Whither Improv?

Once again, I’m orphaned from the world of improv. I elected not to put in for the lottery, for the Friday Night Stage Match at the Brave New Workshop Student Union, because I wanted to audition for some improv shows coming up at HUGE Theater. And I did audition for those shows. Well, technically I did. In actuality, I got up on stage and stunk up the place. Pretty much every bad improv habit I have reared its ugly head and belched. Overthinking. Trying to fix scenes. Going for the joke. So no, I didn’t get cast. I wouldn’t have cast me either based on what I did that day. So I won’t be in any improv for the foreseeable future.

Why the heck do I keep doing lousy improv at HUGE? I don’t get it. Get me up on stage at the Student Union, and I’m fine. But at HUGE I’m Lame-O McStifferson. Maybe I feel more pressure at HUGE, because I’m more likely to know most of the audience. Or it could simply be bad luck. I don’t know.

I am without an improv team again. HUGE held an improv mixer, in which a ton of people got together to do improv and find other people with whom to form a team. A great idea and a marvelous service. However, the lottery for Improv-A-Go-Go was held August 1st, and contact info for mixer participants wasn’t forwarded to me until August 2nd. Argh! Efforts on my own haven’t been too successful either. I have this bizarre knack to ask people to form an improv team right after they’ve decided to commit to a different team, or move out of town, or go back to school, or quit improv completely.

Lots of improv teams form sort of spontaneously. A bunch of people take a class or a workshop, they all dig each other, et voilα! Improv team! Alas, class and workshops tend to be offered right when I have no time or money. Many is the time I’ve gnashed my teeth in frustration as I watched yet another workshop go on to do great work and get a regular gig.

I’m sure not having a concrete idea of what to do doesn’t help. Do I want to do Harolds? Some genre riff? A whole new structure? Well, yeah, I want to do all of those things. But it seems like that is the sort of thing that needs to be decided on as a group. But I can’t get a group without an idea, and I can get an idea without a group.

This has happened long enough and often enough that I can’t help being a little paranoid about it. After all, I’m the common thread in all of this. But I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I never get helpful feedback, unless statements like “try harder” and “keep trying” are something you’d consider helpful. I need a bit more than that.

I don’t see how someone can be any good at any creative pursuit if they’re not doing something creative on a regular basis. My go-to creative activity has always been improv. I don’t have the eye-hand coordination for visual art, my singing resembles an elk on ‘ludes, and with joints as flexible as carbon rods dancing is out of the question too. How am I going to progress as a writer or an actor without improv?

Well, another Stage Match lottery will come up in a few months. I guess I’ll just play Skyrim until then. But hey, if you’re up for any Deconstructions, La Rondes, or Armamdos, let me know, okay?

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