Learn rigidly. Play loose.
The Johnsons are the most dyed-in-the-wool Improv As Improv Does Best group there is. Makes sense. I coach them.
They were taught the contents of this website. They learned the mechanics of spontaneous collaboration. But the desire has never been for them to conform to one style of improv as dictated by their lessons. Rather the goal is always providing tools unique improvisers can utilize to enhance their personal approach.
The Johnsons are at their best when they Continue reading
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, “I love me some Johnsons.”
Check out this great example as Improv As Improv Does Best…in the face of “mistakes.”
Improv As Improv Does Best leverages in-the-moment collaborative discovery. And it’s extra special when the audience knows they’re “getting it” at the same time as the improvisers.
Take this example from The Johnsons.
The Johnsons have been working on building a more collective world in their long form performances.
One tool they’ve practiced is using their scene edits to establish and heighten an organic pattern progression.
And on January 16th, 2016 they did it on stage for the first time. Watch. Enjoy.
First time is random. Second time is purposeful. Third time is expected.
Do you want to see some Harold‘s performed?
Here are two performed by The Coalition Theater’s Fall 2015 Long Form Performance class conducted back to back nights.
Player are: Shahenn Ali, Teddy Armstrong, Amber Hendrix, Jesse Hill, Meredith Hughes, Laura Kelly and Christopher May
I (and the audience) loved this show from The Johnsons. It’s a terrific showcase for their ability to find and build scenes together as an ensemble.
The Johnsons are: Scott Beckett, Shawn Hambright, Townsend Hart, John Hilowitz, Jonathan Nelson, Lauren Serpa and Alan Vollmer
Exercise for practicing building organic group games collaboratively and ensuring everyone steps up to participate. Continue reading
Watch the Johnsons heighten the mechanics of an emotionally active first beat into a fun found-joke.
There are no mistakes in patterns. If a progression builds A, B, C and Z, “Z” is not a mistake, it’s just something to be acknowledged and made part of the pattern. If A, B, C, and Z, then D, E, F and Y.
There are no mistakes in patterns. The clearer and cleaner a pattern builds, the faster it will heighten and the harder it’ll hit for the purpose of editing.
There are no mistakes in patterns. Whatever happens, don’t give up on the pattern. Follow whatever happens.
Watch the Organic Game from the Johnsons below. See how the pattern doesn’t build cleanly in a progression to a crescendo within the addition of the first four players on stage. Watch as Player Five enters stage with the proceeding pattern in mind and, rather than abandoning what’s happened, follows his predecessors with a move that secures a solid edit with the audience.
“Do we have to stick the sequence in Hey Everybody games?” students ask. No. Of course not. Play organically. Follow the game where it goes. Don’t ever feel constrained by the pattern.
But. There’s power in the pattern.
Watch the following Hey Everybody game from a Johnsons’ show. It ain’t pretty, but it’s illustrative. Watch as the gang falls away from the sequence of contributions. See what happens. Hang in there until the end where you can see that one Player’s faith in the pattern is all that’s needed to secure a satisfying edit with the audience.