The allure of improv

I thought Adam Bright’s article about improv – and what it demands of performers – was brilliant. As well as evoking what is so alluring about improv I think it also glances at what might be called a shadow side of the addiction to the process.

This snippet evokes some of what is so remarkable about “the zone” improv can sometimes access:

If there is a secret, none of us knows what it is. Good shows are elusive. You’re never sure whether they happened because you let go or because you tried especially hard. In fact, one of the paradoxes of improv is that you have to try very hard in order to let go. This involves relaxing the mental muscles that control the automatic functioning of personality. When you’re in front of an audience and you can do this, or when it happens to you (it’s something in between), you experience a kind of freedom I’m tempted to call transpersonal…. It’s one of the most elemental states of satisfaction I’ve ever known.

Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan

1 thought on “The allure of improv

  1. niko

    great writing indeed.

    for obvious reasons I really liked the quote

    “The main difference, though, between long- and short-form, or the one that mainly concerns us, is the attitude of the performer. Whereas the short-form improviser goes for quick laughs, the long-form improviser strives to be genuine. He tries to put something of himself into each performance.”


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