Okay, so I lied... this was my first improv class in Tel Aviv that I actually signed up for. And I was terrified. Let me explain. We’ll need to go back to my high school drama class (shoutout to Masquers club in Oak Ridge, TN), where I watched in awe as the cool theater kids stood up to do improv and when I finally got the courage to try, I totally choked. I didn’t know what to say, didn’t have any chemistry with my partner, and wasn’t funny.
Fast forward to 2009 when I moved to Israel and attended an improv event in Tel Aviv at the Moishe House. Little did I know that this was not a ‘show’ and I would not be a spectator. The leader, who apparently was a semi famous comedian at the time, made each of us participate. I stood by for the longest time until I couldn’t avoid it. The game was that we had an object in our hands and each time a new person was swapped in or out they would change the object and a new scene would start. I said a line, and then it was the comedian’s turn to be my partner, he claimed the object was an engagement ring and yelled at me for losing it. I yelled back ”stop yelling at me!” (because that’s how I felt) and tapped someone else in. It wasn’t as terrible as my first experience, however I was ill-prepared for the intensity and wanted to leave as soon as possible.
So 10 years later, I’m getting stuck while writing so I tried Improv in Tel Aviv for the 2nd time. I mean, it kinda worked for “Jane the Virgin” right?
Even though I put myself in this situation I was nervous before the improv workshop. Up until then my claim to fame was playing the Big Bad Wolf in kindergarten (I got a standing ovation). I’ve never been one to shy away from making school announcements or being the center of attention; I even dabbled in public speaking to Birthright groups, though that was with a rehearsed script. Improv to me has always been super intimidating. Having to come up with something on the spot is a new ball game.
Thankfully this Improv for Writers workshop was by The Stage, an an English speaking performing arts organization I am a proud member of, and have support from my colleagues. Singing and acting coach Adi Singer lead the workshop and she was extremely positive and calming. At the beginning we discussed concepts of improv, trusting yourself, going with the flow. We played a few warm up games and paired up to do exercises. As this was an improv class for writing, we also each discussed our piece and what we were stuck on. In short, the class was a great warm up for thinking on my feet, accepting my own instincts, and also helped me open my mind to new writing angles. I definitely left with tools, ideas and inspiration to continue writing.
Here are My Main Takeaways from my Improv Class in Tel Aviv:
SAY YES TO YOURSELF
We’re really great at tearing down our own ideas. Saying “yes” to an instinct and seeing where it leads is freeing and helps you trust yourself.
Failing is GOOD
You don’t have anything funny to say? Great. You’ve failed 54,781 times? Give yourself a pat on the back! The most successful creators and entrepreneurs have a long list of failures behind them. What makes them special is that they saw those failures as an opportunity to keep going.
Even if you’re confused, GO WITH IT.
Going in a new direction and following leads can take you to wonderful places. Or you’ll land on your face. In case the latter happens, all you need to do is pivot and follow another path, because you never know where that one might lead.
Take the risk.
Had I not signed up for this class I wouldn’t have learned about myself or opened my eyes to this whole new world. I’m so glad I jumped right in.
This improv class in Tel Aviv with The Stage was super chill and supportive. I’m so thankful for the opportunity. Did I enjoy myself? Yes, AND it left me with a taste for more. At the end of the day, the spark in your eye and the juices flowing through your body are all that count to keep you going (and get your writing on).
About the Author:
Shelly is the VP of Marketing for The Stage. In her spare time, she makes lists, plays beach volleyball, and watches “Jane the Virgin”.
*If you’re looking for an improv class in Tel Aviv, acting workshops, and performing arts events in English in Tel Aviv, take a look at The Stage’s upcoming events [link to calendar].