Monday, May 21, 2012

Serious about Funny

I've got a dilemma.

I have to decide if I am going to take the level two Short Form Improv class.

Con side:
  • While I expected the games, I didn't expect to feel like I was in a second grade gym class on a rainy day. There are only so many times I can bop around a ball made of electrical tape with 5 other people before I feel that we're achieved all the focus and teamwork the exercise can possibly grant us.
  • The form is one that anyone can dabble in, by design. It's meant to be unimposing so that audience members will feel comfortable participating. This also means that students of the class may be dabblers looking for something entertaining to do with their Wednesday evenings, rather than people truly striving to build skill at their art for the purposes of becoming a better performer. The same is true of Long Form, certainly... but not nearly as much as a class comprised solely of games. I think that the instructor may be intentionally reining in criticism and coaching so as not to discourage the dabblers, who comprise the greater part of our 6-person group.
  • The class costs money that I will need to spend on coaching sessions with my Long Form team (if that ever gets off the ground, sigh.)
  • The class takes up time I can spend winding down from my hectic schedule, or filling with other things I need to be doing.

Pro side:
  • It does offer a different view of Improv than my Long Form class. The two forms are aspects of the same art viewed from very different angles, and they are complementary. Practice with one is beneficial to the execution of the other. Both forms are equally valid as performance styles.
  • There are increased opportunities to perform.
  • There are increased opportunities to network with other performers.
  • Working with more people helps me become more well-rounded and able to adjust on the fly to different styles.
The truth is that there are probably no wrong reasons to take any class. Incompatible goals may exist, however.

I think that, in the writing of this post, I've arrived at a decision. I'm going to scratch the Short Form class until such time one is offered that is geared specifically to performers looking for coaching and criticism, rather than a way to kill some time in a fun pursuit.

I will offer my feedback to the instructor. I sincerely hope she understands, and I hope such a class comes to exist soon!