innuendo was too in their endo) I don't think I was being crude or offensive, and don't like the idea of not being myself. True it's Utah, but it's also NOT Comedy Sportz (which I love, don't get me wrong) and IMHO they should embrace that rather than attempt to mimic it.

PRO & CON: Improv is great. But do I need to do it now, my last semester of college, when I'm already busy with creative writing, poetry, art history, learning flash animation, tech support, design internship, husbanding, fathering, personal projects, advertising for the school literary journal, redesigning my portfolio in attempt to get a job in graphic design, etc. etc. etc.

The bottom line I have to ask myself is "will I regret it if I don't go, or if I do?" Unfortunately it's about 50/50. Not that I'm going to make my decision on what you have to say, but I welcome any thoughts or suggestions. (as always)


Charlo said...

I see the validity of critiques, but every time? can't they just do that all at the end of the night? Someone might have a bad performance, but then recover in the future ones.

That's funny to me, because I've been told a lot of stories wherein UVU goes out of it's way to make sure you KNOW it's not BYU. Professors making rude comments, performing the Vagina Dialogues, etc. Then again, Improv (utah county or otherwise) often targets family audiences. Their is not reason why it HAS to be that way, but even the first shows I saw in downtown Los Angeles 20 years ago made a huge deal about maintaining a family friendly environment. I think it also helps avoid a rut. Their is nothing more annoying than an overplayed innuendo in a comedy. More often than not, when I see an innuendo in TV or Movies, it's insultingly stupid, and not at all clever... so at least it stretches your mind, right?

ANd, if you don't do it this semester, can you do it after you graduate? Do they check UVU ID's or can you crash a UVU club?

Charlo said...

*there x2. I am really embarrassed I made a There/Their/They're mistake. Twice.