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by Darren Held

By Sonnjea Blackwell

I forgot to tell you all a funny story. What can I say, I’ve had a lot on my plate getting ready for Trixie and making posters and web pages for the upcoming Held2gether Improv Comedy for Teens Workshop and cleaning my house for the Trixie after-party. Yeah, even drunk improvisors have some standards of cleanliness.

So anyway, last week at the Level 2 improv class was the night we do some kind of specialized work: some sessions Mr. Held has each person work on something specific they struggle with, like having big emotions, or adding information or being more physical; other times he does an against type exercise, where each person plays a character that’s opposite of their usual.

This time around we did the against type thingy. Because all the men in this class are really sweet, we had a bunch of characters all night who were loud, obnoxious jerks. So funny to see these nice guys playing meanies. Oddly, none of the women had to play bitches. I guess that’s not against type for us. Hmmmmm.

Anyway, my story revolves (as so many of my stories do) around, um, me. And what was “against type” for Sonnjea? Someone who doesn’t talk much. Haha. When you’re done snickering, I’ll continue. It wasn’t just to shut up, although that was part of it because I tend to vomit information and sometimes don’t let my scene partners in. But when I did speak, I had to speak dramatically and physically and emotionally because even my so-called emotional reactions tend to be calm and casual. Like me. It was fun to do the overly dramatic part, but I really ended up saying a total of only five words, which was traumatic to say the least. Natalie did an awesome job of getting out all the information – and then some – and it was my job to just react. Of course, in a real scene we wouldn’t play it so all-or-nothing, but it was a good exercise to illustrate how being your polar opposite can be fun AND funny.

Okay, I don’t have a special message today about how improv will save the world. I mean, it will and all, but this was just a story about how Darren won’t let me talk. You see what I have to put up with around here? Sheesh.

Darren Held
About Darren Held
Darren is the CEO and Creative Director of Held2gether, Improv for LIfe. He has been teaching and performing improv for 15 years, and has performed with H2g, the Groundlings, UCB and Second City. He loves Moto, red wine, and Madonna.

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