Alex Rediscovers his Inner Storyteller with Improv

I discovered improv largely by accident. I walked into an improv show during a stroll through my neighborhood when I saw that there was a show that night. I figured that since I was already there and was curious about improv, I might as well take a chance and jump in. There was a strong focus on being playful around a group of strangers, which can seems intimidating at first but quickly becomes a reflexive and natural process. With improv, I recognized that most of us have a hard time working play into our lives as adults out of a desire to be seen as “professional” or “normal”. Which to me, is loosely translated as boring. It was refreshing to see other people practicing the mantra of allowing their inner “weird” to shine!

We hold back a lot when we decide that we don’t want to play or be seen as childish or silly. That raw creativity that you run with when you’re a child is unparalleled in the working world. Dreams becomes smaller, laughs become fewer and contained within socially acceptable venues. I find that improv helps me tap back into my inner child in the sense that I have reset my ideas of what’s possible in my professional and creative goals.

While taking improv classes at BNW SU, I have gained lifelong friends and reconnected with my creative mindset. Improv has cut down on the internal chatter that inhibits me from taking risks and being truly authentic to myself. With improv, I have had the courage to “yes, and” my creative talents and am going back to school to build on them and forge a new career path that aligns with my core passions in music and theatre. I have seen many of my fellow students make profound changes in their lives, and I’m thrilled to be learning and growing with them here. Taking classes together helps us give each other feedback and do extra practice outside of class because there’s simply too much to learn!

In college, I studied what I considered practical and earned a more technical degree that I believed would land me in a decent career path. And it did, thankfully, but I could tell that there was something missing once I finally got there. At my core, I am a storyteller, and the deviation from that inner strength has become re-aligned through improv. I feel that improv came into my life at a very opportune time when a lot of 20-somethings begin to have a quarter-life crisis. If anything, doing improv cut down on at least a few years of stumbling around to come back full-circle to my passions. I like to connect people and ideas, and improv is a great playground where I get to break down my expectations and practice a lot of tools that make my relationships stronger.

There’s really nothing else like improv – it forces you to be real and authentic on a level that simply extends to other aspects of your life. You will be challenged and your brain will hurt especially when you reach the higher levels, but it’s those growing pains that make you stronger and more prepared to be joyful and present, no matter what life throws at you.

– Alex, BNW SU Student