I’ve noticed a lot of folks checking out my blog post “Leaving or Taking Someone off an Improv Team.” Leaving an improv team, no problem. That doesn’t bother me. Taking someone off an improv team, that does bother me.
When you build an indie team (indie = independent of a theater, on your own, decisions are made within the group), you are trusting that these people have your back. Some teams are formed out of classes, some are formed out of friends. It is important how the team is formed. Sometimes a hodgepodge of people just work together and you can’t really explain why. A group of friends will ALWAYS work better than people who are a grab bag of folks or the people who you think were the best in classes. This is why coaches push hanging out together, because it strengthens group mind through bonding and getting to know each other.
A group of friends are less likely to want to remove someone from a team verses a group of “not-super-close-people”. A group of “not-super-close-people” are focused more on doing good improv, with less regard for the humans that make up the team. Team “not-super-close-people” can sniff out the weak links/steam rollers/not jiving people and will want to get rid of them. Don’t. Kicking a person off of a team should be your absolute last resort. I have been kicked off a team. I have personally kicked a really good FRIEND off a team. I have been on a team that kicked someone off when I thought it wasn’t a good idea. If you really, truly, desperately want someone off a team, I do NOT advise kicking this person off. Here’s why:
• This person will probably, eventually quit soon anyway. It’s better if it’s on their terms and not yours.
• You will feel awkward seeing this person in the community after you kick them off.
• You will get a bad rap for kicking someone off a team. (Yes, politics are a part of this community folks.)
• Keeping this person on your team will make you a better improv player. If you can play with someone you don’t like or trust, you can do anything (aka: build confidence in your skills).
• This person will get better if they really want to. Promise.
• It kind of isn’t your choice to kick them off. I mean, it is, but in the organic world of improv, you should be yes anding this team.
If you’re on an improv theater team, talk to your coach and/or the artistic director about your issues with this person. You might look like a jerk if it’s just you complaining, but if it’s more than half the team having an issue, it’s worth bringing up to the board. They need to know if this person is being a pain or if their commitment to the art and theater has changed. The coach should really talk to the person if something’s going awry.