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Make graceful and lasting change


Cindy Tonkin - July 16, 2008

Here is a picture of the Apollo Theatre where second city play. It’s a short walk from where I am staying.

So far I have been too tired to go to any shows, but I hold out a hope that I will get over this feeling of constants hung over-dness (without the advantage of having drunk!) very soon.

It’s Wed morning. I was up at 6am. I need to leave for class at 10am.

Yesterday afternoon was all about openings. Oh and objectives (secret wants as they call it).

As an aside, it is a great sadness for me that so many people who teach (improvisation or anything else) do not make the effort to discover how best people learn. Such is the world! This course is clearly following a set pattern (other classrooms when I walk past are doing the same things we are). But we’re not really given any guidelines or principles – we are left to work inductively (i.e. from all of the details, we induce our own principles, like Sherlock Holmes, solving a crime – he said it was deduction, but it was actually induction). It means I’m telling you what we did, rather than what I learnt (because the blinding flash of the obvious hasn’t yet come to me). Sometimes we work inductively because the teacher is unable to articulate the principles, or hasn’t really thought it through. Sometimes it’s because they actually don’t know, or are following a script whose principles they haven’t worked out yet. Sometimes it’s how the teacher prefers to learn. My issue is that it’s mostly done by accident, rather than by design, and it’s annoying to always have to learn the same way!

anyway, that’s my rant.

Openings: we had already covered monologues of course (btw, they refer to the person who delivers a monologue as a monologist). We tried an opening where 3 different people spoke to the same imaginary offstage character, to give a sort of portrait of them, to create themes to then riff off later (the rest of the show does not necessarily ever refer to that initial character). Nice! I could have done that all day.

Then it was more organic, all 15 people on stage creating a series of “scene pictures” to create themes (our first scene picture began by someone cleaning a wall, which ended up with 14 people compulsively cleaning the wall which turned out to be a religious icon. That morphed into a communist collective discussing how they would pay the rent, and then finally a 3rd scene I cannot remember.

Secret wants was next – 2 person scenes, each given a want which the other did not know about.
At first the audience were told the wants, but Alex stopped revealing the wants to the audience after people objected that it was “too much like short form”. It wasn’t as gaggy (like an endowments) to not know; but an interesting objection (is short form that bad?).

It’s a little after eight. I’m off to find breakfast, probably at an Einstein Brothers, which is a fast food place for bagels and coffee – nice bagels, haven’t tried the coffee!

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