The Improv Diaries – Part 19 – Roller coaster of a Rat Race

Yesterday I did the improv show rat race – I went in feeling extremely buzzing and ready to go, I walked away deflated and feeling quite emotional and pretty fed up…

I was ready for the rat race yesterday I was ready to perform and ready to go up there and dive right into the deep end. The main thing I wanted to try was something new and working on what we learnt last week in improv, I wanted to do an open scene that has no suggestion. I wanted to try this as its one of the scenes I am scared about and wanted to face it and jump straight in. The rat race went well there was a great energy, great vibe, and everyone was performing so well and for most if it my energy was high and I was feeling the energy in the room And was enjoying myself. The first games I did – orchestra and die went well and I felt strong in them.

However in the second half it was my turn to do the open scene. I was feeling ready for it. I know from Practise that physical comedy is my thing and that I was ready. I had an idea for a concept in my head of robotic shoes that malfunction. The scene received low marks which really hit me hard and made me feel very deflated (there was tactical voting happening, I realised that early on) and it made me question myself as an improviser.

I have never had a feeling that strong before that was negative. Whilst in the show you are not really meant to pay attention to the points, this was one of the lowest scores of the evening and it hit me really hard like a ton of bricks. I felt very deflated and felt like I should be questioning my style of improv i enjoy doing – physical and wacky. From the feedback after I spoke about my concerns with Ian and Bev but they gave me really positive feedback on the innovative idea and the high energy in the scene but I still walked away feeling very emotional last night.

“People have accused me of walking about in a dream world, seeing things around me others don’t see. But, you know what, I don’t care. I’ve never liked beige” – The Life of Lee (Evans) — Words I live by 

I always have been a person who loves to take risks even from a very young age. When I was 11 in year 6 I did a performance in the school talent show where I was playing keyboard and being an entertainer for the younger years. All of my year looked down at me and took the mickey out of me, but I didn’t see any of them making a load of children laugh, sing along and out their hands in the air. In 2012, I wrote an entire script for my friends interactive dining theatre experience – two actresses dropped out last minute and I had to stand in. The only way I did it is the only way I know – comical and even though I was the only non professional actor their I was given feedback from audience surveys that I was one of the most entertaining there.

I walked away yesterday feeling down and questioning my style of improv – Was it too high energy? Should I stop doing that style? Shall I focus on doing more non movement stuff? It’s one of the first times I truly expressed the style of improv I wanted to do in front of an audience. I didn’t sleep at all well last night and kept thinking I had someone like nelson from the Simpsons laughing at me.

how I felt last night

I woke up this morning and over a cup of tea, gathered my thoughts. Last night when I went to bed I was thinking maybe I need a time out from improv and then this morning my attitude changed and I felt it was time to – in the word of Bridget Jones – “be eaten by dogs or choose to fight ” and I chose the latter.

” A good cup of tea begins in delight and ends in wisdom” – def applied to this morning 

I am not going to let something as silly as stupid points get to me, yesterday was a big turning point in my improv as in practise last week I didn’t even want to do an open scene and here I was on stage doing something I never thought I would. I am never going to be that person that goes on stage and does a mundane scene – I will always want to bring a physical element to it. I am not going to go on Stage and do a static style and sometimes dark topic in an open scene which I have seen before because I don’t want to – I want to be who I am in improv and not going to let one show dictate that I change myself.I think the thing that effected me last night was how one little thing can dramatically change your emotions when you are performing on stage – whether it was the response i got from the audience, the high level of energy being used that deflated me after or the kind words in the meeting after – something hit my emotions real hard last and haven’t experienced a change that quickly or that dramatically ever before.

I WILL do an open scene again – despite what the audience was thinking I actually enjoyed it at the time I was doing it – and not going to stop challenging myself. In the words of Swifty – “haters gonna hate…but I’m just gonna shake it off, shake it off”


Categories: Comedy, Improv, Improv Diaries

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1 reply »

  1. The fact you make these so personal makes it a great read Holly. Love following the ups and downs of learning Improv and very glad you decided not to take a break.


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