Sarah Everitt shares her daily struggle with improvisation addiction that has led to her 5th term of improv classes. She encourages you to become addicted too!
An old wooden door adorned with a fresco of graffiti on a dark, narrow street in the Born doesn’t look like the obvious place for an addiction to begin. Or at least not the kind you’d expect. It was my first class from Barcelona Improv Group (BIG). I’d signed up the week before in a fit of late night bravado. So I took a deep breath and pushed open the door.
Just as Lucy emerged from an old, wooden wardrobe into the magical land of Narnia, I stepped through that door into a world where anything is possible. Whatever is real for you becomes real for your scene partner, and before you know it, you’re on a mission to peel a banana on the moon with a priest, venture on a disastrous first date with a stormtrooper, or attend a spa where the only treatments are given by kittens licking your feet. The fantastic Barcelona Improv Group teachers create a safe space where you can let loose, form connections with others, and just play like a kid. Is it addictive? Hell yeah!
BIG is Barcelona’s one and only English language improv comedy group. “But what is improv comedy?” I hear you cry. Or mumble politely. Improv is the art of creating theatre, on the spot – no scripts, no costumes, no sets. But that description hardly does it justice. If you’ve ever been to one of the monthly BIG shows at Tinta Roja (c/ Creu dels Molers, 17), you’ll understand why they sell out every time. Each show has a distinct theme, and the accomplished members of the troupe (Noah, Evan, Matt, Jeremie, John, Ella, and Sev) take a smattering of suggestions from the audience to get started. What unfolds are stories that have never been seen before and will never be seen again. You might be treated to a ‘Brummie’ Superman taking on a Welsh Batman (I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard). Or watch as a pig crossed with a swan (a swig, in case you were wondering) wreaks religious havoc and destroys the world. Or maybe you’ll just see a sweet love scene that ends in one actor surprising another with a kiss… or 5. And then you’ll go back to the next show, and the next and the next, and well, you get the picture.
Aside from their comic talent, one of the reasons BIG is such a pleasure to watch is that the team absolutely love what they do. They have as much fun playing as the audience does watching. That’s why I love that BIG Director Noah Levin is on a mission to bring improv to as many people as possible. “Improv is fun, it’s creative, it’s about teamwork, support, and a million other things that can help you navigate the big, scary world.”
Feeling inspired? Each term, BIG offers classes for all levels from beginners to advanced. If you’re not quite ready to commit to a class, then you can join one of the weekly drop-in workshops every Sunday at 5pm at the Teatre de l’Enjòlit (c/ Portal Nou, 30). Or if you think you need a little dutch courage, or if you want to be on stage with the BIG cast themselves, you can play with a beer in hand at one of the monthly Improv Jams.
But it’s not all fun and games! Businesses all over the world are starting to see improv as a way to nurture creativity, communication, and collaboration amongst employees. BIG teachers now offer applied improvisation to companies in Barcelona and abroad.
So, back to my addiction. Since that fateful day last January, I’m in my 5th term of improv classes, I’ve shocked myself by performing in graduation shows, improvising a song that I still hum to myself, laughing till I cried more times than I can count, and am no longer even slightly afraid to give a presentation at work.
So come and see the next show on June 11th at Tinta Roja, or come to an open Sunday workshop. Or come see me perform in my student show May 27th at Tinta Roja. But be warned, it’s addictive.