Create characters, play in emotion, and challenge yourself in this series of workshops exploring improviser as performer. “Good actors are not thinking ahead. They are listening to what is going on right now.” – Keith Johnstone
Status and Master Servant — P901
Patti Stiles – Australia (9 hours)
Status play happens continually in life. It is a form of silent communication, significant in how we relate to and are affected by people every day. We are constantly relating and adjusting our status. On stage relationships look void of any real connection when status play is not present.
Master Servant work is anchored in status. It is the understanding of status play and the ability to raise and lower each other’s status which can build tension or create comedy. It is an important technique to have in your impro toolkit. This workshop is a physical workshop and will involve being hit by balloons.
Preparing Yourself to be Unprepared — P902
Steen Haakon Hansen – Denmark (9 hours)
I would like to explore ways of training that will prepare you to face and work with the unforeseen in improvised theatre.
Just like the persons/characters we are portraying on stage have to find ways to realize their dreams and wants, so do we as improvising stage artists have to find ways to realize our dreams and wants. I think you have to come on stage with something that opens yours and your partners’ imagination and something that makes your skills ready for use. You should not wait for something to happen, make something happen with your imagination, skills and attitude. So, you have to find ways to prepare yourself for the unprepared.
Keith says that the scenes have to have a point. How can we do that? Working with premise, doing rants, listening to what is on your mind? I think so, let´s work on how we can make the scenes we are producing have a point. Where does the point of the scene come from, will it emerge all by itself from what is there, or will it show itself as a reaction to what we bring on stage, or is it a creative harmonizing of the two?
Punching Up — P301
Chris Wells – Japan (3 hours)
Everyone has a different sense of humor, but dealing with stereotypes can be a touchy issue for any improv troupe. How do we develop a common philosophy that isn’t based on presumptions and do that before the issues come up during a show? And how do we keep it funny? We’ll approach the subject through activities, scenes and discussion in a process you can take home to your own group. “Punching up” is a term used to describe using satire against the powerful in society, as opposed to “punching down”, which is mocking those in a weaker position in society. What sort of comedy do we want to do? And how can we walk the line and represent all kinds of people in our work in the best way?
Zen Impro — P302
Jun Imai – Japan (3 hours)
According to Keith Johnstone, impro resembles Zen. We will explore being here and now moment to moment. Free yourself from ‘success’ or ‘failure’; good or bad and right and wrong. Move from impulse, without thinking, unifying the mind, heart and body. Become one with others… and the world.
Acting for Improvisers — P303
Veena Sood – Canada (3 hours)
“Don’t think. Don’t be clever. Dare to be more boring” – Keith Johnstone
These are the unorthodox techniques Veena uses to encourage actors to free their mind & release their spontaneity. Actors who are in the future are so not-present that they’re not seeing what’s going on right in front of them. This workshop will focus on improv exercises specifically for actors to help them seek truthfulness, be spontaneous with scripted text, and assist in unlocking the secret to being a good listener. Eliminate that little voice in the head that seems to be concerned with what others think of it.
This class will give you valuable tools to assist you in your auditions, scene work, on stage & on film/TV sets.
“Never walk on the stage to be good. Walk onstage to create a relationship.” – Keith Johnstone
Humans have been telling stories since before the beginning. In these workshops you will mine for ancient stories, discover new ones, and imagine those to come.
The Bechdel Test — S901
Lisa Rowland – USA (9 hours)
Our world of fictional stories seems to belong to men. Statistics show that the vast majority of lead roles, spoken lines, and screen time end up going to male characters. When women show up in fictional stories, they tend to be shallow, uni-dimensional accessories in a man’s narrative!
And in spite of our limitless possibilities as improvisors, we can tend to perpetuate these patterns when creating improvised stories as well.
The Bechdel Test is a format developed in response to the ways that women, specifically, show up (or don’t show up) in popular stories. Taking a non-linear approach to storytelling, The Bechdel Test aims to create full-bodied, complicated, multi-faceted female characters and places them at the centers of their own stories. Asking “what else” instead of “what comes next?” The Bechdel Test highlights the seemingly contrasting elements in characters’ lives, leading us to put women on stage who have nuance and depth. Just like us.
Storytelling through Magical Realism — S902
Felipe Ortiz – Columbia (9 hours)
Magical Realism is a genre where extraordinary, unreal and strange things appear as part of the daily life as if it was completely normal. This workshop is a journey through the complex world of magical realism exploring different tools that can help you dive into this amazing and powerful universe.
You will explore fantastic or magical things as part of normal life, different ways of playing with time, and what magical realism is or looks like in our cultures, characters, spaces, and social and political relationships.
The Internal Narrative — S301
Joe Bill – USA (3 hours)
When we are improvising scenes, our brains are often split between tending to the story that we are telling, and tending to the relationships in which our characters find themselves. How can we tell stories that make sense narratively, but also have the depth of connection between characters that make the story impactful as well as compelling? I will show you, using improvisation acting techniques that are infused with things I’ve learned in studying neuroscience, how to tend to the Internal Narratives of the characters. Great stories deserve compelling characters – let me show you some ways to help that happen!
Connection, Colour, Character — S302
Derek & Michi Flores – New Zealand (3 hours)
3 topics. 3 hours. 2 teachers! Using our unique two-teacher technique that focuses one pair of eyes on the work from inside the scene and one from without, we look at the connecting principles between different partners. We uncover characters through the use of heightened and poetic language, we also attempt to create engaging and authentic narratives through playful group exploration. This lively and active workshop will keep you on your feet for most of the 3 hours.
The Time is Now – S303
Inbal Lori – Israel (3 hours)
Improvisation – like any other story telling arts – uses the element of time, and does with it a variety of many cool things. It allows us to jump from one time to another, to be in two different times simultaneously, to slow down or fast-forward reality, to jump from the past to the future and much more! This intensive workshop will take us from being totally present in the moment to time-traveling in an epic, fast and funny way, with cinematic and theatrical qualities.
Dive deep into the history, or challenge yourself with new theatrical forms, to inspire your improvisation, and create a richer experience for your audiences.
Genre in Action! — TA901
Dan O Connor – USA (9 hours)
What can Shakespeare teach you about improvising a story? What can Chekhov teach you about creating characters? What can Jane Austen teach you about building relationships? It turns out quite a lot. This class is about using the work of great writers to find new ways to create without a script. From character development and physicality to robust relationships that move narrative forward we will play with writer’s various tones and techniques to improvise bigger, badder, and bolder!
The Fascination of the Masks — TA902
Steve Jarand – Canada (9 hours)
What are the differences between good Impro and great Impro? Good acting and great acting? It lies somewhere beyond wit, charm and precision.
In this workshop, gain some insight into the origins of improvised theatre and the heart of the performer through the use of masks and mask ideas. Experience how the impulse of transformation can come from something other than your thoughts, your concepts, or yourself.
We will work with half (Trance masks) and/or partial masks (noses, glasses, wigs, etc.) to give ourselves different inner and outer perception. We will also play full masks to practice new physical and emotional states to reveal the stories of the audience as well as the personal feelings that go along with them.
Stage Fighting and Slapstick — TA301
Felipe Ortiz – Columbia (3 hours)
This workshop is a technical journey through basic elements of this wonderful and useful tool for theater, clowning and impro. You will learn how to build a proper stage fight with punches, slaps, kicks and more, as well as the basic elements of slapstick: fall, roll, bump, etc…
The Ferocious Four — TA302
Laura Doorneweerd – The Netherlands (3 hours)
In this workshop we will cover some core elements of the Ferocious Four format: working as a team, playing villains and spectacular action-movie techniques like high speed chases and stage combat.
Get ready to jump, move, chase, defuse, fight and basically… Kick ass.
Improvised Song — TA303
Jeff Gladstone – Canada (3 hours)
Whether you love singing, are terrified of singing, or just aren’t sure which, this workshop will help you find your inner diva and shake the rafters. By playing together, we will learn the basics of rhythm & melody, chords patterns & song structure, by simply following the beat of our heart, and the interest of the group. There are many ways live music can enhance the action of an improv scene, and we’ll put them all to the test.
Bring an instrument, or just your voice. Everyone should be able to make a little music, and this workshop will help remind you that you already know how.
Six workshops TBA