In celebration of Mother’s Day on May 13, 2018, we want to highlight and celebrate our improv students, performers, volunteers and friends in our tight-knit community who are also moms. Get to know Amber Neff, who you might see at a show or class or may recognize as “Adult Eleven” from IC’s Stranger Things parody, “Holiday at Hopper’s.”
How and when did you get involved with improv?
I was a theatre major in undergrad and did a little improv there, but nothing memorable. Joining the cast of IC’s Stranger Things parody, “Holiday at Hopper’s”, as “Adult Eleven,” got me interested in theatre and improv again. Since then, I’ve since started taking classes, going to shows, etc., and am loving it!
What is your favorite thing about improv?
Improv is like a cool mix of theatre and puzzles, and that really appeals to me. No two scenes are ever the same, and it relies on being 100% present and engaged. I love being a stay-at-home Mom, but improv lets me use muscles I don’t get to use on a daily basis. And it encourages me to step outside of my constant multi-tasking and focus on where I am and who I’m with at that exact moment. I feel like I’m getting smarter, or something. Can that happen? Is that a thing?
In what way have you used “Yes, and …” or other improv principles in your relationships with your children?
Improv is all about listening, right? And man, do toddlers want to be listened to. I think listening has helped us not only to avoid cosmic meltdowns, but has made our time together more meaningful. Although her vocabulary is small, my toddler communicates all the time. Making sure that I’m listening to her, acknowledging her feelings and/or what she wants and needs hopefully makes her feel validated and safe. It keeps a strong connection between us. It’s sort of like peeling back the layers to reveal more depth in an improv scene. My daughter can yell some indistinguishable toddler-speak at me and I can either ignore her or take time to figure out what she’s saying. The latter choice makes our relationship stronger. Yay!
Any interesting or fun fact you’d like to share?
I’m also in a local folk band called Shiny and the Spoon! We’re on Facebook. Check us out!