If I could give one improv note to the major community, it would be to be more malleable. When I say that, I don’t mean in scenes, I mean as a human being. Be willing to just sit back and say OK, I will try that. I see a lot of people say no to trying new things in their groups…
I currently live in East Rutherford, NJ. The town two blocks over (if that), Wallington, is apparently flooded pretty bad after Irene. I guess the river is over flowing and, seeing as we aren’t a science fiction world made of sponges and drains, the water has no where to go. Talk about shitty! Hopefully all this mess gets cleaned up ASAP.
Now, as most of you know, I am a Florida guy. I have lived in Florida the majority of my life (high school years were spent in NC and VA), and I am proud of that. Being from Florida, I am used to huge storms and hurricanes, but they still make me nervous, mostly because the idea of power being taken out for extended periods of times and the possibility of huge floods. This hurricane is no different. The only difference is that I am in New Jersey with no friends to hang out with while the storm goes on.
I remember the last hurricane I was in, my friend Tim Flynn and I stayed up until 5am watching Next on MTV and playing video games. That storm ended up being way over hyped and nothing major happened. I remember having to still go to work the next night and no damage or flooding occurring. I am hoping that is how Irene is, though I doubt it.
This may be some of the last internetting I get in until this storm leaves and possibly after that. If it is, stay cool dudes.
Recently; like, within the past week or two, a switch inside my head got switched without me doing anything and now my improv and listening are ten times better. I don’t quite understand how it happened, but it did. I am now noticing things said in scenes that I would have skimmed over a week or two ago, and not only that, I am calling them out and bringing them to notice. What happened? How did I randomly, without being told what to do or how to do it, get better at improv/listening? Sure, I’ve been practicing a lot, maybe that has to do with it, but I wasn’t given the note “open your ears, moron!” I wasn’t told to be or coaxed into being better, it just happened one day. It just randomly made sense.
Now, I am not trying to be cocky and say “I’m the best, I won improv!” by any means, all I am saying is that lately I somehow have gotten better than what I was a week or two ago without me consciously trying anything.
Sorry if this post makes little sense or is repetitive.
Four Sexually Attractive Individuals. Kate Riley. Mitchell Fesh. Don Fanelli. Me. Improv. School Night. So much fun. Seriously, I had so much fun tonight. Don Fanelli is hilarious. Kate Riley is hilarious and super nice for being a part of this madness. Fesh is the best. I am pretty okay, too. Seriously, I wish I was still performing with them right now.
On another note, I will miss Justin Purnell and Katey Healy-Wurzburg School Night, though I am excited to see what the future holds for the show!
11PM: Come back to UCB to see a very special School Night, for free!
Ain’t no party like a Doppelganger party!
You should come to at least one of these shows.
First off, you’d be a fool to miss the ladies of Doppelganger tonight, especially since they have two shows and one is free! Also, my frankenstein group “Four Sexually Attractive Individuals” (Don Fanelli, Kate Riley, Mitchell Fesh, and I) is playing at School Night as well. Go to that.
TODD BARRY 4 SEXUALLY ATTRACTIVE INDIVIDUALS ROGUE ELEPHANT MC CHRIS DOPPELGANGER KROMPF JANEANE GAROFALO
As I mentioned at last night’s show (and hopefully have told you in person already), this will be my last regularly hosted School Night for a while, as…
Let me just say that School Night was one of the first UCB shows I ever went to, so to be a part of Purnell’s last regularly hosted edition is an honor. Also, that line up is amazing! I cannot wait to be super nervous in the green room!
Here’s the ramblings of today: actively making choices in scenes.
Too often, beginner improvisers like myself tend to just be talking heads talking about what they are or should be doing instead of just doing it and finding the fun thing organically. This isn’t normal human behavior. You and I wouldn’t talk about chopping carrots if we were chopping carrots together. There’d be something else happening. But, a lot of times in 101/201 classes and performances, people do that. They talk about and make the scene about what they are doing. That comes from two places, in my opinion: fear that your scene partner doesn’t have your back and/or a lack of confidence. The cure that I have discovered through notes and doing a lot of improv over the past year, is to just actively make big choices. Give yourself a reason to do something. Trust that, no matter what you do, your team has your back. They will support you. Worst come to worst, they don’t support you, but you at least DID something in your scene. The fun thing about improv is that you get to live outside of your life in this unpredictable void for, on average, thirty minutes where you can be anyone or anything and are free to decide how your character lives their lives and the decisions they make.
You get to create worlds and characters that don’t exist in real life, but you aren’t going to do that if you aren’t making a choice. Reveal something about your character, gift your scene partner with something unique. Do something. Anything. Don’t worry about whether or not it’ll make sense, that comes after wards. Just do something. We’ll justify it after you do it, we’ll make it make sense. Just say something. Just do something. Actively do something to advance the scene. Do something and trust that it’ll bring you to the game of the scene. Just trust in yourself and your scene partner(s) and the back line. Don’t be afraid to be bold.
It’s 5:13AM and I have yet to sleep and was conversing with myself on this topic so I figured I would type it out and post it, hopefully it made sense and wasn’t just repeating the same thing over and over again. Hopefully the idea is correct too. If you disagree or have anything to add, feel free to share! I love discussing improv theory. Question mark to make replying easier?