Last month I had the unusual opportunity to visit both major cities — Philadelphia and Denver — I’ve lived in within a three-week period. It was almost like a two-part version of “This is Your Life” with various friends and family members congregating at old hangout spots – no improv required. As fun as it sounds, there are also potential pitfalls to an intense walk down memory lane with a robust cast of characters. They include:

  1. Playing the “What if …?” game. “What if” I still lived here? “What if” I never left? “What if” I took a different job, made a different choice, dated a different person, adopted a different pet, had a different hairstyle, a different outfit, a different color toenail polish – yes, it can get that ridiculous.
  2. The tourist vs. resident trap. Go back to a place you used to live and visit only your favorite places and your favorite people – while also avoiding doing any work and you’ve just found yourself on vacation in a former hometown.
  3. The dumbed down memory. When you’ve been away from something or someone for a while, your memory dulls about that subject. The details your memory tends to hold onto are the good ones because everything was always better “back then.” Whenever I get nostalgic about Philadelphia, I have to remember that it could take upwards of 20 minutes to find a parking spot near-ish my South Philly row house on a Friday night.

This month I returned to Southern California for the first time in 20 some years. In February of 1995 I was offered a position in Newport Beach – one week after I set myself up in my first real apartment in Philadelphia and one week before I met my first husband. The “What if …?” game jumped off the charts.

What if I had accepted that position? How would my life be now?

And then I ended up in Patricia Ryan Madson’s Improv for Humans workshop at the Global Improvisation Initiative Symposium in Irvine.

Meeting Patricia Ryan Madson for the first time at the Global Improv Initiative Symposium

Patricia penned the book, Improv Wisdom – a wonderfully practical (and fun) guide for applying the maxims of improvisational theater to real-world challenges. Here, we were asked to walk around the room and notice everything – people, colors, shapes, views, objects – as many details as possible. After taking in the scene, we sat with our eyes closed and were asked to silently recall different aspects about the space. For example, where did we see red? What shapes were on the floor? What was hung on the walls?

In that moment it became apparent just how not in moment we can be most of the time. We were asked to specifically take notice of everything and still many of us missed many details. So imagine this group of seemingly trained be-in-the-moment improv theatre people out in the world beyond the classroom — missing lots of things lots of the time.

What are some of the best ways to miss the moment?

  1. Play the “What if …?” game.
  2. Forget to be a tourist in our own – current – cities.
  3. Spend too much time on memory lane.

(Does this list look familiar?)

I invite you to spend time doing something that takes you away from your head and into the moment. Bonus if it’s right around the corner from where you work or live – now.


3 Blind Dates – an unscripted romantic comedy
Sunday, June 11th at 7 p.m.
Limelight Theatre
$13 advance/$15 door

An unscripted romantic comedy, 3 Blind Dates follows 3 single ladies through a round of speed dating and the dates that occur as a result. The twist? The audience selects which speed dater goes on a date with each of the ladies!

The Improv Adventure – an improv comedy show
Sunday, June 4th at 7 p.m.
Limelight Theatre
11 Old Mission Ave in St. Augustine
$7 advance/$10 door

Where will improv take YOU?!

That’s the question we explore with Limelight’s new improv house team directed by The Adventure Project! Join the adventure and be a part of creating a show where no one – not even the players – know where we’ll end up! Stick around after the show for the Improv Playground where the players lead improv games for the community!

Improv Summer Camp for Kids
Monday, June 5th – Friday, June 9th from 1 – 5 p.m.
12-18 years old
Limelight Theatre

In this 1-week camp, students will explore the basic concepts of improvisation in a warm, safe and supportive environment. The camp is designed to build self-confidence and explore creativity using the fundamentals of improvisation. Camp will culminate in a short showcase for friends and family on Friday, June 9th at 5 p.m.

Please visit The Adventure Project’s calendar for more details and tickets.








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