Sunday, December 12, 2010
I joined the Impromaniacs in 1997 and was a member for 8 years, until I moved to Australia. I was in Grade 10 and 14 years old (when they still allowed us kids to audition). Much like Darren's experience, Diane Hayashi, the school Japanese and Social Studies teacher popped into my Drama class and announced that the Impromaniacs were having auditions that weekend. I had already loved being in the spotlight, but I was a bit shy. A friend and I decided to try our luck and go together. Saturday came along, I went to the audition, heart jumping out of my chest... I walked into the room and low and behold, my friend wasn't there. It was too late to back out at this stage, I had been spotted by the cast, like a gazelle spotted by... well... another gazelle! So I stayed and I played and somehow, I was called back!! I made it through the three rounds of auditions and then another miracle - I've managed to fool them into thinking that I had any sort of talent!
And so began the tale of the Russian Princess... (Yes, somehow, all of my characters ended up being Russian, an often, there was a yak in the scene!)
After my audition, I remember many more - Ryan playing 'the Dating Game"... "Bachelor #1, If you had a personality and could date anyone, which would you choose: a giraffe or a gazebo?". Steve May hurling himself on the floor at full speed. Anna's door kicking old lady, Jonathan playing neurotic characters and tapping his head, Morgan's German accent, Diane and I donning our milk suits in space, etc...
Rehearsal space changed ... occasionally: Camosun College, Craigflower (haunted) school house, the meeting room at Diane's, the field at Vic High, Peter's apartments common room, the park in James Bay (drew crowds of people who thought we were most likely insane...), the school in James Bay, the Upstairs Cabaret.
We had many shows: Mocambos - running up and down the stairs while carrying a Yak when playing Quest "Switch", "Switch", "Switch", "Switch". Camosun College - Our Improv Soap Opera, Drainage Gulch (I was a fortune teller). The Diner, and more...
Improv gave me the skills which I now use at work and in life - face the void, think on the spot, how to capture an audience, and entertain! I developed my confidence in general and had people to laugh at my stupid, stupid jokes - luckily they had them too. Improv was my creative outlet which I so very much needed and now very much miss.
I made many good friends in Improv. The cast changed a lot over 8 years and by the end there were only 2 other people had been there from the time that I started - Jonathan and Diane. Despite the changing cast, it was always very rich and the personalities always complimented each other, both on and off stage. We had our Tuesday evening movies, team building camping trips to Saltspring Island with evening campfires on the beach, camping at Miracle Beach and French Beach, birthday parties, BBQs, trips to Vancouver, and again, etc...
Eight years can hardly be summed up in my mini-novel - my memories of my improv days are some of the most vivid from that time of my life! I had a great time and many laughs.
Thank you, Impromaniacs!
Congratulations on achieving 20 years! Looking forward to many more.