March 03, 2014

My M.Arch Detour: Improv Comedy!


Sometimes you gotta get your head out of architecture to look for meaningful things in life. Architecture Students and graduates, you want to take some time to pursue other interests to avoid becoming a two-dimensional parti.

During my hiatus away from school, I am on a detour to explore my “Non-Architectural Life.” I’m not abandoning the professional trajectory; I still aspire to go as far as I can in Architecture.

In recent months, I have developed an itch for Improvisational Comedy. What was once a minor rash of curiosity has broken out into a huge rash after a year’s worth of attending drop-in classes from various talented comedy troupes and schools. Most notably, I must give a huge thanks to Asiansploitation for introducing me into the world of comedic acting and rehabilitating me from a life of Archi-holism with laughter!

So I never had a chance to be a Barista, a UofT student, or a Ski Trainer who does not know how to ski.
But improv gives me those opportunities so I don't have to in real life.
Image courtesy of Asiansploitation

Improv theatre is my way to explore creativity through another artform, theatre and acting. Similar to how my friends in business find relief away from spreadsheets by going to the art gallery, I find my interests in things that give me relief away from all things visual design. 

This March, I signed up to explore the art of comedy further by taking classes at the Second City Training Centre (I just started the introductory course). Some architecture grads in my shoes would go for their M.Arch, others would get LEED certified, others opt for being certified residential architects (BCIN in Ontario). I am a totally different monster. While those certifications are important, I believe exploring Improv is my way to work on my communication and professional skills which would help me out professionally while having some fun!

I remember getting a lot of laughs by becoming an 8-year old, crack smoking, skater boy that was also married.
(Improv requires listening...and when it goes off the rails it can lead to new opportunities)
Image courtesy of Asiansploitation

I believe improv can offer the chance to gain some confidence & resiliency before graduate school. Improvisational theatre is about breaking that shell, being a better communicator and listener, being comfortable in my own skin, and embracing failure. Improv is about thinking outside of the box, building environments and creating narratives - doesn't it sound familiar architecture students? Improv theatre works on the power of "Yes, and" to catalyze the development of a scene by adding more content to create opportunity...similar to Bjarke Ingel's "Yes is More" philosophy to create opportunities with whatever constraints you have been given in a design.


I am super excited to about these comedy classes, I do not know where it will take me, but I am rolling with it. Just like any skill, it requires practice, passion, and determination. Those virtues I gained in Architecture School, I want to apply it to honing a new talent. cheers. (P.S. there will be future posts on my journey to becoming an Improvitect!)

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