There’s no need for fancy Hollywood scripts, lights, or cameras to experience some fun live action. The art of improvisational theater, or improv, proves that all you need for an entertaining show is some creativity, imagination, and teamwork.
International improv instructor and Director of Infinite Improv Eric Nepom makes it his goal to share this art with interested community members. As part of this, Nepom currently hosts free weekly workshops every Tuesday night at the Majestic Theatre.
“It’s the opportunity for people to get a taste of improv in a stress-free environment,” Nepom said.
Formerly known as Springboard Improv and Thriving Improv Theater Show, Nepom and his troupe perform on the first Tuesday of each month at 9 p.m. at Cloud and Kelly’s. Similar to popular programs such as “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, most performances consist of a short games format where anything goes. Overall, there’s no telling what could happen during a performance.
“Because there’s so much freedom in improv, anything can happen and everything does,” Nepom said.
On occasion, Nepom and Infinite Improv also conduct longer performances ranging between what he described as “mini plays” or even entire musicals out of nowhere.
And unlike contemporary theater, improv allows for more personal expression and bonding between the actors and spectators since there’s no planned script.
“When we do a show, it’s a one-time situation,” Nepom said. “It’s something the performers and audience share together.”
Nepom described improv as a tool kit that provides the ability to think on your feet, which is essential for enhancing communication skills in our everyday lives. As another example, Nepom mentioned various team-building workshops and seminars he hosted for organizations such as Hewlett-Packard and Oregon State University.
“It’s a wonderful skill set to apply,” he said. “It’s something you’re going to be able to use on the stage and in life.”
Nepom’s current improv course takes place each Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Majestic Community Room. The first part of the program consists of improv games, exercises, and playing.
“This is where games are learned and those tools are made, shined, and polished,” Nepom wrote in the class description.
Individuals interested in performing may also attend the second session, which expands into a 30- to 45-minute presentation after weeks of practicing their new improvisational skills.
Believing that improv is an essential skill set, Nepom urges everyone and anyone to attend. And yes—though it can be terrifying, he also noted that improv can be fun and rewarding.
“If you show up, feel free to just watch,” he said. “Improv is something we all do every day. It doesn’t have to be scary.”
By Sean Bassinger