This past Sunday was the graduation show for my improv class. The way that UCB runs their classes is that the class has 8 classes that are 3 hours each (typically 1 class a week unless it’s the intensive class which means 4 times a week for 2 weeks) and at the end you have a graduation show.
I had been a bit nervous about the graduation show because it felt like we hadn’t been told too much about how it would work. But I’m used to short-form improv where it is game based and not scene based. So the nerves were unnecessary because we pretty much did the same thing that we had been doing in the past few classes.
Our class was split into 2 groups (there were 12 of us doing the graduation show) and each group thought of a team name. My group was going second so we sat in the audience for the first half and got to watch our classmates perform. The audience was made up of us from the other group and friends and family that we invited to the show (I didn’t have any friends or family in the audience, but I only told people about it a few days in advance). Before I knew it, it was our turn to go backstage and get ready.
When my group started, we got a suggestion of one word to start things off. Then one person said a personal monologue and we created 3 scenes from that monologue. After the 3 scenes were done, another monologue was done followed by 3 scenes. In total, my group had 3 monologues and 8 or 9 scenes. And I initiated a few, joined in on a few, and did walk ons in a few. We had about 25 minutes on stage, and it rushed by so fast. And since the lights on the stage were so bright, I never felt like I was performing for an audience. I felt like we were performing to our classmates the way we did in the classroom.
Overall, I feel pretty good about how I did and how the entire class did as a whole. And I think that we were all pretty excited about completing the graduation show.
The only thing that I was a bit sad about was that we didn’t really seem to bond as a group until the last week or so. There was the awkwardness at the beginning and then just feeling the personalities of the group out. And we really felt like a team at our last class and then again in the show. I’m not sure if making the class longer than 8 weeks would have helped, but it was a bit sad to say goodbye to everyone when I felt like I was just getting to know them.
We don’t find out if we failed the first level of improv until we register for the next class (if we failed, they will let us know that there was a problem). I’m still thinking that I’d like to go on to the next level and possibly do all 4 levels eventually. I’ve got a year to sign up for level 201 before I have to repeat 101 and I have a feeling that I’ll be signing up sooner than next fall. I just need to get the money together for it (I might have extra money left over after I pay my 2015 taxes) and figure out a time that works with my schedule.
I’m so glad that I finally jumped in and took another improv class. While I still miss Kip all the time and wished I had heard his laugh in the audience (he had the best and most distinctive laugh), I think he would have been happy that I moved on and continued my education. I don’t know if I want to join a troupe after I complete all the levels (if I do that), but I’m taking things one step at a time and just focusing on taking level 201 now.