Monday, 15 February 2010

Improvisation workshops : Introduction

I’ve started holding weekly improvisation workshops, not because I think I have a lot to teach, but because I have a lot to learn, and nobody around here seems to be teaching it. I’ve done it because I love the playfulness of theatre, of even very serious theatre, and the human communication of it, and I agree with those practitioners who find the wellspring of that in improvisation , the secret name of which is play. I’ve done it because I love playing like this, with others, more than most things, and I’ve missed it terribly since I’ve been making shows on my own.

I’ve taken many acting classes, masterclasses and workshops over the years, but I’ve never led any before. I’ve read books about actor training, full of games, exercises, and improvisation techniques. I’ve cherry-picked exercises here and there for my rehearsals, to achieve complicity and release inhibition, to build specific skills or illuminate a particular scene, but I've never thought very hard about putting a program together. I’m vain enough to want to present myself as someone who knows what they’re doing. Like anyone, I hate to appear incompetent and, like everyone else in the arts who has a blog, I’m trying to use it to get myself more paying work.

I don’t want to tell you about my ignorance, my confusion, my mistakes. But I’m doing a Master’s degree, and I’ve chosen to organize improvisation workshops as part of the work towards that degree, so it seems only right to attempt to document the process of those workshops. I’ve always been better at making theatre than at documenting the process, but I understand that documentation allows not just those assessing my academic work, but also me to chart where I’m coming from and where I’m going. It allows us to analyse, to suggest changes in direction and point out patterns. This, very public way of documenting this work serves two further purposes. It lets the workshop participants add their own impressions to the record, and it keeps me from procrastinating too much about the documentation. This is the second week of workshops, and the first time I’ve posted about them. From now on, I’ll be updating weekly, so help me internet.

No comments:

Post a Comment