Amy Tries Again

How I Found My Love (And Also My Boyfriend) – or – Origin of An Improvisor
October 27, 2011, 10:55 AM
Filed under: Things I Like
In 2008, I was ready for a new obsession.  I’d returned from living overseas late the previous year, and in the months that had passed since then, I’d been pretty busy.  I’d found myself an apartment in which to live in glorious spinsterhood, got myself a job in the city and started studying online.  It wasn’t quite enough.  I turned to my favourite panacea – local amateur theatre – and played in a panto a friend was directing.  I tried internet dating (it didn’t work).  I took up the electric violin on the foolish assumption that when not plugged in it would be much quieter than a normal violin.  I’d played for years, into my teens, but was very rusty.  It was not quieter than a normal violin, and I was much rustier than I thought.  After torturing my neighbours by butchering my way through Lennon/McCartney for Violin, I decided it might be best to put the violin aside for a time and find Something (else) To Do.

The firm at which I was working was often given a number of tickets to various events.  The good ones never made it to plebs like myself, but occasionally there’d be a cattle call for tickets to things like a football game, and the first few fortunate…plebs…who replied to the email giving away said tickets could bask in the dubious bounty.  On this occasion, the tickets were for a race day.  I can’t say I particularly care for horses.  I don’t quite comprehend gambling (I mean, I understand the THEORY, but I don’t quite grasp the mechanics).  Nevertheless, these were not tickets for football, and that made them of interest to me.  Shortly after, I received an email from a mailing list I was on.  Some local improvised comedy group, or something.  I think I’d been to a pub show of theirs once before I went overseas, and quite enjoyed it.  They were holding a festival, and were having a ticket giveaway for Saturday night…the same day as the races.  This was clearly Free Ticket Day. With my amazing powers of hitting reply, these tickets also became mine.  I informed my Dear Cousin (my constant companion since…well, forever) that we were going to have a Grand Day Out.  We would wear pretty dresses.  We would sip champagne.  We would pat ponies and make witty remarks to young men.  When we had finished with such things, we would retire to the Theatre and enjoy some sophisticated humour.


It did not go quite as I had planned.  When we got to the raceway, there were an alarming number of children about.  There was also a man in a Shrek suit, a jumping castle, fairy floss and a petting zoo.  It was Family Day.  (The petting zoo was delightful.  There were piglets.)  My Dear Cousin had recently broken her arm quite spectacularly (she still has bolts in her elbow.  Bolts!) and was having trouble accessorising her formidable cast.  Outside the zone of wholesome family fun lay the zone of suited-up Normanby attendees making great strides towards the moment in the afternoon during which they would vomit on their own shoes. We headed for the member’s area, brandishing our tickets.  It was full of old people, but at least the drinks were served in glass instead of plastic.

The races were not what we had envisioned.  That was alright.  We decided that the best course of action was to enjoy a refreshing beverage.  We observed some horses.  We didn’t bet on them, because we didn’t quite understand how to do so.  We enjoyed several more refreshing beverages.  I played with the piglets again.  It was an interesting anthropological excursion, but in time, we grew tired of the races.  After an early dinner, we adjourned to the Powerhouse to see this improvisation lark.  Of course, before it began, it was only natural that we enjoy a refreshing beverage.

It was fortunate that I took the chair to the left of my Dear Cousin and therefore did not have access to her poor injured right  arm.  You see, about three minutes into the show, I gripped her arm and started muttering about how I could do this.  I released her – temporarily.  Any time they started a new scene or game, my eyes widened and I grabbed poor Dear Cousin’s arm again.  They were making it up.  They were JUST MAKING IT UP!  I COULD TOTALLY DO THAT!  COURTNEY, I COULD DO THAT!  DOESN’T THAT LOOK FUN?  THAT’S THE KIND OF THING I WOULD LIKE!  By intermission, she had fingernail marks in her forearm, and I was in a state of frenzy.  (I thought it best to take a moment to have a refreshing beverage.)  At the end of the show, I was convinced that this was my calling.  I cited the evidence.  Hadn’t I always made up poems and songs when a kid?  Hadn’t I always loved Space Jump in drama class?  Wasn’t I funny?  HEY?  COURTNEY I COULD DOOO THIIIS.  Finally, Dear Cousin raised an eyebrow and advised me to do exactly that.

Hmmm.  Well, I hadn’t thought of that.  By this point in the evening, whilst upright and coherent (if slightly over-enthusiastic), I would not have described myself as stone-cold sober.  Buoyed by the fact that I had seen piglets that day, I marched up to the information stand the company had set up and basically barked YOU THERE I WISH TO JOIN YOUR CLUB I DON’T NEED TRAINING I AM VERY GOOD AT EVERYTHING.  I was politely pointed in the direction of their beginner workshops.  FINE.

The next day, I felt a bit sheepish at my…youthful exuberance.  Still, I poked around in my mind a bit and found that despite the veneer of embarrassment, my original sentiment held.  I could do this.  I was sure I could.  I signed up for the workshops.  And you know what?  I was right.  I still had a lot to learn, though, and from the first workshop, I was smitten. Impro…Mafia?  Okay.  Sign me up.  (Oooh, that guy in the workshop with the Nintendo tshirt and the prominent chin is cute.  Young, but cute.)

At the risk of my prose turning purple, those free tickets were tickets to a lot more than a comedy show.  They included entrance to a whole world of amazing friends and colleagues, opportunities outside of impro, and even an introduction to a cute young man with a prominent chin with whom I’m now shacked up.  Impro gives me great joy, and I’m so incredibly glad I found it.  It feels the same as making up elaborate stories and plays at the age of six.  It feels like putting on a show in the garage featuring the dog and charging Mum 20c admission.  It feels like everybody in the classroom laughing when you make a cheeky remark back to the teacher.  It’s pretty much the most fun thing in the world ever.  Impro is not a Thing I Like.  It is a Thing I Love.


1 Comment so far
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I was asked by a noobie the other nights why I do impro. I thought for a moment and responded “Because where else do you get to play like an eight year old at the age of thirty five?”

I get to be pirates and bosses and samurais and dragons. And you know what? As a grown up, I’m much better at playing pretend.

Comment by DNABeast

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