I had almost forgotten. I was only 18 when I had my very first encounter with improvised theatre. I visited the Dutch improv comedy company Boom Chicago in Amsterdam. During the closing number I was picked out of the audience and interviewed. The cast then improvised a fantastic boyband song about me. How? How did they do that? It was so good! I left the theatre totally stunned.
Now back in 2015.
“NO FUCKING WAY!” His eyebrows lift up high, he spills his beer over the dance floor and grabs my arm. “I directed that!” I am talking to my workshop teacher David Razowsky, an American improv legend who has been working all over the world. And apparently, our paths have crossed before. Thirteen years ago.
Maybe my current career was written in the stars, all along.
Last week I was at the improtheaterfestival in Würzburg, Germany. For me, it all started there. It was my Dutch friend and colleague Lieselotte who took me to my very first festival. I remember being put in a workshop by ‘this woman named Patti Stiles’ and asking the organization if I could switch. (Still grateful for being refused that.) Love and fear went hand-in-hand that first time; I was just being immensely overwhelmed.
After that experience, something sparked in me. I began travelling, building international friendships and developed a more (and more) ambitious approach to what was previously a hobby.
So much has happened in the meantime and it was beautiful to realize the ‘then’ and the ‘now’ in an environment that feels like my home. I –again- loved the 4 days of workshops, shows, parties and hanging out with very fine people in a picturesque town.
I was also lucky to play in Taking Off the Bird Suit, an all-female format by Christine Brooks. It is a treat to play with 7 women from all different nationalities, feel so much support and play scenes with many different textures. If I hadn’t realized before that I live for that stuff, I would have after this show.
The workshops I took were also very insightful: both Anders Fors and Dave Razowsky taught me valuable lessons to chew on. Fortunately, these takeaways were served with some drinks, talks and dances at the fantastic parties this festival is known for. For me it is the perfect mix of absorbing and letting go.
Oh dear reader, I have so much to tell, but I will leave you with my favorite improv definition. It is from my friend Gerry, who once said that improvising is like dancing on the edge of the cliff.
Therefore I could not imagine a better end of this year’s festival than to actually dance on an actual cliff (edge of the stage). And like it should: to almost fall, but being caught by my partner.
So many people to love and thank, but the most important ones are the organizational heroes: Luisa, Lena, Christoph, Carina, Alica, Kathrin and all the volunteers. What would we be without you?