Thursday, October 17, 2013

Producing Improv Lounge: October Season

I have taken the leap from performer to producer.  Granted, all my experience with Stitch Tactics in Kansas City and The University of Kansas counts as producing, too.  This time, however, I was in charge of just about everything within a larger group with other, more experienced producers backing me up.  It was between getting my feet wet and the deep end.  As producing goes, this is my foray into the shallow end of the pool.

Here's the link to our Facebook event: The Improv Lounge: October Season

I am the director and producer for Improv Lounge: October Season for the Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT).  And I can't tell you how proud and excited I am.  So far, producing has exercised both new and old skills.  Personnel management is one, which I've had some experience with thanks to my previous job as Volunteer Coordinator for the Lawrence Humane Society, and in my experience with Stitch Tactics.  Organization was another skill I needed to use, which I have admitted to employers is something I am working hard to improve.  (And I am! I swear!)  But basically, if you're a producer, here's some of what you do:

Sunday, June 9, 2013

What it means to be "self-taught"

I've been thinking a lot about my improv experience lately.  In a historical, critical way I mean.  I usually think about my own improv all the time.  (PS, the scene I played in last week's Ferris Wheel was the highlight of my recent improv career.  God, I loved the ugly cry).  I've been really focusing on improv lately, mostly thanks to my boring-as-hell data entry job which allows me to listen to improv podcasts for 8 hours straight.  And then 3 days in a row of improv class and play time every week.  And then eight-thousand workshops.  I have a hard time going home and focusing on anything other than my experience playing pretend with other adults.  I day dream about scenes.  I'm a 7-year-old trapped in a 24-year-old body.

But I digress.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Weekend of Awesome

This past weekend was so freaking awesome.  I've made some new friends, I took two workshops with the indescribable Patti Stiles, and I was asked to join an improv team.

I took two workshops with the fabulous Patti Stiles.  The first, Creative Impulse, was incredibly fun.  We did exercises that got us out of our heads, put us in the moment and we had heaps of fun.  The most memorable excersize was "World's Worst Improviser".  I recommend everyone play it, and I will therefore describe it below.  It forces you to look to your partner constantly for offers and trains you to play with any and every kind of improviser by "giving your partner what they want".

Thursday, May 30, 2013

How New Zealand has changed me. Or has it?

I performed my first how in New Zealand this week with the Wellington Improvisation Troupe.  I described it as my improv "nightmare", and here's why: I always get extremely nervous before performing in a new situation, and once I do it once I become much more relaxed subsequent times.  This show was in a new venue, with new people (who had accents I'm still having some trouble always understanding), with a newly devised musical format, and in a country halfway across the world from my usual stomping grounds.  To say the least, I was terrified and there were points throughout the day leading up to the show where I seriously considered just not going. I also had a feeling that I needed to prove myself to WIT, since I swooped into the group only a few weeks ago and took the fast track to membership.  I felt like I needed to prove to them I wasn't lying about my improv because they were wonderful enough to trust my experience was and let me skip the basic courses.  But I sucked up my fear and hit that show hard and I ended up having a fantastic time. 
The show was a great base line for me to measure my experience and improvements.  Coming off that show, here's how I felt: a bit rusty but once I shook that off I felt like I did a good job.  I made strong emotional choices that drove scenes forward.  I felt free to be myself and to really play.  I expressed this to my boyfriend who watched the show.  He and I came up with several reasons as to why I felt so free and good about what I was doing.  To me, this has been a fresh start despite improvising for almost 7 years.

Why do I feel so good about improv in New Zealand?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My thoughts on sucking

We've all suffered and failed in improv.  We've had that moment while on stage where something comes out of your mouth and you just cringe as you're saying it.  You feel the audience becoming uncomfortable, or you hear in the silence people shifting in their seats, keeping themselves conformable while they politely wait for the blackout.  Or you've heard the table in the back, tipsy and giggling and not paying a lick of attention (to which I think, "why would you pay $10 to chat in the back of an improv show?  Why didn't you go to the bar instead?"), and realizing it's your job to keep these chatty Kathys entertained.  Which they clearly aren't.  We've all had that moment in class when we just fucking bomb.  When we don't even do the same exercise as we're supposed to be doing.  My first day in my college improv group involved me playing the game "Yes, And", which turned into "No, but...".  HOW does that even work?

But we have ALL done it.  We have all been there.  And most of us are still trucking.  We're still taking classes and performing and we haven't given up.  There have been times where I've gone home and cried and cried because I felt like I could never be good, that I fucked up in class and everyone else was great, and audiences hated me.  How did I overcome that?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Improv vs Impro

I've made my journey to New Zealand.  I've been here for about six weeks. So far it's been different and challenging to get my foot in the door, but I haven't noticed a ton of differences.  The biggest, most glaring and obvious difference is the Kiwis call it "impro".  Like Keith Johnstone's book.  Impro.  So far, it's just about the same thing.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Since You've Been Gone

Ah, it's been a while!  So much has happened since my last posts.  Blogging for me is something that happens when I REALLY WANT IT to happen.  I have to wake up in a certain mood, wanting to do everything all at once.