Class June 6, 2007

img_1357.JPGI think this picture captured the essence of the last class. It’s from an Animal Transform scene with Scott as a baboon, Dustin as a hyena, Jim is a chick, Justin is an owl, and Mark is a termite. It was that kind of night. You’ll find the rest of the 111 photos from the night at the album.

We had 30 people in this class, and I think it moved along fairly well for being so large. We had 6 people with us for the first time, and so welcome to Susana, Justin, Lilly, Ellah, Spenser, and Todd. We never had to coax any of the new folks onto the stage. They were ready to jump in with the rest of us and it was great to have such new and energetic players.

Warm-ups consisted of Character Intro, Enemy-Defender, Whoosh-Bang-Pow, and a set of 1-Word Stories. After a brief “Intro to Basic Improv” speech we were off to our first stage work of the night: a set of Yes And scenes. It’s more of an exercise than a performance piece, and everyone enthusiastically set to work trying to sell the most ridiculous of products (although I’m assured that there really is musical underwear).

Next we got to a favorite of mine: Animal Transform. This piece is meant to explore characters and get a player away from their normal biases in creating a character. The range of animals was fairly diverse, but what I thought everyone did really well was stay away from weird, animal-human hybrids. Once folks transformed to humans, I thought they were all fairly believable humans. They had characteristics influenced by the animals, but were not part-animal. That’s a subtlety often missed.

Next was a set of Irish Drinking Songs, and I think everyone redeemed themselves from the last week. I’m less concerned with how well everyone hits all the notes (although that is helpful) as I am that everyone keeps to a beat and gets their lines out (rhyme or no rhyme). That helped to make it fun.

I decided to forgo the advanced work this week and instead do one more large group exercise, Entrances and Exits. The scenes were quite fun and everyone kept their energy high even though it was the end of the night.

And so it was a very good night!

Class May 30, 2007

img_1033.JPGA bit late on the posting for this class, but the pictures are now available in the on-line album: all 140 of them! This shot was from the 1-Word Story warm up at the beginning of class.

The night started off with a fairly standard set of warm-ups: Character Introductions, Pass the Clap, and 1-Word Story. Scene work started with a pretty good set of Tag Out Stories, and I think all the groups kept their energy accelerating through their scenes.

Next was a series of Superhero scenes. I thought the Superhero names were very clever (Black-Eyed Susan, Mismatched Lingerie Man, and Mrs. Grumpy Pants being my favorites) and everyone took their superhero name endowment to heart really well.

A series of Panel of Experts scenes followed with the topics Beekeeping, Vacations, Glass, and Sororities/Fraternities. Pretty good characters, and we need to work on getting those characters to have interesting history with and feelings about each other.

Also that night, we tried to introduce a song that’s pretty new for most of the players – the 50’s Do-wop Song. Let’s just say that was a challenge for me as well as for all the players. What it pointed out (to me anyway) was that we’ve become rather accustomed to the Irish Drinking Song and need the challenge of a new piece to get us out of our complacency. We will revisit this song in later workshops and work out the kinks!

We ended the night on a Double Blind Freeze Tag. I like this version of Freeze Tag because it forces everyone into a scene, and forces everyone to call out a “freeze”. Both skills are needed to participate in the more traditional Freeze Tag.

And that was the night!