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  • Writer's pictureTerry Withers

Improv is a fun activity for adults

Updated: Jun 20


Someone Fun Wrote JMPROV IS FUN In Order To Have Some Fun By Spelling Improv Wrong
Improv Is Fun, Even When You Spell It Wrong!

Hey, I don't know if you are aware, but improv (or improv comedy) is a super fun activity for adults! Improv will have you laughing and celebrating and wondering, the way you did when you were a child at play. I can honestly say, having rediscovered improv at the age of 13, that my life has been far more fun and joyous for it!


Do you get what I'm saying? Improv is a fun activity for adults, like amusement parks, billiards tables or concerts. It isn't not fun the way HVAC Maintenance, FHA Loan Requirements, or best practices for your lawn.


It's fun. Get it?


Counterintuitively, this fun pastime is also difficult. That means that as you study improv you may go through a not fun phase that feels more like memorizing the capitals of all 50 states than playing like a child. That's appropriate for people who are serious about becoming improv teachers or touring performers.


But that's not for everyone. Fun IS for everyone. As RA has grown we've lost sight of that once or twice. We're going to get this basic truth back into focus.


The Radical Agreement Project recently held a meeting for all of our teaching staff in which we discussed overall trends and the general state of the improv education we have been providing. In dissecting all of our classes and workshops we decided that one thing we could do better is highlight the fun of Improv, especially for newer students.


So we have some new policies that we're going to be implementing starting this week and next.


Probably the biggest change is that we are now designating the free daily workshops at 4:00 PM ET to be solely focused on fun beginner improv comedy games. This might sound like a slightly confusing new policy, since those sessions are already called Beginner Improv Workshops. Yes, but, we're an ambitious crew and some advanced ideas, exercises and notes have been creeping into the 4:00 p.m. sessions for years.


So we are going to drain any advanced or intermediate training out of the 4:00 PM ET workshops and save those types of notes and exercises for multi session classes and the intermediate session at 4:30 PM ET and above.


Going hand in hand with this decision is a stricter requirement for the the 4:30 PM intermediate sessions. We've been too friendly (too nice?) allowing newer students to jump into the free intermediate sessions, sometimes after just attending one or two of the beginner sessions. The result is that the Intermediate sessions focus on beginner skills with an intermediate ethic (a stance that is not as much fun as beginner improv approach).


So it is bad for everyone! Beginners are in over their head and receiving notes that make improv no fun. And more advanced students are being forced to relearn basics (which isn't the worst thing, but not ideal).


Moving forward, only students who have attended and completed a full multi session improv comedy class with RA will be allowed into the intermediate sessions. You will need approval from your teacher or a 4 PM session teacher to begin the intermediate sessions.


If you are currently attending intermediate sessions but haven't taken a class, that's fine. Just stay where you are. The policy change is for new students not existing ones.


To be a little clearer, beginner sessions will focus on fun improv games, like:


  • New Choice

  • Subtitles

  • Sit, Stand, Kneel (using Zoom backgrounds instead of physical movement)

  • Made Up Word

  • But If You Leave The Camera Rolling...

  • First Line, Last Line

  • 7 Words Or Less

  • Flip Flop Speaker or Scenes

  • How Dare You

  • Master/Servant

  • Guest Panel

  • Cocktail Party


The exercises listed above are improv classics often used in short form shows and classes. These are mostly fun exercises with little or no educational value from an improv perspective except for helping students to build confidence when speaking extemporaneously. With this new focus, the 4 PM sessions should prove to be a blast!


The intermediate sessions will focus on more advanced skillsets like:


  • Building A Base Reality

  • General Improv Guidelines

  • Listening

  • Finding Game

  • Justifications

  • Heightening Patterns

  • Premise Initiations

  • Resting / Playing, or Exploring / Heightening Game

  • Straight Man / Crazy Man Scenes

  • Peas In A Pod Scenes

  • World Games

  • Mapping Games


These changes are being made in anticipation of further growth for RA. The thinking is that by being a bit more intentional on what we teach when, we can help students streamline their education and provide them with a roadmap for true growth in improv.


If you have ideas or thoughts on other changes RA could make, please reach out to share by email: terry (at) radicalagreement (dot) com.


QUOTES FROM RA STUDENTS ON WHY IMPROV IS FUN


Here are some quotes from current RA students on why improv with The Radical Agreement Project is fun!'


"Improv online is a lot of fun for me because you get to meet people from all over the world and you get here what they think about your scenes and your improv. It's been an expansive experience full of fun surprises." - Ruth


"I love the freedom to be whoever I want to be, and to connect with other people by being free. Instead of having to follow the rules, you know, societal rules." - Gordon


"It is very fun. So it's mostly because there's a lot of absurdity, and a lot. And also, because it's fast, so it feels like a ping pong match. And you really you really are in the moment, and everybody has different different episode and funny ideas. So you're surrounded by funny people." - Sally


"Well, because you get to discover things is easier when you're not being yourself." - Evan


"I think maybe my third class in I looked around and I realized everyone was just pretending. It felt like I was a kid again?2 It is so much fun and the laughter you get into. Wow." - Missy


"I like things that have a method to them and the way RA approaches improv, tere certainly is a method. I feel I can get better incrementally using the techniques I'm learning in class." - Wendell


"I've always loved improv and I probably always will! Anything can happen and the kookiest things do! Love it." - Burt

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