Class September 29, 2007

img_4035.JPGLorien, Andy, Li-At, Angela, and Roberta in an Irish Drinking Song. The full set of pictures from the workshop is now in the on-line album.

We had four new players with us for the night, and they impressed all of us with their bold choices and willingness to dive right in. Welcome!

We started with a pretty traditional set of warm-up exercises, including the 1-Word Story. And, I debuted the new Improv 101: Yes & introductory talk. A door replaced the table and vase, and denial of relationship replaced denial of children. We’ll see how much of that sticks.

Our first stage piece was the 5-Letter Word, and most of the scenes kept to the letters in their words, more or less. All of them were fun to watch.

Next we did a set of Dialog Separate From Activity exercises. We did these in large groups, and so there were a lot of elements to juggle. My biggest concern – that give and take would be abandon creating multiple, conflicting dialogs – was unfounded. The group discussions were easy to follow and interesting. Some of the physical work between players could be improved, so we’ll do some work in the next workshop focusing on that skill.

The rest of the night had a more musical theme. We performed our usual Irish Drinking Songs and then did a series of Dubbed Opera scenes. The singers in the operas all had a delightful sense of the dramatic, and I think all the translators did fine jobs telling their stories.

We finished the night with Freeze Tag. Thanks everyone!

Class September 19, 2007

img_3871.JPGScott, Nick, Alan, Sol, and Ben in a Sporting Event scene. I just like the looks on everyone’s faces.

I’ve got the album on-line and captioned so stop on by and enjoy. It was a fun night (and I’m writing this up within a week of the class!)

We started off with a set of Story-Story-Die scenes. Everyone has become quite adept at this structure, and the crowd has to be pretty critical to get the players to die off.

Next came Last Letter scenes and this was more of a challenge. It’s critical for the lines of dialog to be crisp with clear endings. Run on sentences or tentative statements makes it harder to start a follow up line.

We tried a new exercise called Sporting Event. This also proved to be a challenge, requiring us to be aware of what everyone was doing in the scene. When it works, it makes for some compelling scene work and it’s a skill that’s worth developing.

We followed up with our traditional Irish Drinking Song, and then got in a 3-Line Drill. Our time was a bit short, so we finished the night with Michigan Freeze Tag.

Class September 12, 2007

Well, there aren’t any pictures from this class because I didn’t get a chance to pick up batteries to the camera. It’s too bad because there was some great character work in the course of the night.

We started with our usual warm-ups. After that, our scene work began with a series of Counting Words scenes.

I brought a couple of bins of hats, and we broke them out for Panel of Experts scenes. This was the part of the night for which I most regret not having pictures. There was a lot of great character work using the hats as influence.

We did a set of Irish Drinking Songs, and then moved on to the advanced part of the night. Everyone did the 3-Line Drill and then we worked on a series of Scene On Scene structures. Hats were available for this exercise, and again they prompted some good characters.

Class September 5, 2007

workshop9-5-07.JPGI like this shot of Jim, Sol, and Victoria. It’s very dramatic.

The album for this workshop is now available so head on over and check it out. You’ll also see pictures of Neil (yay!), who had a chance to come to class during his quick return visit to Santa Barbara.

After warm-ups, we did a Speaks As One Dialog. This looks easy, but is really a challenge. It’s hard not to have one leader, but the challenge of the scene (and the technique) is to avoid that. And the other challenge (apparently) is to avoid rocking back and forth!

Next, we did a series of Rhyming scenes which I thought were a lot of fun. And then, to keep honing the rhyming skill, we sang a series of Irish Drinking Songs.

We ended the night with a long set of 3-Line Drills. I need to start these earlier in the evening to give us a chance to work on our open scenes.

Class August 29, 2007

workshop8-29-07.JPGLinda, Aidan, Li-At, Kenna, Don, and Sharon belting out an Irish Drinking Song.

The album for this workshop is available now, so check it out.

After our warm-ups we got right into a couple of Tag-Out Stories. The energy was good and I think the stories were fun. A series of ABC scenes followed and we quickly learned who doesn’t feel constrained by the traditional order of the alphabet. Who Am I was next, and it’s been some time since we worked on these endowment/guessing game scenes. We’ll need to revisit these scenes to keep in practice.

Everyone worked on their improvised song skills with the Irish Drinking Song. For the advanced part of the night, we did something a little different. We skipped the 3-Line Drill and instead went into scene work with Assigned Professions. I think everyone got quite a bit out of a more structured set of open scenes and I was pretty happy with the results. It’s a good exercise that we will revisit.

We ended the night with a round of Freeze Tag in the line form – what I sometimes call Michigan Freeze Tag for reasons that I can’t remember.