I sat on the L train, staring out the window at Chicago passing by. I was with three of my best friends and surrounded by strangers. But I felt lost and alone. I knew in the next few months I would be let go from my job. I had no idea what was next for me. With each stop, I considered running out of the doors and disappearing into the city, assuming it would provide an answer. But I’m not that impulsive. I would need much more of a plan. But above those doors I did see something. It was an ad for Second City improv classes.
I remember doing improv in high school and really enjoyed it. I’ve also been told I have quite the knack for quick thinking and wit. Definitely a trait I got from my dad, and at times annoys my mom. So I thought perhaps this would be something to help me at this crossroad. I mentioned this to Jon who told me he had also recently considered improv classes. I thought this was all just fleeting vacation talk.
Shortly after getting home I got a text from Jon saying The Bovine Metropolis Theater in Denver has a level 1 improv class starting in about two weeks. I looked into the link he sent and then said let’s do it, and I signed up.I wasn’t sure what to expect. But almost immediately it became the most fun thing in my life.
The Bovine Metropolis Theater is fond of the Plato quote, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation.” So their curriculum involves playing many games. Which evolve into mini scenes. It always felt more like we were playing than anything else, yet I would leave feeling like I had new skills, or new ideas which I could transfer to other aspects of life.
Every week I got to spend of playing with these people. Most weeks this was the highlight of the week. There were a couple of weeks where nothing good was happening in my life. Those were the weeks when these classes and these people mattered most. They were the reason I got out of bed.
They never knew this. We never brought our shit to class. We showed up with the intention of having fun. Bringing smiles to each others faces. It’s a pure and unconditional friendship we all created with each other. Someone told me after the show last week how it looked like we were all enjoying being on stage with each other. That was the best assessment of any of our performances.
Tomorrow night I have the bitter-sweet joy of taking the stage for the last time with the members of Class 77 of the Bovine Metropolis Theater. I have gone on a year-long journey with these people and it has been one of the best things I have done with my life.