Improv—unscripted comedic theatre—is more than just a high school hobby. It’s a subculture and community that betters the lives of all who participate.
Though some may view it as frivolous, the practice can be a meaningful space for maintaining mental wellness and forming significant life skills.
Laughter is excellent for mental health. In a regular improv meet-up, there’s wit, banter, countless terrible puns, and an abundance of laughter. Going to improv clubs regularly creates a recurring space in participants’ calendars where laughter is the main goal by the end of the hour.
Student’s days can be strictly booked up between school, work, and attempts to socialize or pad resumes. Through joining an improv club, laughter and the stress relief that follows it can become an essential part of one’s weekly routine.
Putting yourself in the spotlight within the safe context of improv, surrounded by other creative individuals, is key when it comes to developing strong social skills and a sense of confidence. The challenges presented in improv can include embracing any range of situations presented to you by others and thinking on your feet, all while interacting with others.
That in itself is preparation for future life experiences like job interviews, new social encounters, and any other instance requiring bravery and quick thinking.
Comedy, collaboration, and spontaneity can’t be taught in a textbook—but it can be practiced in improv games.
Improv teaches resiliency. In improv, there’s no dwelling on imperfections: participants are focused on maximizing their energy from one moment to the next without being discouraged. This is excellent practice for everyday life, where we can dwell far too often on awkward or disappointing encounters.
Just like life itself, improv is unscripted and constantly progressing. The legendary “Yes, and” rule that requires participants to build on the suggestions of others is just one example of how improv promotes cooperative communication.
To play improv games is to immerse oneself in a shared mindset of creatively pushing one’s boundaries. This doesn’t just benefit your personal wellbeing—it can benefit your overall life skills.
It’s genuinely enlightening to face a room full of strangers uniting over common knowledge and love for these theatre games. There’s a point to the pointlessness of improv, and embracing its ridiculousness is a wise use of time for anyone interested.
Teamwork, imagination, empathy, and energy are essential values in our society. In my view, improv is the ultimate platform available to showcase and cultivate those skills.
Lauren is The Journal’s Assistant Video Editor. She’s a second-year Film & Media Studies major.
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