I started doing improvisation before I even knew I was doing it. At seven, I went with my parents to visit my cousins in Calgary. My uncle (totally just learned this a year ago) was doing improv shows. Improv for those new to the concept is where one person or a group of people work off of each other to create stories with no planned script. It often starts with a suggestion from the audience and the scene becomes something about “old peoples' pants” when an improviser yells “what’s something that bugs you?” out to the audience. At seven, I heard the improviser stand at the end of the stage and ask that very ceremonious question. Some synapsis in the little head of the younger version of me went off and I stood up and yelled above everyone else a suggestion that had the theater riot with laughter. It was probably about the ridiculousness of how much people win in the lottery or maybe it was about Barbie dolls. Improvisation has allowed me to get into myself, say crazy things, try out ideas and make people laugh. It has helped me to do better at work when I’m creating marketing strategies or content creation, stay on my toes and also be a better conversationalist and social person. I like to think that I’m taking off what I have in my head and putting it out there for others.
I recently started trying some burlesque classes to have fun and make cool, art-haus performances. Really, some of the most epic performances have come from burlesque dancers. I once saw Villainy Loveless dress herself like a piece of broccoli and dip herself in a bucket of “sauce” which turned out to be sparkly water. I recently did a burlesque performance where the light side of ourselves and the dark side of ourselves came together and had an affair until both sides combined in one super sassy routine. Playing with creativity, movement and dance helps me to hold myself better, act confidently and go head first onto a stage made of chairs and strip off one layer of clothing to mad cheers from my girlfriends. Both improv and burlesque and even writing are ways that I take it off and make it up to stay creative fulfilled.
Here are some cool places to check out improvisation in Vancouver:
Alicia Bernbaum is a creative strategist, writer & content creator for marketing, working with advertising agencies, broadcast media companies and creatives alike. Her blog is a personal lifestyle blog for creatives with big aspirations like her. In addition to work, she loves improv, comedy & acting. She has two scripts in development. She is also an advocate for anxiety and mental health awareness for women in BC.