I dabbled in improv several years ago at Second City in Chicago. I took a few classes here and there, but never really understood what improv could do for my life until I had to write a blues song for a diversity class I was auditing. The lyrics shocked me. It was called the “She Look Fine Blues” and it was about how I looked fine on the outside, but was drinking bottles of wine by the twos. This song made me realize that I needed to get help for alcohol dependency. Having the avenue to express myself revealed a truth that I desperately needed to accept.
Seven years after dropping that class and entering rehab, I showed up at Dallas Comedy House. I was looking for a recreational activity to do after work because I found myself rudderless and bored to tears after living in the Dallas burbs for a couple of years.
My first improv class was a funny good time. I met people that I befriended and started to let my guard down a bit. I was quite nervous about doing improv again because I wasn’t sure if it would reveal another hard truth about myself that I really didn’t want to deal with. As it turned out, it was pure, unadulterated fun. I met up with classmates at the jam and I did something I hadn’t done in years—I played. I could slowly feel myself coming to life again.
After a few levels of improv, I learned how difficult and rewarding it can be. I wanted to get better, and I knew the only way to do that was to watch and perform. I was chosen to be on one of the Ewing teams, Dolphin Skin, and that was a real game-changer. I bonded with a group of people who were really trying to take their improv skills to the next level. I had a coach, Kyle Austin, who challenged me mercilessly (okay, with some mercy) to become a better, more authentic improviser. I had never really been a “joiner”, so being on a Ewing team was a challenge. I had to perform with all new people and build trust and common ground. Over time, it happened and I count the members of Dolphin Skin among my real friends today.
And just when I thought my DCH experience couldn’t get any better, I discovered the storytelling classes. I have taken levels one and two with Julia Cotton an Devon Kodzis. They are supportive and offer hilarious insight into some of life's most trying circumstances. Storytelling has been a full circle experience for me. I have taken those lessons I learned about isolation and addiction and thrown them on the stage for others to see. The woman who didn’t know herself those many years ago at Second City is now a proud member of Dolphin Skin improv troupe and "Gettin’ It" storytelling cast. I am more open, vulnerable, and self-aware because of improv and storytelling. I am more fulfilled and have more friendships and fun because of Dallas Comedy House.
Sydney Plant graduated from the DCH improv training program in 2017 and currently performs in the improv troupes, Dolphin Skin and Soft Light, Shiny Puppy. She is also a part of the DCH "Gettin' It" storytelling cast. She is an avid league bowler and is working hard to improve her average average. She is originally from Michigan and is a Spartan for life.