There is constant struggle to try to improvise correctly, but this desire ultimately is counter productive when it comes to achieving that goal. The more we want it/think about it, the more it get is our way. It’s a double edge sword that gets in your way even though its what you want. Unfortunately the desire to become better directly hinders your improv. Because of this it becomes paramount that the first thing that happens when you begin to improvise is to throw everything out and focus on the joy of playing. If you think about trying to improvise correctly it will only get in your way because you will try to do well instead of try to have fun.
Having watched many improv shows, one of the things that I have noticed in how joy can influence how shows feels. Many young improv groups concern themselves with trying to improvise right (i.e. what is the correct tag to make, how should I help, what does the scene need). One hundred percent of the time this places improvisers in their heads and because of this they are no longer having fun and are instead working. Improv is not about working. The sad fact is that in our quest to become better we obsess with doing the work. However when watching a young team bring joy to their shows, their technique makes no difference what so ever. That joy becomes a virus that inevitably spreads to the audience. Your set might be have missed opportunities of listening or unclear choices were made, but as long as joy is present in the show people will love it.
Roar has existed since 2008 and we have had a line up that has shifted over the years, along with a wide range of skills and experience with improv. Even today our team consists of a diverse group of people that do not have the same level of experience. The important thing that has allowed us to succeed though, regardless of experience, is the amount of fun and joy that we are having on stage. Our great shows are great because we are bringing joy to each scene that we birth out of nothing. And the audience feels it. We may not be the technically perfect, but at least we’ve come to recognize that joy is a large part of what allows our group to stand out. To be clear, I am not saying that Roar is the most successful team in San Diego because we are always joyful. What I am saying is that WHEN we are successful it is because of joy, and when we are not it is because we are just improvising instead of playing. New improvisers should not forget to maintain a sense of joy as much as they can. With a close group of friends this joy will become contagious and allow you to be mischievous on stage and truly play with one another. Think about it this way, you are on stage with some of your best friends. Have fun with them. By playing with joy the audience will feel it and become your friends. That’s the cult of improv.