(Re)Learn to Listen with Community Spotlight: Ariel Weingarten!

We feel so lucky to have a community member like Ariel in our midst. Not only do they have an infectious joy whenever we are all together, they have an amazing amount of insight and intellect.

They are one of the few exceptions of our student community, having had a bit of improv experience in Toronto before googling improv here in San Diego and finding out about us. One of the most interesting parts of their journey is that they jumped right on stage during our open jams and played with students and house team members before ever taking a class! Did someone say BRAVE?!

More about Ariel offstage? They builds tools for conducting experiment-driven design of digital properties such as websites and social media. Ariel is pursuing a doctorate in computer science at UC San Diego where they are a member of The Design Lab. On campus, Ariel is promoting an innovative, inclusive, and informative environment for graduate students in computing fields at UCSD as a board member of Graduate Women in Computing. At Finest City Improv, Ariel is a student, stage manager, resident researcher, and crying-with-laughter audience member. Outside campus and the theater, Ariel programs generative art pieces like Woobles, surfs poorly, and asks waiters if they can make dishes vegan.

Watch and learn more about Ariel Weingarten in their video below!

In Their Words

I’m a student here Level 5. I have a lot of emotions that I like to express in very dramatic ways and it turns out that the workplace isn’t a great place to be doing this. And it also turns out there’s a theater full of people that want be doing this sort of thing with each other. So it’s like ‘Cool, let’s try improv.”

I also spend so much time preparing things in meticulous detail for research that going without a script is a very liberating experience.

A pass time of a lot of people in offices is to talk about the work we’re going to do. And in improv scene you’re often tempted to talk about what will happen but it’s like “NO! Now! HERE! What are we doing?” It’s like “I don’t want to hear about later, I don’t want to hear about before, I don’t want to hear about Jeff who’s gonna-No! What, who’s here doing what.”

Getting the chance to play on stage and play seriously is so wonderful in a number of ways. One of them is just finally a way to be comfortable with yourself and other people cause you’re in this safe space. And everyone is just like ‘let’s play as hard as we can.’ And it turns out that it’s hard to find especially as you get older these spaces that the culture’s not set in them.

If you’re thinking about taking a Level 1 Class, I think that it’s a wonderful idea. Don’t worry about the question: what should I be doing? You’re there, you’re positive, you’re supporting people. And then like what happens during the scenes? You’re basically like, levels 1-3 you’re stumbling and getting your bearings. And so you never ever ever be hard on yourself for not getting what a scene is. None of that matters. What matters is that you show up, you let troubles melt away, you’re with the people and that you play real hard.

My improv motto is “LISTEN.” Not original but please just listen. Listen. Listen. Listen.


Learn how improv can help in your life and try a free class!


This article is part of the Community Spotlight Series highlighting our amazing students, teachers, and performers.

Are you an FCI student or graduate that has a great story to share? We’d love to feature you! Let us know.



One Comment on “(Re)Learn to Listen with Community Spotlight: Ariel Weingarten!”

  1. I’m returning to Level 2 classes tonight and wasn’t feeling my mojo but your video just re-ignited it. Thanks for your joyful way Ariel and deflecting all that meaning in improv. It’s supposed to be fun, right? “Let’s play as hard as we can!”

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