"Think of your biggest pet peeve, and, when I point to you, just rant about it," Rick Andrews, an improv instructor at the Magnet Theater, instructed a group of residents at AKA Sutton Place, a luxury service residence in New York.
Easy, I thought. When someone puts an empty food container back into the fridge. Or, when people are late ... to anything. Or, when the person in front of me doesn't hold the door ... No, wait. I got it:
"Sometimes I walk down a sidewalk, and the people in front of me are walking about, oh, I don't know, one mile an hour," I began, at Andrews' cue. "I understand that people like to walk leisurely, but most of the time I just want to get where I'm going!"
Others nodded in agreement and joined in, sharing their own grievances.
"I hate when people eat smelly food on the subway."
"I can't stand it when people don't face forward in an elevator."
"It drives me crazy when I eat pizza and oil runs down the side of my hand."
Pretty soon, Andrews had created an "orchestra of rants." It was one of several improv games played by residents and AKA staff during the brand's Live It comedy and improv workshop.
The comedy/improv workshop and other Live It programs joined the AKA brand about five years ago but are continually evolving as a result of resident feedback. They were created to provide AKA residents with the opportunity to learn a new skill or talent while away from home, according to the company's website.
Besides improv, residents can choose from classes such as culinary arts, fitness, dance, painting, photography, surfing or sound therapy.
AKA has nine properties in the U.S. and England. The Sutton Place property includes 76 one- and two-bedroom apartments, a heated pool, a fitness center and its own "Zen room." The brand's client base ranges from tourists and business travelers to those who may need somewhere to stay in the midst of a household renovation or job relocation. At Sutton Place, travelers are required to live at the property for a minimum of 30 days, and there is no maximum stay length.
For a one-bedroom apartment in any of AKA's NYC properties, weekly rates are $575 per night, and monthly rates are $395 per night. All utilities are included.