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Echoes of Comedy Legends

January 3, 2011

If you’ve ever peeked at my Bucket List, you’ll see I have one item in the works for this month.

Today I began a week-long improv class at the famous Second City Training Center. If you’re not familiar with Second City, let me preface this blog post by stating my teacher for the week started training at Second City in the 90s alongside Tina Fey. In the evenings, they went to see performances by Steve Carrell, Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris… legends, you guys. Fucking legends. The classroom we’re working in was recently occupied by Vince Vaugh, Ron Howard, and Kevin James for work on The Dilemma which is just coming out. Photos of John Candy, Gilda Radner, and Amy Poehler line the walls.

Second City is big-time.

As a graduate student, I knew my time in the Chicago region would be limited, so when I found out SC does week-long adult programs in the winter and summer at an affordable price, I jumped on the opportunity. Chicago is the birthplace and lifeblood of improv theatre. I am honored to walk the hallways of the Training Center.

My classmates run the gamut of college student to ER doctor, ages 19 to 45+, who are trying to combat stage fright or hoping to hone their quick-thinking skills.  And there’s me. A grad student with a theatre background who just wants to fulfill a goal… but I know how useful improv training can be in all walks of life.

Today we learned the importance of give-and-take, of letting another person have the limelight.  We learned to say “Yes and…” in order to move a story forward. But most of all, we learned the most important thing about improv work is support. We must know that it’s okay to fail, that we’re invited to take risks, and that the ensemble will catch us no matter how ridiculous the situation gets. And that’s nice, isn’t it?  Wouldn’t it be incredible if all our peers in every aspect of our life were ready with a life-net to catch us, to affirm all our choices, and to celebrate all our decisions?  What if we applied the principals of improv to every day life? What if we knew we could not fail, if we came to every situation with an open mind and heart, if we said “Yes and…” to every prompt?

That’s what improv is about. This week is going to kick so much ass.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2011 7:22 pm

    Oh, you are just so cool, Renee. 🙂

    You do such interesting things! I love it!

  2. January 3, 2011 11:06 pm

    omg that sounds like so much fun. i hope youhave a blast!

  3. January 4, 2011 12:31 am

    Holy crap, I can’t tell you how much I admire you for doing this! I would be SO scared to do something like that… Hope it all goes well for you! So happy for you too 🙂

  4. Garnet permalink
    January 4, 2011 12:36 pm

    ummm amazing. To be taking an improv class anywhere must be awesome, but THERE, where so much history and talent has taken place must be absolutely exhilerating. Enjoy every little second of it! 🙂

  5. January 6, 2011 2:44 pm

    I want to hear more! I can definitely see you doing/taking an improv class and totally rocking at it. You’re the best!

  6. January 6, 2011 6:53 pm

    This is so cool and amazingly brave of you. I hope it’s going well!

  7. January 10, 2011 11:30 am

    this is so exciting!!! hope you had an excellent time!

  8. January 11, 2011 3:11 pm

    Oh to be in the same space once occupied by all those greats…awesome! (Tina Fey is my hero)
    Taking a class at the Second City studio in Toronto has been on my “life list” for a long time. Reading this has motivated me to actually make it happen. Have fun!

  9. January 13, 2011 8:40 pm

    There is so much awesome about this! I hope the week was everything you’d hoped for!

  10. January 13, 2011 8:56 pm

    whooo-hoo!! 😀 😀 😀 stoked for youuu

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