Romeo and Juliet meets Rapunzel? Jack is making life long memories through improv

When I was younger my family was in Texas for Spring Break, and one night my parents went out with friends. While they were out that evening my siblings and I made this movie called “Oh, Deborah” where I played a TV show host named Deborah. My siblings played all the special guests, and all of it was made up on the spot. My parents watched it and loved it! That following summer they signed me up for an improv camp at a different theater in the Twin Cities, and the instructor pointed me straight to the Brave New Workshop. Almost five years of Teen Team and Summer Camps later, I am still hooked on improv at the Brave New Workshop Student Union.

I think that improv has made me a much more outgoing person, and much more outspoken. It has really helped me at school with my presentation skills. I don’t get stressed out when I present in class. The worries are really gone. I trust myself and I know that it is something I can do. Before improv I often kept to myself but in the past couple of years I’ve noticed that I go out of my way to talk to other people. Improv has made me more social and has really made it easier to just talk to people in general. Jumping in and listening to your feet are improv concepts that I think about often in my daily life. Taking risks and doing things I wouldn’t normally do! Last summer I went to Guatemala for an exchange program. From being in a different country to living with a host family, I don’t know if these are things I would have been comfortable doing before improv.

As an improvisor, not everything comes naturally to me. Sometimes I struggle with those first moments of a scene, were everything is uncertain. Once it gets started it is always great but getting over those first couple seconds can be really tough. I also sometimes struggle with playing new and unique characters, and I often fall back into some of my favorites. On the flip side though, I really strive in scenes with high levels of conflict. Building onto a scene and heaping on the pressure is where I shine as an improvisor. I also really enjoy coming up with new scenarios for characters to exist in.

One of my strongest Teen Team memories comes from my first show. I was so nervous and I will never forget that show. I was in a scene where it was a high school play and I played the director. All of the kids in the play were just being awful, so my character decided to do the play by myself! So, everyone steps back, and it is just me on stage. I kind of figured that is where the scene would end but…it didn’t.  From there I began a monologue of Romeo and Juliet, but I kept making Rapunzel references. It was silly and I got so many laughs, it really boosted my confidence. Afterwards, all of these really talented older kids were just showering me in compliments. Being in eighth grade, getting high praise from the older high school students was a really good feeling. They were my role models, so it was cool to feel like I was part of their group.

I would recommend BNW SU camps and classes because it just makes you more confident and being a little funnier doesn’t hurt either. The positivity and openness of improv just makes you feel good about yourself, and the people you meet through improv are just fun to be around.

To categorize my BNW SU experience in three bullet points, I would have to say…

  • Gain confidence and feel more comfortable with yourself
  • Meet lifelong friends from other communities that you would have never met otherwise
  • Everything about improv is just genuinely fun

Be Brave. Do Improv.