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Improv - Easy to get addicted to!

I've always admired people who could just get up on stage and perform – well, basically get up and do anything – even if it was just to make an announcement. It's not that I'm afraid of public speaking, but I need to be prepared and I need to be myself. Acting, now that I don't know the first thing about! I remember being at a party once and someone came up to me with a wig and slapped it on my head. Now, any person with even a little acting ability would have tried to joke around and get into some sort of character. Me? I froze. I didn't know how to act or what to do. This is how far I am away from the world of performing arts.

Nevertheless, I got involved with The Stage about two years ago, but kept it more to backstage activities - mostly doing the marketing, which I really enjoyed, and still do. Then Karen, The Stage's Volunteer Manager, mentioned to me that she had set herself a challenge that for a period of time she would do something new each week that she had never dared to do before. That, she explained, is how she came to perform at The Stage’s first Poetry Slam two years ago.

Well, I didn't wanna do something challenging EVERY week, but I thought it would be a great idea to sometimes push myself to try something outside of my personal comfort zone. That is how I signed up for the Improvisation 101 workshop with The Stage's Adaya Turkia.

And I can tell you – I was super nervous before the first session! But, from the first get-to-know-each-other-round I could tell that most of the other workshop participants were nervous too, although everybody had different reasons: doing improvisation not in their mother tongue, having done a lot of improv when they were young but kind of left it behind as they grew older or never having done improvisation before - like me. Not being alone in my nervousness and starting from zero in this workshop helped a lot to get into the fascinating world of improvisation.

Also Adaya Turkia, the leader of the workshop, was amazing in engaging everyone at his or her level and get across her love for improvisation and her belief that everybody can learn it. The first session flew by and I was left looking forward to next week's session. With every week the group grew closer together and I personally felt more and more confident with getting up and just improvising. I enjoyed the challenge, I enjoyed learning something new, I enjoyed the company and I enjoyed the weekly getaway from everyday life. For the later one, Adaya played a big role, as her teaching style really picks you up at the door, leaving everything else outside and makes you enjoy and be fully engaged in the session.

After six weeks I got addicted to improvisation and was very sad that the workshop was over already. Luckily, I wasn't the only one because we were enough people to do an extension course! And today, I even feel prepared to go to the weekly open improvisation sessions in Dubnov Park where other 'addicts' gather to improvise.

I am not sure what I will do the next time someone at a party puts a wig on my head – but I guess I'll probably just improvise.

/Manuela Lewerth

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