real life improv, scene one

Tuesday, March 4, 2008 - Posted by Amanda Bast
If you haven't heard of the group Improv Everywhere, I strongly urge you to check out their site. They're a group of people that get together and do improv in the streets of New York. This isn't small scene improv. This is hundreds of people getting together to complete a mission. For example, 200 people wore blue polo shirts and khaki pants and went into a Best Buy and wandered around. A really cool one worth checking out is when hundreds of people froze simultaneously in place for five minutes at Grand Central Station. They do it just to get reactions. It's awesome.

I got a very small dose of this at school today. By very small, I mean I was the only one involved. Some of the girls were doing an hour-long presentation on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (which is a pretty fascinating disorder, by the way) and asked me to be a secret and special part of their presentation. Throughout the hour, I displayed obsessive compulsive behaviour. It had to be noticeable enough to cause small disruptions, but not overly distracting because they still had to carry out a presentation. To aid me, Anna switched the powerpoint slides back and forth four times every time she changed it. Here are some things I did (always in groups of three):

-unzippered and zippered my backpack
-drinking from my waterbottle (this was a whole obsessive process of wiping the lid and taking it off took awhile)
-flipping my paper over
-moving my pen around the desk
-getting a binder out from my bag (which involved more zippering and flipping papers around)
-at one point I got up from my desk, walked to the door, wiped the door handle with my sleeve three times (OC people are massive germaphobs) then left the room. To make it more authentic, I actually went to the washroom and washed my hands so I had paper towel in my hand to open the door with. I then opened and shut the door (three times, of course) and straightened the garbage cans that were askew, and threw the paper towel away. I then walked back to my desk, flipped the little writing desk open and closed and straightened my coat (all three times)
-folded my scarf in three. If I didn't do it right the first time, I had to redo it until it was in thirds.
-rolling my sleeves up and back down

I think that's about all. Remember, I was going for an hour. It was amazing, because by the end of it, some people still had no idea what I was doing and thought that I had completely lost my mind. The girls presenting said some people glared and me with disgust whenever I did something disruptive.

It was a really bizarre experience, but I'm glad I got to do it. It was pretty fun causing a ruckus on purpose, but I was in a really weird headspace after the presentation because I was so focused on doing things three times over. It was amazing the response it got from people, though.

If anyone else has any slightly insane improv performances for me to participate in, I'd be more than willing!