The Gift of Improv–in Life and Love

Last week, I called our grown daughters. “Guess what? Your dad and I are going out Saturday night with our new friends Debbie and Todd!”

“Umm, that’s not really a big deal, Mom,” they said. “People go out all the time.”

But to me it was HUGE.

We were going to an improv comedy show, something we’d never done, with new friends, at the Aurora Theater in Lawrenceville, GA a place I’d never been.

Sometimes I’m a little slow to make friends. And when a new friendship forms, I let the other person initiate the first invitation. And Debbie had invited us! I was so excited!

I even looked up “improv” to make sure I understood.

Wikipedia:

“Improvisation or improv–a form of theater where most or all of what is performed is created at the moment it is performed.”

The actors can’t practice ahead of time. Holy cow.

Before the show started, the empty stage gave me goosebumps.

Nothing but three boxes and a couple of chairs.

Talk about faith–

To walk out on stage and not know your lines! 

Even getting coffee and M&Ms was exciting–the list of shows, the atmosphere. And $10 for our tickets, $4 for snacks.

After the theater company introduced themselves, they asked the audience to toss out clues.

The cast had to totally wing it.

Zero control.

Free falling. 

They nailed it, too! The show was hilarious, and clean :).

Laughing with new friends–such fun.

Sorry for the photo quality–improv phone pictures.

Todd and Debbie.

And us.

We talked on the way home.

“I had such a good time tonight,” I said. “I think I’m supposed to live more improv.”

“How so?” Rick said.

“Have more fun. Take more chances. Roll with whatever comes my way, even if I haven’t memorized my lines.”

“Yep.”

“Totally trust God.”

Have you been to an improv show? Live theater?

What about friendships? Do you trust easily?

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Julie Gilleand says:

    Hi Leafy Julie!

    This brings to mind when I was a kid and took some acting lessons over the summer. It was fun, but I so well remember our exercises in improv! It was so frightening and we weren’t too creative so our skits were rather boring, but it turned out to be sort of fun, or at least funny. I’ve never been to an Improv show, though. The ones around here tend to not be so “clean”. I can’t hear the word “Improv” without thinking of my long-ago favorite comedian, Freddie Prinze Sr., my heartthrob when I was around 13-14 years old! He got his start working at an Improv club in New York and then continued to perform at them even after his success, in Hollywood and also recorded an LP (that’s how long ago — LP!!), a comedy album, at the Improv in Chicago. Of course his story didn’t end happily, but I actually belong to a group on Facebook that honors his memory and we have great fun sharing memories, old video clips and photos and such. But now I’m off on a rabbit trail! I think a lot of life is improv. We can plan and organize and try to control just so much, but so often life throws us curves and we have no choice but to improvise. Wing it! But I like your idea of choosing to improv certain moments in your life. Take the leap, trusting God. I have difficulty making friends too. My parents were introverts and had a lot of social anxieties so I grew up not knowing any social graces, or how to handle social situations well. So I’ve always held back from engaging. Like you, I wait for someone else to initiate. I’m very good at following up and adding to a conversation, but very bad at starting one or of initiating any activities. I want to hide in my shell. Maybe why I like to write. It’s a way to communicate without fully engaging face to face with folks. As nice as that can be, it is hard for me and I love having the leisure to think through what to say, which writing affords me. Maybe that’s the good coming out of the bad?

    Thanks for sharing your improv experience and introducing us to your new friends, too!

    God bless, Leaf Sister 🙂

    Other Leafy Julie

    • Love your comments, Leafy! And who knew you’ve been trained in improv? 🙂 🙂 I’m so impressed!

      I’m telling you, when I was sitting there watching them on stage, I just had that feeling—there’s a message here. Exactly what you said!

      You’re so welcome. It was fun to introduce all my bloggy friends (who ARE my friends) to my new friends.

  2. Patricia Martin says:

    Hi Julie!(: yesterday I learned to trust God even more as He helped improvise on a hard test question! I had never seen it before ( anxiety is going full throttle) and then I said that I was going to trust/ lean on God and give Him all the glory for passing my test. I passed and now I know a lot about miracles and grace. Change is not easy for me, but making friends usually comes naturally. Meeting my friend Shirley all started with a phone call to offer my support after her husband’s death and we have been close friends ever since.((((((; Where did you meet your new friends?
    Hugs from AZ,
    Patricia xox

    • Ohhhhhhhhhhh, Patricia, what a wonderful story! And yay for you! You’re learning and growing so much–in life and in school. I’m totally impressed.

      Beautiful words about you supporting your friend Shirley.

      We met our new friends at church. 🙂

      OXOXOXOXO

  3. You: “I think I’m supposed to live more improv.” “Have more fun. Take more chances. Roll with whatever comes my way, even if I haven’t memorized my lines.” “Totally trust God.”

    Funny you should post on this. I’ve been thinking about being (whisper here) less serious. Having more fun (like you), rolling with what comes my way (like you say), and living more improv (without plans and a detailed script). Oh my, how freeing it will be (and has already started to be). I love it!

    • Don’t you just love that, B.J.??? When FRIENDS are on the same wave-length? Getting the same messages in life from God?

      I sure do. And finding out you’re thinking the same thing, I know I’m in good company.

      Love you much!

  4. How fun to have access to an improv show, and to go with new friends- double blessing. I truly think when we decide to just “embrace,” whatever God puts in our path, its exciting to see the joy and fun that can follow. I typically tend to be more introverted and okay with spending quiet time alone, but God put some amazing women in my path after diagnosis, and I learned how to throw my arms around them and grow in community with them. Now I try to “lean in,” instead of going with the natural instinct of “shrinking back,” and am always grateful for the new discoveries I may never have experienced without trusting in Him all the way.

    Love seeing your growth in this journey too! Much love to you~

    • Yes, yes, yes, Vicky. EMBRACE.

      You said it beautifully–what I sometimes catch myself doing–shrinking back, or maybe opening my heart a little cautiously, but oh, how I learn from you, my friend.

      I love how you said it…leaning in and grateful for new discoveries. That’s how I felt Sat night! Like a child full of new discoveries! And just think–we have something new moment-by-moment.

      xoxo

  5. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Improv involves trust and creativity. Since God asks us to trust Him and filled us with creativity when He first created man in His image as The Creator, I believe each day includes improv moments. Within our family, improv is a way of life, from our homeschool days to our own drama troupe of 8 years to simply living in this crazy life.

    As a challenge to see this idea in real form, I encourage each of you to get involved in at least one dramatic production, if you’ve never done so. Most areas in the U.S. have several community theaters. Or call your local school and ask if you can help with their plays. You needn’t become an actor or musician; you can help build sets, make costumes, run lines. I guarantee you will never be the same, especially if you can find a Christian troupe (check homeschool support groups for possibilities).

    During the 8 years of our troupe, we did two major shows a year, plus kids’ week-long drama camps and scores of smaller productions. All were directed and choreographed by my middle daughter,(who also wrote most of the plays and musicals – winning several awards). My oldest and two cousins helped with music directing and stage managing. Approx. 25 students and young adults graced our home during those years, practicing, building sets on our carport, and helping put on the shows.

    Two experiences stand out. One took place during every single show; backstage during performances the actors not on stage would gather in groups to pray for the message to be received by the audience. We didn’t charge for the events, so many people came who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to afford to go see a play.

    The second happened during a show that only ended up with a very small audience. But God knew one of our actors would need our support throughout the two-month process. He and his family went through a tragedy that shook him and threw him headlong into a court battle. This happened over 10 years ago, and his family still thanks us when they see us for being there for him. God improvised His ultimate plan through prayer sessions at practices and a group of young actors who wrote letters to the judge in support of this young man.

    Embrace your improvisational life! You never know whom you may bless!

    • Cathy. Cathy. Cathy.

      Wow. Just wow. Look at your life and love and how you live, and the challenge you just presented my readers and me. I can feel Him all over what you just said.

      And so much of what you’re talking about–volunteering–is something almost done in secret, you know? Not for show. Things of service that can easily be overlooked, but not by The Father.

      Oooooh, love your sentence, “Embrace your improvisional life.” Yes, ma’am! I will. And thank you!

  6. Look at you living on the edge!!!!!! LOVE it.

  7. marci says:

    How wonderful, and how nice that you made 2 new friends, then stepped out and enjoyed the new experience of going to Improv. Of course, in a way, you are already doing improve. You write each week, stepping out in faith for what to write about, the you respond to each comment in your unique way that lifts each person.
    Yesterday was a day that did not go as planned. I needed this impove message. Tuesday started with a dead battery when I planned to go take care of some errands, then go to the Church Study.
    I won’t go into each challenge as I did make the rounds, after the battery was charged. Thankfully Chas was here and was able to charge the battery. .. then when I got home, our cat that Chas was trying to save, had (sadly) died, and while Chas was cleaning out the crate, he lost his phone. We spend the night with flashlights trying to find it and since he wasn’t sure when he lost it, that was covering a lot of ground. He found it in water. .. I am thankful for the beautiful day we had yesterday, and that even with some bumps in the road and detours, I was able to take care of all that was important.

    While writing (now)- radio playing, Tim McCraw singing Live Like You Were Dying.. Love it when things come together– improv and Live in such a way. What a message. I have to confess, I tend to live close to the vest. I have such admiration for those who live in improv; who step out, not knowing what the next step will be. And when I have stepped out, I have often been rewarded with joy.
    Take a page from the brave people around me is something I need to make an effort to do.
    Thank you for your inspiration.

    God Bless you!

    • Oh. Oh. Oh, Marci’a. You are absolutely right! And I’d never thought about it that way–writing as Improv. Yes!!!!!

      I read about your day, and, my friend, it just kept getting worse. 🙁 And the phone? I’m guessing it’s a goner?

      Wish I’d thought about the Tim McGraw song while writing. I could’ve added the Youtube of him singing, Perfect song, by the way.

      Your words and heart mean so much to me. Isn’t it just amazing how we can learn from each other? Some days, different ones of us are a little further down the path. Sometimes a few of us trip, and even have to start over again, but maybe even this ties into Improv!

      xoxo

      • marci says:

        Thanks for your kind words about my day. Phone- He could make a call, and recieve a call, but the screen was frosted over so he could not see anything. We went and got a new phone for him today. BTW: His old phone was one he got 11 yrs ago this month, and being in construction .. it had been through a lot. Biggest problem is if he has lost all his contact numbers.

        Hearing the Tim McGraw song, I thought, “Yes, that’s it!”

        Thank you also for your kind words for the loss of our cat.

        God Bless!

        • That’s amazing, Marci’a that his phone lasted 11 years–and being in construction!

          Much love to you–hope your weekend is calm and restful!

    • And Marci’a, the kitty…..I’m so sorry…..so sorry.

  8. Good for you to have found the time out with your hubby. Not all couple get the luxury of that.
    And to go out with friends for a fun night, that’s fantastic.

    Let’s keep trusting God indeed. 🙂

  9. Living life on the improve sounds wonderful! I need to do that more, too. And actually, that’s when I’m the happiest. Don’t you love it when you end up sharing time with a friend … run into each other out and about … that you never planned to … and if you had tried to plan it, the meeting would never have taken place. Yeah, those are my favorite moments. xoxoxo

    • Shelli, you’re exactly right! That’s when we’re the happiest…love how you came up with that. I hadn’t thought about it along those lines, but yes!!

      Yes! Love those Improv friend moments–like meeting you. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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