“You’re in a hot-air balloon,” someone shouts. “She just rejected his marriage proposal,” another voice suggests. “The genre is sci-fi!” So begins a silly round of “Oscar Winning Moment,” starring members of the Boalt Improv Group.
Every Wednesday, law students with comedic flair turn a lecture hall into a stage. After a warmup exercise involving ninja screams and moves, the weight of studying law dissolves into a relaxed rhythm of laughter and movement.
Seeking an outlet for 1L pressures, Steven Chizen ’19 and Charles Miller ’19 launched the group as a space for not taking it all so seriously.
Alexis Payne ’19 joined “because laughter is the best medicine for stressed-out law students. The games also help me think on my feet, which is a big part of law school and ultimately being a lawyer.”
Because improv builds on what others say and do, it also sharpens listening and collaboration skills. Payne and Miller note that the teamwork aspect helped them in Berkeley Law’s annual Bales Mock Trial Competition.
“Embarrassing yourself in here makes it easier to stand before people and respond to something you may not be totally prepared for,” Payne says.
Indeed, breaking down fear may be the group’s greatest benefit.
Seeing classmates let loose helped Man Chi Wong ’19 build confidence. “I think when I work in a law firm, this experience will help me to know my colleagues probably have a fun side, too.”