• Julien Bertrand

Why do I do improv? Part 2

I have found that the answers to most of my first-world ennui are rooted in being creative and social. I do have strong artistic visions but always value other artists' contributions. Improv forces me to be on a completely equal footing with my scene partners (ideally), and it is no wonder that I prefer "twoprov" wherer it is easier to achieve (or easier to realise it is failing).

You can read countless accounts of how improv has changed people's lives - deeply, meaningfully. In my case, I wouldn't say it has changed my life, but it has brought validation for my lifestyle when I needed it. It is after all a school of like-minded people who are ok with being more spontaneous, more present, more in tune with people around them (again, ideally). A lot of people improvise naturally with friends they feel comfortable with. Someone says something unusual, or silly, or wrong (as in, a mistake, a slip of the tongue), and they take this statement as the new reality and naturally play "if/then" (if this statement is now true, what else could be true?), and that is my favourite conversation booster.

In this regard, I think my mum could be a good improviser, whereas my dad has the hardest time listening and agreeing spontaneously. Typically, he will say "no" as a crutch word at the top of his sentences. I teased him the other day when he asked for me suggestions on how to cook some steamed eggplant, as he fired a curt "no" to my first suggestion, then proceeded to offer a "yes but" answer when I pointed out his bad habit. So much for the improv family! My sister would laugh at my lines but never get into it as much. I love my family deeply, by the way. I just find it odd that I am so different from them, sometimes, in a lot of ways. I love it when my mum decides on the spot to go spend a few days' holidays with her friends to a new location.

When you strip improv of all its artifice (rules, schools of thoughts, dead-end debates, etc.) to its core values, it is a magical realm that allows you to be in touch with what it means to be human. It makes us more creative, powerful, resourceful, and this makes for a better world at large.

Julien Bertrand & Anthony Gates, "The Nerves" twoprov duo

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