A friend invited me to his Level 3 class show. Now, of course, I went because I like to support my friends. But I’ll be honest….I didn’t really wanna go.
In the last 6 months, I’ve seen some amazing shows: Now? with Annie and Levin, USS Rock N Roll, Date Night, the WCT Faculty Show, Quartet, Betete a Tete – shows that have inspired me and made me a better improvisor. But a class show??? Ugh…My free time’s at a premium, plus this class show was on a Friday, so to waste my Friday night going to see a class show…ugh.
But I went and watched the Level 3 class show (for my buddy). And I stuck around for the Level 4 class show after (because it was immediately after and I couldn’t just get up and leave). Then, I stayed for the following Level 1 class show (because during the break AFTER the Level 4 class show, I bumped into someone I knew who was going to be IN that Level 1 class show).
My plan for Friday night? NO class shows. What I ended up with? Level 3, Level 4, Level 1 class shows.
And you know what?? I LOVED THEM!!!!!!
In fact, I’d actually recommend that the next time a friend invites you to their class show, you go. Why? 3 reasons!
1) These aren’t house teams. These aren’t teams that rehearse their show week in, week out and have a guaranteed couple of shows a month on stage. The players in these shows KNOW that they get this ONE shot, and they all do their best. They know there’s no “we’ll get ‘em next time”. They’ve invited friends and family (and these friends and family have shown up!) This show’s a big thing for them, not just “oh, it’s House Team night”, “oh, it’s Harold Night”. They’re dressed nicely, and excited, and nervous, and they want to do their best!!
2) How long have you been doing improv? 3 years? 5? 10? 13+?? Well, depending on the level these students are in, they could have been doing it anywhere from about a year to 6 weeks. Imagine that…they could have been doing this for just a couple of months! Your relationship with improv is probably pretty solid…yes, sometimes it lifts you up to great highs, sometimes it breaks your heart, but regardless, you’re willing to weather the storm and put in whatever’s necessary to make it work (and thrive). The players doing class shows, are still in the early phases of that relationship…the “I don’t know where this is going” phase…the “I like her, but I’m still kinda looking” phase…the “her quirks are cute, I just don’t know if I can live with them” phase. YOU being there, YOU supporting your friend, YOU providing laughter and applause will help them feel better and more secure in that relationship. And extra side benefit….it’ll help the OTHER players too, not just your friend!
3) Like a high school clique, like college kids living in a dorm room, or like lawyers who hang out at places where just lawyers hang out when they’re not busy lawyer-ing, the theater is a place of like-minded people who have something major in common. Because of that, a lot of people at the theater become great
friends, significant others, and even get married (not that I’m referring to anyone specifically, *cough* *cough* *Annie and Levin* *cough* *cough* *congrats*). There are always new people joining this ever-expanding group of like-minded people, and as with any group, some people may not feel as immediately included as others. You, as someone who’s been at the theater for a long time, can help these newer students feel like they belong there! Can help them feel like they’re part of the group! Can introduce them to others and share your experiences and find out about theirs! Just because when you walk in, you automatically know 20 people, doesn’t mean that your friend, the Level 2 student who just finished a class show, does. They may still feel like they don’t know anyone.
So, the next time a friend of yours invites you to their class show…GO! See their excitement and nervousness on stage. Go watch their relationship with improv get just a little stronger. And do what you can to make your friend – and everyone else who performed – feel like part of your theater’s growing family.
Twitter @USSRockNRoll / FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/ussrocknroll