I had an AWFUL improv class today where I faded at the end because I skipped breakfast.
Bad student! Bad!
It’s something I need to work on in general, but especially when it comes to making sure I have full energy for performances and classes. This particular class is getting pretty high octane, so I need to make sure I keep up.
Another super class with Kate. We learnt more about feeding the “group mind” and ways to make a longform improv set sing.
Next week is Thanksgiving. No class. Then back into the fun times!
Oh yeah, long form. The thing I haven’t done that much of. The form where I need to really concentrate on what other people are doing. Right. I’d better work on that, then.
Maybe I’ll try that eating healthier and sleeping properly thing more often.
Today we did all kinds of cool stuff, and I had a good time, and did some cool stuff, and maybe the next class I won’t be as cool.
Is this a new level for me? Did I do a breakthrough? Or am I just coming back to where I was before I decided performing was out for a while and directing was in?
Eh. I now know just to enjoy what is happening and not to obsess over trivial emotional self-blackmail like this. Wish I’d figured that out years ago.
I returned to studying with Kate Ashby on Saturday the 10th.
Mostly familiar faces, with a few new ones. It looks like we are moving into some interesting intermediate group work, around sensing focus and performing for the group, not for yourself.
It will be a challenge for me, as I am a sugar-cured ham from way back, but it’s a challenge I embrace willingly.
Besides, it’s always a joy training with Kate.
I am also looking forward to working with mostly the same group and see how that adds to the dynamic. I’ve certainly done level-based classes elsewhere, but this is the most consistent turnout of people carrying on I’ve ever seen.
One of the great lessons I’ve taken away from my Improv Boot Camp sessions is the need to connect with your scene partner.
I’ve been bad at this both in improv and in scripted work. You get in your own head, and think about how to make yourself look good, or you obsess over forgetting your lines, or you think the other person is a stinky doo-doo head and why are they even on stage with you, or…
Well. You get the idea.
But practicing the application of this in improvised scene work has REALLY made scenes fly, for everyone, not just me. It’s amazing (and hilarious and precious) to have watched the stuff that has developed in class because of this.
The only problem is that everyone in the scene has to believe in the same thing. Or you get into an actor’s version of the Prisoner’s Dilemma. The classic version goes like this (thanks Wikipedia!):
Two suspects are arrested by the police. The police have insufficient evidence for a conviction, and, having separated the prisoners, visit each of them to offer the same deal. If one testifies for the prosecution against the other (defects) and the other remains silent (cooperates), the defector goes free and the silent accomplice receives the full 10-year sentence. If both remain silent, both prisoners are sentenced to only six months in jail for a minor charge. If each betrays the other, each receives a five-year sentence. Each prisoner must choose to betray the other or to remain silent. Each one is assured that the other would not know about the betrayal before the end of the investigation. How should the prisoners act?
- Except in the actor’s version, it would go something like this:
An actor is told by their agent that if they nail this next performance, a producer in the audience will surely cast them in a paying gig. The other actor in the scene is told by their agent that the actor is a talentless schlub and is being dropped for representation unless something happens to change the agent’s mind. When the curtain opens, the actors are facing each other across the stage. (For more interest, do this on a film set and add in the director, who has decided that all showbiz is nonsense and the farm life is calling their name.)
- Real life is fun, no?
After missing 3 weeks of the class for various reasons, I made it to the final one.
It was a fantastic class. Everyone was on cue, sharp, funny, playing off each other and making things happen. One scene was so funny, my cheeks hurt from smiling after.
Kate Ashby is a great teacher and you should take her workshops/classes if you get the chance.
A combination of tummy troubles and TTC shenanigans means I missed this week.
Missed week 4 of the Improv Bootcamp due to an audition. I’m going through a creative rebirth of sorts, so I’m screwing myself over in some ways and improving myself in others.
However, I’ve vowed not to miss any more classes. She’s just too good a teacher.
I missed week 2 of the boot camp. I understand they trained on how to remember things for longform sets. That would have been a good class for me to attend, that is one of my longform weaknesses. Weird that I can remember every computer password I have, but then there’s generally no audience around when I’m typing my Yahoo e-mail credentials.
This week was about building the concept of group. How you should relish focus when you have it, but then be glad to share or give it up. And do it all in a wondrous cycle of activity.
I enjoyed it because I’m an ensemble kind of guy. I’ve been in too many seven person improv shows where everyone’s goal was to be in every scene whether they added to the scene or not. Heck, I’ve been guilty of that myself.
Serve your scene partner. Improv is not a zero sum game.