Yes And Stuttering Didn’t Matter
Posted October 12, 2016on:
Last month, I wrote about how I had joined a beginners improv class. I was nervous and apprehensive at the beginning of the class, for several reasons. I had zero experience with improv and was afraid I’d make a fool of myself. And I worried about how my stuttering would play into it.
Well, last week I completed the class and actually performed with my group in front of a live audience, after just four weeks of learning and practicing. Guess what? It was fun and I really enjoyed it.
I had disclosed that I stutter in the first week of class, so got that out of the way quickly. Then I just went with the flow and let myself be creative and have fun with my classmates. My worry about making a fool of myself was unfounded because that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do in improv.
Here’s what I learned in improv. You don’t have to be funny to do improv. You just have to be open to what a partner says and respond and build on what they’ve said. One of the rules of improv is “Yes, And.” This means to agree with your partner and add to what they’ve said, whether or not it makes contextual sense.
I also learned that I have the ability to be a deep listener, which is an essential tool of improv and of life. I think stuttering has taught me to be a great listener, because I used to always prefer listening to talking.
And I learned how to be more mindful and in the present moment, which is also helpful in all aspects of life. Being grounded means we can develop better relationships and we need that more than ever in today’s world.
The performance went great. Our group was called the “Slippery Alligator Udders.” We had a supportive audience who laughed and enjoyed our show. My initial nerves dissipated right away as I relaxed and leaned into the creativity and playfulness of our group.
I never thought I’d say this, but improv was good for me. it helped me get out of my head and enjoy something without worrying about stuttering. I’d recommend it for anyone looking to push out of their comfort zones.
I am looking forward to taking the 201 level class and seeing what I can create next.