Ray Practices Self-Awareness

I’ve been taking improv for about five years now. I was looking through the community ed catalog because I wanted to pursue a new hobby and I always had a fascination with comedy. I moved to Minneapolis in the sixties during high school and Dudley Riggs’ Brave New Workshop was running shows all the time. I had been to one or two shows over the years, and thought why not give it a shot myself? So I took a leap to sign up for it and here I am today.

Since I’ve been practicing improv, I’m more ready to respond at the drop of a hat. I was at a stand-up comedy contest at the Mall of America and I was sitting on the front row. There was a Frank Sinatra song on and the performer sang along with it for a little bit, then gave me the microphone and told me to give it a shot. I just belted it out – I didn’t really hesitate. In a way, improv has trained me to be creatively fearless. I am learning to act and speak or even sing without reservation.

Improv has helped me to become a better listener in relationships. I practice not only listening but also agreeing to say “yes” and add on. Part of my history is the fact that I don’t talk that much. I’m generally a pretty reserved person. Improv helped me to be able to be more fluid in social situations at home and beyond.

Improv has also brought me into contact with a lot of different people. The whole improv community is interesting, caring and open bunch of people. It has enriched my life in many ways. It’s helped me increase my own creativity. I can perform in public without having a script and do it in everyday life. It’s opened me up in a lot of different dimensions.

My life is much more playful when you accept the fact that we basically make up life as we go along. We don’t have to have it planned out. The improv mindset helps me out when I play with my four-year-old grandson. Kids have so much creative energy and I found that we made up a lot of games together. I feel that my new perspective with improv makes me a better person and a better partner. It probably makes me easier to live with because I’m more responsive, a better listener and more willing to agree and be aware of how much I disagree.

Ray Hakko, Current BNW SU Student in Everyday Improv for Seniors

Be Brave. Do Improv.