Last night, I signed up for improv level three, which, according to the improv school’s website, is the first course of the core curriculum. What does that mean? Goodbye fundamentals, hello serious business. Levels one and two are pretty relaxed and low key. You can simply play around until halfway through level two, when you’ll be challenged on your choices and pulled out of your comfort zone. Yesterday, one of our exercises was to stare at a classmate for five minutes. I struggled, as it’s my first instinct to feel creepy when looking at someone for an extended period of time, especially a person I’m not close with. I got over it though, and as one of my friends pointed out, all of the games we play make us better improvisers, and once you do some scenes, you understand why each exercise was valuable.
I have a few more level two sessions left before our class show in early September, and I think we’re all experiencing what I’d like to call sophomore slump. Level two reminds me a lot of how I felt my second year of high school: you’re not the youngest or newest people around, but you’re not old enough to get your license yet, and you haven’t been in the game long enough to truly know what it’s about. That said, I’m way more confident now than I was for the first half of level one — It took me about four or five classes to feel good about what I was doing and comfortable in front of my classmates. Luckily, all my instructors and fellow students have been very supportive and helpful, and I’m glad some of us will be going on to level three together. I might not be able to continue at the Magnet after that, as I’m LA-bound in early 2014, but the good news is I can always visit NYC and my awesome improv friends! LA also has tons of great improv theaters, so hopefully when I take classes at those, I don’t have to start with their level one.
Improv is different from theater to theater, though, so I might have to conform to another style after leaving the Magnet. All that matters, I suppose, is following the golden improv rule: Yes And.