|Today's guest blogger is Impro Melbourne teacher and ensemble member Jenny Lovell.
Forget all the vitamin supplements, injections, miracle creams, liposuction, mid-life crises, and other pesky ads that pop up on Facebook - Improvisation is the key to keeping yourself, body and soul, alive, vital and present.
I began improvising in 1987. I had watched Theatresports™ from the sidelines of Belvoir Street Theatre in Sydney for nearly 2 years. Many of the performers at the time were young university students and comedians. Watching how much fun the performers were having I chastised myself for not putting myself forward to play. So the Theatresports™ season came around and I found myself in a team with 3 much younger players – all at least 10 years younger than me, all of them had been confidently improvising on stage far longer than me. But we were all actors, in love with playing characters and story. They inspired me and supported me. They built my confidence in this new form.
As an actor, we work all the time with people of varying ages, but it is in improvisation that I have found the differences in age, cultural background, world view and experience to be the most inspiring. We step on the stage as equals, we are not defined in character choices by scripts, so we can play any age we want, any status, any situation. One of the most favourite things for me now, 33 years on from those first tentative steps, is that I am still learning from everyone around me, whether they have been playing for 20 years or more, or have just finished a course. The excitement, the joy of failing or flying, the anticipation keeps me coming back week after week. Every time I think, Jenny you are too old to keep doing this, my mind and spirit galvanize and scream back at me – don’t be ridiculous, you love this!
I am excited that I play now with people that I once taught, and who now teach me, inspire me with their ideas on where to take improvisation. I hope I bring experience, generosity, performing skills and a willingness to learn, and a push for excellence in our art form. That’s what I can offer as a more ‘mature’ performer. I hope we will always have a range of ages and backgrounds playing on impro stages – that way we truly reflect our society and all its possibilities.
So if you have ever thought, I’d like to give that a go, it’s never too late to start! I guarantee a drink at the fountain of impro will work wonders.