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Archive for the ‘Improv Will Change the World’ Category

The Trouble with Terry, a moment of improv history

The Trouble with TerryImprov saved my life. That’s not as melodramatic as it may sound. I wasn’t in any danger of not actually being alive when I started taking improv classes, but I was in danger of losing the last semblances of joy in life. Improv let me take the elements of lawyering and litigating that I actually enjoyed, such as seat-of-the-pants problem solving and spur-of-the-moment thinking, and use them in an environment where (a) I am allowed to be funny and (b) no one has legal authority to put me in jail if I goof up too much. The first two rules I learned in my first class were to have fun and to make mistakes without fear. Good rules.

From July 23 to August 6, after 18 months of classes from Improv 101 to Improv 601, I got to perform in “The Trouble with Terry,” an improvised sitcom modeled on the “fantastic” sitcoms of the ’60s through the ’80s–a normal family has one thing that’s off, a la “Bewitched” or “Alf.” By popular request, and by the grace of other people recording and uploading the shows, here are two of the three performances:

July 23, 2011:

July 30, 2011:

The Trouble With Terry from Shana Merlin on Vimeo.