Stephen Improves Active Listening

I think that newcomers to improv should know that most of us don’t have any background in performance. I have some family that does theater, but I’m way on the other side of the spectrum as a computer software engineer. Improv was something that always sounded interesting to me, but ultimately it was one of my co-workers who recommended the class to me. One of the great things that improv does is bring people together from very different walks of life to an even playing field. We’re all just here trying to figure out how to be better people and have more fun in our lives, and improv has helped me understand myself better.

I feel like I’m able to take a lot more risks in my class since the instructor and my classmates have been so supportive. I really like our instructor–he brought out a lot in me as an improviser and as a person. I tend to have a really deadpan sense of sarcasm, and he’s really gullible, but we had this great chemistry to make it work since he’s such an open person. He actually encouraged us to exploit his lack of a sarcasm detector because I think he saw the value in building trust within the group. This attitude helped us create a safe environment for all of us to play together. I am finding that my humor is becoming more accessible to me when I’m not trying so hard to say the “right” thing and just “Yes! And” the random ideas I encounter as gifts to work with.

Even from just these first few classes, I’m already noticing that I do more active listening. Being able to stay present with a scene partner when we’re playing improv games has also helped me be more present in my relationships in other areas of my life. I’m able to consider a wider variety of possibilities on the spot and feel less attached to single ideas in personal relationships and in my career.  Before taking classes here, I had a vague sense of improv from watching comedians who had an improv background, but I’ve made lots of new discoveries as well. Improv has been a great tool to build my adaptability and awareness in the moment. As I continue my improv journey at BNW SU, I hope to find the source of my creativity and become more adaptable in my life!

Stephen L., BNW SU Student in Intro to Improv Elective Course

Be Brave. Do Improv.