Last Tuesday morning, I woke up in time to stumble into an improv class taught by the former Artistic Director of The Second City. On a side note, he also coached two of my previous instructors at the Improv Space and iO West, and still remembers when Steve Carell and Steven Colbert were just Steve Carell and Steven Colbert, whoever they are. But you would never know that from meeting him.
He’s an interesting juxtaposition of almost crazed, animated facial expressions and a quiet intensity that might spontaneously erupt into a profanity laden tirade at any unfortunate soul guilty of not being present in the scene. I wouldn’t really call myself scared or starstruck easily, especially when it comes to improv, but I got the feeling that playing anything less (or even more) than stellar wouldn’t really impress someone who apparently makes girls (and boys?) cry on a semi-regular basis. He runs his classes with the same concepts of the notes he screams, “Pressure! Tension! Dynamic!”
Three and a half hours later of holding in my urine, I walked into the afternoon sun feeling like my understanding of the improv world was suddenly much more vividly colorful and clear, as if some sort of a improvisational optometrist had honed in on my blurry vision and sharpened it, if even just by a little. And hopefully one day, one of my current teachers will be able to tell the kid wearing my shoes about how he remembered when Angry Hedgehog was just…Angry Hedgehog.