Can I get a location?
November 1, 2009 6:36 PM   Subscribe

Improvisers: I'm an actor with some professional improv background. I'd like to brush up on my improv skills and get back in the game. Where should I go to train?

I spent time as a second string improviser for a well known improv theater. Did touring, corporate shows, understudying, and stuff like that. I'm also a well trained actor with some screenwriting experience.

I used to be a reasonably good improviser, but I had a depressive phase that coincided with joining an established group that was out of my league. Early on I had a bad night, and my usual resilience was lowered, so it became a spiral down. I always felt like everyone was waiting for me to do poorly. This was not entirely in my head as they were known to be tough on newcomers. I consistently underperformed, just kind of froze up and got boring and safe. I was not proud of my work. Since then improv has made me tense. Now I want to get back in the game.

I guess I'd be high intermediate level at this point. I want tough teachers and detailed professional level feedback in an environment where I'd be onstage a lot so I have no time to psych myself out or dwell on bad scenes. Ideally it would be an intensive program with improv all day long, for many days in a row. Anywhere in the States or Canada would be fine.

I was considering Upright Citizens Brigade or Groundlings, but to be honest I'd rather get really good somewhere else and then go audition for them and maybe make a good impression as a polished newcomer, rather than have them meet me as the broken old horse I am right now.

Anyone know of any really good intensive programs where a guy can get back on the improv bus?
Thx.
posted by anonymous to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
A few of my friends did the IO Summer Intensive and loved it.

http://chicago.ioimprov.com/training/summer-intensive

Six hours a day, four days a week, for five weeks.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:43 PM on November 1, 2009


I understand your location. If you could just divulge Second City, Improv Olympic or Comedy Sports or other would be a big help in seeing where you were and what you really want to get away from. As a fellow improviser, I think you'll understand what I mean. Contact me thru 6:1's MeFi mail. Signed: Mr. 6:1
posted by 6:1 at 6:45 PM on November 1, 2009


If I were picking an improv intensive, it'd be one of Keith Johnstone's (of Impro fame.) There aren't any more scheduled for this year, though, and there's no 2010 schedule yet.
posted by Zed at 7:35 PM on November 1, 2009


I was considering Upright Citizens Brigade or Groundlings, but to be honest I'd rather get really good somewhere else and then go audition for them and maybe make a good impression as a polished newcomer, rather than have them meet me as the broken old horse I am right now.

These two groups won't take you via audition. You have to go through their system first, which takes years and doesn't guarantee success. That said, I recommend them, as well as ACME in L.A., and Jet City Improv in Seattle.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:26 PM on November 1, 2009


Different groups have very different styles. Go to some shows at the different places, whichever theater's shows resonate with you personally is the theater where you should be training.

In NYC, UCB, Magnet, and The Pit are solid. In LA, UCB, IO West, and Groundlings are the majors. But, every theater is different, UCB LA and UCB NY are not identical twins, they've got the same guiding principles, but it's only natural that they have differences.

Since you seem willing to go anywhere, I'd think that for relatively low-stress improv with people that are there purely for the love of improv, Chicago would be the place to go. I, however, have no knowledge of specific places in Chicago.

Also, you don't specify between short form and long form, which is a fairly major piece of the puzzle.
posted by paperzach at 2:26 AM on November 2, 2009


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