Kalamazoo, MI
one-hundred-forty Years of Service to the Student

Opinion

Everyone Is Welcome at Monkashop

Many can recall their stomach churning and hands shaking right before they had to speak before a group, whether it was friends, a class, or a whole auditorium. It’s natural to worry when you feel everyone’s eyes bearing down on you. It’s natural to feel judged. Confidence before an audience requires practice, but if your only practice is those terrifying moments, it’s hard to gain anything.

I used to have nerves about public speaking and performance – I still do. Now, though, I find it more exhilarating than frightening. Monkashops helped me find that confidence because improv requires letting go of judgements, both of ourselves and others. A good improviser supports their partners on stage: any mistakes they make are embraced so there’s no reason to fear making them. Confidence in performance comes naturally through improv, and it’s helped me with those nerves.

As a result, Monkashop is a great stress reliever. I made it a weekly ritual to go because it helped me relinquish everything I had going on and play for two hours, keeping me sane through the rollercoaster of Kalamazoo College. If you like Monkapult shows, Monkashop is like two hours of that with audience participation. Even after a tiring day, it’s an energizing and fulfilling experience; many nights I feel an immense rush and I’m brimming with pride at what I created with others on stage. Monkashop is the remedy for a rough day.

For these reasons, I keep asking people to go, but I repeatedly hear the same reasons why they can’t:

1) “I’m not funny.” Here’s a secret: improv isn’t about being funny, it’s about teamwork. Monkapult shows wouldn’t be nearly as good if the team just did one-person comedy routines. We’re funnier as a team than we are alone because we work together to make each other look good. Don’t worry if you don’t think you’re funny, trust in your scene partners, and they’ll make you look like a comedic genius.

2) “I can’t improvise.” Have you ever had a conversation with someone? Then you’ve already improvised. Unless you plan every aspect of each day to the minutest detail, then you’ve improvised. We do it all the time. Don’t worry about how good you are at improv, either. I wasn’t that great when I started, yet I kept going because I saw how I improved and grew with each Monkashop (and how much fun I was having). You will too.

3) “Improv’s just not my thing.” Nothing’s anyone’s thing until they try it. Perhaps you just want to sit and watch before you put yourself out there. That’s fine. You can wait as long as you want before taking the stage, people do it all the time at Monkashop. When you finally do, though, we’ll welcome you like one of the team.

If I’ve managed to pique your interest: Monkashop is every Tuesday from 10-12 PM in the Recital Hall in the FAB. Hope to see you there.

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Everyone Is Welcome at Monkashop