This Week’s Episode:
My team’s about to hit the stage for our first improv show as a troupe. We’re backstage and talking amongst ourselves about everything we’re going to do to make this performance incredible.
My teammates Mike, Mark, and I each recite an improv rule that we plan to focus on during the show. Once we are finished declaring our steadfast following of a particular rule, we look over at our fellow troupe member Chris who hasn’t weighed in yet. He announces, “Let’s just have fun.”
At that moment, I realize, “Oh, of course!” Here we are putting all these rules in place and concentrating on things we need to do... or not do. And then Chris gives us the permission in that moment to let all of that go and just play.
Chris Shurland has a knack for always following the fun, and I’ve invited him onto the show today to remind us all how we can do the same.
In this episode, he and I talk about what improv really is and how it helps you as a storyteller (or, surprise, a salesperson). We also discuss being you and being real in your storytelling or performance, getting over nerves and stage fright, and the importance of keeping your audience interested throughout the story.
What you will learn in this episode:
- What it means to take on a character that is you but not you
- How to “heighten” your storytelling, even when the story is true
- Why embracing imperfection makes you a more engaging storyteller
Who is Chris?
Currently based in Santa Barbara, Chris Shurland is a Chicago-trained improv teacher and performer and the founder of Irreverent Improv. After completing his training at various institutions, he performed on several teams in Chicago and California. Some of those groups went on tour to perform in festivals and at theaters.
Nowadays, Chris serves as the Associate Artistic Director for American Improv Theatre in San Jose. He directs shows, coaches teams, teaches classes, and acts as a producer of the San Jose Improv Festival. When not teaching workshops, he performs on house teams in the Bay Area and Southern California and tours with improv groups in San Jose, Santa Barbara, or Chicago. You can also find Chris teaching classes at Carpinteria Improv as well as planning multiple workshops and performances in the U.S. and abroad in the months to come.
Links & Resources
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