The closing weekend of the San Francisco Improv Festival just wrapped. It was the closing night I attended two years ago that had spurred me into my more consistent improv journey. Up until that point, I’d only done the occasional workshop here and there since 2001, though I’d watched a lot more improv than I’d done. It was this improv festival, though, that helped kick my butt into gear and finally go to a class in San Francisco. I did two drop-in classes with Leela before signing up for their first level class.
I haven’t really slowed down since then. I’ve been with my Leela ensemble YUM for roughly 18 months now, and been the production manager for a year. I’ve had big goals for us, which I wanted to see through, and having that role has helped me get us there, though I couldn’t have done it without everyone else sharing the same goals. We’re finally festival bound ourselves, having recently been accepted into the Antelope Valley Improv Comedy Festival to perform over the weekend of November 12-13, 2016, as well as the Hollywood Improv Festival, which will be held January 27-29, 2017.
Before those festivals, though, I’m flying to Honolulu on Wednesday to perform with a group of people I’ve never met at Improvaganza, the Hawaii Festival of Improv. I’ve known the producers there for years so I’m excited to finally be able to attend.
It’s like my dreams are coming true. From back when I was 15-16, I thought it would be cool to perform at a festival. At that age, my sights had been on having a solo stand-up show for an hour at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, which is a goal I no longer have because I don’t do stand-up any more and I don’t feel like I have the capacity to write and perform a full hour show on my own. Improv is completely different, though, because I don’t have to write anything, and I trust those I perform with explicitly. We’ve spent so much time bonding and getting to know each other that we just know we’re always going to get out there and have a good time with each other, and love the work we produce. Even in the shows we don’t feel as good about, we have a good time together.
I love the collaboration and building everything together. As someone who was a bit of a loner and outsider growing up, having such a strong sense of community and working with the same people consistently for as long as I have has been such a blessing for me. I don’t think I could’ve ever dreamed that I’d be able to make performing in Hollywood a reality, but here I am with my favourite people to work with heading that way in just a few months. There’s something inherently validating about what you’re doing when you’re accepted by people outside of your usual circle of friends, or audience.
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