New Year, New Curriculum

It’s 2020, my friends. And my curriculum needed to get with the times. Goodbye, Dukes Of Hazzard. Goodbye, s/he, his/her, him/her, etc.

2020 brings new exercises, new insights, and new clarifications for teaching.

Links have been updated on the Class Materials page, but they’re also here. Enjoy!

Intro to Improv Curriculum 2020 (PDF)
Character & Relationship Curriculum 2020 (PDF)
Patterns & Games Curriculum 2020 (PDF)
Long Form Performance Curriculum 2020 (PDF)
Teachers Best Practices 2020 (PDF)

Big “THANK YOU” to those who submitted feedback on the site through the pop-up survey. It’s not super aesthetically pleasing” – I hear you. I have big hopes for this site’s redesign and at least a little hope of getting that redesign done this year. First step: Updating the Curriculum. Check!

Stay tuned for more!

Playing From Emotion class w/ video

Make a choice the moment you enter stage. Choose to feel. Feel something about something – an imagined object, mimed activity, and/or your scene partner. Allow both you and your scene partner to be dynamic.

Here’s the final scene from a class building out that progression and its value:

And here’s the class’ outline with video of me teaching it. Continue reading

Name Thumper warmup exercise

NAME THUMPER – Going around the circle, each person (teacher included) associates their name with an action or adjective – “Punching Patrick,” or “Pouting Patrick.”  Go around once more so everyone knows everyone else’s name and action.  Then play progresses with an individual doing their name/action and then another person’s name/action; that person then does their name/action and then another person’s name/action; etc.  You can introduce them to the starting chant – Everyone pats their thighs. You say, “I’m going to say, What’s the name of the game?”, and you’ll say, “Thumper.” Do it. You say, “I’m going to ask, Why do we do it?”, and you’ll say, “To get warmed up.”  Do it. You say, “I’m going to ask, how do we do it?”, and you’ll say, “Fast!” Do it.

Pass “Yes” Around acceptance exercise

PASS “YES” AROUND – A player points at / makes eye contact with another player who accepts by saying “Yes.” The accepted player walks across the circle to stand in the place of the player who said “Yes.” The player who said “Yes” points at / makes eye contact with another player who says “Yes” so they can exchange physical position. And repeat.
Choose and accept – don’t waste time worrying, over-thinking or obsessing about looking silly

“Awesome!” acceptance exercise

AWESOME! – Around the circle, students say something about themselves and/or their day to which the rest of class enthusiastically responds, “Awesome!”
Acceptance is fun – don’t waste time judging; the audience wants to see you enjoying one another

This is also a great exercise to stress players’ differences and how we can accept them. Players can be prone to wanting to share something they know is easy to say “Awesome” to. But the ensemble is going to accept with a resounding “Awesome” whatever it is that a player says. So a variation of this exercise is for players to share something that they think makes them unique and/or a perspective they have that they don’t think others share.

Showing that we can accept each player’s uniqueness is “Awesome!”

Hot Spot bold choice exercise

HOT SPOT (Singing or Monologue) – Players stand in a circle. One player enters the center and begins singing or telling a true, personal story. In no particular order, players enter to take the place of the player in the center to sing a new song or tell their own story.
Hesitate and miss your connection – While players should be encouraged to inspire their moves based on what preceded it, players that wait too long over-thinking their move’s connection is going to miss their chance to enter.
Just start – A player needn’t know all the words to the song or how the story is going to end to enter the circle. Just get out there and start, and commit to continuing confidently.
Focus outward and support your fellow player – don’t be in your head thinking about what you’re going to do while a player is standing in the circle suffering through what they’re doing. Make them look good. Smile at them. Sing along.