I was slightly apprehensive before arriving at the improvisation comedy workshop, since you never know what you will be asked to do. But then again, the fun in attempting something new is the thrill of the unknown.
Roughly twenty registered participants were raring to go when I arrived this past Wednesday evening at Tartu College. Their backgrounds ranged from university students and retirees to people employed in various occupations. Energy was in the air as well as an expectation of something unique.
We met Rauno Kaibiainen, Maarius Pärn, Tarvo Krall, and Erki Aule. These down-to-earth ambassadors of Impeerium improv theatre in Estonia had us form a circle for introductions, and then we were off. Krall who is an actor, director and musician in Estonia told me later that holding the workshop in English proved to be a pleasant challenge for the foursome, since humour is a tricky business in a language not your own. They had nothing to fear, though, since their English ability was fine and not a distraction.
Kaibiainen taught us that one must act first and think later for improv – that's when humour happens. Also there is no right or wrong in improv, you just use what you are given and run with it.
We barreled through various exercises in rapid succession, laughing and giggling all the while. At times we individually were trees, animals, airplanes, benches, vampires and even dog poop. You collectively hope that your improv team keeps a funny scenario zig-zagging to an even funnier unexpected outcome.
I found improv to be mentally stimulating, yet I found it challenging to be continually producing creative-on-demand. It's a workout for the brain, but not overly so. There is no time for judgement, so you are given freedom to be bolder than usual, which is quite a liberating experience.
People didn't want to leave when the session was over, so the improv troop came up with more activities for another half hour. Many of us hung around after for conversation, wine and kringel with troop members and the event's organizer Ellen Valter. We were even treated to Muhu bread from Estonia courtesy of our comedic four.
I hope there is an Improv Workshop II in the future. I highly recommend it for a fun and stimulating evening of humour.