I love improv. I love it, I love it, I love it. Improv, for those of you who don’t know, is short for improvisational acting. It is unscripted and completely random. You get your ass in front of an audience and make stuff up on the dot. It’s very much like a conversation. Improv is entirely creative and can change at the drop of a hat. You have the reins. There is no script to tell you what to do.
Of course, you do have to have some kind of uniformity. Be that playing a character, or just acting as yourself. This summer I joined the cast of the Virginia Renaissance Faire and can now say I have been trained in improv acting. I played a character of my creation named Finn Swisher. He is a failed squire under Sir Kumquat in the Staffordshire militia. Mind you, he didn’t just happen over night. It took a moth of intensive lessons on the weekend and intensive practice during the week to figure out how I wanted to portray Finn. I had to find a walk for him, a voice, and a bit of a backstory. There was work to be done, but after that it was up to me.
My experience at a Renaissance Faire is most definitely not what happens across the board of improv acting. There is improv comedy, or stand up which can involve playing characters, but more often than not, the comedians are acting as themselves. The improve acting I did at the Renaissance Faire is also known as “360 Theater”. This means exactly what it sounds like it should. The ground is your theater and the people around you are your audience. You must be in character all the time for however many hours the job requires. The work can be a grueling process.
Despite all the difficulties that come with being an improv actor, or comedian it is enjoyable and if you like to act and are willing to take on the challenge, then I urge you to do it.
Shine on you crazy diamonds!
I’ll see you in the next blog post.
For more information on how you can join the cast of VARF, or come and see us go to http://www.varf.org