Posts Tagged ‘improv’


April 24th, 2012 No comments

Last night I had the pleasure and privilege of performing with my classmates from the Kate Ashby Academy at the Lower Ossington Theatre.

Our group was EVERYONESMIRANDAPROV because, well, there is a woman named Miranda in our class, and…

What a charge it was. The audience was fantastic, my classmates were fantastic, the musical genius of the keyboardist was fantastic…so magical!

And the HIMANDHERPROV after was equally magical. (Well…maybe I’m biased a bit towards my class. He he.)

It was the most fun I’ve had doing improv since my days of being El Santo Gordo.

Does this make me want to start acting/improvising again? Honestly, from what I can tell, the average age of an improviser in this town is 20. Not so good for me. Acting is a possibility, but I want to start getting paid for it.

Some interesting decisions to make. Meanwhile, I still have a script in draft 11 that needs finishing.

Kate Ashby Academy: Week 3

October 3rd, 2011 No comments

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!

Categories: Training Tags:

Kate Ashby Academy: Coming Home

September 17th, 2011 No comments

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.

Categories: improv, Training Tags: ,

Performing, the B*tch Goddess

September 15th, 2011 No comments

I go between performing and swearing off it for life in regular cycles. Right now I’m into a performing kind of mood.

Part of the reason I go off doing it is auditions. I hate them. You go through all kinds of prep for two minutes of time, and then EVERYONE says “Really good”, and then the cycle repeats. But a special part in my flames of torment, nestled deep in my heart, are cattle call auditions. My God. Can there be any clearer way to say to actors “You don’t matter?” Yeah, I know, efficiencies of scale and economy and large volume of applicants. It still sucks.

Improv and clown kind of get around that, in that there is a smaller pool of people doing it, so the unique you that is a performer can stand out more clearly. I blame myself for abandoning those routes.

Well, self-blame gets boring after a while, so I’ve stopped (for now) and throwing myself back into it. Let’s see where it ends up.

Categories: Career, Doing the work Tags: , ,

Still Alive

July 18th, 2011 No comments

Wow, it’s been a long time since my last post, eh?

I’ve been busy like a bug, so I thought I’d catch all y’all up.

Act 1 of the screenplay I’ve been working on in conjunction with my writing group has been partially reworked and I’ve done a new outline we’re all happy with.

I’ve performed in another improv show. This show happened during the Fringe, so we had almost no audience, but it was still fun.

The Fringe rocked this year!! Normally I see at least one clunker in my travels, but everything I saw was at least solid, and a couple of brilliant pieces stood out: The LOVE Octagon and The Godot Cycle. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend as much time Fringing as I would have liked. Other commitments, and so on.

I need to get a lot of writing done in the next month and a half. Hopefully I can sneak some performing time in there as well.

That’s been my update for the past while. Hope any human reading this is doing well.

My Improv Class Show, Monday

June 22nd, 2011 No comments

What a super fun time I had on Monday night! I’ve been so busy since then, this is the first time I’ve had to catch up.

My Improv Boot Camp class with Kate Ashby all got to strut our stuff at EVERYONESMIRANDAPROV as part of the Kate Ashby Academy at Bread and Circus.

This class was and is full of great talented people with no egos getting up there and f*cking things up for the rest of the group. The show itself was no different, as there was an incredible level of support before and during the show.

After us came BABEPROV. I didn’t get to see the show, but from those who did go, I heard it was amazing.

I’m hoping this little group stays together. It’s a lot of fun to play with them.

Categories: Acting, comedy Tags: ,

Big Arts Weekend

June 5th, 2011 No comments

There was so much stuff going on this weekend!

First of all was my improv boot camp class. It is rocking so much, and I have grown a lot as a performer doing it.

After class, I wandered around and took some photos. Doing that really relaxes me, both from the exercise and the joy of getting some killer photos.

Then of course was the Inspirato Festival. I saw the Blue Sound plays for the first time, and they were all really good. Some easier to understand than others, but all good.

Today was going to see “The Last Man on Earth” at the Toronto Festival of Clowns. I got an extra bonus in that I bumped into a friend and got to spend the show with her and a bit of a streetcar ride after. “The Last Man on Earth” was done by the same company who did “The Belle of Winnipeg”, and both of their productions have been brilliant.

Now it’s time to try and find my next participatory arts event. Watching is fun, but it’s more fun to do it.

Connecting with your Scene Partner

April 17th, 2011 No comments

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?
Categories: Acting, Training Tags:

Improv Boot Camp Week 7

April 16th, 2011 No comments

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.

Categories: Training Tags:

Improv and Me

April 13th, 2011 No comments

I’ve had an interesting time with improv here in Toronto.

When I first moved to town, the acting bug had bitten hard, but I didn’t know where to go. I had no network in place.

Then one day, strolling down Bloor Street by Bathurst, I came across a sign advertising free improv drop-ins at the Poor Alex Theatre. (I will now observe a moment of silence on the departure of this beloved venue.)

There. Anyway, I started attending drop-ins there, and it was OK, but it wasn’t great. And then I heard whispers of a second improv group in town, over at Solar Stage at King and Yonge. (Moment of silence, venue, etc.)

So I also started going to the classes offered at this second improv group. And they were a lot better. The environment was friendlier, the class size was smaller, and they were actual classes. You committed to a certain number of weeks. For a ridiculously bargain price.

Time went on, and I was allowed to go in shows, more than allowed to do tech, and I quickly stopped going to any drop-ins offered by the Annex group.

More time went on, and I got more involved with Theatresports Toronto, as they were called. And then I got pulled into helping manage the organization.

Around the same time, my confidence in myself as a performer was growing, but there was also a lot of intriguing politics and offstage drama going on. I was there when they moved into their first permanent space on the Danforth. But shortly after, a lot of factors combined to make me decide that it was time to pull up stakes and do something else.

So I did a lot of acting, some clowning. And then I got really annoyed at acting, and went on hiatus, then came back and got into directing and really started enjoying that.

However, I never totally abandoned improv. I took some courses now and then, and recently took a course where I really clicked with the class. Everyone in the class was keen to keep going, so we started doing group practise session at the new home of arts in the east end, the Black Swan tavern, steps from the site of the now closed Bad Dog Theatre (venue, moment, yada).

I’m enjoying the chance to do improv again. I’m enjoying it even more in a low drama atmosphere. But do I want to go back to it full-time?

I don’t know. I love directing a lot, and committing to improv would throw a monkey wrench in that. I guess I’ll just (wait for it) improvise.

** Crickets **

Categories: Career, Thinking Tags: