If there’s ever a time to take ourselves less seriously and enjoy life, it’s retirement!
Like many of my monthly learning goals, Improv is a skill that I tried before and liked it well enough to think: I’d like to IMPROVe!
Improving Improv with Play Your Way Sane
I’d read that Improv skills were very much like the skills encouraged in the Agile community… skills to help with teamwork, communication, collaboration, and dealing with uncertainty.
I ordered the book, “Play Your Way Sane: 120 Improv-Inspired Exercises to Help You Calm Down, Stop Spiraling and Embrace Uncertainty” last December and had been waiting for the opportunity to really dive in. Each exercise was a little activity aimed to help become more spontaneous, silly, grateful, positive, and funny!
The exercises were easy and adaptable and absolutely things that didn’t require a group, but rather, exercises that would help us individually become better, healthier, human beings.
The book is split into 12 “lessons”, each with 10 “games.” The “games” are the “exercises” or “activities.” As a big game player myself, I particularly liked Lesson 3: Finding the Game. These exercises were all about finding ways to play games in every-day life. I’m quite an expert in this and have always gamified chores or different aspects of my life.
For the most part, the lessons reminded me of the importance of finding the humor in life. My natural personality is pretty “Type A” driven by lists and plans. Improv is all about spontaneity and thinking fast, but with a chill, laid-back kind of attitude.
Improving Improv at a Broomshticks Meetup
Even though I’m quite an expert in doing exercises similar to those described in Play Your Way Sane, I’m nowhere close to being willing or ready to entertain an audience!
Luckily, Broomschticks Improv is a safe and easy way to simply play improv games without the pressure of performing for an audience.
This Broomfield Meetup group meets monthly and even newbies like me feel welcomed. Once again, improv really is all about just having fun and playing games!
I wish I could be as quick-witted as the experienced players. I think it’s amazing how they can so quickly snap into different personalities and accents.
Improving Improv by Playing with Friends and Family
In the spirit of Improv Games, I always enjoy costumes, photo-booth props, and celebrating unique holidays, like Fall Hat Month. I have a closet full of dress-up clothes and accessories and love any opportunity to celebrate.
It’s also been an awesome month to play games since my son Scotty has been visiting for the past two weeks as he’s recovering from knee surgery. Game-playing is his specialty!
When my grandkids were visiting for the weekend, Scotty taught us all to play The Fishbowl Game which is a perfect example of a good improv game. Players act out different characters while their partners guess who they’re supposed to be.
For the final day of September, creative costumes paid off! Megan, Scotty, and I won a Best Dressed Team Award for the Beauty and the Beast CluedUpp Game! I’d invited my family to join me for this event months ago. They’re all pretty busy, so I was excited that Megan and Scotty were able to play with me!
Megan arrived at my house this morning in a perfect Belle costume. Scotty and I hadn’t really put much effort into our costumes. I was the French Maid Feather Duster and he was the Beast using my gorilla costume and a cutout mask. However, Megan helped us add a few accessories and we looked great!
Scotty really was a Beast and did the entire event on crutches! It was fun to win the Best Dressed award with our “improvised” costumes. (It really helped that hardly any other teams dressed up!)
Initially, I believed that “improv” was only for those talented people like Wayne Brady who can whip out clever lyrics and witty punchlines instantly. Improv comedy on stage is something I greatly admire but there’s no way I wanted to perform on stage.
However, after this month of focused IMPROVement, I’ve discovered that improv skills have countless everyday applications that can make our lives more fun. These skills are all about adopting a mindset that finds humor in life, and I absolutely love that!