By: Jay Reid
It’s 11:30PM at The Making-Box. The cast is leaving the stage to uproarious applause and handing out Sharpie markers, giving permission to audience members to graffiti their experiences of The Making-Box on the walls. And they do...everywhere. It’s the last show before the theatre and classroom moves into a new home on Cork St.
Upon my return the next day I noticed this:
Pretty cute, right? To be able to pin point such a specific spot and to tag it. An act of defiant romance.
I’m in love with a improviser. We share many meals and a bed. And often meals in bed. But, I was not the author this graffiti. The truth is, this could have been many people in the room that night. There’s at least a half dozen couples I know that met at The Making-Box who now live together, have moved to new provinces together -- some even share a mortgage. What I’ve gleaned being part of Canada’s improv community, is that if Match-Making was an Olympic sport, improv would take the gold.
You may think, ‘yeah no surprise, most people meet their special people at places of mutual interest.’ But, I’m gonna argue that there is something special about improvising together that shrinks the distance between “friend” and “special friend.” Or at a base-level, accelerates your ability to evaluate who you might like to be intimate with.
Am I talking about sex? I’m talking not, not talking about sex. Because of what improvisers do and the environment improviser’s create, I think you’ll have a higher percentage of falling in love with one. There are lots of reasons why. Here’s five:
VULNERABILITY IS PRACTICED
Through improv class, you have proof others are willing to be vulnerable. Improv (shows especially) are like a road trip together - trust, risk, adventure, big highs and lows are all commonplace. Furthermore, character is revealed in crisis. We don’t often have many public crisis situations, improv classes and shows are low stakes version of this. Genuine character is defined on the regular.
WEIRDNESS HAS NO PLACE TO HIDE
Sometimes we like to hide what’s strange about us. Improv classrooms and ensembles are places where you feel safe to bring out and celebrate your inner weirdo. Because there is space for weirdness, it’s a good way to quickly get to know people in fun way. If you happen to go on a first date with someone you improvise with, it’s gonna feel like it’s your 8th date. Improv does the heavy lifting for you.
"Say you meet someone. You like something about them and they like something about you. Your mutual interest begets mutual play. Play begets cooperation and mutual understanding, which trampolined by fun, becomes love. Love is the highest form of play." -Sam Wasson in Improv Nation.
FUN IS THE FOCUS
We are often magnetized to the people that bring or help co-create fun in our lives. In an improv class or show you get to see how others have fun when they’re given full permission to be silly.
“When you have to make things up on the spur of moment...you gravitate very quickly to the person who understands you most easily.” -Mike Nichols (of Nichols and May, Grammy Award winning improvisational comedy duo)
SENSE OF HUMOUR IS ON DISPLAY
People’s sense of humour is on display in a magnified way in improv classes. Seeing someone you already have a bit of a thing for pulling monstrous laughs…that’s pretty hot.
ENERGY IS DEDICATED TO LISTENING
In improv classes, you really see who is a good listener. You evaluate quickly, who can spontaneously support others, attune themself to the needs of others or, the task at hand. Subconsciously, you are also training yourself follow the fun in what you’ve created together.
One time I think I heard Susan Messing say: “If you’re in your own head, you are not here with me.”
The Making-Box can’t guarantee you’ll find your future someone(s) in an improv class. But if you’re looking to meet new people in a fun and supportive environment this may be the place for you. And one more piece of graffiti from that night for good measure: