Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bill Nance

As a founding member of The Impromaniacs, I of course have many memories coursing through my brain. The single moment which I keep coming back to time and time again, though, is one which represents to me the true spirit of improv.
We were playing at Camosun College. This was nearing the end of the evening, and we had just launched into "Freeze Tag," which was usually our signature end game. For some reason still unknown to this day, there were two loaves of French bread backstage. It was one of those situations when everybody sees something but nobody wants to be the first one to comment. So, none of us did.
"Freeze Tag" continued. Suddenly the bread appeared onstage. Where had it come from? Who had brought it on? I don't remember. But what I do remember is the great James McKillop and the marvelous Robert Conway launching into a Cavemen scene using the bread as a prop. James and Robert set out amongst the audience chanting "Bread. Bread. Let's beat them with bread." Not to be outdone, the rest of the cast used the bread in our scenes. We wielded it, hit each other on the head with it, even ate it, I think. It was pure and beautiful; a moment when we took what we saw and had fun with it. There was no judgment, no blocking, no denying the Reality of The Bread.
I was an Impromaniac from 1989 - 1995, and proud to be one, too. Improv has given my life a direction and a focus. Nearly twenty years later, I still encounter people who ask if I am still doing improv. My answer is and always will be: "Of course. Why aren't you?"
Thank you, Impromaniacs, for the training, memories, and good times. Keep the improv torch lit for future generations.

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