The latest episode of Improv Resource Center Podcast is up. Joe Bill teaches Power Improv workshops in Chicago and around the country. He is one half of BassProv with Mark Sutton and one half of SCRAM with Jill Bernard. He also teaches at iO and has taught at the Annoyance before that.
I first got to know Joe Bill back in the 1990s. He was teacher over at the Annoyance when I was at iO. He coached Georgia Pacific, a very talented team at iO and eventually joined that team. Similarly he joined Inside Vladimir after some of the original members had moved on. I joined not long after that and it was then that we first really got to know each other. It’s always fun talking to him, because he has lots of experience and plenty of passion when it comes to improv.
I uploaded episode #9 of the IRC Podcast yesterday. My guest this week is Lillian Frances who owns and runs the Laugh Out Loud Theater in Schaumburg, IL. She talks about auditions, teaching kids, using your warmups well, and yes-anding life. She performed at iO Theater and with many improv groups in Chicago. She was also a perfomer and assistant director for Boom Chicago in Amsterdam. She directed for Second City National Touring Company, the all women’ improv groups Jane and Sirens, and sketch shows with GayCo and Stir Friday Night.
This interview was a little different than the others, because we ended up talking a lot about what it’s like to run the business of a small improv theater. I really like how Lillie talks about her performers. It’s obvious that she has a lot of respect for her performers and trusts them in ways that not all improv directors do. It’s not surprising that several years after she first held auditions, seventeen of her first hires still work for her.
Episode #8 of the IRC Podcast has just been uploaded. This week’s guest is Susan Messing. She performs regularly at the Annoyance Theatre in Chicago, where she teaches level four classes. She created the curriculum for level 2 at iO Theatre and teaches there as well. Among the episodes we discuss are Caligula, Busby Berkeley, and Doublemint Twins.
She can be seen performing every Thursday at 10:30 in Messing with a Friend at the Annoyance.
Episode #7 of the IRC Podcast has just been uploaded.
This week my guest is Billy Merritt who performs and teaches at the UCB Theatre in LA. We talk about premise based Harolds (Pirate Harolds, Robot Harolds and Ninja Harolds) and his character based performance classes where he has his students to create a single character over eight weeks. We also discuss character wheels, the cube edit and the hawk edit.
Episode #5 of the IRC Podcast has just been uploaded. Tara Defrancisco is a former member of the Second City Touring Company. She performs and teaches for iO Theater and ComedySportz in Chicago. She discusses several exercises she uses in her classes and workshops. We start by talking about "What’s in the Box?" a short form exercise to help people make quick decisions and to yes and those decisions. Next we talk about an exercise where students initiate scenes as if they are expressing an important idea to a real person in their life. Last we discuss a couple of exercises designed to get students to make new and different character choices in their scenes.
Continue reading “IRC Podcast with Tara Defrancisco”
Episode #4 of the IRC Podcast has just been uploaded. Kevin Hines is a performer and teacher at the UCB Theatre in NYC. We begin by talking about a couple of exercises he uses to get students reacting quicker and more realistically to twists and turns in their scenes. We next talk about The Macroscene, a show that came out of his last performance class. Finally, we discuss an exercise he uses to rehearse third beats for Harolds.
Continue reading “IRC Podcast with Kevin Hines”
Episode #3 of the IRC Podcast is up and ready. This week my guest is Matt Donnelly who shares a couple exercises he uses in his workshops. The first he calls History, Philosophy, Metaphor and it’s a way to deepen the beginning of scenes by asking students to take an underdeveloped detail of a scene and elaborate using one of three techniques. Next we talk about Bull, Matador a method of creating and playing games which asks which character is vulnerable and then puts the players in either the role of a bull or a matador.
Matt, currently lives in Las Vegas where he teaches with Improv Vegas. When he is in NYC, he teaches workshops at the The PIT.
Episode #2 of the IRC Podcast is up and ready to go. My guest this week is Jill Bernard from HUGE Theater and Comedy Sportz in Minneapolis. She shares some exercises she uses in her classes. She describes a warm up called Loser Ball which teaches students to embrace failures. Next she talks about an exercise where only one player speaks and the other remains silent. We also talk about an exercise, morphed from a Meisner exercise, where she gets her students to actually do something, rather than pretend to do something.
If you are interested in taking classes with her, visit hugetheater.com.
Yesterday I published my first podcast and added it to iTunes. It’s called the Improv Resource Center Podcast and it will live over on my other website (the Improv Resource Center).
I’ve been wanting to create a podcast for some time, but I wasn’t sure what shape it would take until a few weeks ago. I decided to make it very focused and relatively short, in the hope that it becomes a very practical resource for myself and others. Continue reading “Announcing the Improv Resource Center Podcast”