Class September 27, 2006

Wow! We just topped last week’s attendance with 22 people in class last night, including me. Four of the players were brand new to improv, and they still jumped up and participated in just about everything.

The camera got passed around a fair amount. There were at least 4 people that I saw taking pictures. I’m trying to keep the total number of pictures in a post down to a reasonable amount, so I’m looking into how I can provide a slide show utility. There are a lot of fun pictures, even after I throw out all the really blurry ones.

img_1498.JPGVictoria, Ben, Scott, and Marika are in a Continuing Scene, Changing Genre game. It probably goes without saying that they are in the middle of a Mystery.

img_1508.JPGTeri, Neil, Brian, and Dustin are playing the same game, but from the looks of this picture, they are performing as a Children’s Show.

img_1512.JPGI like the expressions in this picture. Mark looks scared and Karla looks really mad at Eric’s Dad (sorry, I don’t remember his name). Mike just looks lost. The location was a drug store, but I believe that this segment was being played as a mystery.

img_1506.JPGThis was one of my favorite moments of the night. I don’t remember the location, but Betts, Jim, Patricia, and Allegra are performing this part of the scene as a light opera. It was a very fun piece and just look at those expressions.

img_1516.JPGHere, Andrew, Scott, Justin, and Eric (son of Eric’s dad), are also performing in a Continuing Scene, Changing Genre (I had clear pictures for all 5 iterations of this game, so I was able to cover everyone in a picture!). I don’t know if this is the part where they were performing an Opera, but that was certainly the most memorable genre!

img_1503.JPGEven though there were a lot of other great pictures from the night, I wanted to include this shot because I think it’s just a sweet capture of these two very funny women.

I think we had a very full night, and we also had a chance to prepare for the Recital this coming Saturday. Don’t forget, the show starts at 8:00, this Saturday September 30.


Just Say It!

Once again, Bill Arnett at iO Chicago wrote up a great post about scene work. This time he discusses the problem with being coy about an object or situation in a scene. We’ve all seen the problem where some object in a scene is described in indirect terms: how amazing or disturbing it is, how desirable it is, or how important it is. But, defining it is put off to somehow “build tension”. Instead of building the relationship between the characters, we spend time focusing on some thing in the scene. When we find out the big “IT”, can it possibly pay off on all the build up?

Just say what it is and get on with the scene. As always, Bill says it to much better effect. Check it out.

Santa Barbara Improv Website Status

The Santa Barbara Improv website is back up and running. We are now officially hosted at, so be sure that your links are addressed correctly. I still have the members.cox site, but it should be directing you to the new home page.

Just a quick note to warn folks that I’m going to be making more changes to the website over the next week or two. Some exciting things will be happening around the Santa Barbara Improv scene and I’m trying to get some infrastructure in place to support it all. This improv blog should be accessible with the latest announcements and updates, so keep checking back!

Class September 20, 2006

I want to thank Andy for grabbing the camera and taking these shots.

Last night was a big class, with 21 people including me. We still got everyone through 5 games, separate from the warm-up exercises.

These pictures don’t capture everyone, but I picked out 6 that I think represent the class pretty well.

img_14300.jpgThis was a panel of knitting experts. The players are Allegra, Ben, Marika, Scott (one of the two), and Neil who played the MC. They had a pretty good range of characters, although I think the favorite was Slash (Scott), a parolee who made his knitting needles from toothbrushes in prison.

What was wonderful about this scene was how all the players kept endowing an event that had been offered in the initial introductions by Mary Beth (Marika). There was a horrible knitting accident in 1998. Rather than focusing on the external event, they made it affect each other in an immediate way. Lot’s of feelings and support. Nice.

img_1431.jpgThe second panel consisted of experts on snowflakes. Scott (the other one), Diana, Sharon, and Eric were experts, and Jim served as MC. I think Julie Langsrom (Sharon) from Minnesota (“don’t you know”) was the best played character since she interacted enthusiatically with everyone. But Starshine Zephyr (Eric), who was searching for his personal snowflake, was quite memorable.

We don’t have a shot of the third group since Andy was in that one (oops, flaw in the system).

img_1433.jpgThis is the fourth panel of experts. Mark, Rosey, Brian, and Karla played experts on lollipops. Allegra was the MC, although she didn’t make it into the shot. Mark is explaining how his character survived a horrible lollipop accident.

img_1439.jpgNow we have a couple of shots from the Irish Drinking Songs. I don’t remember the topic of this one, but Victoria, Ben, Allegra, Patricia, Karla, and Jim were setting the bar pretty high for the following groups.

img_1440.jpgHere, Rosey, Scott, Scott (yeah, both of them), Lisee (oh man, I hope that’s spelled right – I’m already sorry for screwing up the pronunciation of her name the whole night), and Teri. Somehow, I had the 4 brand new players teamed together for the song. Luckily, Teri served as an anchor. They all did great, especially for the first time.

Actually, the new players were great all night. ALL of them were quick to jump up on stage when given the opportunity. ALL of them actively participated in the scenes without overwhelming them. I’ve been pretty impressed with the caliber of new players coming to the workshop.

img_1442.jpgThis last shot is from one of the Entrances and Exits games we played at the end of the night. The setting in the shot is a police station, and a police officer (Patricia) is trying to get the confessed murderer (Teri) back to her cell. Another officer is off stage (Lisee), and the interrogating police sergeant (Scott) was basking in his good police work.

We went a bit late, but I think the night was worth it.