Adventures are unique and intimate events, designed to offer our TEDx community unparalleled, behind-the scenes access to the people and places that make the local area so dynamic.
Celebrating Co-Creation Through Improv
Fifty strangers anxiously circle up in a classroom at Concordia University, unsure how the morning will proceed. We’re all fond of “SNL” and “Who’s Line Is It Anyway,” but improv is a bit intimidating when you’re on the improvising side.
The room is mostly open, with no props or scripted lines. It’s obvious that there’s not going to be much to go off of –– no direction other than the invitations we extend to each other. But that’s why some of us are here: to face an idea that scares us.
Our fearless leaders from On Your Feet, a creative consultancy, kick off the “Improvising with Strangers” TEDxConcordiaUPortland (now known as TEDxMtHood) Adventure, asking us to write down three things we love as fast as we can.
“Let go and trust yourself,” Gary Hirsch, co-founder of On Your Feet, says.
Panic and fear of speaking are relegated to the depths of everyone’s minds as Gary and Shelley Darcy, an improv writer and performer, act silly and talk about how fun it is. Finally, we’re letting loose and ready to improvise together.
Our anxiety melts further as we mill around the room, scheming up the businesses we could create combining the things we love with the things others love. We then classify ourselves into similar groups of interests, hometowns and shirt colors, learning all sorts of facts about even the people we knew before this morning.
There’s a palpable excitement –– bursts of laughter and burgeoning smiles –– in the room. By the second activity, the finance professor teaching MBA students next door asks us to simmer down and close the door.
Who would think that by displacing yourself from your comfort zone and challenging yourself to contribute to, but not dominate a creative social situation, you would actually feel more energized about what you’re doing than if you simply did it yourself?
On Your Feet teaches improv as not only an entertaining and engaging art form, but as an opportunity to build better collaboration skills for work and play. Shelley says to embrace the saying, “I have no idea what’s going to happen, but it’s going to be great.”
After working at improvising and having to be quick on our feet (both mentally and literally), people are excited –– jazzed, even. By the end of the workshop, adventurers are exchanging business cards and numbers. Some even stay an extra 20 minutes for a final activity.
The Adventure has made us all the more intrigued by Gary’s March 23rd TEDx talk, and we won’t be surprised if he incorporates a bit of improv. One of our highly involved TEDx speakers, Gary is excited to share the joy of co-creation with attendees. We’ve learned from Gary and Shelley that improv is here to be our great emancipator, breaking tension, inspiring cooperation and stoking creativity.
“What would be really amazing and inspiring would be if each one of those 650 people grabbed someone next to them (so now we have pairs of 325) and they made something together,” Gary says of TEDxConcordiaUPortland (now known as TEDxMtHood) March 23rd. “Something physical, a story, image, movie, art, slide show, started a micro business for a weekend… then shared these stories with everyone else too!”
TEDxConcordiaUPortland (now known as TEDxMtHood) ADVENTURES! are unique and intimate events, designed to offer our TEDx community unparalleled, behind-the scenes access to the people and places that make the local area so dynamic. Click here to learn more about TEDxConcordiaUPortland (now known as TEDxMtHood)’s upcoming ADVENTURES!
Lisa Anderson is a storyteller, adventure lover and a dress-up queen with an aspiration of becoming an eccentric Southern cat lady. She’s one of several storytellers who will be sharing write-ups, interviews, and perspectives on the many extraordinary people from our surrounding community.
Hunter Brookshier is a Portland, Oregon, based writer, marketer and musician. He’s passionate about grassroots communal organization and he loves the free market of ideas that TED and TEDx events and media help to spread. He’s thrilled to be part of this year’s TEDxConcordiaUPortland planning team. He’s one of several storytellers who will be sharing write-ups, interviews, and perspectives on the many extraordinary people from our surrounding community.