Amsterdam improv weekend (vol. 1)

Me hosting at the CREA Photo by Catherine Gray

An 6.30am London taxi ride, morning train to Cardiff, afternoon train to Bristol, bus to Bristol Airport, flight into Schiphol, train to Amsterdam and bike pick-up; my Friday was not wanting for transit modes. It was all necessary though, as I had been booked in for a weekend of shows and workshops, and I spent the whole early part of the day trying not to be too giddy. A whole weekend! In Amsterdam! With friends! Doing and teaching improv! You bet I was excited!


Marbles on Friday
The show that I did that evening is Marbles. It was formerly me and Dave Waller, but now it’s just me. There’s no format or structure, so it’s wide-open. Loosey-goosey, even. The practice of solo improv is also new to me, so I’m still discovering how it works and what I want the show to be like.

Stepping on stage by myself with no idea what’s about to happen, is exhilarating and terrifying, and addictive.  provides an interesting window for me into ‘pure’ improv. There are no elements to fall back on, and it’s completely wide-open, plus there can be lots of opportunity for audience involvement. It’s a format and idea that I’m still developing, and enjoying every hiccup, every different space and audience member.

Here’s how it got underway last Friday

Thanks to Friday night (and the help of Rod ben Zeev, as videographer and dramaturge) I now have some video and quality input to help speed up the development of the show.

Should you be interested, there’s more video:

Afterwards I had the chance to play with the easylaughs crew in their show, and played some fun handles that were new to me with some excellent players. So it was an all-around win.

The Ripple Effect
Saturday I gave workshop I’ve been working on called The Ripple Effect, to suggest the idea of following ripples and seizing in-the-moment discoveries. The workshop centres on two main themes: one is authenticity, and the other is exploration. It’s basically the result of a number of things I’ve come across while doing solo improvisation.

There was actually widely varying levels of improv experience in the room (from never having done it ever before, to individuals with more than ten years of experience). And it actually worked. Really well. And I’m looking forward to refining the exercises and objectives. The most surprising thing was how enjoyable the outputs were – even in a workshop setting with some very inexperienced participants, there were some really excellent bits and material being generated.

To read more about the workshop visit the AllImprov blog

Boom Chicago
I always love going back to Boom and getting to play on their stage. The scenes are always high-energy with an emphasis on the funny. A big change from Friday night. This trip was a little different, because I got to watch and play with Cari Leslie an improv friend colleague from back in Canada

Sunday Sessions
The Sunday workshops were more open. The easylaughs regular Sunday workshop I took focused on creating and enriching environments.

I also had the chance to work with easylaughs. We did a micro-session on riffing, and then some scenework on rooting into a scene early on, taking our time, but not necessarily coming in low energy.

Overall
The biggest thing was having a whole weekend full of improv with shows and workshops and some late night riffing sessions. I also managed to get in some FEBO, a couple of bike rides, some chill dinners with good friends, and some really excellent gourmet breakfasts with Rod.

As I continue to think on and develop my ideas about improv,and what I like to see, (and my own show, and what I would like it to be), the chance to bring those ideas and outputs out of London, to a different, welcoming, and improv-savvy environment, and be able to share them, well that was great for probably a lot of reasons.

But mostly because it was fun.

2017-09-14T08:43:46+00:00 September 28 2012|