Second City Training Centre - Improv Class
Second City holds open doors for their classes once in a while, and Mon Cheri used to work nearby, so we had a chance to be introduced to the idea several times.
There isn’t much to say about the outside: Wayne Gretzky’s occupies the larger share of the frontage as a main floor restaurant of the historical 99 Blue Jays Way building. It captures most of the attention of a passerby. There is a long, red banner attached to the upper part of the building, as well as a temporary sidewalk sign, introducing the Second City brand to this side of the building. Interestingly, the entrance to the upper floor Training Centre is through the restaurant, rather than the Second City theatre itself.
The staircase is dark and narrow, but simply-themed with inspirational quotes of famous Second City alumni. A large, warehouse-type circular light with exposed pipes added to creating an underground ambiance, as we’d climbed up.
SWIRL & NOSE
In the actual centre , the interior was modern and clean with a bold, red accented wall behind the reception. We thought we saw John Candy’s face as a stylized vinyl behind the desk – appropriate and relevant. Another memorable element was a brand statement wall: the stand-up comedian tool of trade – the famous stool made from yellow, neon lights. Last, but not least to mention, there was a modern lounge area, and great long-peaked skylight adding to the uplifting vibe.
We initially made a mistake and showed up at a wrong time. Beware, the two drop-in options are at different times on Mondays and Fridays. That 30-minute difference made us miss this opportunity at first.
A quick payment setup and registry via iPad, and we were on our way to the room. The class starts sharp on time, so we walked in on a group already performing a walking exercise, which soon escalated into playing tag, while pretending to be penguins. Over the next 2 hours, our trainer Ashley took us through many fun games. Some of us got to feel a range of emotions: discomfort, fun, someone even developed a headache and we all got energized! The great variety of the improv toolkit made the room of fifteen strangers to feel a lot more friendly by the end of our Friday drop in.
We should note that some of these games reminded us of being back at camp, and they were not a challenge we’d expected, when hearing of the improv-classes. So don’t be too intimidated.
This might be one of the better ways to get a bit loose, more comfortable with oneself, meet fellow brave soul or take it further, and consider pursuing acting. You will also get a $2-show offer of the improv class after, and discounted Second City passes to make it even more worthwhile to visit - making it a full-blown comedy night.
P.S.: Rumour has it that different teachers run the class quite differently, so repeating this experience should be a surprise treat every time.