I took the stage in November for the first time after taking a 7-8 month break from improv last year. It was an amazing feeling, to take the stage with two teammates I had never had the chance to play with previously (Jenny Berndt and Keith Deering of the Minor League) and play like a child.
Yes, like a child. A giggling, carefree, “no rules apply to me”, unstoppable, “life is wonderful” child. I had no idea how much I had missed this feeling! And this feeling has value, but I’m going to tell you about the additional values that playing like a child can have in your everyday life.
Think about how you played when you were a child; perhaps you were creating intricate and imaginary worlds for your dolls or action figures, launching your LEGO® creations to the moon, or building forts to safeguard against fantastic, figmental foes. Your imagination was still wide open; life had not yet imposed its harsh lessons on you.
With each lesson life “taught” you, your reticence to give yourself freely to play increased, and access to your imagination becomes a bit more difficult.
I have found that as I have practiced playing like a child on a regular basis for the past three years, I am finding it much easier to tap into my imagination and creativity. I now draw, paint (watercolors and acrylics - not well, but well enough), and am determined that I can try and learn new, artistic endeavors (stained glass is on my bucket list).
At work, brainstorming is a completely different experience now; I start from a place where the rules do not apply, I am unstoppable, and life is wonderful ... this encourages tapping into an “outside of the box” mentality.
I am happier, though this does not mean that I was not happy before improv!
I’m a happy person, generally speaking; but before improv that feeling of pure, uninhibited JOY that I had experienced so often in my youth was getting much more elusive and difficult to find. Since practicing and performing improv on a regular basis for the past three years, that my ability to find pure joy in the most simple circumstances has increased one hundred-fold.
Who knows! Perhaps playing “like a child” is part of the reason I get confused for being 15-20 years younger than I am, on a regular basis?!
Virginia Epperly has been a Minor League Player at ComedySportz® since 2015.