When I first moved to The Netherlands from Australia, one thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to get back into improv as quickly as possible. I was somewhat spoiled in Brisbane, with a weekly maestro format which operated on a first-come-first-served basis in addition to a number of other shows and jams too. Now I live in a country where I don't speak the first language and accepted that it might be a bit harder to get my fix.
Since I live in Nijmegen, in the south-east of the country, I tried first to find out what was going on in the cities nearest me first. I joined a few jams with a few different groups, including a few months with Chili Con Comedy in Eindhoven. However, no matter what I did, there was nothing quite as satisfying as the Sunday workshops which easylaughs were running in Amsterdam every Sunday.
I remember the first one I ever went to, being taught by Davide Dispenza. There was a real focus on physicality, an area I definitely needed to work on, which came as quite a jolt in the new environment. The group was larger than I expected, with people from all over the world and with a wide range of backgrounds all getting stuck in with contagious enthusiasm. The session was well run, and you could just let yourself go trusting the organiser to help you navigate through. Though I had never met these people before in my life, it felt like a safe space to try out different things with everyone in the room showing support and respect for their fellow players.
Afterwards, the group all headed down to the cafe for a drink and some food to reflect on the session and just chat generally. There were clearly some there who knew each other already, but regardless there was a welcoming atmosphere where everyone was happily chatting. We all tried to sit together around the same table, talking about the session we'd just taken part in, debriefing and reflecting on the most exhilarating moments. After a while, the conversation moved on to other things, as I got to know these people who were otherwise complete strangers, it was a fun way to spend the afternoon. It's amazing how much of an icebreaker it can be knowing that you saw the person you're talking to acting as an elegant hippo an hour before.
I've met some amazing people through the easylaughs workshops. Some of them from The Netherlands, some having moved there and some just passing through and looking for an improv fix. It's a welcoming environment which always leaves you feeling good, and is never the same experience twice. What better way is there to spend a Sunday?