Drop-in improv classes is a must for every performer

The Long Shots‘ recent sketch show at the Alexander Bar had the audience in fits of giggles for the duration of the show. From gym class culture to a reinvention of a David Attenborough episode, from silly superstitions to pretentious wine tasting, the Long Shots poked fun at life’s mundane moments, turning them into hilarious scenarios. The show featured two of our talented actors, Rob Coutts and Tamith Hattingh.

Rob says this is their second sketch show and that the sketches are all written by members of the Long Shots. The comedy troupe all take it in turns to host drop-in improv classes, which were initially organised and taught by Jason Del Planque. He says, “I taught these same classes with my improv comedy troupe The Maydays for years in UK, and wanted to continue sharing the magic of improvisation in Cape Town. There’s no booking involved and no previous experience required which I believe makes it appealing to a variety of people.”

Improv is important to any actor, as thinking on your feet and keeping things spontaneous will liven up your performance and keep it fresh and honest. Rob says, “Improv makes performers think out of their heads and makes them accept the reality that they’re in, forcing them to make a positive decision. I also think that having improv as a skill is good for actors during commercial season because during a casting 90% of the time one has to improvise.” Tamith adds, “Often a performer is required to think out of the box or come up with a line or character on the spot – especially in auditions. Improv teaches a performer to trust themselves and their first instincts when entering a scene. Improv classes build confidence, gets you thinking fast, helps you be a better scene partner and listener, basically improv skills are an essential tool to have as a performer!

New to improv? Don’t worry! Jason says that anyone can improvise. “Improvisation really is for everyone, not just actors and performers. Improv is built on the cornerstone of agreement, the idea of saying “yes”. If you can say “yes” you can improvise. You will discover that you can create something amazing and magical out of very little. The experienced and friendly members of The Long Shots will give you simple instructions and guide you in a fun, supportive and non-judgemental environment where you will be free to play. You’ll also laugh…a lot!”

Tamith says of the drop-in classes, “They are an awesome to way to get to improv with new people , every week a different long shot hosts the class and each week different people attend the class so each class is new and exciting and keeps you on your toes. It’s a great way to get people from all different walks of life playing together and having a laugh.”

Jason, Tamith and Rob all love improv. “It’s always different! I get excited about the unexpected and how things will evolve as there’s no rehearsal or planning involved, just relying on your wits and trusting your fellow improvisers, ” says Jason. Rob adds, “I love to see how people with no background in performance whatsoever can do an improv class and take so much joy out of it. I totally believe that improv in some form is for everybody.”

Why not try some improv to sharpen your performing abilities. Stop by for a drop-in improv class with the Long Shots on Thursday Nights from 19h30-21h30 at 1st Rosebank Air Scouts Hall, Campground Road, opposite the Rondebosch Common. No need to book, just pitch up and play. It only costs R50 per person. If you love it, you could even get a loyalty card and get your eighth lesson for free. Subscribe to their mailing list, follow on Twitter and like on Facebook to keep updated with what’s happening with classes and performances.

Catch the Long Shots’ sketch show, Mother City Sketch, and their improv show, Secrets and Sins, at the Cape Town Fringe Festival. They will also be performing at Obviously Armchair in Observatory or the Rockwell Theatre soon! Keep your eyes peeled for dates and times by following their social media platforms.

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