This past weekend, I took @Improv_Nerd The Art of Slow Comedy workshop with Jimmy Carrane. The workshop was offered by Pan Theater, one of several improv theaters and organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. This group picture was taken after our workshop ended on Sunday. I believe the following excerpt (emphasis added) from one of Carrane’s recent blog posts, You are an artist, nicely summarizes what the weekend workshop was about –
You are an artist when you say you are an artist. The believing comes in the doing. Artists create. That is what we do. And the more we create, the easier it is to believe when we call ourselves artists. When an artist fails, she does not care what the audience thinks. Del used to say “A groan from the audience was as good as a laugh.” He was right. Our job as an artist is to make the audience think, and more importantly, to feel.
This workshop is one of several activities I have done (and will do) to continue evolving as an improvisor, as an artist, as an anthrocubeologist, as a person –
– and so begins my more formal self-study and practice of weaving behavior design, servant leadership, and improv to continue exploring and creating anthrocubeology.
– which is what I shared in a past blog post, Time for Creative Potential. It is true; since I quit my job in April 2014, I have been in creative mode with the bulk of my time spent around improv – learning, practicing, rehearsing, performing, reading, and teaching. Perhaps more succinctly described by an improv instructor Dustin Seidler is that –
I quit my job to do more improv (albeit, not necessarily intended when I quit)
On the Horizon
September is when the San Francisco Improv Festival is held this year. With my festival pass, I will be watching several improv shows. I also will be taking at least one workshop (so far), Susan Messing’s Group Pretty. In October, I will be taking a 2-day weekend workshop – Intro to Musical Improv, which is offered by Suzanne Hitchman. And after the workshop, there will be “… an informal performance for friends and family … on Sunday 10/5 from 5:00-6:00pm.” And some time in between September and October, I will be signing up for Camp Improv Utopia.
The following highlights what and who have shaped my years of learning and performing improv. Made Up Theatre (MUT) (their home page) – the first place I started learning about improv. Completion of MUT’s curriculum, member of invite-only student house troupe for multiple cycles of long and short forms, and part of their first-time offering of a Harold specialty class. Workshops taken that were offered by MUT include instructors teaching:
– Jeff Ringgold: The Harold Class – Michael Lewis: Improvising through Emotions – Bobby August Jr.: The Actor’s Toolkit – Jessica Bettencourt: The Actor’s Toolkit (Revisited) – Max McCal: Finding the Game
EndGames Improv (their home page, tumblr, twitter) Completion of their curriculum, first-time offered advanced scenework class, and member of Harold teams formed as of completion of Level 4 – Sin Kitty (from Apr-Oct 2013) and Scene Chicken (from June 2014-present). Workshops taken that were offered by EndGames include instructors teaching:
– Rachel Hamilton: Make it Matter – Improvising with Emotion – Craig Uhlir: Group Game vs. Group Scene; Initiating; Heightening – Katie Rich: Getting Out of Your Head; The Harold – Jimmy Pennington: Annoyance Style Improv; Acting for Improvisors – Bill Arnett: Harold 1-2-3; Group Scenes; Scenes; Forms – Peter Kim: Personal Improv Feedback – Jason Shotts: Simplify Your Scenework; Our Thing & My Thing – Colleen Doyle: Character – Matt Besser: Interactive Lecture on overview of UCB philosophy with focus on premise-based long form improv – Rachel Mason: Listening and Two Person Scene
Camp Improv Utopia 2013 and 2014 (their home page for West/California camp, for East/Pennyslyvania camp, twitter) – Each camper selects four of the the five workshops that are offered, and the organizers do their best to accommodate campers’ preferences. For 2013, the four workshop instructors I had taught the following –
– Nick Armstrong: Genre-Style Improv – Rich Talarico: The Way of Improv – Craig Cackowski: Sell It! – Dana Powell: Emotional Triggers
For 2014, the four workshop instructors I had taught the following –
– Karen Graci: From Moment One – Amanda Blake Davis: Commitment to Character – Josh DuBose: The Harold Workshop – Jaime Moyer: Making Your Environment Work for You
Independent improv troupes – Independent troupes are those formed independent of having a theater or organization house us.
– Past independent improv troupes of include Sin Kitty (a Harold troupe, 2013, Facebook), Illegitimate Improv (short form, montage, 2013) and The.Saurus (short form, montage, 2013/2014). – Current troupes include two troupes – The Letters (Facebook, twitter, National Improv Network) and Scene Chicken (a Harold troupe, Facebook), with both troupes comprised of improvisers I have met through EndGames.
About The Letters
I included a quote earlier in this blog post about being an artist. While that is something I am warming up to, one thing that keeps me going is The Letters. Troupe member Krish (who blogs at Improv from Below) shared a wonderful post titled Formatogenesis. He shared –
I’m really happy with the culture we’ve fostered and am excited to see where it goes.
– of which I also share the sentiment. I believe being part of The Letters is feeding the evolution of anthrocubeology.