I’m back, my lovelies, and I’m ready to blow smoke in all directions! Here’s what I’ve been doing and thinking about w/r/t improv in the last couple of weeks:
- I won Maestro last Saturday night, narrowly edging out Brently Heilbron, who really did deserve to win after he did a whole scene in the crab-walking position, including scurrying up the center aisle of the theater. But he didn’t win. I won. I won improv (for the third time in as many tries.)
- My improv has broken through, I think, to a new level of speed and focus. I don’t mean to keep harping on it, but I remain so inspired by Heather & Miles from LA, and all of their fantastic clips on YouTube. While I certainly don’t think all improv should/could move at that breakneck pace, I think my improv needs a lot more … oomph. Enough lazy, mostly stationary scenes talking about shit. Let’s move, let’s move, let’s move!
- But make sure you check with your troupe mates: Last week I did a one-off show called “Movie Vs. Movie” with two guys whose improv I admire, but with whom I’d never played: Seth Johnson and Nathan Sowell. Both of these guys get funny, but they also play at a bit more of a deliberate pace than I’m interested in these days. With only one rehearsal under our belt before the show, I thought we acquitted ourselves quite nicely. But I moved at such a quick pace—regularly wiping scenes and setting up new ones—that I think my compadres were taken aback. They’re pros, and they rolled with me the whole way, but I think my speed didn’t jibe with their vision of the show. But again, the show was pretty fantastic, so I stand by it.
- Lots of Austin improv troupes have been traveling lately to improv festivals—in Hawaii and Canada and D.C. and New Mexico and elsewhere. It’s terribly annoying to be sitting at your work desk, checking Facebook, and seeing photos from all of these great people in all these beautiful places. It’s probably about time I applied for one of those thingies.
- I’m teaching my very first improv class—a workshop elective focused on “characters.” It’s taking place Wednesday, October 16, and I really hope you’ll come. I intend to prepare quite a bit for it.
- My other troupe, Past Lives, had a pretty bad show a couple of weeks ago. I think it was bad because we didn’t warm-up/connect properly before the show, and because we had only 20 minutes. This is a show that contains some theatricality and a complex narrative, and as such, it needs at least 30 minutes to be effective. And frankly, I think it deserves 90 minutes to really dig in and explore what it’s capable of exploring.
- I’m toying with some ideas about what I want to do next with improv. I’d love to get cast in a show run somewhere soon, and I plan on keeping my eyes open. I’m also curious about creating a truly epic kick-ass short-form troupe. Short-form done well is highly entertaining (and marketable), and I have to admit I usually enjoy the hell out of it. Then there’s this OTHER idea I’ve had tugging at my brain for several months now; maybe I should dust it off. #ambiguous
- My mom gets to watch me play Maestro this Saturday. It’s the first time she’s seen me since Manhattan Stories last summer. I’m thrilled. And then my dad visits in a couple of weeks and gets to see me perform.
- I love you all. No more two-week hiatuses again, I promise!