Impro, Politics, and the “Egg Test”

Here it is, Easter Sunday. A week ago today, I was walking off of a plane from Europe back into Portland, Oregon (where I live). From March 11th through March 19th, the Berlin International Impro Festival created one of the most moving and thought-provoking festivals that I have ever been privileged to be a partContinue reading “Impro, Politics, and the “Egg Test””

Improv and Disaster Relief

http://anc.yahoo.com/video/heroic-improvisation-having-fun-while-040204960.html Sometimes in life, you get to see the rewards of a collaboration unfold. In 2012 at the Applied Improvisation Network conference in San Francisco, I sat next to the wonderful Dr. Mary Tysczkiewicz on our way to a day long symposium on science and improv. We had one of the most engaging conversations thatContinue reading “Improv and Disaster Relief”

Reflecting on the spread of the Improv Meme

Of late, I find myself teaching and coaching high and low throughout Portland. Some days I go from teaching college improv, to coaching middle schoolers, to coaching professional performers, to coaching organizations. As a scholar on the subject and a fanatic, I’ve developed a tendency to help the young and new to the art connectContinue reading “Reflecting on the spread of the Improv Meme”

What can improvised theater teach us?

Introduction Improvisation is at the heart of the process of life; from the construction of RNA to a flock of birds to actors creating characters, narrative, and relationships onstage. It is a process that requires focus, intent, communication, connection, and action. From the hard skills of survival to the soft skills of human interaction, makingContinue reading “What can improvised theater teach us?”

Improvisation and Trance: an Experiment

Recently, while at the Applied Improv conference in San Francisco, a Dutch colleague approached me to collaborate on creating a workshop that was focused on bringing the participants towards a state of trance. She had some knowledge of neo-shamanism from reading and participating in some European personal growth workshops, and she wanted to collaborate withContinue reading “Improvisation and Trance: an Experiment”

The Human Brain on Improvised Theater

Here is the text of a 5-minute speech I gave at Ignite Portland 10: After performing and teaching improvised theater for years, I noticed two things. 1) in the best of performances, many of us would have this incredible feeling of ‘unity of thought and action’ as a side effect during the show, a sort ofContinue reading “The Human Brain on Improvised Theater”

The Power of ‘Yes’

Currently, I’m doing some contract work with the United Way here in Portland. One of my tasks is to visit funded organizations and initiatives and talk to the people there to get their stories. Today took me out to an organization called JOIN that does outreach for the homeless to get them up on theirContinue reading “The Power of ‘Yes’”

Thoughts on Status in Improvised Theater

The introduction of the notion of “status” was transformational for improvised theater. Keith Johnstone’s conceptual innovation took the art of improvised theater into even deeper territory in the 1960’s. Adding the idea of status focused improvisers more fully upon a person/character’s behavior and intention. It allowed them to meditate on what are the ‘key’ actionsContinue reading “Thoughts on Status in Improvised Theater”

5 Tenets of Ensemble Play

1) Keep it as equal as possible: Unless you’ve been elected to be the director/coach/teacher, it’s not the best of ideas to elect yourself to be the person who tells the ensemble what to do and how to play before you hit stage. This tends to communicate that you don’t trust the ensemble to succeed,Continue reading “5 Tenets of Ensemble Play”