YQ’s note: This post was originally published in 2012. Since 2015’s Ghost Month just started on August 14, I thought it would be nice to bring it back. Parts of the post have been updated to reflect the latest updates.
You know how the west (and Americans) have one night of Halloween to play dress up, ask for candy and honor the dead?
Guess what, we Chinese have a whole month of that but minus the dressing up, candy or playful spirits.
What we have instead is the opening of Hell Mouth and a bunch of Hungry Ghosts.
Testimonials: How one year of improv can change you*
On August 2, 2014, I took my first Improv 101 class. Since then, I’ve been in 10 performances, including shows for kids and shows overseas. The past year had been amazing.
Improv is my cult now. When talking to people I’ve just met, I would wait for the right moment before launching into:
If you know the pre-improv YQ, you’d know that I never talk to anyone new. I’d just pack my bags and leave whatever event it was.
But after improv, there was something I want to–no, need to –talk to strangers about. Even if it’s just to tell them that improv exists and if they want to know more about it, they can ask me. All the while doing it with a strange glint in my eyes.
For people I’m more familiar with, I get a bit pushy and say, “PLEASE COME TO MY SHOW!” with the subtext of “You better come to my show!” (Thank you EVERYONE who has been to my shows and those who haven’t too.)
To celebrate my one-year improversary, I thought about writing a blog post telling how improv has changed me. But I know that you won’t quite believe in what I say since I’ve admitted that I think of it as a cult. You might even think that I’m exaggerating.
So I got a few people around me to help out. I asked them (some may say, “forced”) to tell me what they’ve seen change in me after a year of improv. While I cannot guarantee that this is what will happen to you, at least you know that stuff like this can happen.
Improv will make you a badass (or something)
First, a rather ambiguous comment from Gerald:
After YQ has gone for improv, the moment she says something you know that shit just got real. You better not mess with her after that.
I wasn’t quite sure if it was a compliment. Am I more assertive? Stubborn? Or bad ass? Or all of the above.
Improv will make you more emotive
In a Gchat, Debbie shared:
The biggest change is that you’re a lot more vocal than before especially in social situations. Also, you’re a lot more expressive about feelings. Your body language is a lot more confident. Also you embarrass less easily.
I never really realized that I didn’t have a full range of emotions. I always thought that I was emotional and that the feelings inside me were translated to expressions.
It wasn’t until in improv practice when I was asked, “What are you feeling? Show that feeling.” that I found out that I couldn’t emote properly. Now I’m still working on expressing emotions. It’ll take a little while before I can go the whole range.
Improv will make you attractive
Improv makes YQ a lot more attractive, because she’s so passionate about it! Her face lights up when she talks about it and I must admit I love playing those improv games with her once in awhile.
YQ is a naturally funny and smart person but on a day to day basis we can’t always have intelligent conversations (just like we don’t’ always meet intelligent people to have intelligent conversations with) so I think it’s great that she does improv so now everyone gets to see how smart and funny she can be!
Pre-improv, I would read this, go “Aw, shucks” and promptly hide this testimonial away from public view. I’ve been embarrassed to be praised. I know that there is good in me but I didn’t want to say them to be said out loud.
After improv, I’ve slowly started accepting compliments. I started seeing that maybe people are being sincere when they give
compliments. (Hope you are when you say you like my show.)
Improv will make you lose weight
My mom shared:
You’ve become braver to show off yourself and dare to make connections with people. Most importantly, you lost weight.
WTF mom! Losing weight is not the point of doing improvl! Dammit. But still I need to keep that comment in because of its ridiculousness. I don’t think there’s an actual weight loss but if there was it might have been stress from performing, not from actually doing improv.
Improv will make you fall in love
My sister sent this over:
I feel that for my sister, doing improv is like being in love. She’s really happy talking about it. She is eager for the next date (performance) and feels melancholy when they have to separate (after end of show). It made me realize, it’s happiness that makes you successful! (I stole this from something something I heard.)
I didn’t expect my sister to write this and I’ve never thought of improv this way. But she does have a point. I love you, improv!
Improv will fulfill your dream of becoming a comedian
My sister added a note:
Improv gave my sister a stage to realize her dream as a comedian.
I did start my improv journey wishing to be funnier, as if the funny supply in me can grow any more.
Then slowly I saw that improv wasn’t about being funny. The more you try to be funny. the more the scenes don’t quite work out. It’s funny that way, I suppose.
These are a few of the testimonials from people who have seen me change after improv. Why don’t you give it a try too? Or maybe I should say, “Do you have a moment to talk about improv?”
*Results not guaranteed
I’m going to be 1/2 of wedding MC duo at my sister’s wedding reception
My sister solemnized her marriage last year in September. She’s having her wedding reception on 27 June back home in Kota Kinabalu.
As the unwedded elder sister. I wasn’t sure what my role was. I was prepared to relax and eat all the food.
But my sister dropped me a message on Sunday to ask if I could MC at her wedding reception. The idea might have been planted in her mind that since I have been learning and performing improv. I could probably MC as well. (It’s not the same but it does help with courage.)
OMG, I have never noticed what wedding MCs do, unless they screw up. I don’t want to be remembered at the woman who screwed up MC-ing at her own sister’s wedding.
Good thing is that I’ve asked for a buddy on stage. One of my sister’s BFFs will be MC-ing with me. Having a partner feels better, especially when the partner is known to be very chatty.
Wish me the best of luck! I’m flying home this evening and I’ll be back in Singapore on Monday.
I was in the papers today! Not for what you think it is.
A reporter from local broadsheet Straits Times found me through my most popular post and wanted to ask for my comments on the new service. Thankfully, I caught his e-mail in time as my e-mail notification pinged while I was staring at my phone.
I prepared for the interview by reading on the background of the new service. I even jotted down “juicy” quotes that would make me look slightly unhinged but endearingly colorful to the audience.
The reporter called and we had a 12-minute chat during which I sounded bipolar. I was totally against the service at one point, talking passionately about its cons but at another point, I discovered its merits. I couldn’t make up my mind.
Still, the reporter summed it up in two sentences and made me look like a very practical traveller (which I am).
I did request that he use “travel blogger” as my job title as “marketing exec” seems like a totally irrelevant commenter on this subject. He obliged. Thank you, good sir.
My sister sent this this morning.
The report came out on Page A2 on Straits Times and also on My Paper. I can now officially say that I was on the news as a travel blogger.