Improv: Cheap Entertainment

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That berry-picking vacation on a boat in the bathtub, where delicious shrimp sprout from the drain is well within reach, zero money down! Almost any delightfully wacky situation can just bubble up from anywhere, if you gather a few friends (online or in person) and let your mind go limp. Over the past two weeks, I’ve taken two online improv classes, and now I know for sure that if I don’t think too hard when put on the spot, I can sometimes pull a duck out of my sock drawer. And that duck will quack, to the tune of the sea shanty “Heave Away.”

So, if you’re all bleary-eyed from binge-watching TV or rewiring your house or crocheting your kitchen, taking up improv is a cheap and fun way to pretend that you’re doing all of those things and more. Here are a few prompts to maybe get you started. (Only one of them was taught to me in my improv class. I’m taking a few liberties here. They’re probably not recommended by the American Society of Professional Improvisers, but oh well. Participate at your own risk.)

Prompts:

–The Seven-Sentence-Story is actually a technique/game we play in improv class, which is super fun. You can take turns with other people to finish each part of the story—or, if you’re alone—you can do whatever you want, no one is watching. The version below, is not the version we used in class, but it’s very similar:

Over in the next town. . .

Every week for the next ten weeks. . .

Suddenly. . .

Consequently. . .

Furthermore . . .

Then one day. . .

As a result . . .

–Breaking news: Grab an object, any object, and for the next minute, pretend that there’s a new development about that object, and you have to tell everyone what that is and how it works and why. Go!

–Go on a trip: This one’s a version of “I’m going on a trip, and I’m going to bring. . .,” but I’m imagining something more like the following to spice things up: I’m going to the Taco Bell Hotel and Resort in Palm Springs, and I’m going to bring a book about the history of pencils. As you can see, the goal is to identify a really wacky or exciting place to go, and then pair it with something boring—just for a stretch. Maybe this is advanced improv? I have no idea.

–My social media for-sale post: How would you write a sumptuous description of an item you want to get rid of? Go! (Example: Gently used pool noodle: Summer slaps with this sleek and versatile pool noodle: comfy enough to lean on in between laps and sturdy enough to give a wayward swimmer a good sting if you need them out of your way.)

–Things you’d never expect to see in____(a picnic basket, restaurant, hotel, spaceship, etc.) This one’s just a quick list: pick a place/thing + stuff you wouldn’t expect to see in that place/thing: My purse + my keys.

As you can see, the list above is not exhaustive, but it’s what I could come up with comfortably before thinking about all of the things you could serve with tortilla chips that have already been coated in cheese. For now, I’m taking a trip to the Tropical Towers Beach and Water-Slides All-Inclusive Resort, and I’m packing my air fryer. Woohooo!!!!

Your Turn: Have you signed up for any fun classes? Are there any fun classes you’d like to take?

18 thoughts on “Improv: Cheap Entertainment

    1. Thanks so much! My class is online, which I appreciate–makes it easier to eat dinner beforehand and helps limit exposure. The only drawback is the lack of movement–It’s hard to move around and do big gestures, etc. with just a laptop or phone.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. To answer your question of signed up for fun classes: Jiu-Jitsu, obviously. Fun classes I’d like to take: Jiu-Jitsu, especially since I’ve already signed up and paid for it. Trouble is, I keep injuring myself and therefore can’t attend said fun and already paid-for classes.

    I’m delighted to see you write a post about improv! Sounds like fun, and I’ll bet you’re great at it! “Let your mind go limp.” Haha. Brilliant, Colleen!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, Nate turned to me at dinner and said, “Cecilia, I found a place! We’re signing up!” So, yeah–we’ll be doing that too–if my feet and ankles hold up. Sigh. I hope they do! Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

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