This past weekend, I was in New York for a visit. It was a fun whirlwind of events. I arrived on Friday in time to rehearse with my 3 on 3 team and play in one of the first round shows on Friday night. On Saturday, I taught a workshop and performed four times, once in a jam in the basement of a bar on seventh avenue, once at the Magnet Theater with Theory of Everything, and two more shows at the UCB–we made it to the finals of the 3 on 3 Tourney. Sunday, was all about my podcast.
I uploaded episode 15 last week on Thanksgiving.
I first met Evan Linder after going to see 11:11 by The New Colony, a play that he co-wrote for the company. He also performed in the play. I asked him about their development process and what he told me surprised and delighted me.
The play was a good one, interesting and funny, but what I really liked about the production was how connected the actors were to the material. It was as if they knew what they were doing at every moment of the play. Every line made sense and had purpose. That’s not a small feat for a new theater company filled with young actors performing a new script. After Evan described the extent to which the writers collaborated with the actors through improvisation, it all made sense.
If you are in Chicago, be sure to check out their new show, Pancake Breakfast, which opened on Sunday. I’m going to see it tonight!
Episode 14 of the Improv Resource Center Podcast is up and ready to download. Craig Cackowski from iO West and Second City in LA talks about doing scenes from imaginary plays, feeling scenes before you know what is happening, La Ronde and the North vs. South Harold.
Finally, episode #11 of the Improv Resource Center Podcast is ready and uploaded! Will Hines and John Frusciante from the UCB Theatre in New York discuss the game, improv training simulators, an improv sabbath and things to steal from Ian Roberts.
Will and John host the UCB Theatre Podcast and teach at the UCB Training Center.
Yesterday, I uploaded episode #10 of my improv podcast. This week my guest is Kurt Braunohler. I really enjoyed this conversation. We began by talking about how one goes about teaching Harold, but we quickly moved on to other topics like solo improv, image streaming and viewpoints. Finally we talked briefly about Caligula, an exercise that we talked about in the Susan Messing podcast.
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.