I work at ASU, and I volunteer most years at Convocation. I tear up every time. My degrees have changed my life for the better, and the idea of celebrating that accomplishment as a community of scholars thrills me. Also, man, that song. It get’s me going every single time. And don’t get me started on regalia. I’m a full on graduation nerd.
In May 2009, I enrolled in Level 1: Beginning Longform Improv. I’ve been performing on stage and in film since I was 15, and had a brief stint with improv in college. What I was seeing in performances from the Torch troupes excited me as an artist, and I decided I wanted to try my hand at it. As anyone close to me knows, my love for improv exploded into flames of ardor over the last year as I explored longform principles and philosophies. They go beyond just “yes, and.” I learned methods of deep listening, learning and developing structures to create a holistic piece on the fly, and how to build characters and relationships that are fun, human, inhuman, absurd or anything else my imagination can conjure up. I have learned about myself and my community.
My last class for Level 6: Longform Synthesis is over. I am heading into my final student showcase. I get to graduate from the Torch Theatre Longform Training Center with a group of amazing people, all from various performance backgrounds and life experience. The community of people that I have had the pleasure of collaborating with has been one of the biggest joys. People that are truly interested in delving into the depths of human experience, people that are willing to be vulnerable in front of an audience full of strangers. People that are pushing themselves past their own “happy places” in order to bring performances to a new level.
If you want to check out what I’ve learned with this group of people, please come to one of our shows. (Dates to be posted shortly) (Dates and time posted here) We have developed a format we are calling Butterfly Door, inspired by the idea of “The Future.” As the first group to graduate from this 6 level curriculum developed by the Torch, and the class that has been around during this transition to the new space, we definitely feel the excitement being part of the future of the creative community in Phoenix. We are in a future we couldn’t have imagined when we walked into Space 55 last May.
I am at the end of this journey. I am proud and sad and excited about the journey ahead of me. *pushes play on cd player and grabs a box of kleenex*