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The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

Improv for Life courses with Renny Temple return to COCC

Photo Courtesy of Renny Temple

Renny Temple, a former folk artist, TV actor and founder of the improvisational theater company, War Babies, plans to make his comeback to Central Oregon Community College with his Improv for Life course, after a two year hiatus caused by COVID-19.

Before the pandemic hit in 2020, Temple had started around 2019, leading eight session improv courses at COCC, open for anyone to attend. The course consists of eight sessions, or 16 hours in total, with two classes each week.

The course, named Improv for Life, presents a workshop that ultimately aims to improve: decision-making skills, confidence, communication, listening skills and a variety of other essential life skills through improv exercises and games. 

Temple noted that he plans to start teaching his courses every other month after the course’s return in Jan. 2023, and that he eventually wants to move on to making it a full time college course available within COCC’s course catalog. 

The course is open to anyone wanting to attend, and more details and specific dates in Jan. 2023 can be viewed here.

While the course is open for anyone wanting to attend, Temple stressed the importance he feels that college students learn the life skills taught through improv in his courses. According to Temple, the course can help with confidence and becoming a spontaneous person, setting one up for life. He said that anyone can learn to turn off the voice in their head they’ve been listening to —to justify who they are and how to exist.

“That voice is not you. That’s a conglomeration of everything everybody’s ever told you and what you’re comfortable with… That’s a voice in your head, what you want to do is turn that off, and find the spontaneous moments between all of these thoughts that you have running through your head,” said Temple.

“And to know how to get out of situations that are uncomfortable, how to create situations that are comfortable, how not to be competitive with people, but how to be collaborators with people so that everybody wins. You don’t want to be stepping on people to get ahead. You want other people to be better because of you. And when you start thinking like that, magic happens.”

Temple continued, saying that he begins the courses by telling learners that they are improvising every day. There are no scripts, cue cards or teleprompters in daily life, and we are all constantly making things up. 

“As you go along, you’re pulling things out of thin air, saying them, and as soon as you finish saying them, they disappear into thin air and never to be heard or said exactly the same way again. The ‘trick’ is to learn how to control the thin air, and that’s what improv teaches you,” said Temple.

During the first class session, Temple introduces a simple mirroring exercise, where students pair up and mirror the other person’s slow movements without speaking. From there, students are introduced to a variety of improv exercises and situations where they get to exercise their communication and decision making skills through a fun and lighthearted manner. 

Temple told The Broadside that he stresses the importance of having fun in his course. Especially that no one should feel pressured to try to be funny or perfect, and that everyone comes to win and lose, and to ultimately learn to have more positive interactions with the world and people around them in daily life.

Temple was also featured in an interview, along with his wife, actress Caren Kayne with Liam Gibler for the “Off-Script with Liam Gibler” podcast, which you can check out here.

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Miina McCown
Miina McCown, Editor in chief
Miina McCown is editor in chief of The Broadside.

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