“Ughhhh… I forgot that was tonight. I know. We can’t cancel.”
That was my less than polite reaction when I was reminded we had bought tickets and agreed to attend a local theatre company’s improv show over the weekend. I had never been to an improv show. I love supporting local art and theatre is no exception. It was just one of those nights where hiding at home, relaxing and chasing after the cat was the most desirable situation imaginable. My pre-decided hermit feelings paired with my apprehension of what was ahead was clouding my judgement slightly.
The thought of an improv show conjures up visions of uncomfortable audience and actor banter. I am completely unwilling to participate in such interactions. Let me be clear: I enjoy being a viewer, but I do not like to participate. Rather, I will not participate. I love watching others have a good time in those exchanges, but it simply isn’t for me.
I pouted for a while, then finally got over it. I dawdled as I got ready. Changing outfits a few times, brushing my hair longer than I needed to. We were going, but I was in no hurry.
When we arrived at the theatre, I nearly walked past it. Not intentionally! It’s a tiny little space on a main road on Kamloops’ North Shore. The inconspicuous theatre is nestled into a space next to a sushi restaurant. We stood in a queue outside, and our teeth chattered in the sharp -15 C air. The pout was sneaking back onto my face.
Even though we had pre-purchased tickets, doors didn’t open for another 15 minutes and I was sure that was 15 minutes too long.
The door swung open and the chipper owner of the small theatre company announced to the crowd that anyone with a membership was allowed in first. We were not members, so we waited another 10 minutes.
We finally got in and quickly I realized how small of a production it actually was. The actors ran the ticket counter and tended the bar and snack counter.
Still, unsure what to expect, we shuffled to the main room and tried to find three seats together. We learned this was a popular show and ended up having to sit several rows back from the stage despite being there relatively early. We got wine in plastic cups and took our seats.
It was immediately clear we were among fans, not first-timers. The actors charged onto the stage and were met with raucous laughter and cheers from the crowd. I sunk into my chair and started to wrap my head around how improv works.
It was hilarious.
Turns out three of the eight cast members are headed to Toronto to study at the famed Second City comedy school to pursue their improv aspirations. The trio stood tall and gave a teary-eyed goodbye when the show wrapped up. They touched briefly on how years ago, when they worked McDonald’s, they dreamt of starting an improv troupe of their own.
They did it, and now they are moving across the country to give their dream a real shot.
It’s incredibly satisfying to see anyone pursuing a career in the arts. I came in pouting and left feeling inspired. If I listened to my gut and stayed home and lazed about the house, I would have missed out.
I left thinking, “Don’t be such a baby. Get out there. Show up and support.” I can’t think of anything cooler, easier and more satisfying than helping someone chase their dream of succeeding in the art world. It was just a bonus that we were entertained for hours.
Stay tuned for the “Frankenstein” review. That one’s playing in March.
I should have explained. This was a “sip and strip” themed show. After each scene they would assign a “strip” or a “sip” to the other actors. Hence, the lingerie.