My inner improv dork had flashbacks today. We rehearse at the same building where my first improv classes were held, two Octobers ago. It’s a Catholic school on Lincoln Ave., with kids running in and out of their dance classes in tutus and the day’s lessons still on the board. That’s where I met Becca, and Kirk, and F. Tyler, and Leo…. Often F. Tyler and Kirk dragged me to T.J. and Dave shows after class and made me promise I would come back the following week. I gritted my teeth and agreed for these nice boys, not quite knowing why I wanted to do something so hard for me.
Now my improv classes are held in a completely different building, on Broadway Ave. in a tiny solitary room lined with uncomfortable chairs. I’m re-taking a class with Susan Messing, because she embraces joy in ways that no one else does. At the Catholic school, when I first took her class, it was in a light-filled mirrored room with wood floors. I was bringing challah bread to class every day (delivered straight to my office and paid for via payroll deduction at The Jewish Federation). But the same mantras are recited. And the little cartoon lightbulb above my head goes off now and then. I’m often repulsed by the idea of improv, doing things to make people laugh seems cheap, and the lines are easy and the set is nonexistent, and no wonder no one takes it seriously. But I realized this week that I could do without the comedy and the stage. I just like to create things. I would do anything just to see people come together and make something new.