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Make graceful and lasting change

Canine bakery

Cindy Tonkin - July 25, 2008

Just in case your dog is hankering for a croissant or a cream bun. A canine bakery! It’s on Lincoln Ave in the heart of Lincoln Park, where I am living.

By the way, Craig in my class says his theatre group made him a care package – food and hand puppets and some vodka – before he came to iO. So Impro Australia has a way to go in supporting its members!! Just a hand puppet is all I’m asking!!

This morning’s impro: warmed up with the name and gesture game from earlier this week. We made up new gestures for our names. Once we knew the new gestures, we brought back the gestures from a few days ago. Alternated old and new, then responded to our own old gesture, but the person to our left responded to our new gesture. Nice mind game.

Then most of the morning we played with physicality as inspiration for characters. Began with the chestnut – leading with different parts of the body. Bill being what he’s now calling an “engineer” of impro (vs poet or physical player) wrote down the “personality” of each body part; generally people adopted a similar style of character for each body part. Bill’s emerging thesis is that getting into character will cause you to lead with a specific part of the body, or leading with a body part will engender a character (ie kind of chicken and egg thing).

We then did characters from a “spastic” body movement (a movement we wouldn’t normally make). Scenes were very different in character and theme than yesterday’s.

We then used “machines” as an opening – one person taking their machine gesture and sound to inspire a character/scene – then morphing from some gesture within the scene into a new machine, with a new gesture becoming the next scene/character etc. Would make a cool core for a show, I’d say (maybe call it Transformers, or some combo of impro and transformers – transproformers?).

Busby Berkeley was next – we did Hollywood Zeigfeld Follies style dance numbers which were better than any ballet I’ve seen on a Theatresports stage – basically using the principle of symmetry to guide the cast. With 7 or 8 players on stage, there’s many symmetries to explore, and of course some cliches as well. The Bill-dom to accompany it: make a gesture, comfortable that you will be followed (wow, don’t you love this universe).

Finished the morning with a “polyscenic mono thematic group exploration”. An organic opening using any techniques we wanted to.

Some of today’s Bill-doms:
– at a “what next” moment, just tell us more of what we already know – it will take you somewhere
– more experienced improvisors are more different from each other on stage (less experienced players play like each other)
– good improvisors are typically good people (because impro skills are relationship skills)
– this is not funny class, this is art class!!

Till this afternoon!

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