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Judy Carter
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Improv Class’s

I have taken up to level 3 of Philadelphia's PHIT Improv class's and currently doing a Level one in NY at the Magnet (Long Form) as well as Comedy Sports (Short Form)

I will be comparing the two and contrasting them and how they are helping me in "Stand up" and "Public speaking".

Here is what we did last week in Long form class:

We warmed up with a “pass-the-clap” game, a game of “Thank you statue” and “Samurai warriors/swords”.  Then we did a bunch of warm-up scenes and spent a lot of time on object work.  Half of us got up and we did a bunch of scene initiations (of important moments in life) where one person initiates and someone else joins.  After that we did a bunch of “describe the environment” scenes with a suggestion of a location, where both scene partners looked around the stage and described the environment to each other/the audience.  There was a great moment in one of those scenes where two guys were in a bomb shelter and someone said “I hate your kids”.  Rick talked about how we sometimes get so caught up in talking about the space/coming up with dialogue in our head that we miss a jewel of a line, like that. He stopped the scene and pointed this out, and the scene continued…it was hilarious!  While describing the space and interacting with the environment are meant to free us up, Rick’s point was, sometimes the opposite happens.  Sometimes we get so caught up with “working” in the scene that you don’t listen.  But you can do both – both improvisers can have wants and can be interacting with the environment, as long as you’re listening to each other.  How two people interact is good enough to make the scene great.  

We took a break and came back with a warm-up game of “Zip, zap, zop” and more scenes with suggestions of locations.  We did another listening exercise, “Back-to-back” scenes, where two people sat in chairs with their backs to each other and had to really listen to what the other person was saying.  It makes you really slow down and listen.  Rick said to think of it as a ping-pong match where someone hits the ball to you, you take your time and then return the ball to them.  It forces you not to get ahead of yourself and to make the scene about the two of you, not about some preconceived notion.  We finished the class with some object monologues where each person took on the perspective of an inanimate object in a location and had to speak from the point of view of that object.

Lessons:

-Naming stuff – don’t wait, name things as soon as you can... This is in one of those cases where you are holding an inviable object and the other person on the stage and you are referring to its quolities but not saying what it is... this can lead you down a path of trying to figure out what can have all those quolities...

Its so big
Look at those eyes great shade of blue I must say
It looks delicouse..

Just name it and move on

-Object work – it doesn’t matter if what you’re doing is accurate, just as long as YOU know what you’re doing.  In addition to that, anything that we do/say is more REAL when we see the space in our head

-Don’t be afraid to REACT to what someone says and to have a POINT OF VIEW – you always want to be effected in a scene.  Having a point of view can be a great source of info – a point of view fuels what you say, and in turn, what you say fuels your point of view

-If it’s fun, keep doing it!!! – even if it’s silly (i.e. rolling around on the floor as if you're doing BAD yoga), if you’re having fun, the audience is probably having fun too

Two Main Take-Aways

1) “Ping-Pong Effect” – slow down and let yourself be effected/react to your partner

2) Have a point of view

**These two things combined take the pressure off of us to think.  The details and richness will all come naturally if you’re coming from a place of natural reaction**

Lessons from the first class:

-Truth in Comedy -- most impactful stuff comes from real life 
-Yes, and... - everything that happens on stage is information

Here is what we did in The Short form Class:

We started off talking about the golden rule of  "Yes and" and then what they called the platform this is the relationship, place and issue of the scene ... In short form you need to get to it faster to get to the comedy... Short is all about the joke in the scene.

We then did the pass the clap same as above, the Big booty (one of my favorite games)  then we did the name game where we just learned each others names while clapping hands with people to the left and right of us.

We lined up 4 on one side and 3 on the other and did a 3 line exorcizer where we had to get the relationship and place established within in 3 lines. But use natureal feeling sentences.

Then we did the same thing but with environment work, someone comes out and starts miming the actions they are doing in the environment, the other person joins the scene and they go from there just like above.

5 things: you ask the person next to you to list 5 things ... Example List 5 new words to be added to the dictionary, or 5 Spielberg movies that never got made... start off interesting , then go crazy. As they are listing the 5 things walk around the circle and back to your spot.

The statue game, then Statue thank you, then we turned away from the stage and said freeze during a scene and walked out and took that persons exact position. Started a new scene based off the position.

Worlds Worst: a where you play out situations with characters that are the worlds worse...Doctor,lawyer, husband, handyman...get it.

We then circled up and did story time where we each say a sentence to a story building the character in the first round, then the problem second round then the solution 3rd round.

We finished up with a talk about being clean, and how its better to learn to get the laughs being clean then you know how to break the rules in the future if you want. and how different parts on the country have their improv tastes...like Philadelphia likes clever and even some innuendo, but the Midwest is more about shtick corny!

Two Main Take-Aways

Short is about the funny the comedy and long is about the truth the real.

Both Long and Short form have some of the greatest people you will ever have the fortune to work with.

 

 

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