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three times makes a pattern…

Cindy Tonkin - August 1, 2011

Chicago Fire Academy is apparently
on the site where the great chicago
fire started… turns out it wasn’t
mrs o’leary who started the fire,
it was some anti-irish sentiment
whipped up by the media.
thank goodness that never happens
any more…

Object work – line up what you can see with what you can’t: eg fridge lines up with seam in stage, sink under light.

Repeating anything makes it into a pattern. (3 times really makes it a pattern)

If someone walks through your mimed table and the show is going on fine, ignore it. In a 2 person show you may want to call it out

For the entire piece to be art the individual scenes shouldn’t be

Third beats need to be quicker: if it’s not working cut the head off the beast and see what else grows.


  • Create an organic warm up (without consultation)
  • Repeat-a-scene: we did one scene, then the other half of the class had to repeat it. Tested our listening, showed what made scenes memorable (emotions, specificity, active, committed, real emotions)
  • Staging exercise: do strongly emotional scenes with odd staging (opposite ends of stage, back to back,nose to nose)
  • Same initiation: series of scenes begun with same line: here’s the Johnson file, someone was out late last night

Barry recommended reading Peter Gwinn Group Improvisation (we’d already discussed Improvisation and Truth in Comedy and Art by Committee and Impro).

My observation: difference between the good and the bad improviser may have something to do with their ability to find a play ground inside themselves (vs imprisoned by themselves)

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