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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Class One with Mick Napier

“I’m not sure I want Mick to see me at this point in my career.”

“I’m going to take all the classes in the city first, then I’ll come back and take Mick’s class.”

Being around people who strategize when to have Mick Napier, founder of Annoyance Theater, made me doubt whether or not I should take the final class. I wrote my Level Three teacher, Mark Sutton of Bassprov, and he said to take it. I got worried that I would be wasting Mick’s precious time, since I am not a “serious” improvisor.

I decided that I wanted to finish the course at Annoyance and as soon as early registration opened, I submitted my registration. I didn’t want to get locked out, especially not after whining about it to Mark.

Yesterday was the first class. First of all, Mick seems very familiar. I don’t know if it is because his style has rubbed off on Josh Walker (level 1 teacher) and Rich Sohn (level 2 sub) so much that they all have similar mannerisms and vocab choices… Or if I know him from somewhere else.

It is a much bigger class than Level Three and about half the people (those not from my Level Three) already seem to know Mick. We did a ton of scenes and then got individual feedback and things to work on after break. Mine were pretty right on.

Mick asked if I knew that my head is the center of my body. What? That is where you carry yourself, I bet when you walk down the street you walk like this. He then did my walk pretty dead-on. Head down, thinking. He asked me to get out of my head by saying only ONE sentence at a time. Stand-up Comic Leah takes over and starts giving a running commentary. Improv Leah needs to shut up and let the scene happen. Okay, I’m editorializing, but the lesson was to say less and let it happen.

He also asked if I was willing to do more with my voice, try bigger characters, and make another part of my body the center–instead of my head.

I did some of these well over the second half of the class. It is hard to get out of your head when you’ve been given a list of things to overcome. But it was fun and I don’t spend as much time trembling in the corner as I used to. I still hug the wall a little too much, but I’ll get over that as the course continues, I’m certain.

Thumbs up to signing up for Level Four. It is going to be great.

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