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Thursday May 8, 2008 // By Sarah

Improvising

In November, Sandy and I were talking about things we wanted to do in the upcoming year, and I said I wanted to “take more classes” and “do more creative stuff.”

So, for my birthday the next month, Sandy got me a gift certificate for a class. Now, I’ll confess, when I said “take more classes” I was thinking of ceramics or possibly printmaking, so when it turned out to be a gift certificate for an improv class, I was a little freaked out.

My career as a performer ended before it ever really began. After a childhood of improv and acting classes with (who else, being an Evanston girl?) the Pivens, I gave it up cold turkey and became a serious high school debater. This was a dubious trade at best, but, still, one that I made twenty years ago.

You’ll understand then that I was nervous when I walked into my class at the start of March. Still nervous as the class filled in with very, very young people, many of them professional actors and standup comedians.

But, it was totally fun. While each class certainly brought moments of sheer terror as I groped around to figure out who my character was or what the hell was going on around me, I actually spent most of the time relaxed and enjoying myself.

Here I am with my new young friends.

Moral of the story: take an improv class. Or, get a husband who comes up with crazy birthday presents. Or, just do something that seems kind of scary and hard.

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