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What is Improv?

In one way, improv can be though of as a type of theatre where the actors come up with scenes and play games from suggestions taken by the audience. These improvisers employ humor and drama to create entertainment for the audience. One of the basic principles of this type of improvisation is that the actor will not have time to think and will use his/her whole mind, instead of just the conscious part. The actor draws on an amazing amount of creativity that is usually obscured. The more basic, less scripted this work is, the more the effect is achieved. Audience and actors move together as a team to create theatrical "moments of truth". Humor is by far the easiest way to create these moments. Drama, however, should not be overlooked, because the "moment of truth" in drama is very rich and powerful. If both audience and performers are into the improv moment, the experience will easily parallel the association one has with an exciting sporting game, a teary eyed movie, and a ROTFL comedian.

On another level, improv is a way of being. It is a method that allows for creativity beyond the normal. It allows for confidence and real emotion to become unblocked. For many improv players, improv is therapy and knowledge. On a personal level, I can say that I have seen only a few perfect moments (moments that just seemed completely right); most of these moments have occurred during improv.

On an even higher level, improv is reverting to childhood, to games, to no censors, to ancient behavior. What is it like to clearly feel the emotions that mankind shares together? It goes back to something as simple as "breathe in: breathe out."