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Improbably Improvisational

November 11, 2009

The other reason I took the class was I thought it might do me some good. I decided not to think too much about what that might be, but then just a few weeks later I saw a direct effect.

I found myself giving a “Come to Tina” lecture to my undergraduate writing class (as in “Come to ‘Jesus'”), using the cadences of old-time religion to humorously instill the gospel of using proper attribution in news stories. I was in the middle of a circle of people, playing Tina once again, and the audience laughed, again.

The improv class was about shaking things up. In fact, it made me feel so alive that I want everyone to try it. It was wacky, and at times a bit profane, but for the class it was also an expression of courage and personal risk that heightened the senses and stretched our carefully constructed concept of ourselves.

As Westfall says, life makes us all practitioners of improv, but my feeling is that once you start to master improv, you get better at life.

I’m now the proud owner of my “Certificate of Laughter,” which will go next to my doctorate as soon as I can get to the frame store. I deserve that certificate if only for my one moment of channeling Tina Turner in front of strangers.

You probably wish you’d been there, huh?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Mike Black permalink
    November 12, 2009 5:58 pm

    Loved your words. I feel honored to have been in the room during your perfect comedy moment. It was a great moment! I am started the next class on the 17th.

  2. Wov permalink
    November 12, 2009 7:58 pm

    You had the unusual luck of having a very, very serious and experienced improv teacher – Westfall’s a master. FYI that in addition to the DC Improv classes, there’s also a thriving program at

  3. Julie permalink
    November 13, 2009 8:22 pm

    You tended to be one of the last, and somewhat more reluctant, class members to get on stage each week, but each week you proved to be well worth the wait. You nailed your characters, from the subtle to the sublime. I totally agree, lots of good memories of working with a ecclectic hodgepodge of DC characters. I wish I was in your class this semester!

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