Moms Who Improv: Erica Bauman

 Erica Bauman and her daughter.

Erica Bauman and her daughter.

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 Erica Bauman, house manager and level 2 student, who you often see volunteering with her daughter.

What is your favorite thing about improv?

My favorite thing about improv is the combination of joy and empowerment it cultivates. There is a beautiful combination of vulnerability, playfulness, and creative intellect that I find intoxicating. The directors are not only experienced improvisers, but also incredibly attuned to human dynamics. The atmosphere IC is able to cultivate--bringing strangers together, equipping us with improv skills that translate well in life as well as on stage, and infusing us with a confidence and joy that affects our relationships, creativity, and inner lives-- is pretty incredible. 

In what way have you used “Yes, and …” or other improv principles in your relationships with your children?

"Yes, and..." has become a thing with me and my daughter. Sometimes I use it directly by incorporating some of the games or techniques I've learned. Indirectly, it has shown up in my parenting by bolstering my ability to quell my anxiety as I take what comes and know I have the strength and creativity to not only take it on, but have a sense of control. I can add something to it or turn it around completely, making it what I want. 

I've just entered the teen years with my kid so...this couldn't have come at a better time, I'd say! My daughter is pretty observant. so I know she has picked up on a shift in my approach to how I interact in the world and with her. Teaching her to take a bad situation and make it better, or find the natural fun or funny in it, has always been part of who we are. I think improv is only making us better at it!

 "Why are we still here?" When Erica's daughter hurt her wrist, they passed the four-hour (!) waiting period with improv games.

"Why are we still here?" When Erica's daughter hurt her wrist, they passed the four-hour (!) waiting period with improv games.

My daughter fractured her wrist this past winter. We ended up in the emergency room for four hours. You know how that goes. We passed the time with improv games. While we still had heavy sighs and "Why are we still here?” “I'm hungry,” “This hurts…",  the smiles and laughs throughout were genuine and definitely improved our day. Furthermore, on the way home, we played "yes, and..." to create a list of positives to having one arm out of commission; such as having people help you with your coat and books as if you were royalty or rich and how the opposite arm would "get swoll!"

Any interesting or fun fact you’d like to share?

I volunteer with IC regularly, assisting on the stage management team. On occasion my daughter comes with me. When she is with me, she lends me hand, has some laughs, and observes the techniques and reactions to the work, which is also of interest to her. Best of all, and what warms my heart, is the response to her presence. It's just a genuinely great group of people that I am proud to be part of and support!
 

 Like mother, like daughter. Erica and her daughter have a blast together.

Like mother, like daughter. Erica and her daughter have a blast together.