WIT Student Profile: ANC Commissioner Monique Diop Discovers the Power of Improv
Monique Diop is a WIT student and ANC Commissioner in Ward 8. WIT caught up with her recently to chat about how exactly she stumbled upon her first improv class at the Anacostia Arts Center, how learning improv has helped her collaborate with fellow commissioners, and the creative life of Washington, DC that lies beyond its stuffy image.
What inspired you to sign up for your first improv class? Do you have a background in theater or comedy?
I found out about the first class by visiting the clothing store Vintage and Charmed at the Anacostia Arts Center. While leaving, I saw a table full of information, and an advertisement showing people laughing and looking silly caught my eye! It was promoting an improv class with WIT. I don’t have a background in theater or comedy but figured it would be a great way to meet some people, check out the new space, and have some fun.
What was the biggest surprise about your first class?
The biggest surprise about the first class was how TIRED it made me! OMG! This class had us moving body parts, making weird noises, running around and was actually a workout (yes, I count it as a workout!). Plus it allowed me to let my guard down and be silly and laugh at the rest of the silly class.
How do you use improv as part of your work as an ANC commissioner?
I think improv helps me to respond better when it comes to being a commissioner (shout out to Bellevue! 8D04!). It has heightened my ability to read body language and become more agreeable even if I don’t agree with what is being said. It’s made it easier to collaborate with my entire commission because I try to focus on listening to what they have to say without judgment. Plus at the end of the day, I can recall moments that made me feel uptight, and then laugh about them!
What’s something you wish more people knew about DC?
We are more than just the White House and museums!
WIT seeks to unleash Washingtonians’ creativity. Who’s the most creative person you know in DC, and why?
DC can be a little stuffy, but because of this improv class and me tweeting about it, I have connected with other artists in the area and even have a monthly segment on the Ask Rayceen show! I met a guy name Zar who organizes the show and is into everything — book clubs, speed dating, online drama series, drag proms, etc. He is very creative, always busy and, amazingly, gets things organized and done. (It’s funny, we have been working together for almost a year, and I only know him by his stage name, Zar!) Also I met Eva Lewis who is a WIT teacher and player and she is HILARIOUS! I didn’t even know her and invited her to my 4th of July party! Then come to find out she works for the mayor’s office.
Funny she should mention Eva, who just so happens to be one of the next WIT community members we’ll be profiling! Sign up for our email list so you don’t miss these and other exciting content updates.
Do you want to give improv a try? Our Foundations of Improv class is registering now including a section at Anacostia Arts Center. Some sections are already close to full, so don’t delay!