By Seema Tangri
Currently a Sophomore at UCSC
Majoring in Business Economics
Class – Improv Long – Form Improv
Self – Evaluation
Throughout my journey as a long – form improver, I discovered so much about myself and what my true passion is. I discovered what it feels like to be able to be so confident in one’s ability to simply react honestly, that all previous fears and qualms I used to have – not only about being on stage, but even just speaking my mind to a group or audience – disappeared almost completely. The amount of growth I have experienced in this class is something I would have never seen coming. Never had I used to enjoy reading for a class, or even going to a class so much. All improv calls for is for one to really be their true, authentic selves – living in the moment, paying attention to ways in which they can serve others, and being one with the environment around them. It is a type of magic that we don’t get to experience in our day-to-day lives, with all the responsibilities, duties, and dharma that we are so often encumbered with.
I learned so much about the art of improv itself -an art that I found most people don’t really know that much about. Most people think it is just acting. What tI found out – and what empowered my very core – is that it is exactly the opposite. It is authenticity. It is being able to laugh at yourself without feeling or looking stupid. It is not having the confines of scripted lines or characters. It is freedom in an art form, an activity, and a lifestyle all in one. It has taught me not to take life too seriously – that the roles we play in our everyday lives can actually be broken and challenged. It has taught me that boundaries do not exist. That from what appears to be thin air, characters are made, places are created, and relationships are built. From scene-painting, to editing, to monologues, to split-scenes, to shows, to the endless laughter, I have been repeatedly awestruck by the skillful, emotional, and purposeful gift this class has brought to me. Going into long-form, my goals were to become more comfortable and confident in my abilities as an actress, but now as a result, I have become more confident with all of my abilities as a person.
I became more refined in a craft that will never be mine because its sole objective is interconnectedness. It is with great pride that I can say, I brought to the class my authenticity, my greatest efforts, and my optimism. I went through a lot of personal struggles alongside attending this class, but whenever it came to going to shows, watching TJ and Dave, reading for assignments, and class itself, I could escape. I could be whoever I wanted to be, but the magic didn’t leave when I left improv. Instead, that reminder stuck with me engrained in the back of my mind and lifting my soul so often that this lightness could not leave me even if it wanted to. I am grateful for the immense opportunity to be myself. I am grateful for all the lessons – academic and soul. I am grateful for the acceptance, the healing, and the creativity this class has brought to me.
And I will never forget it.