This picture was from our Improv Level 3 Showcase in December 2017 during a game called Blind Freeze Tag, which is one of my favorites. I pantomimed a basketball dribble at the time, and my castmate played the mom who paid attention to her phone instead of me. Hence, my reaction. That month marked my first year in San Diego after moving from Northern California for work. Being new to San Diego and wanting to continue developing improv skills, I was really glad to find a community of improvisers to learn and laugh with at the National Comedy Theatre starting in Improv Level 1 in July that same year.

I first started improv training in the spring of 2016 and since then, I realized that some key skills in improv are courage, trust, and agility. You need the courage to face the unknown with your teammates because you are creating a new story as you go, and in front of a live audience. You need trust in yourself and in your castmates to listen in the moment, contribute what you can, and work together. You also need agility to respond to what comes your way when it actually comes your way, including a pantomime of what may look like dribbling a basketball like in my case. There is a synergy among all of these skills and between improvisers, and that never ceases to amaze me because we end up creating a finished product that is fuller than what we could have made on our own. Plus, we get some laughs along the way, which I hear is good for you, within the bounds of decency of course. All this to say that improv skills are practical, transferable off stage, and enjoyable to practice.

There is a special place in my heart for improv because it has enhanced my professional, creative, and social life, which was my goal when I first started improv training five years ago. If you are considering an improv class or simply appreciating improv, cheers to you and I hope that you find joy along the way, too. 

– Jadey Gonzalez, House Team Cast