My Improv Family

This post is part of Reverb10, a project that provides daily prompts in the month of December to help you reflect on the past year and set your intentions for the year ahead. 

The cast of JINX, 2009

Today’s prompt:
What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

The best party of the year, hands down, was the five-year reunion of my beloved improv group, JINX – part of Washington Improv Theater in Washington, DC. Everyone who’d ever been part of the group (directors included) showed up for a reunion show one night in September, followed by hours of drinking and catching up. It ROCKED.

As we all filtered into the theater at the beginning of the night, hugs were followed by some nervousness about the show: some people had never played together before; a number of people were now in groups that performed a different style of improv than what they’d done with JINX; and we hadn’t practiced (improvisers will never be known for their organizational prowess). We managed to squeeze in about 10 minutes of warm-ups, and then, showtime.

The show was amazing. We KILLED it (you can see for yourself below – though video doesn’t fully capture what was happening in that room). It was like anyone who had ever been in JINX shared, deep down, some innate common sensibility, and despite our different experiences and styles, we just blended, and the show just popped. It was one of the most enjoyable performance experiences of my entire life.

Jinx Reunion Show – September 11 from Washington Improv Theater on Vimeo.

* * *

If you’re lucky, over the course of your life, you’ll find your tribe – a group of people who, when you’re with them, it’s easy to be yourself…they actually make you feel more like yourself. I found my tribe when I found Washington Improv Theater, and I found my family in JINX.

This isn’t a dis against my actual, biological family, whom I love very much. But JINX was my family too – they still are, and I hope they always will be.

I remember on my wedding day, my father gave a beautiful toast; at one point, he said about me and Jordan: “They seem to enjoy each other’s company more than anything else in the world.” That’s how I felt about JINX, too. Every Monday night after rehearsal we’d go to Axis, a bar on U Street, and drink beer, and eat, and laugh, and laugh and laugh. Sometimes we’d fight, or gossip, or plan. And then we’d laugh some more.

When we got into the apprenticeship program at the Chicago Improv Festival, rather than rent a bunch of hotel rooms, we rented a house for the weekend. We took trips together to Maryland’s Eastern Shore. We hung out at each other’s houses, playing poker and watching movies and drinking wine. The banter was always excellent.

* * *

Standing around upstairs after the reunion show, I soaked in the presence of so many people I loved. We drank Miller Lites from a cooler in the corner, except for Michelle, who was pregnant; others passed around champagne. We snacked on the chips and baby carrots that Mark, our artistic director, had put out, and reminisced, and caught up, and shot the shit.

The banter was excellent.

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