Friday, June 10, 2011

Feature: 'Go for it!' for The Courier-Mail

Published June 10.
Doing improvisation makes you get up, have fun and be in the moment, radio journalist Natalie Bochenski, 30, of Spring Hill, tells Anna Angel.
I DID ballet and dance as a young girl. When I was a teenager that progressed into theatre and I've been involved with impro since the late '90s.
Acting and theatre is my hobby. I'm a journalist by trade and a lot of the time I do straight politics.
You'd be surprised at how much cross-over there is. I won't be at Parliament and bust out some improvised sketch, but I can be at impro and throw in a political joke.
While I still do a lot of scripted theatre, impro is a wonderful outlet. You're tapping into the imagination we all had as kids, but we're told as adults we're not allowed to have any more because we have to be sensible.

I'm artistic director of Impromafia, which was started in 2004 by a group of like-minded people. Our aim is to provide great quality and affordable improvised entertainment, and to provide players with playing opportunities.
None of us are making a living from it. It is our passion. Among our core group we have teachers, lawyers, IT professionals and media professionals. And we do have some who are actors by trade.
It's helped me in my career immensely. As a journalist with 4BC I need to be able to keep things in my head and get ideas across quickly. It's also left me without a sense of fear if I'm left without something to say.
If my computer crashes while I'm reading the news I don't have a complete freak out - I know I can elaborate on stories, pad it out until I get my computer working again.
You might have never got up on stage before, but you can still have a go at impro. We do workshops. We can teach you the skills to get you started. It's very approachable, but most of all it's fun.
If you're someone who is frightened to get up on stage, impro can be a great way to conquer that fear. It's not like stand-up comedy where you're up there by yourself, and we try to provide a supportive environment.
You have to be prepared to fail in impro scenes. It's such an amazing release to say, ``I'm going to do something that won't work, but that's OK''.
The impro community in Brisbane is small and dynamic, but the main issue is getting the word out. A lot of people don't know too much about it. They might remember doing Theatresports in school, but that's just one style of impro.
Our speciality is longer-form improvised works. We perform at the Brisbane Arts Theatre about once a month.
We have a regular Monday night show at the Jubilee Hotel called The Speakeasy. It's a free comedy show we put on so our newer players can get regular stage experience, where everyone plays together.
I'm there nearly every Monday, and we also do a professional show every second Wednesday at the Albion Comedy Club.

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