Improvapalooza!

Improvapalooza:  WIT’s answer to the summer music festival.  Saturday, August 30 from 5:00 PM – Midnight.

The best, craziest, baddest-ass improv you will ever see also happens to be the coolest event of the summer.  Come hang with WIT as we bid farewell to the summer with a ridiculous marathon of improv.  It’ll be like the best summer block party ever staged, except with improv shows.

The 7 hour festival features 34 shows – each 10 minutes long – all at the Source Theater on 14th St, in the middle of some of DC’s best nightlife.  Some of WIT’s most established shows play back-to-back with some of its most experimental.  An entire improvised road trip?  Improvised Shakespeare?  A detective story with two cops that don’t play by the rules?  Yes, yes and hell yes.

You won’t believe what WIT comes up with. And you won’t be able to stop laughing.

It’s a celebration of all things WIT, improv, summer and DC. Come hang out and laugh and throw your motherf*cking hands in the air.  Click here [“here” should link to http://www.washingtonimprovtheater.com/shows/improvapalooza08.htm] to check out the shows. Tickets are $10 and are only available at the door. Re-entry is allowed, but not guaranteed if the theater reaches capacity.

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The envelope please:

Just annouced this evening – line-up for 2008 Improvapalooza:

The shows for Improvapalooza 2008 are:

5 Minutes Before/5 Minutes After
6 Degrees
The ‘Prov Generation
Best Friends
Blue Cop Town
Book
Chicken Pot Pie
Closing Arguments
Ex Factor
Hype Man
Inside The Improviser
King Otis
Call Center Anywhere
The Long Goodbye
Road Trip
Bloggers Are People Too
DMG presents:  Networking is better than Not Working
Fever Pitch
LaDyNasty
Mexican Fiancee
Keeping It (sur)Real
Mythical Newsroom
The Achievers
As We Like It
Spam Folder
Caution:  Speedboats At Play
We Love Bruce
WE
The Ninth Habit
Urban Legends

As well as shows from onesixtyone, Jackie, Caveat, JINX, and Season Six.

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Upcoming

Barrel of Monkeys

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Interview with Bobbi Block, part one.

Anyone who enjoyed seeing Tongue & Groove perform this month as a guest of Washington Improv Theater had the pleasure of seeing Bobbi Block perform, as well as the fruit of her artistic direction of the troupe. Bobbi has graciously shared an interview done with her by a colleague in Philly. Enjoy!

Q. What is your approach to improv?

A. my approaches to improv vary according to the group with which i’m performing:

a.  ComedySportz (comedysportzphilly.com): for comedysportz gimmick games i go broad and playful, keeping in mind ‘rules’ of comedy such as repetition or laying down ‘normal’ before I get ‘wacky.’   for comedysportz scene games i get my platform out as soon as possible (who, what where) and try to play my character with an extreme emotional point of view.

b. Tongue & Groove (tongue-groove.com). the signature style of my longform group, Tongue & Groove, is realism, meaning that all the work comes from an emotionally grounded character who you could encounter in real life.  This means the tone of the work can go comic or dramatic, depending on where the truth of the story takes us.  my choices come from my own personal arsenal of emotions, situations and characters — as much as possible I draw from my own real life or the life of those around me.   If I’m going thru relationship issues, it comes out in the work. If my ensemble-mate has problems with a co-dependent relative, then I’ll bring that out in the work. And we expect that of each other. the key to this work is emotional intelligence, meaning that every member of the group is in touch with his own emotional well and that of the others in the group — we practice this Emotional Intelligence element of our work as much as we practice any other ‘regular’ improv skill.  Before each rehearsal we do an ‘emotional check-in’ so that we’re in touch and aware, and we all recognize that what we share is then part of our group mind and likely to inspire much of our work that night.   the other element of my current approach to longform involves physicality — to be as comfortable as possible in my own body and with touching others in the ensemble — i try to reach out and touch someone in new ways all the time!  that’s what it means when Tongue & Groove advertises ‘lots of kissin’ and wrestlin’;’ – we work at making our physical relationships on stage look effortless.

c. LunchLady Doris (lunchladydoris.com): LunchLady does freeform longform. my approach is much more playful with Doris and does not have the ‘realism’ parameters of T&G.  Doris can go surreal, wacky, realistic, comic, touching, strange — it’s lots of fun to basically use *all* of my approaches to improv during a Doris show — to use whichever style suits the needs of the form at any given moment.  As with all approaches, *listening* and *trust* are crucial.  there’s a freedom to Doris work that is unlike my other approaches.


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Establishing an EPOV

Washington Improv Theater offered a workshop last weekend led by Bobbi Block, artistic director for Philadelphia improv troupe Tongue & Groove. One of her key points was that to ground our characters we must work from an Emotional Point of View (EPOV). We all do this every day, though in general I’d say most of us are pretty good at putting our real EPOV aside most of the time in order to play nice in the real world. Well, as usual with improv vs. “real life” we get to drop the bullshit and be real.

The exercises we played that addressed Bobbi’s principle led me to the conclusion that many of us have very small “emotional dictionaries” from which to pull an EPOV for a scene, or even to name our own real life EPOV at any given time.

How are you feeling right now?

Fine? Me too. So… do I want to see a scene about a bunch of people feeling fine? Not really.

I googled Emotions. Here is a tidbit from Wikipedia I liked as a start.

Plutchik’s wheel of emotions

Robert Plutchik created a wheel of emotions in 1980 which consisted of 8 basic emotions and 8 advanced emotions each composed of 2 basic ones.[1]

Basic emotion Basic opposite
Joy Sadness
Acceptance Disgust
Fear Anger
Surprise Anticipation
Sadness Joy
Disgust Acceptance
Anger Fear
Anticipation Surprise
Advanced emotion Composed of… Advanced opposite
Optimism Anticipation + Joy Disappointment
Love Joy + Acceptance Remorse
Submission Acceptance + Fear Contempt
Awe Fear + Surprise Aggressiveness
Disappointment Surprise + Sadness Optimism
Remorse Sadness + Disgust Love
Contempt Disgust + Anger Submission
Aggressiveness Anger + Anticipation Awe

How might these basic sets of emotions or blends of emotions might inform a character and inform his/her reactions to the situation and other characters on stage?

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HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS

The greatest thing to happen to improv since Del Close is coming back. That’s right, Improvapalooza is back and will be happening on SATURDAY, AUGUST 30, 2008 at Source. Mark your calendars and get ready to rumble.

For those of you who don’t already know, Improvapalooza is WIT‘s 1-day summer improv festival, where all manner of WIT players and students jumble themselves up into random assortments and perform 10-minute shows the likes of which have never been seen before and will never be seen again. It’s a celebration of improv and creativity, with a focus on trying something new. In short: it’s awesome.

Once again, that date is SATURDAY, AUGUST 30, 2008.

Get ready for the greatest day of your life.

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Here piggy, piggy piggy…

Are you a stage whore?

What drives you to step into a scene every chance you get?

What, if anything, keeps you out of a scene?

What is/are the result(s) of your compelling urge to improvise?

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