I got into our local theatre community by doing mock trial as a freshman. Everyday after school I'd do basic improv and learn how to create a believable character to tell a story. One year later, I was at Yale University competing in a mock trial tournament. My scores weren't great, but I improved, even earning the top witness spot in one of my rounds. After we came back from Yale, I found myself becoming friends with our sponsor, who also happens to be our high school's drama teacher.
She encouraged me to become more involved in theatre, but I found the thespians in our school too advanced and intimidating to audition for any fall productions. Instead, I asked a friend about joining Improv Club. It seemed like a challenge, but also a great way to get used to being a fool in front of people.
My first meeting was pretty great. I just sat there watching others. To be honest, I was intimidated by their bravery and sheer skill when creating funny scenes. Coming up with jokes on the spot scared me, because I thought that people would never think I was funny enough.
But during the next few meetings I attended, I played a few games. And it was rough, to be honest. But what I learned was that I didn't need to be funny to play some of the games. Scenes can be dramatic, wild, sad, and random. I realized that improv is about trusting your partner and learning to share a scene. You could come into a scene with a line, but the partner would twist it and start on a completely new line.
And the key to not freezing up was to just say whatever came to mind. By doing this, I was able to compare how I would react versus the character I was taking on. I played games as myself, then I adapted to create a grandma, a mother, or Dory from Finding Nemo.
The more I performed, the more comfortable I became in front of people. So in December, I decided to audition for Theatre Sports- our annual improv show. To my surprise, I was casted and set to perform in late January.
To summarize my Theatre Sports experience, it was great. Even though I'd never worked with some of those people previously, we created scenes with ease, writing storylines as they popped into our heads.
3 months and a stint on the musical crew later, I've found myself qualifying for Thespian Honors Society. I'm due to perform as Cardi B in the beginning of May, which means more time to create a character and learn more about my personality.
Getting involved in theater through improv has shown me that theater is not all about memorizing lines or the blind taking on of characters. It's about finding a part of yourself and enhancing it for the audience to enjoy. I've become more comfortable being silly and I've been able to understand how people respond to certain actions.